New tutorial: V-ray quick photorealistic room
This is a beginner-level tutorial on how to model and light a simple, photorealistic room with Vray. In this tutorial, we will take you step by step in the modelling, texturing, lighting and rendering processes required to create a photo-real room in Vray and 3dsmax.
Well, let’s get started !
1. You will need some texture files for this tutorial, download them here.
2. Boot up 3dsmax, start a new scene, select Vray as your renderer.
3. Now we’re going to set the working scale to Meters. Click on Customize > Units Setup as so :
4. Now we’ll create the floor of our scene. Create a Box object near the center of the scene, usng the following measurements :
5. Notice how the box has a NEGATIVE height value. This will be very useful for creating objects later on, that land ON our floor because the floor surface is exactly at 0.0 units in the Z vector.
6. Now let’s set the material for this object. We’re going to make the floor a light wood tileable texture , which is included in the zip file above. Extract this file to your project’s working directory on your hard drive. Then, in the 3dsmax Material Editor , click this button :
Clicking the button labeled 1. created a new Map or Material. Make sure that “New” is selected in the “Browse From:” list in the window that appears (labeled 2.). Now. select “VrayMtl” which stands for “Vray Material” click OK to close the window.
The material now converts to a Vray Material type, as shown in this screenshot :
7. Now that we have a Vray Material created, we’re going to assign a wood bitmap into its Diffuse slot. To do this, click the small gray button highlighted in the screen above. Then, select “Bitmap” from the list that appears and click OK.
Next you will be presented with the Bitmap options. Select the bitmap texture file named Wood_Floor.jpg from your ZIP file, and click OK.
8. At this point, you will see that the material has been updated with the texture file covering its diffuse channel. Now, we will apply this material to our Floor object. Select the floor object (Box01) with your mouse, then click the material in the Material Editor once to select it. Now, click on the Material Editor’s Material menu > Assign to Selection. You will see the floor updated with the texture assigned.
9. Now we will adjust the UV coordinates of the floor object so that the wood texture looks better on the object.. To do this, select the floor object, and click the 3dsmax MODIFY panel.
Click the button highlighted above. Next, we will add a MODIFIER to the object. Click on the box labeled “Modifier List”, and a very long list of 3dsmax available modifiers will appear. These are ways of modifying our object that 3dsmax provides. For now, find the “UVW Map” modifier and click it.
The following will appear in theModify Panel :
Notice that these are the parameters for the UVW Map modifier… These let you control how the modifier acts on your base object. Now, to make the wood look more realistically, set the U Tile and V Tile to 5.0 and 2.0, respectively, as seen in the picture above.
Now the floor looks a little better according to its proportions of 5 x 4 meters.. It’s a small room anyways. Adjust the wood tiles to your liking, feel free to experiment with the UV Map’s modifiers.
Creating the Walls
Well, that was easy enough! Let’s continue creating the walls for our scene.
1. Switch to the TOP viewport in Max. Now in the CREATE panel, select the Box primitive, and in the TOP viewport, click-drag create a Box object as seen in the following image :
2. Next we will make a simple cream-colored material for the wall. Open your Material Editor, select a blank material, convert it to a VrayMtl (as seen in the process above), and set a Grayish Cream color material for the diffuse. Apply the new material to the wall.
3. Creating more walls. Now do the same for the bottom wall (facing the first one, parallel to it) . TIP: Instead of drawing a new Box object, you can just select the current wall, in the TOP viewport, then select the MOVE tool (W in your keyboard) , hold the left SHIFT key, and click-drag a copy of the wall into the bottom part of the room. When you RELEASE the drag, a dialog will pop up, make sure you select the COPY option inside it and click OK :
4. Now that the two first walls are created, you must create the side walls. To do this, using the Create panel, draw new side walls. Make these the same height (2.65m) as the previous ones, and make sure they align nicely, like this :
5. Now that we have the walls set up, click-select the floor, and using our Right-SHIFT Move trick, MOVE the floor holding SHIFT upwards in the Z axis, duplicating a copy of the floor and positioning this new copy where the ceiling will go. Also apply the Wall material to the new roof object :
6. Now we’re finally going to create a CAMERA for our scene. Using the TOP viewport, go to the Create Panel, then select the CAMERAS button,
Click the buttons above in order from top to bottom. This will set your pointer to a tool with which you can DRAG a camera into the viewport. Try drawing a camera in the TOP viewport, from one corner of the room into the next, like in this screenshot :
7. Now select the Camera base object AND the tip of the camera (Camerao1.Target). With BOTH objects selected, right-click on the MOVE tool and the following dialod will pop up :
8. In the Absolute:World area, in the Z: box, type in 1.6 and hit Enter. This will position the camera at 1.60 meters above 0 in the Z Axis, or the approximate equivalent height of a human being’s eyes while standing up !
