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Creating virtual product shots reduces the need for photography. But those shots need to be accurately shaded, lighted, and rendered to seem realistic. 3ds Max can help. It's a powerful application for design visualization. In this course, you'll learn to shade, light, and render a product shot in 3ds Max. Aaron F. Ross leads you through the entire production workflow, starting with a prebuilt CAD model. Once the model is imported and the scene is organized for 3ds Max, Aaron shows how to create Arch & Design materials, construct several different lighting setups, render in mental ray, and color correct in Adobe After Effects. Explore the power of 3ds Max to present your product renderings in their best light.
Want to learn how to create the same effect with Maya? Check out Creating Product Shots in Maya.
Our chapter on lighting is going to be pretty short because we don't have very much to do. This is just a single subject. And it means we only need a few lights. And it'll be fairly simple to setup. The best type of light in this situation is actually an area light. Because it's going to produce a really soft, even illumination. And so for our keylights or our primary illumination. We're going to use MR area spotlights. Go to Create Panel, and choose Lights, and the default light type is Photometric.
We want to click on that pull down list and choose Standard, and create an MR area spotlight, click on that, and on the top view, click somewhere behind into the right of the camera. Click there and then hold and drag out and go over to the watch and then release, and you will create the spotlight and its target. Right click to complete the creation of that target light, and we want to load the front view port into this panel here.
We'll click on that panel and then click on the left label and choose front. Maybe dolly in a little bit. Select the light, and then choose the Move tool and then just move it up a bit. Okay, so let's test that rendering, see what it looks like with default parameters. Right-click in the camera view. And then click Render Production. Here we've got a single MR area spotlight with default parameters. Let's lock this render view so that it'll only render the camera viewport from now on. No matter what view port we choose in 3ds Max main window.
And let's clone this render view so that we can compare it to other renderings. All right, we've got that cloned. I want to move that over just a little bit so we can get at this light icon. We want to be able to see that with that light selected, let's go into the Modify panel. And scroll down. We're looking for a roll out that's labeled, Area Light Parameters. Here it is. And we've got the size of light. We also have the type. Let's choose Disc, cause that's going to be simpler, and it's just going to create a more even illumination.
The radius here controls the size of the area light, and if you click and hold and drag on that spinner, then you can actually see the size of the disc interactively. Once you release the mouse, then unfortunately, we are not able to see the size of that disc any longer. The larger the area light is, the softer the illumination will be, and this will effect both the lighting and the shadows. We want a nice soft even illumination, so let's set the radius up to 20 centimeters and then we'll test render that.
Okay, on the left here we can see the light with a radius of 20 centimeters and on the right a radius of 2.5 centimeters or the default. And you can see this is much softer. If you get in close on this, then you might notice that the shadows are a bit grainy. I can click in that view and then use the mouse wheel to zoom in a bit and the middle mouse to pan around in that. You can see that the shadows are a little bit grainy here. We're not going to worry about that now. We'll fix that in the rendering stage by adjusting the mental ray quality settings.
We'll make another one of these lights. Close these windows. And just duplicate this one. I'll right-click in the top view, and select that light with the Move tool. Hold down the Shift key and drag to make a duplicate. And when you release the mouse, you'll get the Clone Options dialog. We'll want to make a copy, not an instance. Click OK, and then just adjust its position. Maybe move it over a bit to the side so its kind of at a 90 degree angle to the other light. And that way we'll get even lumination on the side as well.
And also maybe move it down a bit or up. In some direction, probably down a little bit in order to sort of give us a little bit more interest to this. It's going to give us some side lighting rather than top lighting. Alright and let's do another test render of that, okay, that's pretty good, we've got our key lighting done with the MR area spotlights.
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