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11 November 2003, 12:12 PM
Note from moderator
Hey guys, I moved this to the resources forum to have a focussed discussion about the creation of mental ray shaders, please keep it that and that alone. if you are having errors and shaderunrelated questions about mental ray, please use the regular maxforum

Cheers, Equinoxx

9/26/2005 - Since lighting questions periodically find there way into this shader discussion, I thought it might be helpful to add links to some of the existing Mental Ray lighting threads here at CGtalk. Please be sure to use these if appropriate, or make a new thread instead of posting lighting questions in this thread:

Here's a brief overview of this thread:
Table of Contents:

Post: Page:
HDRI: 17 2
474 32

Glow/Glare: 61 5
191-192 13
217-220 15
583-584 39
1259 84
1297-1299 87
1308 88

Amber: 1580 106

Max7 SSS: 1631 109

Subscatter: 112 8
133 9

Carbon Fiber: 78 6
1645 110
1664 111

Metal(lume): 103-104 7
626 42

Dirtmap: 117 8
122 9
129 9
272-273 19
458-459 31
739 50
885 59

TransVol SSS: 146 10

IES with Max6: 159 11

Unlock Shaders: 179-180 12

Car Paint: 376 26
518 35

Anisotropic: 1121-1122 75
1861-1875 35

Glass: 419 28
1012 68
1128 76

Ice: 1802 121 (Max7)
1188 80
1260 84

Photon(basic): 697 47

AOCC/SSS tut: 718 48

DGS materials: 676 46

Diffusion: 1053-1061 71
1070-1079 72

How do I install these .mi & .dll files?
Max(6): 438-439 30
232-236 16
510 34

Max(7): 1655-1660 111

Does Bucket size matter:201-204 14

1/25/09 - Here's some more current, useful mental ray related sites:

I will try and keep all posted maxfiles up to date in this initial post.

8/26/04 - Update: I've started compiling all this info onto a part of my website.

Get the .MAT file here ( updated 4/27/2005

I've converted most of the architectural materials to DGS materials here:
DGS-architectural materials (

"The .mat file gives me missing .dll errors on startup" need to make sure you have all the extra shaders that are discussed in this thread. I've posted my MR folders in .zip format to make this a bit easier (these are old and from they may not be compatible with newer versions of 3dsmax).
Link removed because files were outdated.

Along those lines, David Baker from has added a mental ray section onto You can find most of the shaders listed in this thread (and some that arent), at his website. And they are updated as new versions are made. So be sure to check his site here:

If you have this question: "Ok, I have downloaded this .mat file...what do I do with it?", I've made a quick video that illustrates how to open a .mat file in 3dsmax. You'll need the techsmith codec to view the video...if you don't know where to get the techsmith codec, search google for techsmith codec. Here's the video:

Get the HDRI Files here (
Glass - 3s ( - by Folical9
Rubber - 3s ( - by Cabbage

Well, I think I have "issues". I've been on a non-stop SSS/translucency journey since installing my copy of ver.6. I've finally made a glass w/SSS material that I'm pleased with.

It took a while to render (4 hours), but here's my result. I have disabled caustics on my ground plane because I still have a couple of tweaks to make with them. But it does generate caustics. There is only one light used in this scene.

11 November 2003, 12:40 PM
that looks pretty damn funky! :applause: Is that the architectural glass material in action?

//edit: Is that light emitting photons? or are you using only the final gathering?

11 November 2003, 12:47 PM
Yes, photons, no final gathering. Not the Architectural glass either. It's mainly caustics that are generating this effect. I'm using the "parti-volume" shader on a standard raytrace material.

Here's a link to the document that helped explain the parti-volume shader to me:

Edit: I would also like to thank Martin Baadsgaard for his research on the Parti volume shader found here:,198

11 November 2003, 01:26 PM
thanks for the link and the info! I'd love to see that 'thingy' animated. Slowly changing shape and pulsing...that would prolly look pretty kewl. I hope you can get the render time down a bit.

11 November 2003, 01:29 PM
Wow 4 hours to render.

I usually think that max has frozen up if a render has taken more than 15 mins.

Looks very funky btw.

11 November 2003, 01:33 PM
Really interesting research your doing there!

Too bad MR is really badly documented (in max) unless you really know what you are after and dig deep.

I tried to dublicate this scene with default scanline result was overally pleasing.

Rendertime with Fast Adaptive Antialiaser and AMD XP 2200+ was 24 min. 37 sec. I surfed while it rendered so comp wasn't solely dedicated to rendering. It could have came out a little faster.

Only one light in scene. A blue omni inside that thingy. With raytrace AA turned off it comes much faster.

11 November 2003, 06:31 PM
ssalo: very nice indeed. You can do wonders with the scanline, for sure. Can you post any of your settings? Especially that translucent one from the other day.

I want to share the settings for the glass I made so others can experiment as well, so here goes.

Select to use Mental Ray for the renderer, then

(1) Create a Raytrace material. Set it up just as you would normally for glass. Two sided, and make the diffuse almost pure white. Thats it. I left the IOR @ 1.55

(2) In the Mental Ray Connection roll out add a Parti Volume (physics) shader to the Photon Volume slot and the Volume slot as well.

(3) Settings for the Parti Volume located in the Photon Volume rollout:

Mode is set to 2. I forget the name of this mode, but it's listed in that .pdf file I linked to earlier. Scatter color is the default grey.

Extinction: You will have to adjust this based upon the shape & size of the item you are applying the texture to. I found mine to work best at 1.5

The only other points I adjusted were the minimum step length (2.0), and the maximum step length (8.0). Again, you will probably have to adjust these based on your specific model.

(4) Settings for the Parti volume shader located in the volume rollout:

Mode is set to 0

Scatter color: Make this the color you want to be scattered inside the object. I made mine dark blue.

Extinction: You will have to adjust to taste, but I set mine at 1.0

Minimum step length: 0.1
Maximum step length: 5.0

Thats it for the material itself!

Now apply this material to your object and make sure the object is set to generate caustics.

Next, you only need one light to shine on your model. I used a mental ray area spotlight, but a regular spotlight will work too.

I enabled raytrace shadows.

