Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Proxies, part of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Essential Training.
- Creating, working with, and then rendering scenes with huge numbers of polygons in them, has pretty much always been a problematic task for creation and animation software such as 3ds Max. And even though the leap to using computers that can boast huge amounts of RAM has made things somewhat easier these days, there may still at times be a need for us to employ some very specific tools in order to get a high polycount job finished. The V-Ray Proxy being one of the options available. Now, at this moment in time, I am clearly not working with anything like a truly high polycount scene, as my Viewport stats show that we have a current total of just over one and a half million polys, most of which are coming from the hair mesh that we see here.
At present, if I just pull the Windows Task Manager into view, you can see that we're using around about 35% of the RAM available on this machine, which is 16 gigabytes in total. What though, if I needed to create 50, or even 100 versions of this character? Well, one handy option for creating identical duplicates of a mesh, or meshes in a scene, would be 3ds Max's Instancing system. So if I switch my selection filter over to Geometry only, and grab all four head mesh components here, I can, in the top Viewport, engage the move tool, and then holding down the shift key, click and drag backwards for just a little way, and as soon as I release the mouse button, what I get is the Clone Options dialogue.
Let's select the all-important Instance option, set the number of copies to nine, and then click OK. Let's then select all of those copies, and perform that same basic operation, only this time, cloning to the right. What we end up with, are 100 Instances of the very same head mesh elements. Now although, if we check the Task Manager, this hasn't added anything really to our current RAM usage, and won't do so even at render time, which is good, if I just try to pan or move the camera Viewport, you can see that things, as we would expect with 154 million polys in the scene, have gotten quite sluggish.
Even though the Nitrous Viewport does handle things pretty well, all things considered. If I had though created Copies instead of Instances in the Clone Options dialogue, things would actually be a whole lot worse here. In fact on this 16 gigabytes of RAM Windows 8 system, trying to create 100 Copies of these mesh elements simply fills up memory completely, and brings 3ds Max to a grinding halt. And of course even if our machine could handle the memory load, we would still have the problem of trying to work with 154 million polys in a sluggish 3D Viewport.
We could, of course, use well-established 3ds Max tools such as Adaptive Degradation or Display as Box to make things easier, or we could instead use a render-engine-specific tool, in the form of the V-Ray Proxy. Using this, we can create huge polycount renders on our system without running into any of the kinds of problems that we have highlighted here. To reset, I'm just going to run through some undos, so as to get our scene back to its starting state, and then, just to make certain that we are not holding onto any unwanted data in memory, I'm going to open up the MAXScript Listener, and run the clearUndoBuffer command.
So as to have a compare option, let's take a test render, and then save what we get to the History buffer. All that remains now is the run through creating our V-Ray Proxy in the scene. With all of the elements in our head mesh selected then, let's right click in the Viewport, and choose the V-Ray mesh export option. Straight away, we have an important choice to make. Do we want to export each of the four meshes we have selected as separate Proxy objects, preserving unique pivot points for each, or do we want to combine them into a single Proxy, with the pivot set at the world origin, so, zero, zero, zero.
For demonstration purposes, I'm going to work with the single objects option here, and as we have no animation, skip over those particular parameters in the dialogue. I will though want V-Ray to automatically replace the current meshes with the Proxies once they have been created. For the preview mesh that will be loaded in the Viewport, I would like a little more visual fidelity to work with than the defaults tend to provide. So, let's set the preview face count to 25, rather than 10,000. I can also, because we have selected the single objects option, create a MultiSub object material if I want, so let's go ahead and check that also.
All that remains now is to click OK, and wait for V-ray to write the Proxy file to our current 3ds Max project folder. Once it has, it loads the Proxy back into the 3ds Max Viewport, replacing the head meshes that were there, and if I go ahead and take a render, you can see that what we get is identical in every respect to our previously-saved image. What this means, is that I can now go ahead and re-create our 100 clones in the scene, using either Copies or Instances, and because each preview mesh is made up of only 25 thousand polys also, navigation in the Viewport clearly doesn't become a problem at all.
Now if we do use Copies, as I have here, and not Instances, we will add a little to our current RAM usage, but at render time, 16 gigabytes of RAM shouldn't, using this particular scene, go above 65% or so usage. If, that is, we're making use of the brute force GI option. Although, we will have to remember of course that our render is now going to take quite a long time to complete.
- 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.