Presto, we have created a “human”-level camera. But there’s a few settings I want to tweak to get a better field of view effect, especially for architecture scenes. We’re going to adjust the FOV (field of view) of the camera. To do this, select the Camera01 object, WITHOUT its Target (just the base camera object alone) , then , in the MODIFY panel, set the camera’s attributes to match this screenshot :
Set the Lens to 28.0 mm, the FOV to 65.47 . This creates a camera with a wider angle of view that is better suited to small rooms.
Great, so our camera is set up! Wanna do a quick test render? Of course we have still not set up lighting and rendering up, but just to see what it looks like, do a QUICK TEST RENDER by clicking anywhere inside the Perspective Viewport, presscing the C key to select the only camera in the scene, and finally pressing F9 to quick-render ! …
Ok, we get this plain-looking flat room with no lighting and barely some color. I agree, our room is kind of dull right now, maybe frankenstein’s room haha, but don’t worry, we will be fixing that very shortly! Soon this room will look like what we intend it to look like : A storage room with a window shining bright beautiful sunlight into our scene.
So let’s light this room and put a Window in here shall we?
Lighting the Room
AWESOME job, so we’ve made it this far! Congrats on getting this far. Now this is where the fun starts. Now we’re gonna make one nice-looking lighting setup for our room. Let’s get started.
1. We’re going to carve a Window into one of our side walls. To do this, draw a 1.0m x 1.0m x 1.0m Box primitive in the TOP viewport. This will be our window hole.
2. Move this box to cut into our side wall so that it looks like an actual window. Maybe use a 1.0m height in the Z axis , to be more realistic (right-click the Move tool with the window box selected to do this).
3. As you might have guessed, we’re going to CUT a window into our side wall USING the Window Box object we created. To do this, select the SIDE WALL you want to make a cut into, then, go to the Create Panel, select Compound Objects from the Creation List (”Standard Primitives”) . Now you will get some new buttons that belong to the Compound Objects list . In them is a button called “Boolean” button.
4. SELECT the Side Wall object you wish to cut a window into. With it selected, click the BOOLEAN button from the Compoun Objects.
5. With BOOLEAN selected, you will see a “Pick Operand B” button. Go ahead and click it once. Now, with the tool selected, click the WINDOW BOX you with to cut the wall with.
6. Presto, you’ve created a hole in your wall, representing a window!
Setting up lighting & Global llumination
Nooow we get to the fun part. But in this part, you will also need to stay close to my instructions so it’s easier for you ok? Deal? Deal. Good. Let’s start lighting our scene beautifully…
1. We’re going to create a Direct Light that will act as our main Sun. To do this, in the Create Panel, click on the LIGHTS icon, then select “Standard” from the drop down list. Finally select the “Target Direct” button. This will put you in click-drag light creation mode.
2. Go to the Top viewport. In it, click-drag a directional light just like in the picture below :
Set the settings of the Directional Light as in the screenshot. 2.0 for multiplier, light yellow color, and VrayShadow turned to ON.
3. Now we’re going to override Max’s environment lighting. To do so, press F10 to bring up the Render Scene dialog. In it, click the RENDERER tab to access the V-Ray Rendering Settings. Here’s where it gets fun…
V-Ray Settings Workflow.