Under the mental ray indirect illumination rollout of the light:
UNCHECK the use global settings. The "on" box below will be enabled. I set the energy to 50000, decay at 2.0, caustic photons at 100000 (you will need to adjust to your scene). Global illumination photons are at 10000.

Once ALL of this is done, now your ready to render. Make sure you've enabled caustics in the indirect illumination rollout of the mental ray renderer. I set the samples to 64 on mine.

No Final gather.

Thats it, hit render and post your cool creations so I can see them!

11 November 2003, 08:35 PM
but 4 hours, can't seem to use it in my skins shaders

11 November 2003, 08:44 PM
Caustics is a killer, isn't it? I mean 4 hours...:surprised

11 November 2003, 08:44 PM
"but 4 hours, can't seem to use it in my skins shaders"

Yes, thats a nasty render time, but my PC is not the fastest by any means (dual MP1600's). Plus, I'm just learning how to use Mental Ray myself, so I'm no expert on what to increase / decrease to make a speedy render. Other than the basic samples, etc.

I really need a new PC. I may post my file if someone with a 3 ghz or higher Xeon system or newer Opteron would be willing to render it for comparison?

11 November 2003, 08:48 PM
I really need a new PC. I may post my file if someone with a 3 ghz or higher Xeon system or newer Opteron would be willing to render it for comparison? [/B]

Well I have a 3.06 Ghz P4 with a gig ram but I have Maya.

I do have something that might be able to import 3ds files, who knows. Or if you have an export to Maya thing, then maybe that too.

11 November 2003, 08:51 PM
Hehe, my machine would probably take days!:cry:

11 November 2003, 09:58 PM
Wow that looks dope. I am definitely going to try this out. Thanks for sharing the information Folical9! :buttrock:

11 November 2003, 08:07 AM
I have a 3.0 ghz pentium 4 with hyper threading and 1 gig ram.

I would like to render the file for comparison.

11 November 2003, 03:44 PM
I've made some adjustments and have the rendertimes down to somthing a bit more acceptable. The image below was rendered in 21 minutes and 42 seconds on my dual MP1600.

I should point out the white light at the base of the feet of the object. That's not caustics. I have the ground plane set to not receive caustics. It's actually the light being transferred from the object to the plane. It seems that if the glowing object touches something, it passes the light through to it. Odd behaviour none the less.

People have had problems creating the same effect, so I'm putting the above scene on my server. It includes the blue glass as well as this orange one. Also, if you dare, you can enable Final gather and turn the skylight on and render it. It's setup for HDRI maps already. Render times will go WAY up though. But you will get nice transparant colored shadows.

Here's the file:
Download SSS Glass (

11 November 2003, 04:03 PM
Thanks for sharing m8! I tried to recreate the material with your instructions but I didn't even come close to your results. The object would always get totally blown out (white) and I did not manage to tone that down... :shrug:

11 November 2003, 04:11 PM
No problem. If you guys get some neat renders, please post them so I can see!

Also, If you need the HDRI maps that I used in this scene, you can get them from this previous download:
HDRI scene (

11 November 2003, 04:52 PM
Here's what the HDRI render looks like if you enable the skylight on the scene (render time 42 minutes 12 seconds on dual MP1600)

11 November 2003, 08:55 PM
folical9, Just Thanks for info and files...

Why mentalray(in max) is very different from mental ray in other 3d packages(I'm talking about sss) ???

11 November 2003, 09:21 PM

This is what I get when I render. It's at a slightly different angle, and I zoomed out to save render time. Looks almost identical to yours other than yours has a slight glow around it. Did you do any post-processing in your image?

11 November 2003, 02:20 AM
Yes, I think it looks better with a bit of blurring done in photoshop. Thats what gives mine that soft glow. That was the only change though.

Looks like the same angle to me, but maybe I moved the perspective view a bit before I saved...I dont remember. Anyways, atleast it looks the same and now you have the material to play around with.

11 November 2003, 02:51 AM
Yes, I agree about it looking better with a soft glow. :) I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something - or that max wasn't correctly reproducing the effect that you created. Thank you again for sharing that material, it will definitely be an inspiration and aid in complex material construction.

11 November 2003, 05:02 AM
"Thank you again for sharing that material, it will definitely be an inspiration and aid in complex material construction. "

I'm just glad to be able to contribute something to a community that inspire's me almost everyday.

11 November 2003, 05:03 AM
Nice thread. Here is my try:

Under "Rendering Algorithms" in the "Renderer" tab I tried both normal and rapid for scanline. With normal selected time was 38mins 15secs, while with rapid selected render time was 1 hr 38mins 48 secs. I'm a vray user so I have no clue about tweaking MR, but I'm sure there are settings that are crazy tweakable. Maybe we can start with the AA settings? And yes, MR is not very well documented, niether is VRay but the ChaosGroup forum is great resource.

11 November 2003, 06:36 AM
Thank you for posting your render times.

11 November 2003, 10:24 AM
I think I managed to get the same quality as your picture but at 12 min 50 sec.

Sorry about the crappy compression. I can assure you it looks a lot like yours without the compression.

I was going to upload the MAX file with the changes but I have no webspace. If you want I can send it to you.

My computer is an Athlon XP 1800+, 512 MB RAM.

11 November 2003, 02:54 PM
Matlock: WOW, thats great! What did you tweak to get the render time down that low?

11 November 2003, 03:49 PM
First of all, I tweaked everything in 5 minutes max. And while rendering I had Windows Media Player on and I was surfing aswell.
Secondly, I believe that you can tweak the settings even better.

This is what I remember doing.

Changing the lights caustic photons to 70000.
Renderer Tab
Samples per pixel: Min 1/4, Max 4
Bucket Width: 48
Max. Trace Depth: Refl 3, Refr 4, Sum 4
Indirect Illumination tab
Photons (Caustics & GI)
Samples: 100
Max. Trace Depth: Refl 3, Refr 2, Sum 5

This is what I remember going through and changing. I believe the biggest time savers are the Samples per pixel and the Max Trace Depth Settings. Hope that helps.

And thanks for posting your file. I hope you can see this as a reward. :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 04:41 PM
AWESOME! Thanks for the tips. I adjusted further and found that you can get by with only 35000 photons in the caustic paramaters of the spot light. By doing that and making the other changes you made, mine rendered in 6 minutes and 33 seconds.


