Archive for the ‘3D Tutorials’ Category

Creating reflective surfaces like Car paint, Chrome, Glass often involves Raytracing in any 3D Software. We come across Chrome effects in most of the renders both interior and exterior.

Let’s see an easy and simple way of creating Chrome material in 3ds max.

1. Take an empty material slot in 3ds max (Press M to open the material editor interface)

then apply the following settings under Shader Basic Parameters.

Ensure you have the settings illustrated in the image.

a. Shader – Phong

b. For Diffuse Color use the following setting. Click on the color box and use RGB(45,45,45), you will get a dark grey color.

c. Specular Level – 121 and Glossiness to 28.

2. Under Maps Rollout, click on the button labelled “None” in the Reflection Slot and select Raytrace from the Material/Map Browser dialog.

set the Reflection Value to 84. There is no limit on this value. But 84 works well for chorme objects like car rims, grills etc. Lower values will not give you good refelction. Use value 100 for headlight chrome effects.

Now you are set, apply the material on some object. Now you need some environment for reflection. You may use HDRI images or you can use the following script “Reflect Maker” to create reflection planes.

Here is a rendered image with the above settings.

Hope you like this tutorial.

Ambient occlusion in any 3d software is an easy way of faking global illumination it also gives 3d renderings an extra look of realism. This tutorial is a quick glance of setting up an occlusion shader in Autodesk Maya.

As a first step, import a model into Maya which we would like to work on or create some objects that has a few creases and corners (e.g Teapot in 3dsMax). Ambient Occlusion works on all types of surfaces including polygons, nurbs, and Sub Divisions, so any surface is good to work.

Now open Maya’s render settings by going to Window > Rendering Editors > Render Settings.
Ambient occlusion is a Mental Ray shader so select MentalRay renderer which can be found in the common tab as long as the plugin is enabled.

Now turn off the Enable Default Light setting in the bottom of Common tab. In general this option should be turned off when starting to light and render a scene because the default light is a basic ambient light which will blow out the image since we will be using the ambient channel later in this tutorial.
Now switch to MentalRay render tab and confirm that raytracing is turned ON. Since ambient occlusion doesn’t need to calculate the refractions and reflections set those values to 1 to speed up the render.

To create the shader open the Hypershade and create a new Lambert material. Then change the Lambert color to white. In the hypershade menu go to Create > Mental Ray Textures > Mib _Amb _Occlusion.

In the hypershade work area connect the Output Value of the occlusion texture to the Ambient Color of the Lambert material.
Then select the Ambient Occlusion Texture and open the attribute Editor to edit the parameters.

Here the Samples control the amount of points to be occluded. I always set it to 48 as a standard but if the image is grainy then increase the sample value. One thing to remember is higher the samples, longer the rendering time will be.

The Spread attribute is the mix between the light and dark values so a values between .6 and .8 are good.

The Max_Distance value is dependent on the scale of the model. The main aim is to have a nice contrast in the edges and details so the bigger the distance value the less contrast there will be.

Our final step is to change the background color to white in the render view. Select the render camera and in the Environment, change the color to white.

The image below was created with the settings from this tutorial.

Toy car is a Reactor component in 3dsmax which can be used to animate a car in a realistic way. In this tutorial we will be animating a car with 3dsmax Reactor’s Toy car. 3d model of a car is provided, which we will be using in the tutorial. The car is grouped in such a way that the car body, interior all grouped into one object and the four wheels as separate objects.
Open the given max file which contains the car and draw a box object, which acts as the ground. Adjust the box in such a way that the car wheels touches the ground(box), it should not penetrate. (Ref Pic)

Now Select the car body,(object named MyCar01) and from the menu select reactor -> Open Property Editor… This will open the Rigid Bodies Dialog. In the Dialog under Physical properties set the value of Mass to 25 and under Simulation Geometry select Mesh Convex Hull and close the dialog. (Ref Pic)

Reactor Property Editor Dialog
Next select all the four wheels and open the reactor’s property editor again and set the Mass value to 5 and select Mesh Convex Hull.

Now select the box (ground object) and set the Mass value to 0(zero) and select Bounding Box, in reactor’s Property Editor.

Now all the properties were set, but we haven’t created a rigid body collection, which is the main component of 3dsmax reactor, used in calculating the simulation. To create the rigid body collection select all the objects (car body, wheels and the box) and select reactor -> Create Object -> Rigid Body Collection.

Rigid body Collection created

Now select reactor -> Create Object -> Toy Car and place it in any viewport. Now go to the Modify Panel, under Toy Car Properties click on the button labelled none for chassis and select Mycar01 (car body). Then click Add and select all the four wheels. you must have the following objects assigned as shown in the pic. Also check the following parameters. Most of them were default values.

Now you align the Toy car Icon in such a way that the arrow points forward. Now go to the Utility panel, select Reactor, under Preview Animation click on Create Animation Button. This will create Keyframes for your animation. If car moves slowly try to increase the Ang Speed and Gain values in Toy Car panel.

