Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Making a clear glass material, part of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Essential Training.
- Given that glass is one of a handful of material types that we come into contact with probably on a daily basis, the likelihood that we will need to recreate it in some way on one of our projects is quite high. And compared to older shaders such as 3ds Max's standard material, the V-Ray material makes creating a variety of realistic glass types a very simple process. In this exercise, we're going to focus on creating a basic glass shader for our champagne glasses here, one that could be used as a jumping off point for something a little more complex.
Let's open up the Material Editor then, and as we did in the previous exercise, create a new workspace tab, calling it "Glass", to which we can then add a new V-Ray material, calling it "Champagne Glasses". We then want to select the glass geometries on our shelf, and apply the new material to them. Now bearing in mind that the V-Ray material is an energy conserving material type, and given the fact that the glass is both reflective and refractive, the diffuse coloration controls in the V-Ray material won't be making too much of a contribution to the final look of our shader.
Even when we create colored glass, it isn't these diffuse controls that will provide the color information. These affect only surface interaction with light, whereas the coloration seen in real glass is created by light interaction on the inside of its volume. One of the most obvious aspects of many glass materials, of course, is the fact that they are see-through. In the V-Ray material, this property is most realistically reproduced by means of the refraction controls. Now do bear in mind, that the reflection and refraction sections in the material do look somewhat similar.
So just make certain that you are working in the correct area before going ahead and making any alterations to the parameters. The main control that decides the extent to which the material is perceived as being see-through or refractive, will be the "Refract" color swatch that we see here. Black keeps our material, or more accurately, the object to which the material will be applied, completely opaque or solid-looking. Whilst at the other end of the scale, white will make it completely refractive, and so, see-through.
As I'm not a lover of using extreme number values in any aspect of my material creation, given that such extremes are very rarely found in the real world, I'm going to set a value of 245 here for my refraction color. Of course, glass is also highly reflective, so we will need to come to the reflection controls and set our "Reflect" color swatch to pretty much the same grayscale value. What we get if we take a render of the scene now is both a reflective and refractive material.
We get this because by default these days, the "Fresnel reflections" option that we see here is enabled in the V-Ray material. This tells V-Ray to balance or blend the material's reflectivity versus its refractivity based on the angle at which that material is being viewed. In other words, when we render an object from glancing angle, we will see greater amounts of reflection. But if we instead render it straight on, then we will see greater amounts of refraction. Given of course, the ability to see straight through an object.
Without this Fresnel option enabled, as was the case by default in versions earlier than V-Ray 3.0, we would get a completely different result. As can be seen if I just un-check this, and perform a region render of the glasses. What we get now, looks much more akin to a chrome goblet with no refraction appearing to take place. As this is clearly not what we are wanting to create here, let's go ahead and check the Fresnel option again. Now although we can't really tell from this particular camera angle, one thing we aren't getting at this moment in time is correct light penetration of our geometry volume.
In other words, we don't yet have physically correct transparent shadows. In fact, let's just switch to a perspective view here, using the P-key, and then using the middle mouse button, just frame up on our glasses. What I want to do is select one of them, and then drag it to the front of the shelf so that it is sitting in direct sunlight. If I go ahead now and take a render, what we get is a completely solid shadow, as if coming from a completely opaque object. The parameter we need to enable in order to change this is the "Affect shadows" option, found in the refraction controls.
If I put a check in that and then region render the glass and its shadow again, we now get something that looks much more physically correct for the type of glass that we are rendering. Let's just put the glass object back where it belongs, and then make one final tweak to our material for this exercise. At this point in time, I'm thinking that the glass material looks a little too milky for my liking, so I'm going to come back to the "Diffuse" color swatch and set the value here to an almost black. Something around about a value of five should work nicely.
If I then hop back into my original rendering camera, and hit the "Render" button, we now get something that just looks a little darker. Almost adding a bit of a smoked glass look to the shader. The V-Ray material then makes the creation of simple refractive material such as glass, a very easy for us to accomplish. What, though, if we wanted something that was a little more complex? Something like a colored or even frosted glass for instance. Well let's move on to our next exercise where we can take a look at how we would go about creating those very effects.
- Using the new UI elements, Quick Settings, and revamped Frame Buffer
- Understanding color mapping modes
- Adding V-Ray light types
- Working with the V-Ray Sun and Sky systems and dome light
- Using irradiance mapping and light cache
- Working with diffuse color maps
- Making reflective materials
- Creating a translucency effect
- Using the new SSS and skin shaders
- Ensuring quality with image sampling
- Working with the adaptive subdivision engine
- Controlling the physical camera
- Working with FX tools such as VRayFur and VRayMetaball
- Stereoscopic 3D rendering
- Using Render Mask
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 02/02/2016. What changed?
A: We added tutorials on the new 3ds Max camera tool, which replaces the defunct V-Ray Physical Camera. The author also includes a method for creating a V-Ray camera via scripting.
Q: This course was updated on 04/19/2018. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover V-Ray 3.1 to 3.3 updates.