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Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray, An Interior Lighting And Rendering Overview

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In this tutorial, Pratik Gulati will give you an insightful overview of interior lighting and rendering in 3d Studio Max using V-Ray. Pratik will discuss his work-flow and the techniques he uses to achieve realistic results. You'll learn how to setup interior lighting, create V-Ray shaders and the settings needed to render a modern bathroom scene realistically!


Step 1

After opening 3D Studio Max, the first thing we need to do is change our units setup. So go to Customize>Units Setup... and choose "US Standard - Feet w/Decimal Inches" as our units.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 2

When working with with cg environments where we want photo real quality it is really important to make sure that our object scale is accurate, its plays an important role while achieving a good render. As you can see the scene is quiet simple.

It's a small bathroom mostly made up of simple shapes with a circular bathtub in center and a big glass door at the front, which is allowing environment light to enter. There is also an artificial cove light towards the left top side of the room.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 3

Next we'll assign V-Ray as our renderer. Press "F10" and a new window will come up, this will allow you to enable V-Ray as the render engine and also enable V-Ray materials in the material editor.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 4

Now assign a simple Grey V-Ray material to all the objects in the scene, this is to save time when setting up scene lighting and render settings. Since a plain material renders faster than reflective and glossy materials, which would be later applied to various objects.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 5

I am using a normal Max camera for this scene. To create a camera, go to the "Cameras" tab in the Create menu and click on "Free". This will allow you to create a free camera (ie without a target.)

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 6

We will be using a regular 35mm lens with a 54 degree field of view.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 7

Let’s discuss the placement for the various lights. Lights 1-4 are V-Ray lights which affect our scene directly, as we can see by the placement of the lights below.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 8

Here are the basic parameters of the lights that are changed:

  • Color - The color of the light.
  • Multiplier - Multiplier for the light color; this is also the light intensity in the units chosen by the Intensity units parameter.
  • Invisible - This setting controls whether the shape of the VRayLight source is visible in the rendered result. When this option is turned off, the source is rendered in the current light color. Otherwise it is not visible in the scene.
  • Subdivs - This defines the samples or the "Quality" of the light, 8-10 should be used for test renders, and 15-20 for finals. Increasing the samples will increase your render times.
Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 9

Color settings of the lights.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 10

We also use a "Target Direct Light", to mimic the light from the sun and sky.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 11

Here are the basic parameters that I've changed for the Direct light.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 12

For the cove area we have used a vray light and the vray light shader. To achieve the effect we create the vray light according to the size of the opening, and place the light facing downwards

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 13

In the steps below we will do the render settings in V-Ray, press "F10" and then in the "Global Switches" rollout uncheck "Default Lights ".

  • Default lights - Allows you to control the default lights in the scene.
  • Off - The default lights in the scene will be always switched off.
  • In the "Image Sampler (Antialiasing) rollout, select "Adaptive DMC" for the "Type", and "Catmull-Rom" as the "Antialiasing Filter". Also change the "Min" and "Max: subdivs.

Image sampler refers to an algorithm for sampling and filtering the image function.

  • Fixed - This sampler always takes the same number of samples per pixel.
  • Adaptive DMC - This sampler takes a variable number of samples per pixel depending on the difference in the intensity of the pixels.
  • Adaptive subdivision - This sampler divides the image into an adaptive grid-like structure and refines depending on the difference in pixel Intensity.

Also in the "Color Mapping" rollout, change the color mapping "Type" to "Exponential", this mode will saturate the colors based on their brightness. This can be useful to prevent Burn-outs in very bright areas (for example around light sources etc). This mode will not clip bright colors, but will instead saturate them.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 14

In the "Indirect Illumination (GI)" rollout, select "Irradiance Map" and "Light Cache" as the primary and secondary engine.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 15

  • Irradiance Map - The basic idea is to compute the indirect illumination only at some points in the scene, and interpolate for the rest of the Points. The irradiance map is very fast compared to direct computation, especially for scenes with large flat areas
  • Current preset - This dropdown list allows you to choose from several presets for some of the irradiance map parameters
  • Hemispheric subdivs (HSph. subdivs) - This controls the quality of individual GI samples. Smaller values make things faster, but may produce Blotchy results. Higher values produce smoother images.
Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 16

  • Light Cache - The light map is built by tracing many eye paths from the camera. Each of the bounces in the path stores the illumination from the rest of the path into a 3D structure, very similar to the photon map

In the "Light Cache" rollout, put 3000 for "Subdivs" and set the "Number Of Passes" to 5 .

  • Subdivs - This determines how many paths are traced from the camera. The actual number of paths is the square of the subdivs (the default of 1000 Subdivs means that 1 000 000 paths will be traced from the camera.)
  • Number of passes - The light cache is computed in several passes, which are then combined into the final light cache. Each pass is rendered in a separate thread independently of the other passes. This ensures that the light cache is consistent across computers with a different number of CPUs. In general, a light cache computed with a smaller number of passes may be less noisy than a light cache computed with more passes, for the same number of samples; however a small number of passes cannot be distributed effectively across several threads.
Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 17

Now let's texture the scene, actually its quiet simple. The basic parameters that will be used in material are as follows:

  • Diffuse - This is the Diffuse color of the material.
  • Roughness - This parameter can be used to simulate rough surfaces, or surfaces covered with dust.
  • Reflect - The reflection color.
  • Reflection Glossiness - Controls the sharpness of reflections. A value of 1.0 means perfect mirror-like reflections; lower values produce Blurry or "Glossy" reflections. Use the "Subdivs" parameter below to control the quality of glossy reflections.

Step 18

The wood rack is made of a VRay Material with a Diffuse map and a slight amount of Reflection and Glossiness.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 19

The bath tub is a White VRay material with some glossy reflections.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 20

The Mosaic tiles are a reflective VRay material, with a Diffuse and Bump map assigned.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 21

The glass for the door is made of a white VRay material with white "Reflection" and "Refraction" colors and a "Falloff" map.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

Step 22

And finally the mirror is made of a White VRay material with white sharp reflections.

Tutorial - Achieving Realistic Results With 3ds Max & V-Ray

That concludes this look at interior lighting and rendering in 3ds Max & V-Ray, I hope you've found it helpful!


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