Many of us would have faced the problem of polygon flipping while importing .3ds or .obj files. In this tutorial I am going to simulate the polygon flipping scenario and a way to rectify it. The Shell modifier in max is useful in achieving this. Polygon flipping is basically the direction of normals facing the other way. So usually when you draw a plane in 3dsmax viewport, you can see only one side of it, the other side becomes invisible.

First lets create the scenario. Draw a sphere in 3dsmax viewport. and Right click on it and convert it to Editable Mesh.

Next select few rows of Polygons from the sphere and delete it.

Now in the perspective (shaded view) you could see that the inside of the sphere becomes invisible. This is because the normals of the sphere are pointing outwards, so the interior becomes invisible.

Sphere with Show Normals enabled. You can see all the Normals pointing outward.

Sphere after the polygons being deleted. See the other side of the sphere becomes totally invisible. You can fix this by applying shell modifier over it.

Sphere with shell modifier applied. You can also use shell modifier to fix the Polygon flipping in imported meshes. Keep the outer amount and inner amount value low or else it will blow up your mesh like a balloon.

Modeling an Object in 3D requires a lot of skill and patience, that too a detailed model requires lot of time in every aspect such as modeling, texturing and rendering. But nowadays most of the 3D games present us with ultimate realism and performance in realtime. How is this possible for the game engine to render a 3D model with high level of detail as well as responding instantly to players input.

The secret lies in the Game engine as well as the simplification of certain procedures. For example when we render a frame in 3dsmax or Maya, a lot of render elements such as Ambient Occlusion, Global Illumination, Raytracing, Radiosity etc.. goes into it. But Game engines use a different method, where all these render elements or done before the model goes into the game engine. One such element is Bump mapping and Normal mapping.

Bump mapping is based on the intensity of the image, usually grayscale which is used to calculate the relative height of the pixels, while Normal mapping stores te direction of Normals, which renders the Normals in different directions as we intend to render. Look at the images below, where a truck tyre is detailed through Normal maps.
Lowpoly Tyre (Actual Mesh) without Normal Map

The same mesh with Normal Map used in Bump slot.

So a Normal Map is usually used to fake high-resolution geometry detail on what is actually a low-resolution mesh. This is one aspect used in 3d games, which helps to add fine detail to the models. You can create your own Normal maps using tools like CrazyBump or Nvidia’s Normal Map filter for Photoshop.

Attribute Holder is a modifier in 3dsmax, which helps us to add a custom attribute to an object in 3dsmax. For example, if a Bend modifier is applied over a Box object in 3dsmax, you could either control the Bend parameters or the Box’s parameters by switching between the Bend modifier and the Box object.

In the above image you can see Bend Modifier applied over a Box. As said before, you need to select the respective object to edit its parameters. Instead of switching between the Bend modifier and Box object, we can use a single modifier that holds the attributes of Bend as well as the Box in one place. In this tutorial let us see about the Attribute holder modifier.

First place a Box object with the following dimensions (Length and width = 20 units, Height = 50 units).

Next apply a Bend modifier. Now we are about to control the Bend angle and Box width from one place.

Now apply the Attribute Holder to the stack. (Refer image below).

Box, Bend modifier and Attribute Holder

Attribute Holder modifier shows an empty panel, in which you will put your custom attributes. Now from the menu select Animation -> Parameter Editor , which will open the Parameter Editor Dialog.(Refer image)

In the Parameter Editor Dialog use the following settings and click – Add

Parameter type = Float
UI type = Spinner
Name = Bend angle

Now you must see an attribute named Bend Angle added to the Attribute Holder panel. (see image below)

In the same way add another attribute named Box Width. Now from menu select Animation -> Wire parameters -> Wire parameters and connect these attributes.

Modified object -> Attribute holder -> Bend Angle with Modified Object -> Bend -> Angle.

for wiring parameters read the last tutorial Animate car wheels through wire parameters.

Volume select modifier in 3dsmax named as (Vol. Select) in the modifier stack is a versatile modifier which can be used to achieve some simple animation effects. For example , we would have enjoyed Tom and Jerry cartoon animation and most of the times we would have seen Jerry (mouse) running under a carpet. In this tutorial we are going to do that, but we are not going to use 3d model of mouse or cat here, just the effect as illustrated below.


Step 1:

Create a plane and adjust the settings as below.

Plane Settings

Step 2:

In the Command Panel, from the Modifier tab select Vol. Select modifier.

Volume Select modifier

Step 3:

Now create a cylinder over the plane and move the cylinder in such a way it intersects the plane as shown below.

Step 4:

Now adjust the settings of Vol. select modifier as shown below. Only change the highlighted settings.

After selecting Mesh Object radio button, Click on the button labelled ‘None’ and select the Cylinder. The trick here is we have selected ‘Crossing’ as Selection type and Cylinder for the Mesh object. So the vertices of the Plane that intersects with the Cylinder is selected.

After this scroll down and select Soft selection as shown below, leave the default values as it is.

Step 5:

Now Select Push Modifier from the modifier tab and set the Push value to 8. Push modifier will be placed over the top, as shown below.