11 November 2003, 04:43 PM
So the photons were the big time stealer. Nice work!

And I should be thanking you for posting your file. So, thank you.

11 November 2003, 08:09 PM
I thought I'd post my material for you guys to use.
I tried to recreate plastic (or wax) as best as I could.
Here's the result:

11 November 2003, 08:12 PM
Interesting shape.. it does not look like wax but it looks like a big solid clear rubber dog chew toy or something like that.. wax is much less translucent and less reflective.

11 November 2003, 08:31 PM
"looks like a big solid clear rubber dog chew toy or something like that"

LOL, yes it does, especially at the legs. Thank you for sharing the material!

11 November 2003, 10:14 PM
Hey guys, I merged this into the Mental Ray Shader thread to keep it all in one location if you don't mind :)

11 November 2003, 08:01 AM
Ok, Thought I would continue creating materials. These are some basic metals. Most use the Metal-lume shader.

Car paints: paints.jpg

Non-blurred metals:

Blurred metals:

11 November 2003, 12:41 PM
Those are looking ace there my man. Will update the first post to include them and mirror them on my server


11 November 2003, 08:29 PM
Hi folical9,

I tried loading your materials max file and I got the following message....

"Missing map files"

The toon, Red, and Blue car paints materials work great.


11 November 2003, 09:30 PM
"Missing map files"

You will find those two maps in the HDRI sample scene I uploaded a while back. I put another link to it on page two of this thread (I think..) It's called HDRI scene (second post down).

It was late/early when I uploaded these last materials and I was too lazy to include the environment HDRI's again.

11 November 2003, 10:32 PM
the download for the HDRI's has also been added to the 1st post of this thread.


11 November 2003, 08:20 AM
wow this thread is really helpful :)...

*starts max ;)

11 November 2003, 10:24 PM
Yes, thats a nasty render time, but my PC is not the fastest by any means (dual MP1600's).

Oh oh... I think I must kill myself because my Pentium III 800...

...I say goodbye Mental Ray... :cry:

11 November 2003, 02:43 AM
Don't be discouraged yet. This is a new realm and without proper documentation, the settings we are using now are not optimized.

Just look a couple of threads back and you will see that Matlock made improvements that really saved time. I adjusted more and the render times are much better now.

Just for giggles, I will make adjustments and re-render the 4 hour glass thingy and see what I can get it down to.

EDIT: I just re-rendered the 4 hour render, and with the adjustments to the number of caustic photons, etc., the updated render time was 11 minutes and 43 second....Not bad for a few tweaks!

11 November 2003, 08:45 AM
Wow, folical9...that's a big improvement....well done.

11 November 2003, 12:31 PM
in max6 is a glass (lume) shader - but "edge shadow" dont works :( (shader element)
maybe i'm wrong
maybe i'm stiupid
maybe mr on max have bug :(
maybe someone will set scene with 3 glass and affect shadow effect


11 November 2003, 07:06 PM
i was wondering if any of you guys, know how to use an object as a light with mentl ray...(the lighting overide mat doesn't work), and the self illumination output map doesnt genterate photons so the globals don't work.
nice materials pholical9

11 November 2003, 08:01 PM
Object lights like these can be created using the glow (lume) shader and final gather.

11 November 2003, 08:48 PM
:) phisic glass wit transparent shadow?
(witout fakes?)

11 November 2003, 09:14 PM
I can't seem to get the edge shadow part to work either PENdzel. Still trying though.

11 November 2003, 07:15 PM

try that site:bounce: :bounce: :applause:

12 December 2003, 01:02 AM
Great work on the MR materials, been experimenting some with it afther this thread, and it really kicks.. I prefer FR tho.. Have any examples of Pearlecent Carpaint in MR ? :)

12 December 2003, 02:54 AM
Deetee, I'm trying to convert some brazil car paint materials over to MR. I will post them when they are complete.

Also, here's a link to some more MR materials. They are listed in the "downloads" section.

12 December 2003, 08:52 PM
mental ray is too slow, specially in SSS and finalgather, so how i can make a skin shader :eek:

12 December 2003, 06:23 AM
hi guys

where should i put the HDRI file ???

i tried what folical9 said about his setting but nothing happend ? i dont know why ?

12 December 2003, 07:43 AM
it's me again

i traid to make render on folical9 file GLASS_SSS.MAX

firts it asked me for the HDRI file. i have some file so i can replace them, the proplem is i dont know where should i assing them.

second problem, i put the light and changed the setting as it's mention before.

look what i got

RCGI 0.2 error 361053: no photons stored after emitting 1000000 photons (canceling emission job)
RCGI 0.2 warn 362004: no photons stored after emitting 10000 photons

12 December 2003, 11:53 AM
I cant find the Mental ray Connection rollout. Where is it exactly? Refering to step 5 in the 3dluvr tut. "Faking SSS with Mental Ray ( ".

12 December 2003, 11:54 AM
Im not an expert on this, byt i think it means your model is not complex enough for the amount of photons seleceted to be used. Try making the model more complex, and see if it will work then

12 December 2003, 02:03 PM
aljoker: We don't need all your 100 errors... just one of them is enough, So please edite your post with just one of the errors.
This thread is very useful for all of maxers... thanks for understanding.

To solve this problem you should decrease the number of photons.
because it is very high for this small scene...
Or create a great sphere beside your scene that you want to render (out of camera view).
This error will happen most of the time so you can solve them with above ways...

12 December 2003, 02:11 PM

The two HDRI files are available on the first page of this thread (if you want them). There's one small blurred HDRI that you should use for a light source (place it in the map slot for the skylight). Then a larger non-blurred HDRI file is used for the environment.

Also, on page two of this thread (second post) is an example scene using those HDRI's. You can download it and get a visual reference for placement of the HDRI's if needed.

In summary,

Small Blurred HDRI = Skylight map
Larger non-blurred HDRI = Environment map

Final Gather MUST be enabled in order for HDRI lighting to work within Mental Ray. This will also increase your render times.

Hope that helps.

12 December 2003, 02:30 PM

It's at the very bottom of the material tree:

12 December 2003, 03:45 PM
You may need to go to the Customize, preferences, then go to the Mental Ray tab and turn on the button to enable mental ray extensions. This will allow you to see the Mental Ray connections tab.

