Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Rendering the Physical Material in ART, part of 3ds Max: Advanced Materials (2017).
- [Instructor] In this chapter on hard surface materials we'll take a look at Autodesk's physical material. It's a physically-based rendering solution that works with different renderers to varying degrees of excellence. It works okay with Mental Ray, it works very well with ART and Arnold. We're going to be using ART, or Autodesk Raytracer, in this course, but the principles that I show you should apply to other renderers as well. I've got a very simple start scene with nothing in it, I've just set the units in Customize, Units Setup to Centimeters.
And I've set my grid here, right-click, and Home Grid I've set to 100 centimeters. To save disk space we're going to be loading XRef objects. And the grid and unit settings need to be stored in the master scene, which is what we're loading the XRef into. Let's bring that in, go over to the application menu and choose References, XRef Objects. In the toolbar click on Create XRef Record from File.
In the Exercise Files scenes folder find near the bottom xref athena noMaterials.max. Notice that this scene is 73 megabytes in size. Click Open, it's listed here, click off of it, and then click back on it again. We can see that a bunch of entities are loaded in, they're all Objects and Controllers, there are not materials. We can close that dialog. And just to ensure no issues later down the road with materials, it's always a good practice now to save the scene to a new file name once we've created all of our XRef objects.
And we'll do a File, Save As, I'll call this one 02 01 physical masterScene.max, and click Save. Now let's see what we have here. We can tumble around in the Perspective view with Alt and middle mouse, and zoom in with the mouse wheel. We've got a bust of Athena, the scene already has a camera and lights. Let's load in a camera into one of these panels. The camera is gonna be set up for a portrait view and we can set up the viewport layout to accommodate that.
In the viewport layout toolbar down here click on the arrow and I'm going to choose a three viewport layout with one of them being a portrait. Then we can load in that camera here, Cameras, PhysCamera001, and press the F3 key to show shading in that view. We can set the rest of these up here. We've got the Front viewport here, that's fine. Let's load the Perspective view down here.
And once again, tumble around with Alt and middle mouse button, press F3 to show shading. Now we've got our viewports laid out, we don't need this panel anymore, so we can hide that by right-clicking anywhere and turning off the Viewport toolbar here. Viewport Layout Tabs. Just to save a little bit of screen real estate. Now we can enable safe frames for this camera, just right-click in it, and then press Shift + F, and that enables safe frames.
And it gets cropped funny, we need to set up the aspect ratio in the render setup. Once again, that's not in the XRef object scene that we've loaded in. That's gonna be in the master scene. Go up to Render Setup, in the Common tab in the Output Size section there's an Image Aspect. If that's unlocked we can change the Image Aspect to 0.666, press Enter. Now we've got the right aspect ratio. We can lock and that'll allow us to change just one of these Width or Height and the other will update automatically.
Set the Height to whatever's convenient to you. I'm gonna use a value of 512 and press Enter. While we're here in the Render Setup we should change our Renderer to ART up here at the top. Scanline Renderer, change that over to ART. And in the ART Renderer tab also increase the Target quality a bit to 25 decibels and press Enter. We've got all the Render Setup done, okay, so we can close that. With the advent of physically-based materials it's more and more important to have a lighting setup just for testing the materials.
And I do have a simple lighting setup here in this scene, we can take a look at that. Go to the Layer Explorer, open that up, and we've got a camera layer, we can make that visible, and also a lights layer. Dolly back in the Perspective view. And I've got a very simple four light setup, and the values of those have been set in advance to give us a balanced lighting. The camera has a flash behind it, as you can see. Okay, I'll hide those camera and lights layers once again in the Layer Explorer, turn those off.
Change our layout a little bit here. And now we're ready to actually assign a material. Open up the Material Editor, and in the Materials General section we've Physical Material, drag that over into the view, double-click it to load it into the Parameter Editor. Give it a new name, let's call it sculpture physical, and press Enter. Let's change up a couple Basic Parameters. We have the Base Color here, click on that color swatch, and turn it all the way up to a value of one.
And then the Roughness you can also set to a value of one. I'll just select it, type in a one, and press Enter. Now let's assign it to some of the objects in the scene. We can select them in the view here using the Select Object tool. Click to select the helmet, hold down Ctrl and select the hair, and also the body. Now I've got those three objects selected, and if you're not sure what you have selected you can, of course, open up the Scene Explorer from the main toolbar here. And indeed I have athena body, hair, and helmet selected.
And then the output of our sculpture Physical Material can get dragged on over to that selection, release the mouse, and choose Assign to Selection, and now they've just turned a little bit brighter. We can deselect anything in our view with Ctrl + D. And now we're ready to actually do a rendering. We can close the Material Editor, click on Render Production, and what we'll see is a rendering without any Exposure Control, so it will be a little bit dim.
But we do note that the physical material is brighter than the objects that have no material assigned. Let's just fix that exposure issue very quickly. Just close that window and go into Rendering, Exposure Control. And once again, these settings are going to be in the master scene, not in the XRef scene. Set Exposure Control to Physical Camera, disable the option labeled Use Physical Camera Controls if Available. That means that when this is off these settings will apply to any and all cameras in the scene.
Set the Exposure Value up a bit to 6.5. And then in the Image Control just change up these values to give us a more linear curve. Highlights at .15, Midtones at .55, and Shadows at zero. Cool, so those are our Exposure settings. And we'll do one more test render. Render Production. And indeed it is considerably brighter than the previous rendering. And now we've got a scene set up pretty well for testing the physical material.
The lighting and exposure are set up, so that a white physical material with a roughness of one is at maximum brightness on the screen.
- 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