For this project, you use CAD data files, an existing 3ds Max material library, and several 3ds Max scenes as templates for design visualization. Reviewing these elements and learning how they work together to support the design visualization workflow is key to successfully completing the course.
- Using Arnold requires some adjustments to your 3ds Max settings. Let's make those changes and look at the scene files we'll be working with now. The first thing you want to do is you want to make sure you have the latest version of Arnold. Arnold is always in development. They're developing new features all the time, and they release new versions quite often. Up here next to Content, there's a little arrow. Click on that, go to Arnold, Help, and click on About MaxtoA right here. And this will show you the product version that you have. I have 1.1.859.0.
I have the latest version but I may not in a week or so. So, it's important that you always look for the updates. Let's go to Content - Help, click on Solid Angle. And that will bring up this website, the Solid Angle website. Then, you're going to scroll down and click on Arnold for 3ds Max. And you're going to go to the Downloads page. And this is a free download. Basically, you want to check out the right number and that's the number I have so I don't need to download it.
But if you have an earlier version, then click on 3ds Max 2018. It's a free download. It will open up. It will download. It has an installer and you will install that into Max. You'll probably have to close Max in order to get it to install. And then, when you open up your Render Settings, what will happen is that Arnold will appear in the list here once you've restarted. Alright, the next thing that we need to do is that, while we're in the Render Settings, let's take a look at a couple of things.
Under System, make sure that "Legacy 3ds Max support" is checked on. This allows you to use all the great material maps that Max has been using for years and we'll use some of those, as well, in our project here. That's about all you need to do right here other than make sure that Arnold is set as your renderer; and click X to get out of that. Then, we're going to go to Customize, and we're going to go to "Custom UI and Defaults Switcher". When you open up, you're probably going to be set to Max.
Click on Max.ART and then take some time to read, you know, what are all the changes. With Max.ART, what it does is it changes all your materials slots to physical materials. And so, when you do a scene conversion or you do some import from a previous version, you won't have any conflicts or any problems converting your materials over. So, make sure that Max.ART is selected and then click Set. You're going to get a message that this will show up when you restart Max. And so, go ahead and select set, acknowledge that message and then restart Max and come back in.
The other thing that I would suggest doing is, especially if you're converting from a Mental Ray to using Arnold and, especially, if you've built up a lot of material libraries in 3ds Max, previous version of Max and using Mental Ray, what you're going to do is download Mental Ray for Max 2018. Again, it's a free download. Here's the free download. Just fill it out with your email address and then select the version that you need for, in our case, Max for Windows.
That's another important thing. And once you've done that, under Render Setup, you're going to have Mental Ray in there. What that means is, if you don't want to automatically convert over to use Arnold, you can select Mental Ray as your renderer. Your Mental Ray materials will show up. Your Mental Ray libraries will show up. And you can kind of ease into switching over to Arnold that way. Download the Mental Ray and that will give you iRay, as well, and take some time to move into using Arnold.
You'll find it easier to build on what you know and leverage the material, lighting, and rendering processes you're already familiar with. We'll look at these elements in-depth, starting with asset preparation, importing, and using CAD data, which is up next.
- Importing and using CAD data
- Modifying asset geometry
- Asset and scene organization
- Creating and sharing screen shots of your work
- Using reference images for color and texture development
- Creating and using procedural materials
- Setting up scene lighting
- Compositing and output