Just to let you all know, this thread has answered hours of questions in under minuets. I have been stumbling through the help files in max 6 and cannot even find the words SSS. And also a big thanks to all who have shared files and spent there own time finding out all the settings and answers.

12 December 2003, 05:05 PM
Thanks for the tip BigRanS123, I didn't know that the connection could be enabled / disabled.

A while back I ran across a scene that Nik Clark ( Tbonz816)made with Brazil RS. It was some glowing light tubes. I have recreated the scene (as best I remember) with mental ray.

Here's what I ended up with:

12 December 2003, 05:33 PM
Yeah guys, this is a very helpful thread, so lets try to keep it on track. Some of this other stuff can be found in the manual, or by reading this thread a little more carefully.

Folical, the original tubes were created by Nik Clark, a very talented Brazil user and contributor.

12 December 2003, 12:33 AM
Took every material and wrapped it inside a .mat file, if anyone is interrested in that.

MR Materials Compilation (

12 December 2003, 04:46 AM
Nima_3dman and folical9

thanks, and sorry for my post. i'll not do it again. anyway i manage to make a good render i'll post it here next time becouse i feel it's not like the one which folical9 do with HDRI.

12 December 2003, 03:57 AM
hi everybody

this is what i was talking about.

it took me 15 min to finish the render.

my PC is
CPU:3Ghz pentium
Ram:1GB DDR 400Mghz
VGA: GeForce FX5900 Ultra 256MB

12 December 2003, 05:45 PM
I used a grass bump map in the MR displacement slot to make this patch o' grass. Material is on a low poly plane (4x4 grid)

12 December 2003, 06:48 PM
Dont you just love MR? The more I use it the more I fall in love :D

12 December 2003, 07:00 PM
why dont we use MR materials it self.

we dont have to use the old materials which come with max .

i hope yuo got me :hmm:

visualboo, you right buddy .

i start to love MR. :thumbsup:

12 December 2003, 07:10 PM
Deetee and others,

I've updated the compilation .mat file (thanks Deetee). I've added some things (grass and the chamelion paint below). And I've taken some things out. We don't have permission to post the actual materials from (yet). I will fire off an email and see what happens.

I've posted the .MAT file on the first thread and will update it when others add materials here.

"why dont we use MR materials it self. "

Well, we can, however you will still need a surface material, which is more than likely going to be a basic 3ds material anyway.

12 December 2003, 07:29 PM
I"m trying to make that awesome grass.. coudl u post the bump map u used?


12 December 2003, 07:34 PM

It's a standard archmat material. It's located at:


12 December 2003, 07:35 PM
i've got a pretty serious problem... whenever i try to use glow(lume) Max crash. Anyone have a clue??

12 December 2003, 07:46 PM
Let's try and keep the focus of this thread on creating / sharing shaders. Problems/errors with Mental Ray will probably get more attention in the regular maxforum anyway.

With that being said, abbegon, have you modified or added any .mi files?

12 December 2003, 08:53 PM
sry about that...

can't remember :|...

anyhow i'll pm you if i can't fix it.. thnx

12 December 2003, 01:19 AM
nice work....btw i was messing around the other day and happened to create a multi sub-object mat, for one of the widows with stored mat channels. i could not get the glass(lume) shader to work.i got the an error from the mr comand line, any body notice any mat id problems?

12 December 2003, 01:57 AM
Actually I think it has something to do with multi-subobject materials. Not sure but I don't think MR supports them.

12 December 2003, 02:13 AM
I believe Mental Ray supports the Glass(Lume) shader in multi-subobject materials, I've only gotten the error when I used a Glass Phenomenon material in a multi-subobject material

12 December 2003, 06:57 AM
Got Carbon Fiber?

12 December 2003, 08:14 AM
Now I know your a car guy ;)

First "chamelion" car paint. Most people just call it "car paint" :D and now the always there carbon fiber. And btw dude, that's the best looking carbon fiber shader I've ever seen. Besides the minor stretching that you would get with the fake CF... Well done.

Would you mind sharing this with everyone?

12 December 2003, 11:38 AM
w0w, that carbob fibre looks pretty damned cool! Must be the best carbomfibre replice i've seen, great work!:applause:

12 December 2003, 01:01 PM
we need the setting,

how did you do that :eek: ?????????????????????


Rich Joyce
12 December 2003, 01:48 PM
[falls off chair]

that carbon fibre is the excellent!

seriously impressed! :applause:

[dusts self off and returns to work]

12 December 2003, 02:43 PM
Detective Visualboo is correct......I'm a car freak. :buttrock: lol.

I've added the carbon fiber to the .mat file now. Which can be found in the first post of this thread. You will more than likely need to adjust the checker map to fit the object you apply the carbon fiber to.

:surprised back to the

12 December 2003, 06:35 PM
I wonder if we can come up with a way to actually make it look like real carbon fiber for an animation? Maybe some sort of sub-bump with anistropic specular. I'll have to think about that for a bit.

12 December 2003, 04:20 AM
In my always in progress search for Mental Ray mastery I modeled a quick hood and gave it a go.

I still don't have quite the specular falloff that I'm looking for yet but it's getting there. This is a great shader to try and replicate because it's insanely complicated. Don't believe me? :D Go to a motorcycle shop or a car place that sells performance parts and look at a piece of the real thing. Make sure it's not the fake stuff that's just painted btw.

Anyway, Sub-Surface bump (ssb ;) ) with some crazy specular stuff goin on...

12 December 2003, 04:38 AM
shweeet! :buttrock:

12 December 2003, 05:15 PM
dang it, thats sweet. im still having trouble getting the stupid grass to work. i thought i had all the necessary files but it still doesnt seem to want to work

12 December 2003, 05:19 PM
dang it, thats sweet. im still having trouble getting the stupid grass to work. i thought i had all the necessary files but it still doesnt seem to want to work

12 December 2003, 07:04 PM
I just double checked the .mat file. It worked fine for me. All I did was create a plane, set mental ray as the renderer, and apply the grass texture to the plane....voila grass.

You could try taking another standard material and just apply a checker map to the mental ray displacement slot to see if it does anything.

