Join Adam Crespi for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating the Daylight system and positioning the sun, part of Rendering Exteriors in 3ds Max.
Daylight renderings can really showcase the design. Showing off all the crisp detailing and shadow lines and highlighting the geometry. And how the sun plays on the different surfaces. I'll be using the mental ray daylight system here in 3ds Max to light up this scene. What I've done, then, is, to do a final check on my objects, making sure everything had a material. And if there's any other fixes to put them in. I've kept the bottom open border that I had on my upper roof, so now it's a solid white surface above those steel beams.
I've made sure all my materials are applied, and I've even put an asphalt on the street, which we can see in the lower left corner of this camera view. Now I'm ready to get some daylight in. And I'll do this by choosing on the Create menu >Systems>Daylight. When you choose Daylight for the first time. What 3ds Max say, you're about to create daylight, would you like to use, or I'd recommend you use the Photographic Exposure Control. Would you like to change this? And I'm going to click Yes, and here's why.
The sun as we know it is bright, and we need to calibrate our exposure, or how we see it, correctly. Because we'll be working in a true luminance we want to work with our camera controls. We'll be working in film speed or iso, shutter speed, the amount of time the shutter is open to let the light in. And aperture, the size of the opening in the lens. Giving us true photographic tone mapping, and control on our image. I'll click yes, and then I'll go into a top view to make my daylight. I'll press z to zoom extense and drag out the compass, then pull back and drag out the assembly head.
I'll right-click to stop creating and now I can adjust the daylight. Depending on where your design is, you can rotate the north direction around. At the moment, my house faces due west, but I'm going to change this a little bit. I'll go into the motion tab and select the daylight assembly head. With the daylight assembly head selected I'll scroll down and there's my North direction. As we pull this around we can alter which way is North as it may not always be straight up as we show in a drawing. I'm going to make this house face roughly southwest so there's a good strong sun in the afternoon.
Now that I've got that in, I'm going to get a location. I'll click get location. And we've got a map here of North America to begin. You can also, if you need, go by any other continent or even by a world map. Because this house is desert modern, or in Palm Springs for mid century modern, I'm going to click right on California. And it takes me right to Los Angeles. You can also uncheck Nearest Big City if you'd like and simply place it arbitrarily on the map. I'd like to put it in Los Angeles because this is pretty close to Palm Springs.
We can scroll down and see what else is available as the list of cities is fairly exhaustive. Here's Palm Beach, Florida, but no Palm Springs so I'm going to stick with Los Angeles. I've chosen Los Angeles and I'll click OK. Now I can adjust the date and time. What I'll do then is angle this sun over. We have a lot of choices in how we render. This default date line actually started itself in San Raphael, California at 12 noon. On Jun 21st the highest, the sun is overhead in San Rafael, Otter Disc's Headquarters.
What I prefer to do is get that sun reaching into the scene. Thinking like a director of photography, the sun is my actor. What I want to do is increase the hours. I'll put in 3 o'clock to crank it over and then play with the month. I'll actually bring this up, almost into November, so I've got a long, brassy quality to the light. Depending on where your scene is, you've got some options. If somebody says give me an exact rendering at a certain place in time,. Put that in.
If you're going to stylize the render you may want to crank that daylight over. And here it is in the front view, very low. But then come back and revisit that North direction. I'll make sure I select the assembly head. And I'll pull North back around so I have the sun coming in and my long low light just across that car port. Now that I've got my daylight in, I'm ready to go into My Camera, pressing C for my stills camera. And I'll start rendering. Getting the lighting to really show where I want and softening out those shadows.
- Creating exterior materials
- Adding luster to glass and subtle detail to wood and siding
- Positioning the sun with the Daylight system
- Lighting using HDR imagery
- Lighting interior spaces
- Fine-tuning the photographic exposure
- Rendering and optimizing rendering
- Creating an ambient-occlusion rendering pass with custom materials
- Setting up additional rendering passes for compositing purposes
- Compositing and adding post effects in Nuke and After Effects