Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up mental ray as the default render engine, part of Up and Running with mental ray in 3ds Max.
Although 3ds Max Design users will already have the Mental Ray render setup as the default render engine for their application. The same is not true for artists using the vanilla or standard version of Max which instead makes use of the scan light render engine by default. Because of this difference we're going to spend just a few minutes here looking at a couple of ways in which we can go about setting up Mental Ray as the default renderer of choice in any version of 3ds Max. To help us with this, we have setup our copy of Max Design here to use the same program-wide defaults as found.
In the standard 3ds Max install. Even down to the Dark UI, which is in fact my preference for the application anyway. Now you may be wondering why we need to take the time here to demonstrate the setting up of Mental Ray as the application renderer, when switching over to it is as easy as opening up the Render Setup dialog. Coming down to the Assign Renderer roll out in the Common tab and then using the Assign Renderer button to make the switch. Pretty easy and straightforward really. Well of course, the problem we are running is that this assignment will only work for our current 3ds Max session.
As soon as we close the application down and then Restart. The scan line engine will once again be set. As the production renderer. Now we do need to note here that the assignment of a render engine is a piece of information that will be saved with the 3ds Max scene file. And so, even after a restart, if we go ahead and load a scene file that has already had. Mental Ray setup as the production renderer, well that setting will stick. Now if we're only going to be using Mental Ray every once in a while in our workflow, in other worlds, the default settings in 3ds Max actually work just fine for our pipeline most of the time.
Then going through this assign renderer process as we have here may be perfectly okay for us. What though if we do need to make use of Mental Ray on a more regular basis? And so we'd prefer to have it already setup as the default render engine with each new session of Max. Well, we could open up the assignment or roll out as we have here. Make a change to the production, and by default the material added to renderers. And then, actually hit this Save as Default button. This would cause the options we have chosen here to stick, as it were, inside Max.
And so each and every time we opened up the application. We would start with Mental Ray as the production renderer. The problem with this approach is the fact that the default settings inside 3ds Max and Max Design go a little deeper than just this surface choice of default render engine. For instance, if I open up the material editor by hitting M key, you can see down in the Sample Slots roll out that, by default, we are setup here to make use of 3ds Max's standard material. Which, while still a perfectly usable material for many render situations, unfortunately does not conform in any way to the physically accurate shading models that are many times demanded now by modern production projects.
Really when rendering with Mental Ray, we will probably want to see our material edits are populated with Mental Ray's own physically based architectural and design material. To handle this setup for us. And in order to setup a number of other system wide settings, what we really need to do is come up to the Customize menu, and make use of the Custom UI and Default Switcher. This functionality gives us the opportunity to match the settings we work with in 3ds Max. To the type of work we find ourselves most commonly engaged in.
The descriptions and breakdown we get as we click on each of the available setups gives us a fairly decent idea of just what it is that will change inside the application should we make use of this particular setting. In the standard Max entry for instance, we are told that these settings are configured to provide as much interactive performance as possible, with small scenes containing only a few shadow-casting lights. The application will be directed towards modeling. Animating and rendering characters or models related to the entertainment industry.
In the design vis entry by contrast, we see that the settings are configured to provide as much rendering performance as possible with live scenes. Containing many lights. The application will be directed towards photo realistic rendering of typical architectural models. Now we do need to keep in mind that these default settings are a few years old now and don't really reflect some of the changes that have taken place inside many areas of the CG industry. Still, we can get enough of an idea from the descriptions so as to make some informed choices.
Now for this course we will naturally want to make use of one of the Mental Ray options available. The Max Mental Ray option tells us that the settings will work well for those. Modelling, animating and rendering. Characters are models related to the entertainment industry, whilst the DesignPhase.MentalRay option stays the application more towards photo realistic rendering of typical architectural models. Of course, we do need to keep in mind that, in reality,. Any type of work can be done using either of these options. Chosing one does not cause us in any way to permanently lose functionality of any sort.
The switcher options simply make accessing certain workflows a little bit easier and a little bit quicker. For use in this course, we're going to go ahead and make use of the StandardMax.MentalRay option. Do also bear in mind that this tool is called the Custom UI and Default Switcher. And so, will make changes to the look of our user interface as well as setting up the default settings outlined. This means that if we have customized our user interface in any way. We will probably want to make certain that we have saved those changes to UI files that can be reloaded again once the switcher has done its work.
As I prefer to work with the dark UI, I will stick with that choice. And then once I click the set button, Max will run through a series of user interface tweaks. And then eventually tell us that the new default settings will take effect the next time we start the application. Which is exactly what we will go ahead and do, and then in our next video, consider some of the work flow options available to us, now that we have set Mental Ray as our default renderer of choice.
- Setting mental ray as the render engine
- Working with ActiveShade mode
- Using Nvidia's imf_display tool
- Creating a daylight system
- Controlling the mental ray sun and sky
- Using Final Gather and photons, both individually and together
- Working with diffuse, reflective, translucent, and other materials
- Controlling render quality with image sampling
- Working with displacement mapping
- Using proxies