Learn how to create and manipulate atmospheric effects such as fog and volume fog within 3ds Max. This video shows how to create a fog effect within 3ds Max and manipulate it using camera environment ranges. The video next discusses volume fog, which can be confined to a specific area using a custom gizmo.
- [Narrator] Now let's take a look at atmospheric effects. Now, these are very similar to the volumetric lighting effects that we created previously. And atmospheric effects allow you to add things such as fog. So let's go ahead and do that. Now, I have this simple scene here and it's basically just a camera and two lights as well as some objects. And if I highlight my camera window here and render, you'll see that I have a pretty simple render.
Now I'm going to actually create some fog that will fade this out as it recedes into the distance. Now we can do this in the same place that we created volumetric lights. We can go into Rendering>Environment, and then under Environment, you can scroll down to the bottom and under Atmosphere we can configure this. So if I select Add, you'll see that we have a couple of different effects. One is a "Fire Effect," one is "Volume Light," which we saw, and another one is "Fog." So I'm going to go ahead and create fog.
Now, Fog has a number of different options here. One is the color. So I'm just gonna go ahead and leave this at default. Let's just see what we get. So I'm gonna again highlight my camera window and render. So There we go. Pretty thick fog here. So let's go ahead and reduce the level of fog. Now, we can do this using a couple of different ways. Probably the easiest way is to actually let the camera inform the fog as to where to start and stop.
So down here, we have what's called Near and Far for distance. So if I select my camera, go into my Modify panel here, you'll see that we have what are called Environment Ranges. And these will inform an environmental effect as to where to start and stop. So if I turn this on to say "Show," you could see that here I have this box. So if I turn this off, you can see how this box kinda turns on, and that's my Far Range.
So if I were to dial this down, you could see how that box kind of moves. So this Far Range will be where the effect stops. So this Far is gonna be equivalent to this number here. So we also have a Near Range. So if I dial this up, you might not see it, I may have to type in a number here. I'm gonna type in the number 200. And as you can see, we have a little box there that's kind of right around 200. In fact, I'm gonna bring it up to about 300. Actually, let's bring it up to about 350 or so.
So this is where the effect starts. This is where the effect ends. At the start of the effect here, the fog will be at 0%. At the end, it will be at 100%. So let's go ahead and select that, Camera View, and again do a quick render. So as you can see, I've pushed the beginning of the fog out and then it kind of fades into the effect. Now, if I want the fog to be a lot less thick, all I have to do is reduce this Far percentage.
So if I reduce it, say, to about 10, maybe 15%, you'll get something that's about like this. So as you can see, I'm starting to get a distance cue effect in my render. So as you can see, this type of fog is really fairly simple. We can do other things such as change the color of the fog. So if I wanted to, say, create a kind of a yellow or reddish kind of fog, I could do that as well.
So again... I can create colored fog as well. Now, we also have another type of fog in 3ds Max that can also give you another type of effect. So I'm going to go ahead into Atmosphere and go into Effects here and delete Fog, and then we're gonna add in Volume Fog. Now Volume Fog can work very similarly to the regular type of fog that we used before. Now this has, again, a color.
It has a density, so if I dial that density down it won't be so thick. But it can also add what's called Noise, so you can give more of a realistic effect. Let's go ahead and bring this density down to say, about 1.5 or so. And let's do a quick render here. Now this particular fog does not use the camera to inform the density. The density itself is just what it is.
But you can notice here that we've got some splotchiness to this fog, and that's because we have noise applied to it. And that can give you just another type of effect. Now one of the really cool things about Volume Fog is that you can actually create a volume for the fog. In other words, you can confine the fog to a specific area. Now I'm gonna go ahead and close this Environment and Effects windows for just a little bit here, and I'm gonna go into a perspective view on one of these windows here.
And then I'm going to create what's called an Atmospheric Gizmo. So if I go into my Create panel and go under Helpers, you'll see that I have a couple of types of helpers here: manipulators, standard... And I'm looking for one that says "Atmospheric Apparatus." When I do that, it'll give me a box, a sphere, and a cylinder Gizmo. And what these do is they're basically shapes that can confine that fog effect.
So let's go ahead and just do a simple sphere. I'm gonna go ahead and select SphereGizmo, and then just pull that out in my view port here. And if I want, I can go into move mode and you can move this, really, wherever you want. So actually I'm gonna go ahead and shrink it down a little bit. I can go into the Modify panel and I can make it as big as I want. Now once I have this, I can go back into my Environment panel under Rendering Environment and go scrolling all the way back down to my Volume Fog effect.
So I'm gonna go ahead and select that, and then I'm going to pick this Gizmo that I just created. So this volume fog is now going to be confined to this SphereGizmo. When I do that and render, you can see now I'm getting that effect only in that area. So you can use this, obviously, to create all sorts of interesting effects. But the big takeaway here is that we can add atmospheric effects to 3ds Max, and these can actually effect the rendering of your scenes and create more interesting atmospheres to your scenes.
This course isn't designed to teach you the basics, but to help you refresh your 3ds Max skills and prepare for the exam topics. Once you're finished with the course, you can feel confident taking the 3ds Max Certified Professional exam.
- What is 3ds Max certification?
- Importing data
- Using scenes
- Configuring viewports
- Transforming, duplicating, and cloning objects
- Polygonal modeling
- Editing splines
- Setting up cameras and lighting
- Working with materials
- Rendering scenes
- Animating models
- Rigging characters
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 11/01/2017. What changed?
A: The following topics were updated: working with camera settings and FOV, understanding standard light types, using the Slate Material Editor, understanding standard materials, understanding Arnold materials, and assigning 3ds Max renderers.