You are previewing Mastering mental ray®: Rendering Techniques for 3D & CAD Professionals.
O'Reilly logo
Mastering mental ray®: Rendering Techniques for 3D & CAD Professionals

Book Description

Proven techniques for using mental ray effectively

If you're a busy artist seeking high-end results for your 3D, design, or architecture renders using mental ray, this is the perfect book for you. It distills the highly technical nature of rendering into easy-to-follow steps and tutorials that you can apply immediately to your own projects. The book uses 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design to show the integration with mental ray, but users of any 3D or CAD software can learn valuable techniques for incorporating mental ray into their pipelines.

  • Takes you under the hood of mental ray, a stand-alone or bundled product that is often used with 3D or CAD software in the creation of movies, games, architectural renders, and television

  • Focuses on only the most pertinent tools and techniques for busy professionals who need to quickly apply them on the job

  • Provides compelling, practical tutorials so you can start incorporating mental ray into your own production pipelines

  • Includes a DVD with step-by-step videos to help drive home concepts and techniques

Learn effective mental ray techniques with this great guide, then keep this practical book at your workstation for reference while you work!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Dear Reader,
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. About the Author
  5. Introduction
    1. Who Should Read This Book
    2. What You Will Learn from This Book
    3. How to Use This Book
    4. Conventions Used in this Book
    5. A Word about Software versions
    6. The Mastering Series
    7. How This Book Is Organized
    8. What Is on the DvD
    9. How to Contact the Author
  6. 1. mental ray Essentials
    1. 1.1. mental ray Overview
      1. 1.1.1. Enabling mental ray
      2. 1.1.2. Choosing mental ray for an Existing Scene
      3. 1.1.3. Setting mental ray Preferences and Using the Render Message Window
    2. 1.2. Configuring 3ds Max/Design
      1. 1.2.1. Exploring mental ray's Design-Related Defaults
      2. 1.2.2. Using Project Folders
      3. 1.2.3. Setting System Units
      4. 1.2.4. Setting Gamma Options
        1. 1.2.4.1. Using Input Gamma Settings
        2. 1.2.4.2. When Input Gamma Can Cause Problems
        3. 1.2.4.3. Using the Gamma and Gain Map
        4. 1.2.4.4. Output Gamma Settings
        5. 1.2.4.5. When Output Gamma Can Cause Issues
    3. 1.3. Quick-Start Render Settings
      1. 1.3.1. Introducing the Sampling Quality (Antialiasing) Settings
        1. 1.3.1.1. Defining Antialiasing
        2. 1.3.1.2. Samples Per Pixel Setting
        3. 1.3.1.3. Spatial Contrast
        4. 1.3.1.4. Filters
      2. 1.3.2. Introducing Final Gather
    4. 1.4. The Bottom Line
  7. 2. Materials and Maps
    1. 2.1. Introducing the Slate Material Editor
    2. 2.2. Using the Slate Material Editor
    3. 2.3. Working with Bitmaps
      1. 2.3.1. Using the Bitmap Proxies Option
      2. 2.3.2. Using the Bitmap Pager Option
      3. 2.3.3. Using the mental ray Map Manager
    4. 2.4. Using Bitmaps When Working Remotely
      1. 2.4.1. Using Project Folders
      2. 2.4.2. Using Relative Paths and the Resource Collector
      3. 2.4.3. Using the Asset Tracking Tool
      4. 2.4.4. Accessing the Bitmap/Photometric Path Editor
      5. 2.4.5. Editing XRef Paths for Maps and Scenes