Ok, we’ve made it this far. We’ve modelled a simple room with the proper Vray Materials set up, and one light in our scene to simulate the sun. We’re still missing some Vray magic in order to make this look real. It’s important to note that every artist has a different workflow to set this up, but in this special tutorial I am showing you my personal workflow. Why? Cuz i love to help other people lol, wish the whole world would do the same. Anyways !
1. We’re going to be working with several different Vray Rollouts, which are sections of the Vray Rendering Engine Settings, such as “Global Switches”, “Global Illumination”, “Frame Buffer”, and more. I’m sure you’ve located them already since you’re following this tutorial step by step . If not, go boot up Max and good luck trying to catch up to the lesson.
Go ahead and open the Global switches settings rollout, and change the Secondary Ray Bias to 0.01. This makes Vray render imperfect surfaces (such as two boxes sitting really close to each other) without visual artifacts.
2. Now open the Image Sampler: Anti-aliasiang rollout. In it, change Image Sampler Type to : Adaptive QMC. This is a faster method than Adaptive Subdivision with sharper image results, at least in my experience. Also select the Anti-aliasing Filter to Mitchel-Netravalli for soft, natural-looking renderings. Feel free to play with this setting later on.
3. Open up Indirect Illumination( GI ) . Here you must turn on GI (main checkbox in this rollout), set the PRIMARY engine to IRRADIANCE MAP, the SECONDARY engine to LIGHT CACHE. This is by far the fastest combination for great-looking GI at a fraction of the time it takes to use Quasi-MonteCarlo…
4. Open up the Irradiance Map rollout. Here’s where it can get tricky. I use these settings :
Current preset: Medium – Animation
HSph. Subdivisions : 32-40 (32 for previews)
Interp. Samples : 20
Show calc. phase: TICKED
Mode : Single Frame (must be changed for animations, see another tutorial for this..)
5. Open up the Light Cache rollout. I use these settings for good results :
Subdivs: 350-700 (350 for previews, 700 for final renderings)
Sample size : 0.03
Use light cache for glossy rays: TICKED
Mode: Single Frame (must be changed for animations)
6. Open up the Environment rollout. Here we can override max’s default environment. Environment light is light that enter the scene from all angles, just like light entering a room through a window. It is automatically computed by the vray engine as coming from all directions. Environment light provides an easy way for us to light our scene, by simply raising the multiplier value in this rollout.
Go ahead and CLICK the Environment checkbox (GI Environment Skylight Override) to a good initial value of 5.0. High values such as this (and higher) help light INTERIOR scenes correctly (!). Why? Because just like a real-world camera needs lots of natural light in order to take a correct photograph of an interior, vray also does need lots of light coming in from the outside to light an interior scene so that it looks REAL.
This is one of the secrets of Photorealism… To simulate just the right amount of light inside a scene. Secondary to this is the quality of your modelling, but that is an obvious statement. If your 3d models are not realistic, your scene won’t be, either.
7. Now that we’ve enabled the Environment Override checkbox and set a value for it, we’re going to open the Color Mapping rollout.
Color mapping is CRUCIAL to your render’s realism, since it controls how colors are DRAWN to the screen. I will not go into an in-depth explanation of this works, I will leave it up to you to search for how the different settings work, but a in a nutshell :
- Linear multiply : Will make your renderings use pretty much no color correction. Makes renders be super-bright and overshot. We don’t want this.
- Exponential : Limits the output of black and white colors to a maximum, BUT makes your renderings muddy and requires image post work.
- Reinhard mode: Exactly what we’re looking for. A mix of Linear and Exponential modes.
Go ahead and select Reinhard mode as your Color Mapping type. When you do so, leave the Multiplier to 1.0, set the BURN value to 0.65, and Gamma to 1.0
Here’s the secret to great vray renderings: Reinhard mode’s BURN value lets you interpolate between Linear and Exponential modes, providing a “mixed” mode, that is, providing ADJUSTABLE BALANCE between the two modes. Setting this value to 0.65 gives us a great balance between the two modes. Go ahead and set this value.
Now you are done with the Vray Settings.
