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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.
I'd like to take a moment to discuss the distinction between Standard and Photometric lights in 3ds Max. So in the Create panel, when I go to the Lights category, you'll see that Photometric is the default type of light, and there are two flavors here. There is Photometric and Standard. What's the difference here? Well essentially, Standard lighting is cartoon lighting. It has no basis in reality. It doesn't refer to any kind of measurement of light intensities in the real world.
So it's purely impressionistic. If I create an Omni light and move that up, hit the W key to get the Move tool, I move that around, I can go into the Modify panel and play around with things like the Intensity, and I can set that to whatever I want. But that doesn't bear any relationship to light intensities in the real world. So Standard lights, once again, are a purely artistic technique, and they're not suitable for calculating lighting simulations.
They don't have any kind of metrics built-into them that you would be familiar with from something like looking at a light bulb in the hardware store. It says that it puts out a certain number of lumens, and that's a measure of the amount of light coming from the bulb. Standard lights don't have any of that. And Standard lights are fine for film and video, for game design, or whatever. If you are an architect or an interior designer, or if you want to get hyper-realistic results, then you will probably want to use the Photometric lights, but those aren't covered in this course, because this is just an introductory essentials course.
If you learn about Photometrics, you want to take a look at one of our other courses in 3ds Max Lighting with Mental Ray.
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