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Posted: March 22, 2007
114. Raytrace


By separating the diffuse, reflect, and transparency components, Raytrace material gives you a great deal of control over how the object reacts to its environment. For example, an object might diffusely reflect red, specularly reflect green, and transmit blue. This is not a real-world effect, but it can be useful.

115. Raytrace


You can also use Soften for special effects. Unlike standard materials, you can set Raytrace Soften to values greater than one. High values of Soften with very large, soft specular highlights can give a good rubbery effect.

116. Raytrace


By mapping Extra Lighting, you can simulate radiosity: the ambient light that results from reflected light in a scene. One effect of radiosity is color bleeding. For example, in strong light a white shirt next to an orange wall will show a reflected orange color.

117. Raytrace


For thin objects, the appearance can be like shining a light on the back of a piece of rice paper. You can cast shadows onto the back of the paper and see them projected through the paper; this works well with a projector light. On thicker objects, you can get some good wax effects.

118. Fluorescence


Full saturation and value for the Fluorescence color help give the effect of commercial fluorescent paints.

119. Fluorescence


A slight amount of Fluorescence can add to the realism of skin and eyes.

120. Density Fog and Density Color (Raytrace)


Colored fog in tubular objects can resemble neon tubes.

121. Performance


Using exclusion lists is one of the best and simplest ways to speed up the raytracer.

122. Self Reflect/Refract


If you have a transparent object such as glass, and have self reflect/refract turned on, you don't have to make the object 2-sided. The raytracer sees back faces when exiting refractive objects.

123. Recursion Depth


If you are having trouble with getting complex objects to render, especially glass, specify the maximum recursion color to something obvious, like magenta, and your background color to something that contrasts, like cyan. The chances are that a lot of your rays are getting lost in either maximum recursion or just being shot off into the world, totally missing anything you think they should see. Try rendering the scene again. If this is the problem, try reducing the Maximum Depth value.

124. Antialiasing


Turning on Supersample for a Raytraced material (in the Raytrace Basic Parameters rollout) usually provides adequate antialiasing. Use one of the raytrace antialiasers (Fast Adaptive or Multiresolution Adaptive) when you want to blur reflections or refractions.

125. Manual Acceleration


If your scene is very unbalanced (for example, it has a giant planet object and a cluster of small spacecraft objects) use Dual Pipe, and keep the Balance setting low.

126. Single Pipe


If your scene contains a lot of objects with a low polygon count per object (for example, 1,000 simple boxes) turning off Bounds Checking can greatly accelerate single pipe mode. In some cases, this can be even faster than dual pipe mode. If your scene has fewer objects with greater numbers of faces (more than 100 faces per object), Bounds Checking should be on.

127. Exclude


Another good use for exclusion can be when you are working on a scene where the world-space scale of objects is not realistic. For example, consider an animation of a space dog-fight, with a planet and its moon in the background. You would use a planet that was actually much smaller, relative to the fighters, than an actual planet. (For example, the planet might be only five times bigger than the fighters, and the moon only half as big as the fighters.) If the fighters are reflective, the reflections of the planet and moon will be incorrect and will give away the fact that you are using miniatures. In this case, raytrace the reflective fighters, and laser blasts, and so on, but exclude the planet and moon props from the raytracer. Create an environment map that represents the planet and moon at their correct scale, and make that the Raytrace material's local environment. When you render, the scale of the planet and moon geometry appears to be correct, and the reflections on the fighters will behave as your eye expects.

128. Fast Adaptive Antialiaser


The default Blur Offset setting usually produces good results. If you see aliasing in reflections or refractions, increase its value in increments of 0.5 until the aliasing goes away.

129. Fast Adaptive Antialiaser


Increasing the value of Defocusing can give a good distance blurring effect. Small adjustments are usually adequate. Try starting with a value less than 0.1, and increase or decrease it as necessary. Also try adjusting Reflect Falloff in Raytrace material or Attenuation in Raytrace map to get the best distance blurring effect.

130. Fast Adaptive Antialiaser


If you see aliasing that occurs mostly along horizontal lines, try increasing Blur Aspect to 1.5. This changes the shape of the blurred effect. The reverse is also true. If aliasing occurs mostly along vertical lines, try decreasing Blur Aspect to 0.5.

131. Matte/Shadow


There are three ways you can render objects in 3DS MAX to blend seamlessly into a background environment:

By assigning a Matte/Shadow Material

By assigning a 100% self-illuminated diffuse texture to an object using Camera Mapping

By assigning a 100% self-illuminated diffuse texture using Environment/Screen projection

132. Matte/Shadow


Use At Object Depth when the matte object is meant to be a 3D object in the scene that the 2D background represents.

133. Matte/Shadow


Setting shadow color is especially useful when you're using a Matte/Shadow material to composite your shadows against a background image, such as video. It lets you tint your shadows to match pre-existing shadows in the image.

134. Matte/Shadow


Matte reflections don't successfully create an alpha channel unless you render them against a black background.

135. Blend Material


Using a Noise map for the mixing map can give good effects that have a natural appearance.

136. Blend Material


For mottled effects, blend two standard materials using a noise map as a mask.

137. Alpha


If you apply an alpha image as a Diffuse map, for example, and it doesn't decal correctly, the bitmap file probably contains non-premultiplied alpha; the RGB values are maintained separately from the alpha values. To correct this, turn off Premultiplied Alpha.

138. Bricks Map (Advanced)


You can easily add dirt to your wall by using Bricks Map by setting %Holes parameter and Roughness to 200.

139. Checker Map


Turning on Noise for a Checker map can be an effective way to create irregular patterns with a natural appearance.

140. Gradient Map


You can swap colors by dragging one color swatch over another, then clicking Swap in the Copy or Swap Colors dialog. To reverse the overall direction of the gradient, swap the first and third colors.

141. Cellular Map


The Material Editor sample slot doesn't show the cellular effect very clearly. Assigning the map to geometry and rendering the scene will help you get the effect you want.

142. Dent


Decreasing Size: Creates the appearance of tiny dents spaced fairly evenly. The effect can resemble a "sand-covered" surface.

Increasing Size: Creates the appearance of distinct grooves and gouges on a surface. The effect sometimes has a "hardened lava" look.

143. Particle Age


This map works well with the Particle MBlur map. For example, you could assign Particle Age as a diffuse map and Particle MBlur as an Opacity map. Another way to use Particle Age is in the mask channel of a Blend material. In this case, you could set up two of the colors to white, and one to black, which would make the particles change materials over their age. In addition, you could set up one of the two materials with an effects channel and use a Glow filter on it through Video Post.

144. Planet Map


The Material Editor's sample slot doesn't show the planet effect very clearly. To help get the effect you want. double-click the sample slot to get a larger sample slot, or assign the map to geometry and render the scene.

145. Stucco Map


Because the Stucco map is meant to be used as a bump map, usually you don't need to adjust the default colors.

146. Smoke Map (Advanced)


You can make a starfield with the Smoke Map. Just decrease the size.

147. Mix Map


Using a Noise map for the mixing map can give good effects that have a natural appearance.

148. Raytrace Map


If you choose not to use the background color, black or gray usually work best as the attenuation color.