    5. 2.5. Working with Materials, Maps, and Colors
      1. 2.5.1. Introducing the Autodesk Materials
      2. 2.5.2. Introducing the Autodesk Material Library
      3. 2.5.3. Introducing the Arch & Design Material
        1. 2.5.3.1. Understanding the arch & design templates
        2. 2.5.3.2. Understanding the Arch & Design Settings
      4. 2.5.4. Introducing ProMaterials
      5. 2.5.5. Introducing the MetaSL Material
      6. 2.5.6. Converting Existing Materials to Arch & Design
      7. 2.5.7. Creating Glazing Materials
      8. 2.5.8. Using Low and High Dynamic Range Image Formats
        1. 2.5.8.1. Using the Radiance Image Format (HDR)
        2. 2.5.8.2. Using the OpenEXR Image Format (EXR)
      9. 2.5.9. Applying Real-World Scale
    6. 2.6. The Bottom Line
  8. 3. Light, Shadow, and Exposure Control
    1. 3.1. Using Material Override
    2. 3.2. Introducing Exposure Controls
      1. 3.2.1. The Logarithmic Exposure Control
      2. 3.2.2. The mr Photographic Exposure Control
        1. 3.2.2.1. Presets
        2. 3.2.2.2. Exposure Value
        3. 3.2.2.3. Photographic Exposure
        4. 3.2.2.4. Image Control
        5. 3.2.2.5. Physical Scale
      3. 3.2.3. The Pseudo Color Exposure Control
    3. 3.3. Working with Light Objects
    4. 3.4. Eight Simple Rules for Lighting Your Scene
      1. 3.4.1. Start in Darkness...
      2. 3.4.2. Use Photometric Lights
      3. 3.4.3. Use Shadows
      4. 3.4.4. Use Hardware Viewport Shading to Preview Lighting
      5. 3.4.5. Use Light Assemblies
      6. 3.4.6. Use Instance Lights with Common Properties
      7. 3.4.7. Avoid Ambient Light
      8. 3.4.8. Use the Light Lister to Manage Lights
    5. 3.5. Understanding Photometric Lights
      1. 3.5.1. Understanding Shadow Types
        1. 3.5.1.1. Shadow Maps
        2. 3.5.1.2. mental ray Shadow Maps
        3. 3.5.1.3. Ray-Traced Shadows
      2. 3.5.2. Working with Light Distribution (Type) Settings
      3. 3.5.3. Working with Light Color, Intensity, and Attenuation Settings
        1. 3.5.3.1. Color and Color Presets
        2. 3.5.3.2. Intensity
        3. 3.5.3.3. Far Attenuation
      4. 3.5.4. Understanding Shape and Area Shadows
        1. 3.5.4.1. Shapes
        2. 3.5.4.2. Shadow Samples
      5. 3.5.5. Introducing Daylight Systems
        1. 3.5.5.1. Sky Models
        2. 3.5.5.2. The mr Sky Settings
      6. 3.5.6. Introducing the mr Sky Portal
        1. 3.5.6.1. Understanding the mr Sky Portal Settings
        2. 3.5.6.2. Setting the Color Source and Using the mr Sky Portal as an Area Light
    6. 3.6. The Bottom Line
  9. 4. Rendering
    1. 4.1. Introducing Backburner Network Rendering
      1. 4.1.1. Enabling Render Output to Backburner
      2. 4.1.2. Using Split Scan Lines
      3. 4.1.3. Correcting Gamma with Split Scan Lines Images
      4. 4.1.4. Adjusting Network Rendering Advanced Settings
      5. 4.1.5. Using the Backburner Monitor
    2. 4.2. Using Batch Render
    3. 4.3. Introducing mental ray Proxy Objects
    4. 4.4. Understanding Render Settings
      1. 4.4.1. Modifying Common Tab Settings
      2. 4.4.2. Defining File Output Options
      3. 4.4.3. Understanding the Renderer Tab Settings
        1. 4.4.3.1. Sample Rate Visual Diagnostics
        2. 4.4.3.2. Sampling Quality Options
        3. 4.4.3.3. Rendering Algorithms
        4. 4.4.3.4. Shadows & Displacement
      4. 4.4.4. Understanding the Processing Tab Settings
      5. 4.4.5. Understanding Translator Settings and Memory Settings
      6. 4.4.6. Using Distributed Bucket Rendering
        1. 4.4.6.1. Distributed Bucket Rendering Licensing
