Learn current options for rendering technologies.
- [Instructor] In our last chapter, we'll look at the basics of rendering. And the first thing I want to cover is your choices for renderers in 3DS Max. You've got four different options for production rendering. The first is the old school Scanline legacy software renderer and that is the oldest one in the group, and it's a fallback position in case some of the other options don't work for you. Then we have the Quicksilver hardware renderer that uses your video hardware or your graphics card.
For compatibility with other Autodesk applications, we have the Autodesk Ray Tracer, or ART, renderer. And finally, we have the advanced Arnold global elimination renderer. Let's look at these one at a time. First, the Scanline renderer. As I mentioned, it is the oldest one, but because it's so old, it's fast and it's simple to set it up. However, it's not physically accurate by any stretch of the imagination.
It uses a completely fake lighting model and for that reason, it's very difficult to get photorealistic results. It has basic features, and those features are not going to get added to. In other words, the Scanline renderer is a dead man walking. It's no longer being developed, and it's reached its end of life. But it is a good choice in certain situations such as non-photoreal rendering because for example, there's a special material called ink and paint that gives you a pretty cool looking cell shading effect, and it only works with a Scanline renderer.
The Quicksilver hardware renderer uses the video card to draw images and that makes it a GPU renderer. Quicksilver is not a general purpose GPU renderer. It's only able to do the things that a video card can normally do such as shade a surface. It's not able to execute arbitrary code to do interesting things like calculate global elimination. So because of that, it's not terribly realistic, and the quality that you get is going to be highly dependent upon the quality of your video hardware.
If you've got a lot of video RAM and a fast GPU, then you'll get better results. Quicksilver has limited features. Like I said, it doesn't do global elimination and in fact, it actually doesn't do ray tracing of any kind. So it works really well for diffused surfaces, but if you're dealing with shiny highlights, then Quicksilver is actually ironically not a good choice. It is suitable for draft renderings and also for some kinds of stylized renders such as technical illustrations.
The Autodesk Ray Tracer, abbreviated ART, is a physically accurate, unbiased, brute force, Monte Carlo path tracer, and that's a mouthful. But basically, it means that it does its very best to reproduce the way the real world works and how light propagates in an environment. And for that reason, it of course excels at photorealism. However, the designers of ART went a little bit too far I think because there is a kind of reverse pedantic attachment to the laws of real world physics here.
If you can't do it in the real world, then you can't do it in ART which is kind of crazy because we have a computer that can do anything inside that virtual world so there's no reason for us to have that kind of constraint but that is by design. You can't do anything that can't be reproduced in the real world. For example, you can't do things like exclude lights from objects, you can't have single sided surfaces, and so on so it's kind of problematic for that but it's very good for traditional design visualization.
And it is very easy to set up. You really only got a quality slider and a couple of little switches to throw and it takes no time to set up at all. The best selling point of ART is that it is compatible with and included in other Autodesk applications. So if you set up a render in another application and then you set it up in 3DS Max, it will look the same because it's using the same renderer. Finally we come to Arnold which is, like ART, also a physically accurate, unbiased, brute force, Monte Carlo path tracer.
However, it is a better one than Arnold, actually. It is not limited by the real world physics. You can break the rules. You can exclude lights from surfaces. You can have single sided surfaces and so on. So for visual effects artists or animation artists, there's really on choice here. You're going to use Arnold and you're not going to use ART because ART kind of ties your hands and makes it impossible to do the things that you would normally do in a CGI environment.
It is also faster and more flexible than ART so it renders faster and it can do more different things. It has more features, it's got a large library of shading nodes, for example. So that's another point in favor of Arnold. And really, it is suitable for all applications. Anywhere from perfect photoreal to completely stylized. It is sort of defaulted to a photoreal setup, but with a little bit of work, you can get all kinds of different looks out of Arnold.
So those are your options for production rendering. Scanline for legacy applications and quick and dirty renders, Quicksilver for draft renders, ART for product visualization and architecture, and compatibility with other Autodesk applications, and finally Arnold for high end global elimination for really all applications.
AuthorAaron F. Ross
Learn how to get around the 3ds Max interface and customize it to suit your preferences. Discover how to model different objects using splines, polygons, subdivision surfaces, and freeform sculpting. Then, learn to construct hierarchies, add cameras and lights, and animate with keyframes. Author Aaron F. Ross also takes an in-depth look at materials and texture mapping, as well as options for rendering engines such as Arnold and ART.
- Customizing the interface
- Selecting, duplicating, and editing objects
- Modeling with splines
- Parametric modeling with the Modifier Stack
- Polygon and subdivision surface modeling
- Freeform sculpting
- Framing shots with cameras
- Lighting with photometrics and daylight
- Building materials
- Mapping textures
- Linking objects in hierarchies
- Creating and editing keyframes
- Rendering an image sequence
Skill Level Appropriate for all
3ds Max 2018 Essential Trainingwith Aaron F. Ross10h 10m Beginner
2. 3ds Max Interface
3. Scene Layout
4. Spline Modeling
5. Parametric Modeling with Modifiers
6. Polygon Modeling
7. Subdivision Surface Modeling
8. Freeform Modeling
9. Camera Techniques
12. Mapping Textures
14. Keyframe Animation
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