Rendering in 3DS Max

Lights & Camera

01. Rendering Introduction

Rendering is the process of creating a pre-computed image by bouncing light in a scene and calculating the final result of its interaction with materials on a 3D object. It will be necessary for you to learn how to render your model so that you can make sure it will properly display in a Wayfair generated image.

Throughout this section you will learn and understand the terms and processes for setting up basic lights and a camera in order to render your model. By the end you should have a greater idea of how your geometry and materials react to lights and the environment.

An example of a model with materials rendered in a basic environment.

02. Install & Use of the Setup Render Scene Tool

a. Scripting Overview

3DS Max uses a proprietary scripting language known as MAXScript. With MAXScript we can automate the generation of a camera and a basic lighting setup.
We have written a tool in this scripting language to automatically set your render engine to V-Ray and set up a scene for you to render your models in. Before continuing you must set this tool up first.

b. Install the Tool

i. From the Scripting tab, click Run Script… and run this script: autoScene.mcr (click the link to download)..

ii. From the Customize tab, click Customize User Interface

iii. Navigate to the Toolbars tab in the new window that appears. Under the Category dropdown, navigate to and click the Wayfair category. In the top right hand corner of this window click New… to create a new toolbar. Name your toolbar Wayfair Tools, and click OK. Drag and drop the Setup Render Scene action into your newly created toolbar. This toolbar can now be attached to any UI area by dragging it around and dropping it onto the preferred location.

iv. To run the tool, simply press the  button on the new toolbar you have created.

03. Running the Setup Render Scene Tool

a. What does this tool do?

You will notice that when you press the Setup Render Scene button it will add a new camera and new light objects to your scene and set your Viewport to Camera View (look in the top left corner of your Viewport window). Like most objects you’ve encountered so far, cameras and lights can be moved around freely within the viewport.

The lights and camera created by this script also all have their own target points. These allow you to move the camera or light around while still having it face this same point in the scene. You can move this point separately from the camera or light to change what they are looking at.

b. Rendering

i. Once the tool has been run and your scene has been setup, you can press the Render Production button found on the top toolbar or press Shift + Q. Note that this will render your current viewport. By default the script sets this Viewport to be the Camera View. However if you change back to perspective and render again, your scene will look different. Always make sure that you are rendering from the camera.

ii. You will notice a new window pop up. This is called the V-Ray Frame Buffer and it is the window that allows you to view your rendered scene. As the rendering processes you will notice a gradual increase in quality and decrease in visual noise.

04. Cameras, Lights & Render Settings

Here we will discuss the different objects that are key to rendering as well as changing relevant render settings.

a. Cameras

i. Cameras in 3DS Max are setup to emulate real cameras with their physical properties. Wayfair uses the V-Ray Physical Camera, which currently cannot be created without the aid of the script you ran previously.

ii. The camera that we are using has a target attached to it. Moving around the camera without moving the target allows the camera to always stay directionally locked to the target.

iii. You may notice that the default camera position is too close or too far away from your product. If you need to render from a different side of your product you can move the camera around to the desired position by using the Move transform (shortcut: W). You will need to change back to the Perspective view to move the camera, then back to the Camera View to render.

iv. The hotkey to jump to your camera view within a viewport is C.

v. The hotkey to show the camera’s aspect ratio within the viewport is Shift + F. This will add bars to either side of your viewport to simulate the area that will show in the final render.

vi. The setup tool you ran will create a camera with all of the default properties you need to successfully render. You will not need to change any properties of the camera. Above is an image of a camera within 3DS Max.

Here we will discuss the different objects that are key to rendering as well as changing relevant render settings.

b. Lights

i. Lights in 3DS Max are setup to emulate real physical light properties. The lights generated with the Setup Render Scene tool are called Plane Lights and are rectangularly shaped.

ii. The lights that we are using also have a target attached to them. Moving the light around without moving the target allows the light to always stay directionally locked to the target.

iii. Light properties can be changed within the Modify panel. Properties you may want to change are:

1. Half-Length/Half-Width: This adjusts the width and height of the plane light. The bigger the light, the softer the shadows. Making the light bigger while keeping the Multiplier the same will increase the amount of light in the scene, making it brighter.
2. Multiplier: This adjusts the intensity of the light.
3. Affect Reflections: This tells the light whether to contribute to reflection on your product.

c. Render Settings

i. Sometimes when rendering you may want to change certain settings in order to effect the overall look and quality of your output image. By default the setup tool changes your settings to be optimal to render any given product.

ii. To access your render settings you can press the Render Settings button found on the top toolbar or press F10.

iii. While there are a lot of render settings to choose from, for this tutorial we will only cover changing the render output size. You can find this halfway down the Common tab of the rendering settings window.

iv. Your render width and height can be changed independently or you can lock the image aspect ratio by pressing the lock button next to the Image Aspect text input box. Wayfair’s standard for image resolution is 2000×2000. It can be useful to increase your render resolution to make sure you are resolving fine texture details before submitting your model for review.