Monday, September 28, 2009

Setting up your prop for a decent render

If you want to showcase your model with a render from 3ds Max, there are a few things you can do to improve the overall quality of the render so that it doesn't look so bland.  These are some basic suggested settings that should get you started.  Once you are comfortable with these settings, feel free to tweak them until you get something that works for you.

1.  Start by changing the render filter to Catmull-Rom, and turn on the Global Supersamplers.  (F10 to bring this menu up, under the Renderer tab)  The settings below are the settings I generally use:

 2.  Next up, lets create a ground plane so that we can get some shadows for our object.  Start by creating a Plane, and place it directly underneath your prop.  It doesn't matter how many iterations or edges it has, and the size only needs to be a bit bigger than the object, so that any shadows that are cast onto it can fit.

3.  Once you have made the plane object, choose an empty Material slot in the Material browser, click the "Standard" button and change this to "Matte/Shadow", and apply this to your ground plane.  This material tells the ground plane to receive shadows, but will not be seen once we go to render the scene.

4.  The next step is to create a Light to shine on your object.  Under the Standard Lights, create a Target Directional Light and aim it at your prop.  Here you can adjust the color, multiplier, (which is the light brightness) as well as the Hotspot and Falloff settings.  You want to ensure that the beam fully covers your object.  These are my settings for my light:


5.  Once I have created my first light, I generally like to copy that light and have it pointing somewhat in the opposite direction.  (Select the light, and hold down Shift and drag it across to copy it)  This will ultimately be used to offset the light intensity and keep us from having pure black shadows.  This is a basic 2-point light setup.

6.  Once the two lights are in place, I will open the Light Lister (On the main Tool List, choose Tools > Light Lister)  From here, I can manually adjust my lights without having to go back and forth in the scene.

7.  With the light lister open, I will adjust a few things - I turn Shadows on for the primary light and increase the Map Size resolution, ensure there are NO shadows for the secondary light.  Also, you want to change the multiplier so that they aren't casting the same amount of light.  I generally do at least half brightness (or less) for the secondary.  I also give my lights a little bit of subtle color (don't over-do it!)


8.  That's it!  Frame your object and render.  Feel free to adjust any of the light brightness or colors to improve your renders...but you should have a nicely lit object in your scene with shadow casting.

1 comment:

  1. I still use this technique to this day. As well as your wireframe tips Don, good stuff for sure!