    5. 4.5. Accelerating Test Renders
    6. 4.6. The Bottom Line
  10. 5. Indirect Illumination and Final Gather
    1. 5.1. Defining Direct and Indirect Illumination
    2. 5.2. Understanding Indirect Illumination in mental ray
    3. 5.3. Understanding Final Gather
      1. 5.3.1. How Final Gather Works
      2. 5.3.2. Using a Visual Diagnostics Tool and Final Gather
    4. 5.4. Introducing Final Gather Settings
      1. 5.4.1. Using Final Gather Basic Settings
      2. 5.4.2. Using the Project Points and Divide Camera Path by Num. Segments Option
      3. 5.4.3. Adjusting Final Gather Advanced Settings
    5. 5.5. Reusing Final Gather and Global Illumination Data
      1. 5.5.1. Understanding the Final Gather Reuse Modes
        1. 5.5.1.1. Single File (Best for Walkthrough and StillS)
        2. 5.5.1.2. One File Per Frame (Best For Animated Objects)
        3. 5.5.1.3. Calculate FG/GI and Skip Final Rendering
      2. 5.5.2. Understanding the Final Gather Map Options
      3. 5.5.3. Caching the Caustics and Global Illumination Photon Map
    6. 5.6. Adjusting an Object's Final Gather Options
    7. 5.7. Producing High-Resolution Images with FG
      1. 5.7.1. Creating the Low-Resolution Final Gather Precalculation Pass
      2. 5.7.2. Creating the High-Resolution FG-Freeze Render Pass
      3. 5.7.3. Using Batch Render to Create Final Gather Map and High-Resolution Render Passes
    8. 5.8. Using Daylight and Final Gather
      1. 5.8.1. Improving Dark Interiors and Entryways
      2. 5.8.2. Rendering the Sponza Palace Atrium
      3. 5.8.3. Rendering a Bathroom Scene
    9. 5.9. Producing Animations with Final Gather
      1. 5.9.1. Animation of Static Scenes
      2. 5.9.2. Animations of Dynamic Scenes (Animated Objects)
    10. 5.10. The Bottom Line
  11. 6. Global Illumination and Caustics
    1. 6.1. Understanding Global Illumination
      1. 6.1.1. Defining Photons
      2. 6.1.2. Understanding Global Illumination Settings
      3. 6.1.3. Reusing Global Illumination Data
      4. 6.1.4. Using Visual Diagnostic Modes with Global Illumination
    2. 6.2. Using Global Illumination
      1. 6.2.1. Preparing the Initial Render Settings
        1. 6.2.1.1. Adjusting the Daylight System for Interior Global Illumination
        2. 6.2.1.2. Enabling Global Illumination
        3. 6.2.1.3. Adjusting Global Illumination Settings
        4. 6.2.1.4. Using Visual Diagnostics Mode for Global Illumination
        5. 6.2.1.5. Correcting the Bright Areas around Lights
        6. 6.2.1.6. Controlling Global Illumination Color Bleed with the Photon Basic Shader
        7. 6.2.1.7. Controlling Global Illumination Color Bleed with the Color Override/Ray Type Switcher
      2. 6.2.2. Using Global Illumination with the Sponza Model
      3. 6.2.3. Using Global Illumination with the Karina Bay Resort Scene
    3. 6.3. Defining Caustics
      1. 6.3.1. Understanding Caustics Settings
      2. 6.3.2. Using Caustics
        1. 6.3.2.1. Creating Caustic Water
        2. 6.3.2.2. Creating Caustic Still Life
    4. 6.4. The Bottom Line
  12. 7. Importons and Irradiance Particles
    1. 7.1. Installing the ctrl.ghost Plug-In
    2. 7.2. Introducing Importons
      1. 7.2.1. Setting Importon Parameters
      2. 7.2.2. Using Importons in the Sponza Scene
    3. 7.3. Introducing Irradiance Particles
      1. 7.3.1. Setting Irradiance Particle Parameters
      2. 7.3.2. Using Irradiance Particles
      3. 7.3.3. Working with Irradiance Particles
        1. 7.3.3.1. Using Irradiance Particles For An Interior Scene
