Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting Material Editor options, part of 3ds Max: Advanced Materials.
- [Instructor] When working with procedural textures such as a noise pattern, it's very helpful to control the size of the preview. That way you'll have a rough idea of the size of the pattern in your scene. To do that you probably want to choose a unit of measurement first. I'll do that by minimizing the material editor, go into the Customize menu and choose Unit Setup. Switch it over to metric with the default units of centimeters and click OK. Back to the material editor, which I've got minimized down here.
Let's create a new noise map just to keep things simple. In the Maps section scroll down a bit and just drag a noise over into the view, and double-click it to load its parameters. And we can also load a preview. Right-click and choose Open Preview Window. And we can dock that if we want. Now we see that we have a Size parameter here. But even though we've chosen centimeters, we don't know what this size represents. There's no indicator of units here.
It wouldn't necessarily help us because we wouldn't know whether that 25 units referred to a certain spacing on the preview here. So we need to change the size of the preview itself. Give this a physical size as if we were looking at a swatch of fabric here. And unfortunately we can't do that directly from the slate material editor. We'll have to go to the old school compact material editor. In the Modes menu here choose Compact Material Editor.
In the compact material editor we've got a tool bar here on the right. And here are the options, click on that button, and in this window, we have a parameter labeled Render Sample Size, and it's currently defaulted to 254 centimeters. That means that the sample of noise that we saw was on a square that measured about two and a half meters on a side. Well I want to make a smaller pattern, so in order to see that pattern, I want a smaller sample size.
I can set this down to let's say 10 centimeters. And click Apply and that will cause it to update in the view here. We can click OK to close the dialogue. Then we can go back to the slate material editor, switch our mode back to Slate, and unfortunately there is no immediate update to the size of this sample. And the only way that we can update it is to actually close the preview, and then right-click on the node and launch a new preview window.
And now what we're seeing here is that we've got a sample that's only 10 centimeters on a side. So we've basically zoomed in to a much smaller area and that's why it looks like just a gray field. I can set the size down to a value of let's say one. All right, so I've reduced the size here by a factor of 25, and I've also reduced the size of this sample by a similar factor. We've got now a good handle on what we're dealing with.
This is a 10 centimeter swatch. And I can make decisions on what look I want to achieve in the noise parameters based upon the knowledge of that sample size.
- 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