Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Enabling self-illumination

In order for an object to render or You can navigate in this view using the middle mouse button.
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 49s
  2. 32m 32s
    1. Setting the Customize UI and Defaults Switcher
      1m 43s
    2. Choosing units and grid options
      1m 13s
    3. Importing a CAD file
      5m 12s
    4. Managing the scene hierarchy
      7m 46s
    5. Managing display layers
      3m 52s
    6. Working with Body objects
      2m 53s
    7. Modeling an environment sphere
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a camera
      2m 44s
    9. Framing the shot
      2m 52s
  3. 16m 46s
    1. Creating mental ray area spot lights
      4m 31s
    2. Creating photometric spot lights
      5m 9s
    3. Setting exposure for studio lighting
      3m 9s
    4. Controlling Final Gather
      3m 57s
  4. 1h 1m
    1. Creating Arch & Design materials
      7m 26s
    2. Creating an environment material
      6m 14s
    3. Enabling self-illumination
      5m 33s
    4. Applying procedural textures
      7m 20s
    5. Working with reflectivity
      7m 10s
    6. Creating a metal material
      4m 33s
    7. Adjusting highlights
      5m 4s
    8. Varying highlights with a bump map
      6m 43s
    9. Working with transparency
      4m 44s
    10. Adding ambient-occlusion nodes
      6m 40s
  5. 37m 46s
    1. Understanding image-based lighting
      2m 42s
    2. Creating a skylight
      2m 10s
    3. Adding a spherical environment map
      2m 51s
    4. Controlling bitmap coordinates
      4m 5s
    5. Setting exposure for image-based lighting
      7m 36s
    6. Adjusting materials
      5m 38s
    7. Modeling environment geometry
      5m 42s
    8. Self-illuminated image-based lighting
      7m 2s
  6. 50m 6s
    1. Controlling mental ray Sampling Quality
      5m 18s
    2. Rendering to the high-dynamic-range EXR format
      5m 52s
    3. Defining After Effects color settings
      4m 0s
    4. Adjusting the image
      10m 4s
    5. Setting up render elements
      7m 51s
    6. Creating ambient-occlusion materials
      6m 9s
    7. Layering specularity and reflections
      3m 47s
    8. Adding all render-element layers
      7m 5s
  7. 49s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
3h 25m Intermediate May 15, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Importing solid models as 3ds Max body objects
  • Working with the scene layout, hierarchy, and display layers
  • Building Arch & Design materials
  • Creating area and photometric lights
  • Setting exposure control
  • Optimizing indirect illumination with Final Gather
  • Image-based lighting with high dynamic range files
  • Lighting with self-illuminated geometry
  • Rendering to high dynamic range
  • Saving render passes with Render Elements
  • Adding ambient occlusion
  • Layering and color correction in After Effects
3D + Animation CAD
3ds Max
Aaron F. Ross

Enabling self-illumination

In order for an object to render or to appear in reflections, it'll need to be illuminated. Either by scene lights or self illuminated from within. In a case of this hemisphere for the environment, we need it to be evenly lit across its surface. In that case we will want to use self illumination. We'll set that up in the material editor. Open up the material editor and we've got our environment material here. Currently the bit map is feeding into the diffuse color channel. We actually really need to feed it into the self illumination map channel.

So click and drag to make that connection. You can navigate in this view using the middle mouse button. And you can zoom in and out using the mouse wheel. Notice, by the way, we have this navigator pane over here, and I tend to not use that because, really, it doesn't tell me anything I don't already know, so in fact, I'm going to close it so we'll have a little bit more space for the material parameter editors. So, I'm going to close that. If you need to get it back you can go to the tools menu and reopen it here. Alright. Double click on the environment material node and we need to enable self illumination, cause we've made the connection here.

It's feeding into that map channel, but we also need to enable it. So scroll down until you find self illumination glow and open that up. We can see there's a connection there because there's the little M meaning there's a map feeding into that channel. We need to enable it. Turn on self illumination. Notice most importantly that Visible in Reflections is enabled here, and that has to be on if this is going to work. Now we need to test this and see what it looks like. Let's minimize the material editor. You'll see that in the view port it's completely white and we can't see a map there.

But that doesn't mean that it's not working. This is just a quirk of 3DS Max that a self-illuminated arch and design material won't show up in the view port. We actually had to do a proper rendering in order to see it. But remember that we made the object invisible. So we need to make it visible first in order to be able to test whether this is actually self-illuminated. Let's go into the Managed Layers dialogue. And remember, we made the environment layer invisible so we'll go back into its layer properties by clicking on the icon. And turn visible to camera back on for a moment so we can see it in a proper rendering.

Close that. And we also want to disable file gather just to speed things up a little bit. So, we'll go into the render set up dialogue and we want to go into the global illumination tab and just turn off final gather while we're doing this. It'll remember the settings we put in before. Additionally, we have locked the renderer to the camera view. We need to actually render this other view, which is the perspective view, in order to see that map well. So we want to unlock that. Alright, and with the perspective view active, click render.

And let's see what we get. So we are getting something. You can see that there is something on there, but it just doesn't look very good. We're not really seeing anything believable on this. Additionally you can see that we're getting some lighting on there. Okay, so what we can do now is go back into our material and play around with that. And let's store this so we can compare that for later. Alright, so we got that stored and we'll close these just minimize them. Go back to our material editor which I've got minimized down here and in order for that to be bright enough for us to see.

We need to increase this luminance value here. And just as we needed to increase the luminance of a standard light into the range of thousands in order for it to work with exposure control, we have to do the same here. We have to set this up to a very high value of let's say 4,000. And then so we don't get that hot spot of actually illuminated lighting, we can go up here and turn the diffuse level down to zero. Okay so we've got no diffuse component. And we've got a self illumination of 4,000 down here.

Cool. All right, and let's do another rendering. And now you can see that it's perfectly self-illuminated. We can compare that to the other version that we had stored. So you can see this is with a diffuse component, which is reflecting light that's coming from the scene lights, and with very low self-illumination amount of only one. And this is with no diffuse component and a self-illumination of 4,000. And now that's going to render quite nicely in the surface of the reflections of the watch.

Okay so, so once we've done all these changes we need to put everything back the way we found it, we want to go back into our environment layer and turn visible to camera off again. We want to go back into our render setup and turn final gatherer back on and we should also lock the renderer back to the main camera so select that camera view. And then lock it. Good. So we've set up our environment geometry so that it will be fully self-illuminated and show up in reflections.

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