Go ahead and save your work.
Additional 3dsmax settings
Now we’re going to set the sky color to a realistic white. Press 8 to bring up the Environment and Effects dialog. In the background: common parameters rollout, click the Environment Color color box and select a pure white color (100% white).
Our first test render …
Now let’s see what our scene looks like right now. We’ve got a window, a sun (Direct light), Vray GI enabled and configured, and some textured floors and walls.
Hit F9 to render your scene out. This will take anywhere from under a minute to 6 minutes, depending on your machine’s speed. Currently on a 2.0 Ghz Core2Duo, rendering takes a mere 2:23, thanks to our render setup detailed above.
The resulting render is not bad, check out the result of following each step in this tutorial !
However, our result is FAR from realistic. It needs more light. You can clearly see that there’s just not enough light coming into the room. Let’s fix that now. What we need is a VRAY LIGHT poking through our window.
8. Go to the Create Panel, click on the Create Lights icon, then select the “Vray” light type. Now select the “VrayLight” button.
9. In the LEFT viewport, or a viewport where you can SEE our window in the wall from the front, draw a vraylight by click-dragging in the viewport, so that you create a light in this exact position :
10. Use the other viewports to position the new light so that it sits right outside the hole (window) in the wall.
11. Set the following parameters for the light :
Units: Default (image)
12. Now we have much more light coming into our scene from our “window”… Let’s render it and see how it looks. Press F9 to quick render..
Now that’s better! The lighting in the rooms looks more realistic, almost natural-looking, like its 3 pm or something. Great! See the workflow? Good.
Remember that if you feel that your scene is too dark, all you have to do is tweak the Multiplier value of your VrayLight OR change the Environment Multiplier in the Vray Render Settings. ! It’s that simple. You don’t have to mess with other settings (unless you really know your vray inside and out..).
Adding objects and life
Still reading eh? Good for you. At this point, our scene’s lighting is nice. But we have a problem… Our scene is kinda empty. You can hear the walls echo when you walk in this room. Creepy. Let’s fix that.
1. Using your viewports and the Box tool, draw some boxes that fit your scene like this :
These will become a SLIDING CLOSET in our scene.
Go ahead and make these 2.50 meters tall. Make them sit on your floor, too.
3. Now we’re going to make these have a LIGHT WOOD texture. Open Material Editor (press M), select an empty slot with no material assigned, click the Standard button, select VrayMtl to create a Vray Material, click its Diffuse box, select Bitmap, then go ahead and find the “Wood_Drawer.jpg” file from the ZIP file that came with this lesson (shown at the top).
4. Now select your three new drawer doors you just created, and click Material > Assign Material to Selection in the Material Editor. Wham, there you have it, instant sliding closet!!
5. Now we’re going to create a cool glass-like sliding panel to each box just for style. Select all your doors with the mouse, then go to your FRONT viewport. Now here’s a neat new trick for you:
Press R to go switch to the Non-Uniform Scale tool.
With the boxes selected, RIGHT-SHIFT DRAG the transform gizmo in the Y axis downward.
This will create a DUPLICATE of all three boxes at once, scaling the boxes as you duplicate them at the same time !
Release the shift-drag when you’re pleased with the size of the new panels. 3dsmax then shows you the Clone Options , select the COPY method and click OK.
6. In your top viewport, move the three NEW boxes (the sliding panels) in the Y axis just about 0.05 meters, so that they stick out just a bit. This is done so that the panels can be seen on TOP of the wood.
7. Now we’re going to create a GLASS material for our new panels. Open the Material Editor (press M), select an empty material slot, then create a new VrayMtl with the following settings :
8. Apply the material to our panels. Render the scene. You should have something like this :
Now our scene is improving dramatically. As we model more objects or add them from 3d libraries, your scene will only improve in photo-realism. You will NOT need to tweak the lighting with this workflow from now on.
Here’s an illustrarion of that. The following rendering was done with the same lighting setup, but more objects in the scene :
That concludes our tutorial. I hope you had fun and learned some things about Max and Vray. I really do.
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