If not, then check to make sure displacement is enabled in the render dialog box of mental ray (very bottom of the render tab)

12 December 2003, 07:32 PM
yea, i got all the shaders and maps there but when i render in MR it just renders as a black shader. dont know what im doing wrong

12 December 2003, 08:00 PM
folical9, you are a master :thumbsup:

the .MAT file is cool, dont imagin how happy i am to get it.

many thanks.

BTW the grass mat works fine with me.

look at it.

12 December 2003, 08:06 PM
ok, i figured it out.. had somthing not set right but i got it. thanks for the help.

12 December 2003, 09:01 PM
Da_rock21: Cool, glad you got it to work.

Aljoker: I'm not a master by any means. Just trying to share information (which is greatly needed when it comes to this mental ray package). I'm glad the thread is helping people. Hopefully more will share some shaders and we can all continue to learn.

12 December 2003, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the grass. that has helped me in quite a few situations already. :thumbsup:

I will try to bring some textures to the table, when I don't have so much work to do!! :surprised

thanks again

12 December 2003, 09:56 PM

Incredible possibilities with max and mental ray. Quite inspiring to see your rendering.

By the way, is it possible to have your rubber and metal shader, your links are not working.



12 December 2003, 10:07 PM
Not sure why that one link isn't working, however all of the materials can be found in the .mat file

CGtalk Mental Ray .MAT file (

12 December 2003, 09:56 PM
man, nice works guys. anyone else hosting the mat file? i've tried the links in here but they all seem dead. thanks and keep up the good work!!! I'm just learnin MR but these shaders and this thread have helped tons. appreciated.

12 December 2003, 10:07 PM
Just check back in later. It appears myy server has gone south for the winter for some reaon. GOD I hate impacthosting. My server simply dissapears from time to time, then they tell me it's a problem with MY ISP...ummm....not.

Sorry for the rant. Bottom line, when it goes offline, it normally comes back within an hour or so.

12 December 2003, 10:11 PM Great host.

Yeah my old host used to have problems and they would try and make it seem like it's my fault in some way. What they didn't realize is that I run my own linux server and know quite a bit about that sort of thing. I called bullshit on them a couple of times really good. hehe:beer:

12 December 2003, 10:40 PM
Thanks for the tip. I will be switching host's in the near future.

Edit: I've added a mirror link for the .mat file on the first post. Thanks again Visualboo.

Edit2: And as I post the mirror, my server re-appears. Ahhhhhh.

12 December 2003, 02:51 AM
folical9, what could MR do with nickle Materials. ???

could you do an example and show me the result? :bounce:

12 December 2003, 04:40 AM
A quick search on google resulted in many types of nickle. Can you point me to a picture that's close to what your looking for?

12 December 2003, 05:41 AM
this one is ok ,,

thanks ,

12 December 2003, 07:35 AM
Are these getting close?

12 December 2003, 09:10 AM

that's cool. is the first one is one material ?

becouse i see the ball wich inside is diffrent. or is it the HDR make that soft efficts ??

but still incredible :eek:

12 December 2003, 11:40 AM
folical9: I've uploaded to some more mirrors 10mbit 10mbit 100mbit 1000mbit

12 December 2003, 01:57 PM
It's two materials. I left the smaller chrome spheres just to help illustrate that I'm not simply blurring an environment map to make the dull reflections.

I will add the materials to the .mat file later today.
EDIT: They have been added.

edit: WOW, thanks for the mirror's Deetee. I will add them to the first post as well.

12 December 2003, 06:26 PM
thanks folical9,


Rich Joyce
12 December 2003, 08:22 PM
nice one guys. these shaders are really great work! I've tried to get the grips of MR but these are helping a lot.

thanks again to all who have contributed. i love my proce4durals and will also contribute asap ;)

genesis max
12 December 2003, 12:54 AM
Skin shader anyone, what actually intrigues me the most is the way SSS works in MRay,can someone please bother to explain me cause i found nothing in Manuals:shrug: .
In Brazil you got really great manual, but as far MRay goes don't know i just not get it.If it has SSS does it do multiscattering,or just singlescattering or you have to fake, help someone,thanks:)

12 December 2003, 03:32 PM
The skin shader would be cool to work on, and if it had SSS that would just put it over the top. I donít know enough about the SSS to perfect that, but I will try to get a MR shader and one of you experts in SSS can add that to the mix. This may take me some time, but I will work on it.

Thanks again for all the work from everybody.

12 December 2003, 03:42 PM
There's a "subscatter" shader over at lightengine3d ( It's been ported from Maya & XSI to Max6. I experimented with it last night and it seems to work great! I really think this shader will help with making a realistic skin.

Here's a quick example. Doesnt look like skin, more like jelly, but you get the idea. I have one spotlight behind the object pointing towards the camera, and one very dim omni (too dim) just to add some fill light.

12 December 2003, 05:05 PM
That looks cool folical. Try it on a more typical situation like an ear. Btw, where did you find the shader ported to max 6? I've been all over that site and can't find it. Actually I tried to port it myself a while ago but somewhat failed :( so I think it's cool that someone did.

Off Topic:
Why was my erlier post deleted? Can I at least get an explenation?

12 December 2003, 05:09 PM
I think I recall it had nothing to do with the topic at hand, that being mental ray shaders.

if you have something to complain about mental ray do so in the main maxforum.

12 December 2003, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the response EQ. Point taken.

But look at the thread title. It was about a MR SSS skin shader, so maybe I just shouldn't post at all anymore. ;)

12 December 2003, 07:27 PM
Hmmmm, sounds like that link may be taking you to a different screen than it does when I click it. Because when I click the link I'm sent to a page that has a link called subscatter v1.0, I click that and it takes me to another page with a description about the subscatter shader and to the left is the download button.

I tried to get this to work a couple of months ago as well. It would only render a black material. Luckily they were nice enough to convert it over for us.

12 December 2003, 08:25 PM
I wrote an interface of Daniel Rind's Dirtmap Shader for max6.
It now appears similar to the one in XSI.
You need the latest version of the shader.

