Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Future-proofing material presets, part of 3ds Max: Advanced Materials.
- [Instructor] In the following chapter, we'll look at building shading networks. One way to get started with that, is to use the presets that are provided with the physical material, and certain others, such as the Autodesk materials. If you do use those presets, they reference a bitmap library that is installed with 3ds Max and if that library changes in the future, then your scenes will break. If you want to make sure that your scenes will always look the same in later versions of the software, then I do recommend that you back up the default material library files.
Let's take a look at how to do that. I've once again, got a scene with some objects xrefed in, and I'll just go ahead and open up the materials editor straightaway and create a physical material, drag that over, double-click it, and let's rename it Concrete up here. And then, choose from the presets, we'll go for Rough Concrete. As soon as we do that, we get some new nodes in our shading network.
I'll close the Material Map Browser pane here, so we got a little bit more real estate. So we've got some bitmap nodes, a couple of them, there's a Diffuse bitmap and a Bump bitmap. We've also got a Procedural Noise and an RGB Multiply node. And of course, we're most concerned with the bitmaps, because those are the externally linked files. Let's assign the material to the room object in the scene drag over from the Physical Material output to the room and release, and now that's assigned.
If we want to see the bitmap in the Viewport here, with Physical Material highlighted, we can go up and enable Show Shaded Material in Viewport. And now we've got an idea of what that bitmap might look like when we render it. Let's do an Active Shade render now Click on Active Shade on the main toolbar, our concrete looks pretty dark, we can fix that up by adjusting a bitmap parameter. Let's go over to the rough concrete bitmap, double-click on that, and the filename should read out, Concrete.Cast-in-Place.Flat.Broom.Grey.jpg Scroll down a bit and open up the Output section at the bottom and we can increase the Output amount.
Set that to a value of two and press Enter, and immediately, we get a brighter concrete effect. While we're here, we might as well reduce the size of the pattern here. Back up at the top, we can set the Tiling in U and V to a value of two and two. And the same for the Bump map too, let's double-click on that Bump bitmap, here it is, Concrete.Cast-in-Place.Flat.Broom.Grey.Bump.jpg Also set it's tiling to two and two.
Okay, so, we've got a material that we're pretty happy with, why don't we save the scene at this point, to a new file name, Save As, 04_01_future-proof_concrete And in order to best illustrate how the linking process works in 3ds Max, we should reopen this same scene, because right now, we're in a bit of a weird state, because if we go into the Asset Tracking mechanism, under References, Asset Tracking, we don't see the two bitmaps that we know are loaded onto Materials in our scene.
Okay I'll close the Asset Tracking and Reset the program. And then, reopen that same scene again. 04_01_future-proof_concrete.max and we do see the concrete texture, go back into Asset Tracking, References, Asset Tracking, and now the files are shown but they have no path. They're found in the system path, in the Program Directory.
If we want to make sure that we'll always have those files in any future version of the program, we can make a backup of those and put them into our project. Let's do that, I'll minimize 3ds Max, On the left, I've got Program Files, Autodesk, 3ds Max 2017, Maps, go in there. And here are the two files we want. Concrete.Cast-in-Place.Flat.Broom.Grey.Bump and Flat.Broom.Grey without a Bump.
And those want to go into our current project, sceneassets, images. Select those two and copy them, I'll do a right-click, copy and then paste. Now they're in the project, when I back up the exercise files or any 3ds Max project, these files will be saved with it. The last step is to re-link the files in the Asset Tracking dialogue. Back in 3ds Max, there's a preference you might want to set, go to Customize, Preferences, under Files, you probably want Convert local file paths to relative.
That means 3ds Max is going to store just the relative path for these textures and it won't go looking on a particular drive or volume. Alright, back in Asset Tracking one last time, References, Asset Tracking, we can select these two files with the Shift key, and then right-click and choose Set Path. We can go browsing for a path or we can just type it straight in, sceneassets slash images and click OK and that's where this scene file will now go to look for those jpg images from now on.
Cool, we've just future-proofed our scene so that the necessary linked files will always be found in any future version of 3ds Max.
- 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