By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationGeneral

For this chapter’s supporting exercise you will be creating a photoshoot scene similar to those that appear in the glossy motorsport magazines.

In this scene I have provided you with one Pontiac Solstice. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the scene.

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As we are creating a shoot similar to what you would see in a product brochure or magazine, we can set up the lighting to best suit the chosen format.
We will be creating a backdrop like you would get in a commercial photoshoot as well as the key lights. (9.2)


Open the scene file 09_Transportation_Start.max from the project folder.

Here is a quick snapshot of the scene. (9.3)


This is an incredibly simple scene. I have created a backdrop to simulate a canvas if you will. The vehicle is positioned accordingly so as to not show the edges of the backdrop.

The lighting method we will use will simulate studio lights as illustrated in Figure 9.2

To do this we will need to use the V-Ray light toolsets. Mimicking realistic light levels is essential otherwise the product will not be correctly displayed in all its glory. Chances are the client will not be happy either if you have been commissioned to produce such visuals.

We will now go ahead and create three V-Ray plane lights.

In the lighting creation panel drag and drop a VRay Plane Light into the top viewport (9.4).


Make sure that the light covers a significant portion of the vehicle in order to illuminate it properly; here is where I placed mine (9.5).


We now need to rotate the light so that we can maximize the rectilinear reflections on the vehicle’s curved surfaces (9.6).


Once you have done this you can go ahead and set the light’s properties to match the following (9.7).


I would like you now to make two more lights such as you have previously created. Place each light as shown (9.8).


This scene would look pretty flat if we simply made all the light emit a white color of 255,255,255. Instead we can add a gradient type light effect by adjusting the color coming in from the left and right by adjusting the color settings.
The light emitting from the lefthand side of the screen should be less powerful than the rest.
Go ahead and change the settings of this light to match (9.9)


Now let’s go ahead and change the light coming from the right-hand side of the scene to be a daylight type temperature with a higher value so that the shadow-casting changes to add increased depth to the scene. Change the light’s settings to match (9.10)


Now you have the lights set up you can proceed to create the cameras and finalize the scene’s settings.


For this scene I want you to use the normal standard 3D Studio Max Camera. We have already used V-Ray Physical Cameras throughout this book.

In the interests of diversity I believe you should see what type of results can be achieved utilizing alternative cameras.

With your scene open go to the top viewport. I want you to create a camera from the Standard camera panel and place it looking directly at the backdrop and the side elevation of the vehicle (9.11).
9.12 shows where I placed my camera.



One of the great features of the built-in 3D Studio Max Standard Camera is that you can simply select a stock lens and you are instantly updated in the viewport with the result. Unlike V-Ray Physical Cameras there are no exposure settings etc. to fiddle with; this is a straight point-and-shoot method.

Press C on your keyboard and go to your camera view. You will need to raise the camera in the Z direction to achieve a suitable result. The image below shows how my camera is placed (9.13).


Finally with your camera selected, go to the properties toolset and scroll down to the section called Multi-Pass Effect.
From the drop down menu select Depth of Field. Also make sure the Enable is checked (9.14)


Now you have completed the majority of the hard work, we can now proceed and finalize the render settings and see what type of output we are presented with.

V-Ray Settings

As with the rest of the scenes you should be used to the generic setup by now.
As this is essentially a product scene, we will need the main V-Ray settings to be primarily focused on outlining the surface detail of the vehicle and correctly calculating color and tone etc.
Open up your file from the point of last saving.

Press F10 on your keyboard. The usual Render dialog should appear (9.15).


From the V-Ray tab at the top direct your way to the V-Ray :: Frame buffer tab. Make sure the settings are as shown in (9.16).


Next scroll down to the V-Ray:: Global switches tab. In here you need to match the settings as shown (over) (9.17).


Just below you will see V-Ray:: Image sampler. Enter the values as shown (9.18).


Next we need to adjust the color mapping so that we avoid any undue burning. Even though we are not utilizing the HDRI lighting method, artificial lights can still return overbright areas and damage the scene’s realistic output. Scroll down to the V-Ray:: Color mapping rollout. Make sure that the settings are as shown (9.19)


Next we need to enable the Global illumination methods. At the top of the F10 pop up window, select the next tab called Indirect Illumination. In the first rollout in this section set the Primary and Secondary bounces to match (9.20)


Below adjust the V-Ray:: Irradiance map settings to mimic those shown (9.21)


Finally in the V-Ray:: Light cache rollout, copy the settings in to complete the final stages of the render settings. Now we can render the scene. (9.22)



This is a fairly basic scene yet has incredibly realistic results. Go ahead and press F9 on your keyboard to product a final render.
You will notice that the scene keeps rendering. This is because we have the Multi-Pass Effect switched on which is the Depth of Field.
The final result is rather nice (9.23).


You can now explore even further with your own creative methods of lighting.

Excerpt from V-Ray My Way by Lee Wylde © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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Written by author, Lee Wylde – voted top 50 designers in the Middle East!

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