You can download the .mi file (interface only)here:

If you don't already know the shader you can get it here:

About the lightengine3d shaders I noticed some problems:
It was originally designed for Maya. Objects created in maya are usually 100 times smaller than objects created in max.
The shader works with Maya-units, so most times it's better to scale down your max scenes to about 1 percent(depending on the size of your models) to get no strange artefacts(facetted surfaces e.t.c.).
Another problem is the selfshadowing of the shader that can't be switched off. Maybe in future versions.
Third problem: The shader works best being plugged into the "incidence" channel. Unfortunately there is nothing like that in max(or I couldn't find it).

Sorry for the long post and my bad english.
Have fun,

12 December 2003, 08:36 PM
Thanks a lot Markus. And thanks folical, I was just being stupid. :blush:

12 December 2003, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the tips Markus. Indeed there are some issues I cant seem to get around. For example, once the material is placed into the surface slot, how do you adjust the specular, gloss or reflections?

Another render:

12 December 2003, 10:39 PM

I just tried the dirtmap and wanted to say thanks again. I tried to get it to work a while back and was unable to. I have read the .html file but I'm still unclear on what exactly I'm suppose to do with the output from this map. Is it used to texture bake? Or am I missing something?

EDIT: I figured it out. MAN, this is going to be GREAT for rendering buildings, etc. Thanks again. The image below was rendered with only 1 spotlight and the dirtmap. NO GI.

12 December 2003, 08:56 AM
folical9, you have been doing amazing job researching mental ray shaders! Thanks m8! Maybe you will write a proper documentation for MR that discreet never did... :D

Can you explain how you used the dirtmap? I haven't figured out how to use it with a material and how get the shadows and stuff to work with it. Should it be just used as an AO pass for compositing, or can you actually add dirt to a material with it?

Thanks Markus. I figured it out now.

(mods, feel free to delete my posts to keep this thread tidy)

12 December 2003, 10:56 AM
Here are some links related to dirtmap over at XSIBase:;action=display;threadid=4880;action=display;threadid=5113;action=display;threadid=5840


12 December 2003, 11:21 AM
GREAT:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

12 December 2003, 03:41 PM

Can you post how you got the dirt to work in max6. I also have been all over lightengine3d and can not find a down load for the SSS stuff. Can you post a file?

Thanks again

Im working on getting the set of DVD's but if this thread keeps going, we wont need them.:beer:


12 December 2003, 04:02 PM
I should've posted this to begin with I suppose, but anywho, here is a direct link to the subscatter download at lightengine:

I will post a dirtmap scene with explanation shortly.

I'm really happy with mental ray for now. Just think of all the wonderful Maya & XSI shaders that can/will be ported over in the upcoming months!

12 December 2003, 06:18 PM
Here's some notes on the dirtmap shader. But please read the threads posted by Markus as well. There's way more to this shader than what I'm posting/doing with it.

(BTW) If you need/want the greeble plugin, get it here:
Greeble plugin (

1) I placed the dirtmap shader into the MR surface map slot of a basic standard 3ds material.

2) Make sure you have an environment. I used a HDR for my environment.

3) Setup a spotlight to illuminate the object. Nothing fancy, just 1.0 for the light value and white for the color.

4) In the dirtmap parameters, enable probe geometry, and probe environment...basically leave everything at the default settings for now.

5) render.

12 December 2003, 06:49 PM
Again, thanx for the priceless stuff u'r doin here!
(and thanx for the greeble tip, shame on me:wip: )

Another dumb question, wich i think maibe what rendermonkey23 was tryin to understand...

once u unzip the shaderpack relative to mr_Subscatter, lots of files (including the instalation.html) refer to it as being for Maya.
Now, exactly wich files, besides the md_subScatter.mi file u need to copy and to what other directories other than mentalray/include? if any :)

Thanx again!

12 December 2003, 07:08 PM
You simply must put the .mi files into "include" and the .dll files into "shaders". That's all. All the other stuff is for Maya or XSI.


12 December 2003, 07:27 PM
As a sidenote, after reading more of the threads over at the XSI forum, I used the dirtmap in the illumination & diffuse maps of a regular material and this is what rendered....again one spotlight for sun and that's GI no final gather.

I still have not used it to create dirt per say yet. There's a wonderful example of a bronze material using dirt in the first XSI link posted by Markus.

12 December 2003, 08:52 PM
Originally posted by folical9

2) Make sure you have an environment. I used a HDR for my environment.

Btw, just so everyone understands a little better you don't need an environment "map", you can also just set the background color to a color other than black.

12 December 2003, 09:27 PM
Is quickdirt (digimation) a dirtmap like the one u guys are using here, or thas that do something else?

12 December 2003, 09:49 AM
I guess now what we need is a solution for MAX/mental ray to do ambient occlusion based on shadow maps instead of raytracing (I'm thinking of animations now). I believe Andrew Whitehurst has written a tutorial for Maya/Renderman. Does anyone know how to adapt this to MAX/mental ray?

Link to A.W. website.

12 December 2003, 12:18 AM
Ok, so I couln't adjust the specular, reflection, etc of the subscatter shader. So I thought I would try mixing a raytrace glass material WITH the subscatter material and this is the resulting render.

Here's the scene (minus the model...just place your model where the sphere is located). I wasnt sure if I could add a mix material that references other materials to the .mat file

Download Subscatter Glass scene (

12 December 2003, 01:56 PM
cool.. thnx folical9
i'll definately take a look

12 December 2003, 12:59 AM
<<AWESOME! Thanks for the tips. I adjusted further and found that you can get by with only 35000 photons in the caustic paramaters of the spot light. By doing that and making the other changes you made, mine rendered in 6 minutes and 33 seconds.>>

Just a quick FYI, I saw mention of "upgrading to dual Xeon", with the settings from matlock it (glass-sss.max) rendered in 4.09 minutes on a 3D Boxx dual Xeon 3.06Ghz machine (with hyperthreading enabled) with 2Ghz or Ram... Not a huge render time difference for a hefty price difference...

12 December 2003, 03:40 AM
Thanks so much for that info web_weasel. I'm actually stunned at the performance. I really thought the render time would be alot lower than that. Maybe someone will chime in with a new dual opteron(?) setup.....hint....hint.

12 December 2003, 04:24 AM
Great work you have been doing Folical, I haven't had the time to try alot of this, but I have been following along:beer:

web_weasel, I agree about the dual xeons, but you have to consider that if you are talking about multiple frames(animation) the time difference would quickly add up.


