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In 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training, author Aaron F. Ross demonstrates how to use this top-tier application for digital content creation, widely used in diverse industries such as architecture, industrial design, motion pictures, games and virtual worlds. This course covers modeling with polygons, curves, and subdivision surfaces, defining surface properties with materials and maps, setting up cameras and lights, animating objects, and final output rendering. Exercise files accompany the course.
Up to this point we have just had flat colors on our objects, but of course that's not terribly interesting, and we need to have some sort of image, or pattern applied in order to give the illusion of realism. So I am going to apply a Diffuse Map, and that will give me a chance to show you how Procedural Maps work, and the difference between a Procedural Map and a File Map. So I have got my backdropMaterial selected, and I am going to drop something into this Diffuse Channel. Now, I can do that in a couple of ways. I can go down to the Maps rollout and open that, and you will see Diffuse Color.
I can click on this big button that says None. I can also do it from a shortcut up at the top. Right next to the Diffuse Color Swatch, there is an identical button there. So I can click on that if I want. I have got the Material Map browser up now, and this is showing a list of all the available Maps. These are all Procedural Maps, with the exception of the first one, which is Bitmap. So a Procedural Map is one that's internally generated by 3ds Max, and it doesn't have any set Pixel Resolution.
The Resolution adapts depending upon our specific renderer and how far the camera is away from the object and so on. So these are all Procedural, with the exception of Bitmap. So, for example, I could double-click on the Noise Map. That's one of the most common ones that is used. I double-click that. And then you will see I am getting a Noise pattern here in my sample slot. Now, the Material is assigned to the backdrop object, but we are not seeing the Map just yet, so I need to do something in order to make that show up.
I would need to click this button here called Show Standard Map in Viewport. And when I enable that, and if I select the object, it will Refresh, and now you will see I have got the Noise pattern on there. I can play around with things. Like I can set the Size of the Noise, or I can make it Fractal, or I can change these Threshold values to change the contrast. So I could set the High Threshold to maybe like 0.8 and the Low Threshold to something like 0.75. Let's switch it back to Regular, maybe play around with different values.
Let's try 0.5, here you go, and 0.45. So now you will see I am getting this interesting Noise pattern on there. Well, interesting by some definitions of interesting. But in any event, this illustrates how a Procedural Map is supposed to work. And basically, we just adjust some parameters in the Material Editor, and it's going to render out just as we see, pretty much. If I want to see what this looks like in a real rendering, I can click on the Teapot on the extreme right side of the Main Toolbar, and that's showing me a production rendering.
Notice, by the way, that the scale of the pattern is different in the Viewport and in the rendering. So the rendering of course is what's really going on. So that's what we need to judge things on and base our Material decisions on what we see in the actual renderer. I could choose a different Procedural Map. Here I have got this button that says Noise. I can click that button to launch the Material Map browser again and choose a different Map, for example, Cellular. Double-click that. 3ds Max prompts me to ask, do I want to discard the old map or to keep the old map as a sub-map? I don't want to have nested maps right now, so I definitely want to choose discard and say OK.
And once again I will have to click on Show Map in Viewport, and I can try to do a true render and see what I am getting. So that's a Cellular Map. There are lots of Procedural Maps, and you can play around with them a lot. And remember that they are resolution independent, and they don't make any reference to any external file. It's all inside the Max scene. So that means I could send this Max scene to anyone, and as long as they have the same version of the software, they can open it up and will see those patterns there.
We don't need to make reference to an external files, like any TIFF or JPEG images. It's all synthesized directly within the program.
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