        2. 7.3.3.2. Creating Image-Based Lighting With Irradiance Particles
    4. 7.4. The Bottom Line
  13. 8. Effects
    1. 8.1. Introducing mental ray Lens Shaders
      1. 8.1.1. Depth Of Field/Bokeh Parameters
        1. 8.1.1.1. Using The Depth Of Field/Bokeh Shader
      2. 8.1.2. Distortion Parameters
      3. 8.1.3. mr Physical Sky Setting
      4. 8.1.4. Night Parameters
      5. 8.1.5. Render Subset Of Scene/Masking Parameters
      6. 8.1.6. Shader List (Lens, Output, Volume) Parameters
      7. 8.1.7. Gamma & Gain Parameters
      8. 8.1.8. WrapAround Parameters
    2. 8.2. Understanding Camera Output Shaders
      1. 8.2.1. Glare
      2. 8.2.2. HDR Image Motion Blur Parameters
    3. 8.3. Understanding Camera Volume Shaders
      1. 8.3.1. Beam Parameters
      2. 8.3.2. Mist Parameters
      3. 8.3.3. mr Physical Sky as a Volume Shader
      4. 8.3.4. Parti Volume Parameters
      5. 8.3.5. Submerge Parameters
    4. 8.4. The Bottom Line
  14. 9. mental ray for Architecture
    1. 9.1. Using Revit Architecture Models in 3ds Max/Design
      1. 9.1.1. Using the SAT Format
      2. 9.1.2. Using DWG Exports from Revit
      3. 9.1.3. Introducing FBX File Import and Linking
        1. 9.1.3.1. Limitations and Caveats of the FBX Format
      4. 9.1.4. Using the File Link Manager with FBX Files
      5. 9.1.5. Comparing Revit Rendering to 3ds Max/Design
      6. 9.1.6. Revit Materials vs. 3ds Max/Design
    2. 9.2. Introducing the Autodesk Exposure Technology
      1. 9.2.1. Introducing the Lighting Analysis Assistant
      2. 9.2.2. Using the Light Meter Object
    3. 9.3. Using Nonphotorealistic Rendering Techniques
      1. 9.3.1. Using Material Override for NPR
      2. 9.3.2. Using Ambient Occlusion for NPR
      3. 9.3.3. Using Contour Rendering for NPR
    4. 9.4. The Bottom Line
  15. 10. mental ray for Design
    1. 10.1. Creating Render Studios
      1. 10.1.1. Using Environment Maps
        1. 10.1.1.1. Controlling Mapping for Environments
        2. 10.1.1.2. Using the Environment/Background Camera Map Shader
        3. 10.1.1.3. Using Spherical HDRI Bitmaps
        4. 10.1.1.4. Using the Environment Background Switcher
      2. 10.1.2. Using Solid-Colored Environments
      3. 10.1.3. Using Geometry for Your Environment
    2. 10.2. Using Render Elements
      1. 10.2.1. Introducing 3ds Max Composite
      2. 10.2.2. Introducing the mr A&D Render Elements
      3. 10.2.3. Creating a Basic Composite
    3. 10.3. Working with Solid Models
      1. 10.3.1. Introducing SAT and the Body Object
      2. 10.3.2. Understanding Native Inventor File Import
    4. 10.4. The Bottom Line
  16. A. The Bottom Line
    1. A.1. Chapter 1: mental ray Essentials
    2. A.2. Chapter 2: Materials and Maps
    3. A.3. Chapter 3: Light, Shadow, and Exposure Control
    4. A.4. Chapter 4: Rendering
    5. A.5. Chapter 5: Indirect Illumination and Final Gather
    6. A.6. Chapter 6: Global Illumination and Caustics
    7. A.7. Chapter 7: Importons and Irradiance Particles
    8. A.8. Chapter 8: Effects
    9. A.9. Chapter 9: mental ray for Architecture
    10. A.10. Chapter 10: mental ray for Design
  17. B. About the Companion DVD
    1. B.1. What You'll Find on the DVD
      1. B.1.1. Projects
      2. B.1.2. Plug-Ins
      3. B.1.3. Scripts
      4. B.1.4. 3ds Max Design 2009
      5. B.1.5. 3ds Max Design 2010
      6. B.1.6. Bonus
      7. B.1.7. Bonus Videos
      8. B.1.8. White Papers
    2. B.2. System Requirements
    3. B.3. Using the DVD
    4. B.4. Troubleshooting
      1. B.4.1. Customer Care