12 December 2003, 05:02 AM
Thanks a lot for the shaders Folical, I was thinking too that an ambient occlusion shader will be great ... I read the web page that matlock talked about, and I think it could be done for MR ... Still dont have a clear idea how to do it but... I think it can be done... :)

12 December 2003, 02:50 PM
Cheers for all the great stuff folical9... but any chance of getting a copy of the hdr image you used as the environment in that max file... it comes up as missing when I load it... I think it's called 'Apt-probe.hdr'.

By the way I havenít used Hdr images before, so if I want to ad one as an Environment Map am I right in thinking I have to select 'Bitmap' from the Material Browser then select Real Pixels (32 bpp) in the HDRI Load Settings?

12 December 2003, 03:26 PM
Downpour, you can grab those hdr images in one of two places. One is on the very first post in this thread, up near the .mat file itself. Second is on page two, second post. I posted a basic hdri scene and zipped the images with it.

BTW - I'm glad you guys are finding the thread useful! :thumbsup:

12 December 2003, 06:15 PM
How are you opening .rar files? My WinZip gives me an error for some reason. This may be a funny question for some, but I have never had to deal with this file type before.

12 December 2003, 06:17 PM
Winrar is what I use, it can be found here:

12 December 2003, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by web_weasel
<<AWESOME! Thanks for the tips. I adjusted further and found that you can get by with only 35000 photons in the caustic paramaters of the spot light. By doing that and making the other changes you made, mine rendered in 6 minutes and 33 seconds.>>

Just a quick FYI, I saw mention of "upgrading to dual Xeon", with the settings from matlock it (glass-sss.max) rendered in 4.09 minutes on a 3D Boxx dual Xeon 3.06Ghz machine (with hyperthreading enabled) with 2Ghz or Ram... Not a huge render time difference for a hefty price difference...
What was the first machine's spec's?

12 December 2003, 07:55 PM
First Machine specs: Dual MP1600's, Tyan MB, 2GB DDR RAM, 7200 RPM HDD.

Edit: I didn't list the graphics card because I didnt think it mattered that much when we are comparing rendering times (correct me if I'm wrong). None the less, it's a radeon 9800 pro.

Edit2: I suppose this is going a bit off topic for this thread?

12 December 2003, 09:27 PM
folical9 , your comp is COOL enough but what about your graphic acceleretor?
Should be something like Nvidia Quardro FX I think?

With BIG RESPECT from Russia,

BTW I've got only: p4 1.9Ghz; 1Gb; RAMBUS; Geforce2GTS; Promise 1X2 mirror SCSI 80 GB HDDs; ASUS MB;


12 December 2003, 11:40 PM
Hi Guys,

I just started playing around with the Transvol 2.01 shader from Andy Hayes.

It supports ambient occlusion and sub surface scattering. I'm on my laptop so I haven't played with either or these options, just transparency and got something decent (although this is not representative of this shader's capacity).

Here is a zip file with:

- a simple image no SSS or AO (under 6 minutes on a 1.7ghz centrino)
- the 3dsmax6 and maya friendly version of the .mi file

Sorry the image isn't in the post, I just couldn't figure out how to add it in here. (if someone can post it visibly that would be great).

You can get the shader here: tranvol201.dll (

Get more info on the shader here: (

On the graphics card subject, it really doesn't matter for MR right now but at the last Siggraph some companies were using the FPU (nVidia quadro) to accelerate computation of complex things like fluid dynamics which in turn decreases render time dramatically. So the Graphics card will soon be a factor for more than playback.

12 December 2003, 09:45 AM
this would be it :)..

really nice shader
thnx for posting

12 December 2003, 11:36 AM
Please, can anyone explain to me what went wrong in my scene is it meterial or MR options? or both?


Beforehand thanks!
Used Chamelion modfyed material:
Tryed it on my scene:

12 December 2003, 03:49 PM
maDDog[rus], can you post a sample scene so I can take a look to see whats going on?

Abbegon, have you (or anyone else), tried to enable scatter on that shader? When I did, it appeared to freeze 3ds. It said it was still running, but it shouldn't take over 45 minutes to think about rendering a simple sphere. Maybe it's just my PC?

12 December 2003, 04:02 PM
yeha it freezes for just a second for me... it does that for every "enable" box i enable on that shader..


EDIT: erhm, just noticed that whenever i want do to anything in max now it freezes for just a second.. i think i've to restart my comp..

and as for rendering. It's taking ages for me too :(..
when scatter is enabled

12 December 2003, 01:38 AM
The freeze happens when 3dsmax tries to update the sample sphere in the material editor... Switch the update to manual and it should fix the freeze issue.

I talked to a pro and he mentionned that you shouldn't turn on SSS and Ambient occlusion, only one of the 2 methods at once...

Also, I did get 2 buckets to render with SSS but gave up, took too long, haven't figured out the "right" settings yet...

12 December 2003, 02:32 AM
hmm ok.. thnx for the info

12 December 2003, 02:44 AM
I really like them.Great jobs! It's fantastic!!:applause:

12 December 2003, 04:48 PM
if you want to post a scene ready to go I'll run it....I have a dual opteron setup here.

thanks btw for all the mr info so far :beer:

12 December 2003, 04:56 PM
The scene is at the very bottom of page one on this thread. It's called sss-glass. If it's missing the two HDR files I used, they are listed in the first post of the thread.

12 December 2003, 05:32 PM
rendered in 18mins 21secs no tweaks but I did have acad running at the same time

boxx dual opteron 240
2gb ram

12 December 2003, 06:09 PM
Thanks siliconbauhaus. After reading your rendering times I became suspicious of my own time. I remember doing some research on decreasing the render times with that file. So, therefore it must have been tweaked and we are not comparing apples to apples.

Soooooo, I downloaded the sss-glass file from my server and opened it and rendered. Now, the correct render time for my machine is 21 minutes and 24 seconds. Which now sounds more inline with everyone else's time....and really makes that dual xeon system attractive!

Thanks again guys and sorry for the confusion.

12 December 2003, 07:59 PM
And whith this shaders how can we make transparent plastic like the one in any water bottle?

12 December 2003, 06:17 AM
Some have had problems getting the IES Sun system to work with Mental Ray. I picked this tip up from the Discreet board and thought I would pass it along.

