Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Using 3ds Max light types with V-Ray, part of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Essential Training.
- As already noted in our workflow recommendations video making use of 3ds Max native tools can be a perfectly viable approach to lighting and rendering with Vray. In fact, the ability to use 3ds Max's own light types may be an especially attractive option to us if we already have some skill with them. Better still is the fact that even when making use of 3ds Max light types we are, of course, also able to work with many Vray specific lighting options such as it's Global Illumination and Caustic Effect engines.
I do, however, want to draw your attention to a couple of things that we will need to keep in mind if we want to adopt this particular approach to our lighting. The first of which is in connection with shadow options. To demonstrate let's, in the Command Panel, come to the Light Creation section and from the drop down choose to work with 3ds Max's standard light types. In this instance, I want to create a simple target spotlight so let's select that, turn on Autogrid and then in the View Port left click on the shelving unit and drag out a spotlight some where around about the area of our spheres.
Finally, we need to right-click in order to exit the creation process and then in the top view select and move our spotlight into a position that fully encompasses the spheres. A quick render now reveals that whilst we do indeed have light coming from out spotlight we aren't getting any shadows. Now, even if you are a somewhat newer user to 3ds Max you are probably aware that by default 3ds Max light types are created with shadow casting disabled. If we enable that option then and render again we see that we do now have shadows.
By default, though, we will be working with Max's standard shadow map option which whilst fine doesn't quite give us the range of controls that are available in the engine specific Vray Shadow Map option that is also available in the drop down. Choosing this creates a Vray Shadow Map parameters roll out that gives us a slightly different set of controls with which to work as compared, that is to the standard Max version, including the ability to optimize shadow maps for single frame and fly through renders.
Now whilst in some situations we may as lighting artists find ourselves working with shadow mapped lights, chances are that as soon as we need to create images with shadows that look and behave in a more realistic, or physically correct manner, for example, having soft edge penumbras, then we will need to switch over to using ray traced shadows instead. Typically, when using 3ds Max lights we would do this by accessing the drop down and choosing the Ray Traced Shadows option. This, however, doesn't work with Vray and so we will instead need to choose the Vray Shadow option in order to work with ray traced shadows in our scene.
One brilliant aspect of this particular shadow type being the ability it gives us to turn any standard 3ds Max omni arc spot light into a light source that can cast area shadows. All we have to do enable that feature is come down to the Vray Shadows params roll out and put a check in the Area Shadows box. Meaning we can then work with the sizing parameters available in order to determine the softness of our shadow edges. When working with both standard and photometric lights in Max then the Vray Shadow map and Vray Shadow options are going to need to be set up manually whenever we create the first new light object in a scene.
Of course, having said all of that, if we set up Vray to be the default 3ds Max renderer by means of the Default Switcher accessed from Customize menu then these Vray specific shadow types will automatically be applied to light objects as soon as they are created. Another important point that I would like to highlight here is the fact that there are a few 3ds Max light types that we really do need to avoid whilst working with Vray. Lights that either don't work at all or that at least won't work correctly.
So, for instance, any Mental Ray specific light types such as the Mental Ray area spot and area omni options, as well, if we jump into the Photometric section as the Mental Ray sky portal. Now, we don't need to worry about any loss of functionality as a sky portal option does exist on the Vray light itself and, as we have said, every shadow functionality is already provided for on any usable 3ds Max light type by means of the Vray shadow option. The final 3ds Max light type that we would need to stay away from when rendering with Vray given the fact that it simply doesn't work at all would be the standard skylight, again, we don't loose any functionality though as there are a number of options that Vray offers should we need to create a believable skylight effect.
Whilst it is then perfectly acceptable for us to make use of 3ds Max lights when rendering with Vray there are a few caveats as noted in this video that need to be aware of. For the duration of this chapter though I'm going to assume that you have chose to adopt our recommended Vray centric workflow and so we'll focus solely on working with Vray's own lighting tools. Let's move on then and start to take a look at perhaps the most widely used of all the Vray specific light types, this being the aptly named Vray light.
- 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