Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Managing the scene hierarchy

Before we can have fun with lighting and materials, we'll And within here you'll see a button that says, By Object.
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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

Managing the scene hierarchy

Before we can have fun with lighting and materials, we'll need to do some more housekeeping on this CAD model. First, we need to set up the wire frame or object color. Right now if we press F3 we can see that some of the objects are wire frame outlined in white, and some in this cream color. Well, white's not a good color for an object, because white indicates that the object is selected in a wire frame view. What we want to do actually here is assign the color of the wires according to the object's display layer, and that way we can put multiple objects on a layer, and then change all of their colors at once, so we can see what we're dealing with.

To do this, what we need to do is select all of the geometry. And go over into the Command panel here. And you've got Name and Color in your Create panel. And click on the color swatch. And within here you'll see a button that says, By Object. That means that currently, the color of each object is determined by the object properties. If we click that button it switches it to by layer, and from now on all objects that are on a certain layer will assume that layer's color. Click OK. And now you'll see that they all turned green because they're currently all on the same layer that came with the CAD file.

We'll create some display layers in the next movie and keep things organized. Next what we want to do is rename everything. Let's go into our scene explorer that we created earlier. Tools > Saved Scene Explorers > Scene Explorer 1. And we've got a whole bunch of stuff in here. Let's select all these that say boss extrude. And I want to point out to you that that's all the hour markers. Except for this one, which is the knob here. I'll hold down Alt and click on that. Drag a rectangle over that to select it.

And those are all of the hour markers. Let's rename those all at once. Go to Tools menu, and we want to find Rename Objects down here. And the base name for this is going to be marker_hour. We want to number them, starting from number one. And click Rename. And now they've all been renamed. We want to do the same for all of these markers for the seconds. And those are down here, if we scroll down here, they say NONE-DC_Shell. Le'ts just select all of those, so I've selected one at the bottom or top, go up or down.

Hold down Shift and select the rest, and we've got all the markers but we've also got some other stuff like this hand here. Again hold down the Alt key and drag a rectangle to deselect that. We also want to deselect anything out here holding down Alt, and drag a rectangle to make sure that we deselect everything except for those second markers. And, once again, go into Tools > Rename Objects, the base name here will be marker_second.

And we'll number them starting from number one. And click Rename. Okay, so we've renamed all those difficult objects. Now the rest of these are going to be pretty easy. We want to go around and select these one at a time here. And so this one is the body of the watch. So we'll rename that. We can rename objects directly in the Scene Explorer. Just click once to select it, and then click again to select the name. And we'll call this one watch_body. And we'll need to go around and select everything else in turn. And as we do this we'll keep track of this.

So that'll be the watch knob. And what do we got here. If we don't know what it is, then we'll have to grab the Move tool and then move the object to determine what that is, and maybe hit F3 to go into wire frame mode. Once we know what is, we can hit Ctrl+Z to undo, and that's the watch ring. So click to select and click again to choose the name. And we just need to go around and rename everything. This one is going to be the glass. What's this, F3? And that looks like that's the back, F3 to switch to wire frame.

Ctrl+Z to undo that, so that's the back. All right, so we've renamed most everything. Let's see what, what's left here. We got the hands here, so that's the, looks like the, minute hand. And that's the hour hand. Let's see what we've got here. So, that's the inner ring.

Be careful as you go around selecting things, because you might actually, select the wrong thing. And things get reordered in the Scene Explorer as you go, so just be careful about that. So, it looks like the second hand there. And this is also part of the second hand. Alright, so it looks like I've renamed everything now. Awesome. And then the last thing we want to do before we create these display layers is we want to just link everything to a helper.

And that way we can rotate it around, because the object is actually upside down. Normally in 3ds Max, the default orientation that you want for an object is that it's faced towards the negative y axis. And if I orbit around here, we can take a look at that. Here is the Access Tripod showing us the world coordinates, and this is what we want. We want the positive Y axis facing away from us and the object towards us. 'Kay, so what we need to do is select all of this and parent it to a helper and then rotate the helper to turn the object around.

Let's create the helper. We'll go to the Create panel and then click on Helpers. And it's going to be a point helper. Click anywhere, and then we can change its size here. Let's reduce that size down to, let's give it like, five centimeters. And we'll want to position it at the origin. Select the Move tool. And down at the bottom in the transform type in area, we'll put in zero tab zero and then zero if necessary. And now it's at the origin. And we want to select everything. And then unselect that helper.

Hold down Alt and unselect the helper. And we want to link everything, so, here's our Select and Link tool. Click on that, and then, click on any of the objects, and drag over to the helper. And it'll flash to indicate that that link is being created. Go back to the move tool and test it. Select the helper, and see if everything moves with that helper when you move it. There we go, very good. Ctrl+Z to undo that. And we just want to rotate that helper around. Select the Rotate tool, and to make it easier on us we can turn on angle snaps up here on the main toolbar.

And we just want to rotate this 180 degrees in X. So now the watch is facing towards us. And the Y axis is facing away from us. Press the F3 key to verify that. All right. So, now, we've got our scene set up. And we want to create some display layers.

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