Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Varying highlights with a bump map

I made a couple more adjustments to the positions Let's go ahead and clone that rendered And we'll dolly back a little bit with the wheel.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
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

Varying highlights with a bump map

I made a couple more adjustments to the positions of the lights, and we're ready now to lock down those lights, and then move on to adjusting the material, by adding a bump map, to vary the highlights. Let's take a look at what we have so far. Open up the Rendered Frame window. And, I moved the lights a little bit, so we're getting a bit more definition, on those contours. Let's go ahead and clone that rendered frame window and then let's minimize these views. Go back into manage layers and freeze the environment and freeze the light's layers.

And we're just going to add a bump map to our existing watch body material. Go back into the material editor. And we'll dolly back a little bit with the wheel. And then use the middle mouse button to pan. Here's our watch body, bring that up. And we want to add a simple bump map. And it's going to be a noise map. You'll see under Standard, we've got Noise. We can drag that in and then connect that to the bump channel of the watch body. And then double-click on the noise map. We want to make a couple simple changes in here.

If you want to see a preview, we can right-click and choose, Open Preview Window. But it won't look like much, because we've set the scale of our preview to be only 0.1 centimeters. I'm going to set the size of the noise to only 1. But we won't see much here, because the scale of this preview, isn't quite right. So we'll, we'll need to go back into our Options. Under Modes > Compact Material Editor, we'll switch to Compact Material Editor. And select the Options. And set the Render Sample Size here, to 5 centimeters, which is about the same scale as the watch itself.

Click OK. And then go back to Slate Material Editor mode. We can close that preview window, and then reopen it. Right-click and Open Preview Window. And now we can actually see that noise at the same scale it'll be applied onto our object. And the last thing we want to do in here actually is give it a fractal pattern. Which means we're going to have noise that's more complex. It'll have sort of waves of noise inside of noise. And if we want more detail, we can increase the number of levels here. And the more levels you have, the more detail you'll have. If we have only one level, then it's not fractal at all.

Default of three is probably fine. Okay, that's fine. So, we can go ahead and close that, and go into, the material itself. Double-click on the material node, and we need to enable the bump map. Scroll down and under Special Purpose Maps, we need to enable, the bump, and maybe increase it a little bit. Let's give it a value of 0.15. And then do a test render. Okay, with the bump map we can see that there's a little more variation in the highlights. Let's compare that to our previous rendering without the bump map. And so on the left there's no bump map, and on the right there's a bump map.

And you can see the difference, especially here and here. And in this rim, you can see a difference as well. So we just added a little bit more chaos and visual interest to this. Another thing that we'd like to do here is to just make sure that the hands and the markers on the watch are kind of evenly lit. And to do that, we'll make a different material for them. Go back to our material editor. We want to clone this one. So I'm going to hold down shift and drag And we actually clone the network, but you'll notice that we also got a connection to that bump map.

We don't really need the bump map on this new material. So, we can select that wire. Click on it till it's highlighted, and press delete. And that'll break the connection. So I've got the watch body material here, and that's fine. And I've got this new one. Let's double-click on that, and we'll call that watch hands. And it doesn't have a bump map. And additionally just to make sure that it renders more flat and even, we're going to increase the roughness and that adds a sort of microscopic noise pattern to it that causes the lighting to sort of even out.

And we need to assign that to the hands and the markers, go back to manage layers, select hands and markers. Select the highlighted objects and then assign the material to the selection. Alright, so that's done. And then one last thing we can do to help those highlights is to give it a little bit of burn in the exposure control. Go into the Rendering menu under Exposure Control. And remember, previously, we set the Image Control parameters to neutral settings.

But if we want a little bit hotter highlights we can increase this Burn amount. Be aware that this is an incredibly sensitive parameter. Even tiny, itty-bitty changes will have a major effect on the screen, so the default was actually 0.2, which is going to blast those highlights out incredibly. I recommend a value here of 0.02. Or 1 tenth of the original amount. And that doesn't even cause that graph to change at all. But it will give us much shinier highlights in the rendering.

Go ahead and test render that. Okay. Now we're seeing much better results on this, and having changed the color of the markers so that they are more consistent, you can actually see them standing out against this back ring. And that kind of tells me that I probably want to have that ring be black. Just going to make a little bit of a design change to our model here by changing the material on that back ring. So I'll go and select that. We can go to the Manage Layers window under watch body we've got this inner ring. I'm actually going to move that into this back layer.

Select it and then select back. And then move it into that layer. And just double-check that it's selected. So in fact it was not selected. So now it is. Cool. And you can see it's sort of outlined here. And we want to just assign that back material to it. Go back to the material editor. And remember, we've created a material for the back of the light, and it's here in our scene materials, black matte. I'm going to drag that over, choose Instance, and then select it.

Then assign that material to the selected object, which is the inner ring. Close all of that and then do a final test render to check that.

There are currently no FAQs about Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.