Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video mental ray workflow options and recommendations, part of Up and Running with mental ray in 3ds Max.
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Once we have Mental Ray set up as our default render engine in 3ds Max, as we now do, there are a number of choices that could, or perhaps even should, be made regarding the pipeline of workflow that we are going to use. For instance, we could adopt what I often refer to as a Max-centric approach to using render engines. This is where we continue to use the same 3ds Max lighting and material workflows that we may have gotten used to over a number of years, whilst making use of the Scanline engine.
This means we would continue to work with standard light, such as the omni, spot, and direct options, along with Scanline-based materials, such as the standard, raytrace, and more physically accurate, architectural options. Now, this last material, of course, should not be confused with the Mental Ray-specific architectural and design material. These older lighting and material workflows can most certainly continue to be used when working with Mental Ray, which is, in fact, one of the impressive aspects of the Mental Ray implementation in 3ds Max.
The fact that all of these, originally Scanline-specific tools, work seamlessly with it. Now, whilst this Max-centric workflow may be an ideal way for us to quickly start using the Mental Ray engine in a production environment, giving us the opportunity, of course, to become familiar with its features, it does need to be said that there is arguably a better approach. Better, simply, because it gives us the ability to take full advantage of the power that is available in the Mental Ray renderer.
In a render engine-centric approach then, we would take advantage of, in this instance, Mental Ray's specific versions of essential daily-use tools, such as lights, materials, frame buffer, and exposure controls, to name just a few. Now, probably, one of the biggest advantages to adopt in this workflow is the fact that it can really help optimize our render pipeline's efficiency, and so, ultimately, improve the quality of our final output. We get an efficiency in workflow because the tools we will use on a day-to-day basis, will be ones that have been designed to work together.
They integrate well, which of course, creates a natural internal efficiency in the render engine, everything having been written as a Mental Ray tool and having been optimized to work as efficiently as possible with the renderer's own internal algorithms. This, in turn, can bring us an increase in final render quality as we can use the time saved in other areas to fine tune and tweak Mental Ray's quality settings, allowing us to get the very best final render that can be had from the engine in the time frame allowed by our project.
Now, ultimately of course, the choice of how we work with our 3ds
- 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