Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the exercise files, part of Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max.
Premium subscribers to lynda.com have the ability to download the Exercise files. We need to talk about the Exercise files that come with this course and how to access them and how to set up 3ds Max to reference them. I've got the Exercise files folder here on my desktop and I just want to point out to you the important folders. First of all, Scenes is where all the previous 3ds Max scene files are stored. Under Scene Assets images, we've got a few bit map images. Under Render Output, are examples of renderings.
We go under Examples, we will see there's a bunch of folders in here with cool stuff, including versions that were rendered at a little bit higher resolution than what we'll do in this course. So we can take a look at one of those real quick. There is an example of a product rendering. Okay, so those are examples. As you go through the course, you'll render out files and they will correspond to the one's inside that Examples folder but you'll be creating new folders that will sit alongside that Examples folder. Additionally, another important folder is After Effects.
We're going to do compositing and image manipulation in After Effects and inside that folder, you've got some After Effects project documents and also, some examples of finished rendered and composited images. So there is a version that's been sweetened a little bit. So those are the Exercise files for the course. Now let's go to 3ds Max. There are two things we need to do in here to work with the project files. We'll want to go to a preference and also set up the project folder. The preference is going to be found under Customize > Preferences and go to the Files tab and there's an important switch here that's labeled Convert Local File Paths to Relative.
We want that to be enabled. What that does is it makes sure that any files that you load into the program, such as bitmaps, are going to be stored relative to the location of the current project and not an absolute path that includes a drive letter or a volume name. And this is important that the paths within 3ds Max are actually all relative, so that your project is portable and can be moved somewhere else without breaking the links. Okay, so that's done.
And additionally, we need to set up our project folder and that, of course, is the home base for all of our assets and the way you do that in 3DS Max is hover your mouse over this Folder icon and it will tell you what you're current project is. The default will be the current user's documents 3ds Max folder and if you click this button, you can either create a new project folder or you could point at an existing project folder. So this button actually is a two in one function.
If you don't have access to the Exercise files, then when you click this button, you'll want to navigate to some empty folder that already exists on your hard drive. if you do have the Exercise files, then when the Browse for Folder dialog comes up, you'll want to browse and navigate to wherever you stored those. Here, I've got them on my desktop. So Desktop, Exercise files. Make sure that you select the top level, the Exercise files folder and not some folder inside that because what 3ds Max does, is it looks at the contents of the selected folder and if a project structure is inside that folder, in other words, if there are these curiously named folders called Export and Import and Scenes and Scene Assets and so on, if those are in there, then 3ds Max knows that it's a project folder structure and it will set to that project.
But if there is no project structure inside the selected folder, then 3ds Max will create a new project folder structure. So if I clicked on Auto-Back, for example, 3ds Max would look inside that folder, see that there was nothing there and then create a whole other series of project folders inside that and I'd actually have a project folder inside another project folder, which would be a real problem. So make sure you don't do that. Select the top level and then click OK and now when you hover your mouse over that icon, it should say Exercise files at the end of the path.
And if you go to the Application menu and choose File > Open, it should take you directly to the current project scenes folder and you can start loading up scenes. Excellent. So we've set up 3ds Max to work with the Exercise files.
Want to learn how to create the same effect with Maya? Check out Creating Product Shots in Maya.
- Importing solid models as 3ds Max body objects
- Working with the scene layout, hierarchy, and display layers
- Building Arch & Design materials
- Creating area and photometric lights
- Setting exposure control
- Optimizing indirect illumination with Final Gather
- Image-based lighting with high dynamic range files
- Lighting with self-illuminated geometry
- Rendering to high dynamic range
- Saving render passes with Render Elements
- Adding ambient occlusion
- Layering and color correction in After Effects