Now you can see a nice bulge around the cylinder where it intersects with the plane. Now move the Cylinder around and you can see the bulge follows the cylinder. Animate the Cylinder by setting keyframes and hide the cylinder. You will get an animation as illustrated at the beginning.

Here is the file for your reference. Download

Wire Parameters in 3dsmax is a powerful feature that makes animating objects simple. In this step by strep 3d tutorial lets see how to use this feature to animate a simple teapot car.

The teapot car is made out of a teapot and four cylinders for tyres as shown below.

Now, when the car moves forward or backward the wheel has to rotate accordingly. Instead of animating the wheels manually we can automate it through parameter wiring. Parameter is nothing but any value that can be modified, eg: Width, height, rotation values etc.

Wiring the wheel:

Step 1:

Select all the wheels and click on the ‘Select and link’ button, now place your mouse on the wheels, the cursor changes, now click on one of the wheels and you will see four dotted lines from all the four wheels, drag and leave it on the teapot, to link the wheels to the teapot, so that the wheels move along with the teapot.

Wheels Selected

Select and Link Button on the Main toolbar.

Select and Link – four dotted lines.

After Step 1, try moving your teapot, the wheels should also move with the teapot.

Step 2:

Select teapot and click on Animation in the menu bar. From the resulting pull down menu click on Wire Parameters -> Wire Parameters. or just pres Ctrl+5.

Wire Parameter – menu

Step 3:

From the resulting Popup menu Select Transform -> Position -> X Position (Ref Pic). Our teapot moves forward and backward in X direction. (Z is for up and down, Y for sideways movement.)

Step 4:

After selecting X Position move your mouse pointer, you will see a dotted line following, then click on one of the wheels.

Dotted line – After selecting X Position parameter.

Step 5:

Clicking on the wheel will bring another popup menu, from the menu you select Transform -> Rotation -> Y Rotation. (Ref Pic)

Here we are connecting the X Position (Forward and backward movement of Teapot) with Y Rotation (Rotation on its axis) of the cylinder. So when you move the teapot the wheel rotates.

Step 6:

After clicking Y Rotation on the menu you will be presented with Parameter wiring Dialog. On the dialog select Two Way Connection and click ‘Connect’ button. Then close the dialog.

Repeat Step 2 to Step 6 for all the other wheels. Now you move the teapot and see the wheels Rotating. If the wheel rotates too fast, in the expression editor under Expression for Y Rotation type as below


This makes 1 unit of X Position of teapot to be .5 unit for Y Rotation of the cylinder.

Here is the file for your reference.


Many find it difficult to Simualte the Day and Night side of Earth in 3ds max, but its very simple that we could achieve it in a single map. In this 3d tutorial we are going to do that. The side of earth exposed to sunlight will show the real color map of earth, while the side in shadow will show the night time map of earth.

Step 1:

Create a sphere in one of the viewports and assign a standard material to it.

Step 2:

Then click on the maps rollout and go to the diffuse slot of the material that you assigned to the sphere.

Step 3:

Then click on the button labelled ‘None’.

Step 4:

Then form the Material/Map Browser select Falloff Map.

Step 5:

Then under the Falloff Parameters select Shadow/Light as Falloff type.

Now can see two slots for maps, the black one is for shadow and the white is for Light. Now click on the button labelled None in the shadow slot and form the Material/Map Browser select Bitmap.

For the Bitmap part we are going to use two maps, one real color map and the other night map.

Real Color Map

Night Map

Dont worry this is just a sample, I have provided high resolution maps (4096 X 2048) with the download. Ok lets move on to the next step.

Step 6:

For the Shadow map assign the Night map of earth and for the Light Map assign the Real color Map of earth as shown below.

Step 7:

Then place an omni light in the scene and adjust the viewport such that you can see both the illuminated side as well as the side in the dark. (Ref Picture)
Step 8:

Then click Go To Parent button (Ref Pictures below) and click on the button labelled None in the Self illumination slot and form Material/Map Browser select Bitmap and assign the same Night Map that you assigned to the Shadow Map within Falloff.

Go To Parent highlighted in pink

Self Illumination slot with Night map assigned.

Now you render the viewport that you adjusted in Step 7. You should get the result as shown below. If you got it wrong dont worry, download the file provided and see how the maps are assigned. Render an animation clip and see how the map transits from real color to night map. Hope you like it.

3d Tree model with wind animation – .max and .3ds – 1.5MB

This tree model comes wind animation. Extend the time frame for smooth animation. Textured with bitmaps (diffuse and alpha).

How to animate Season?

The Leaves change colour when seasons change. This is what we need to do. Go to the Maps rollout and in the diffuse slot click on mix map. Mix map uses two colours, colour1 uses bitmaps and colour2 uses a gradient ramp. click on the gradient ramp in color2 map slot and adjust the colours and see the colour of the leaves change. The max files comes with both the materials for your reference.

Gradient Ramp with shades of Green

Gradient Ramp with shades of Brown and Green