Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Combining maps with an RGB multiply map, part of 3ds Max: Advanced Materials.
- [Instructor] To add the finishing touches to the stone material for the sculpture, I want to add some of the Substance Map in with the Ambient Occlusion, in order to make these bumpy, rough areas a different color. There are many ways for us to combine two maps, such as, the Substance and the Ambient Occlusion, but I'm going to use a very simple node, which is RGB Multiply, because I know for certain that, that will work with ART. And the end result is, we will have darkness and saturation in the bumpier areas, and that will make the overall material much more believable.
In 3ds Max, let's take a look at the Shader, open up the Material Editor, remember we've got a Substance Map, and it's providing a normal bump, and also a Displacement Map to this physical material. I did make one pretty important adjustment to the Substance, let's double click on it's name to load it into the Material Parameters. I've set the Relief Balance to two, and what that has done, it has given me more detail in the displacement, and also smaller detail in the bump and normal channels.
And what we want to do is take a finely detailed pattern, such as this, and combine it with this AO bitmap, the Ambient Occlusion, and then that's going to get fed into the Gradient Ramp, and the end result is, we want to have areas here that are darker that correspond to the bumpy, rough areas. Alright, let's create a new RGB Multiply Node, it's found under Maps, General, in the Material Map Browser, RGB Multiply, drag that over.
And we're going to connect it up, we want to take the output of this AO body Bitmap, plug it into Color One, of the RGB Multiply Node, and take the output of the RGB Multiply Node, and connect that to the Source Map input of the Gradient Ramp. Once we do that, we don't see any change in the thumbnail, and that's because nothing's connected to the Color Two input here. We want to take the Bump Map from this Substance, because the normal map is actually an RGB channel, and we want a black and white map.
So we can just actually drag from Bump onto Color Two, and that creates the Output Selector Map automatically, double click on its thumbnail, and we can get in close with the wheel, and this is the pattern that we're seeing on that. And we can take a look over here, it doesn't really look very good. So we're multiplying these two maps together, but the result we're getting is not really very effective. Okay, so what we're going to do is actually create an output map to massage the values of this Bump channel.
Click and drag to create an Output Map, and then connect the Bump Output Selector Map into this Output Map, so we want to click and drag. And then this output map is going to process the brightness values of the Bump channel. And it's going to need to go into Color Two up here, in the RGB Multiply Node. So let's organize our graph a bit here, the output map is going to go into Color Two.
Okay, I've made those connections and dragged the nodes around in the graph to clean it up a bit, and I've positioned AO body, the RGB Multiply, and the body ramp all in a row and maximized their thumbnails. What I want to achieve with this RGB Multiply is I want to have brightness values similar to the original bitmap. I just want to drop in some of that Substance texture, and then that result will go into the Gradient Ramp.
Okay, so let's double click on that Output Map that's processing the Bump, and then open up its Output section. Let's set the RGB Offset Value to 0.4, press Enter. And that brightened it up a lot, you can see that the brightness levels are almost the same now. We can make this better though, let's increase the RGB Level as well, set that to 1.2, and now we've got a result that's pretty close to what we had before, it's just that now we're adding in the bumps from the Substance.
And we can do a sort of A, B comparison, go over to the Bitmap Output, and just temporarily connect that to the Source Map, and observe the result there, it did not change a whole lot, but it did change. So once we reconnect that Source Map, we can see there's a little bit of noise and chaos in there. I know that these values are going to work for the current rendered scene, so this is just a general guideline to make sure that we're kind of in the right place, but really you need to do a lot of test renders or active shade renders, okay.
So we've done that, and you would repeat that process for the other materials here. We can make a duplicate of that RGB Multiply Node, just hold down the Shift key and drag to create a copy, and then we can connect that RGB Multiply Node to the hair ramp Source Map input, and then connect the AO hair Bitmap into RGB Multiply Color One. So here, once again, we're taking the hair, and we're multiplying it by whatever the output of this Output Map is.
Get in real close, and you can see it's mostly white. So when we multiply by white, we keep the original color, if we multiply by black, we get black, and if it's a gray value, then that's going to dim down the original map. We have just one more to create, hold down Shift and drag to duplicate the RGB Multiply Node again, and then make those connections. We want the Output of RGB Multiply to go into the Gradient Ramp, and we want the AO helmet Bitmap to go into Color One input of the RGB Multiply.
And we can see it pretty clearly here, that in certain areas we've really kind of dimmed down the color and made it more saturated, according to the colors we set in the Gradient Ramp. Double click on that, and remember, we've got these colors set here. Alright, so that is how we use an RGB Multiply Node in order to modulate the colors of a map, and we'll do one final render, click on Render Production. And here are our before and after renderings, we can see that the addition of the Substance into the Gradient Ramp, added a lot more visual interest.
And the areas that are depressed in with the Bump Map, are also slightly darker and more saturated. And that's a pretty good example of how we can combine maps, in this case, using the RGB Multiply, and that concludes our chapter on mapping, and it also wraps up our whole course on 3ds Max Advanced Materials.
- Streamlining material editor workflow
- Managing XREFs and materials
- Laying out a scene for material testing
- Using the Physical Material
- Controlling highlights with Roughness
- Directing reflections and refractions
- Simulating translucency and scattering
- Building a shading network
- Combining and color correcting maps
- Baking maps such as ambient occlusion
- Procedural mapping with Substance
- Using relief maps: bump, normal, and displacement