In order for the IES sun to work with Mental Ray, you need to add a light shader to it. Here's some screen grabs to illustrate.

Add the IES Sun to your scene and enable final gather. Go to the Sun Parameters and at the bottom, in the mental ray light shader roll out, add a light infinite (base) shader to the light shader slot.
NOTE: I have not enabled shadows. You control them with the shader instead.

Then drag that shader over to the material editior as an instance. There you can tweak the shader.

I then added a skylight to the scene (medium blue in color) and then rendered:

12 December 2003, 12:00 PM
Cheers for the IES sun info folical9 that is going to be really useful for the project I am currently working on.

I was just wondering where you got that statue model from... I am sure I have seen it before.

12 December 2003, 02:55 PM
The Athene statue model is from the De Espona collection.

12 December 2003, 05:06 PM
rendertime for subscatter-glass on my AMD 2400+, 1024DDR 266Mhz : 20 minutes and 34 seconds

12 December 2003, 01:35 PM
I've found a bit of a downside to using the IES sun with mental ray, it doesnít work with MR's global illumination (radiosity).

I would appreciate your help with a problem I'm having, but it's more lighting than material related so I put it in a separate thread

Realistic lighting problems (


12 December 2003, 02:45 AM
I tried and was also unable to get the IES sun to work with the GI in Mental Ray as well. I wasn't thrilled with the exposure control solution either. But I will keep tweaking the settings on that part.

At any rate, I was able to find a decent setting for this simple interior. I will need to keep tweaking this file to find the balance between overbright outside and too dark inside.

Also of note, if you've unlocked the glare shader (as I hope you all have), it works really well to create a specular bloom as seen here:

12 December 2003, 03:03 AM
again killer job folical, just wondering if there were any speed advantages to the glare shader as aposed to the specular bloom effect which is pretty fast

12 December 2003, 03:26 AM
Good point rizob. I forgot about that article Neil Blevins did on creating specular bloom using blur. Render time wise, it depends on how complex you want the bloom. I would imagine the glare shader would be a bit slower than the same effect created with the blur filter.

The overlay mode of the glare filter sounds interesting though. I will tinker some more and see if there's a good reason to use the glare shader in place of the blur / pixel selection way of doing it now.

Here's some more info on the shader as well:

12 December 2003, 04:20 PM
hi al see this :)

12 December 2003, 05:19 PM
not sure if were talking about the same spec blooom. there are a set of scripts that come with max that arent installed. (you probably know. but for anyone who does't here is a pic.........btw have you seen any info on bokeh filtering in mr... or if the glare shader could change shape from a distance maybe with the dof lens shader in conjuction. just a thought, ill see what i can do......the streak function is close for stills, but not sure how well it works with a moving camera chaning focus or distances.

12 December 2003, 08:47 PM
PENdzel have you had any luck re-creating those volume caustics? You may want to check this thread out as well:

Rizob, I didn't know those were there! I have got to dig into scripting soon. I've always just skipped right by those sections of the books and CD's. Thanks for the tip!

12 December 2003, 09:35 PM
Folic, if you want to get into scripting, perhaps this is something for you

a 101 maxscript course written and presented by the writer of maxscript.

back to the topic at hand, How on earth did you get that glare in the windows ? I tried but no luck, have to admit that i have YET to read the manual on mental ray, so :blush:

12 December 2003, 10:47 PM
Thanks for the link Equinoxx, still no time to tinker with MR eh? Well, the glare is pretty straight forward once you enable it from the lume.mi file.

Here's the scene if anyone wants to tinker with it. I've reduced the number of GI photons so it will render quicker. So it will be a bit darker than the one I posted.

Download Glare & GI Scene (

12 December 2003, 11:40 PM
thx, gonna check it out right now :)

so you're saying that the number of photons control the intensity of the light ?

12 December 2003, 12:05 AM
how unlock this shader in lume.mi file?

12 December 2003, 12:17 AM
ah YES del - "hidden" :) thx :) sorry

12 December 2003, 03:51 AM
Ooops, sorry for the confusion Equinoxx. No, the sheer number of photons do not directly control the brightness. I should've said that I reduced the number of photons AND energy level to speed up the render.

I dont think the energy level affected the render time that much, but it made the lack of photons more evident (splotchy render)

Again, sorry for the confusion. I'm a little under the weather at the momment and I blame the mixup on the medication! :blush:

12 December 2003, 04:21 AM
yea i forgot to mention once they are moved they show up in your effects panel.

12 December 2003, 12:47 PM
how get area shadow in ies_sun on mental?!_ftp_!/ies_sun.jpg

btw scene file - render time 12 s!_ftp_!/

12 December 2003, 04:10 PM
Ok ok, no matter what I do, I cant find the glare shader??:shrug:

If someone could post a screen shot of were they are finding that, that would be great..



12 December 2003, 04:18 PM

12 December 2003, 04:24 PM
I also deleted the comma after "-tag"

Although I'm not sure if that was a necessary step or not.

You may want to just try rendering the file before editing the lume.mi file. I posted the same file over at the Discreet board and one person said it worked without editing the lume.mi. However, I would imagine that in order to edit any parameters of the glare shader, it would have to first be unlocked.

12 December 2003, 04:28 PM
folical9 suport more info abaut ur scene:

how get area shadow in ies_sun on mental?!_ftp_!/ies_sun.jpg

btw scene file - render time 12 s!_ftp_!/</quote>

12 December 2003, 04:51 PM
Thanks PENdzel,

I just unlocked it and it works great.

I also unlocked the bump and adjustment shaders, although i have not played with them. I wish that I had more time to play around with max and know half the things that you guys know!

The work that you are all doing is helping me a ton, and I wish that all the threads that I read were this informative.

thanks lot's


12 December 2003, 05:20 PM

I've adjusted the file you posted to reflect the settings I used. I used the skylight, instead of the IES Sky, but I really see little difference in the two.

This one uses the IES Sky:

This one is Skylight:

Now, after the render I just took mine into photoshop and did an auto-contrast, and thats it. No dirtmaps, etc.. I also added DOF to the 3 Athene statue image. That helps give it the "gritty" look too.

Here's the IES Sky after photoshop auto-contrast

and the skylight after photoshop auto-contrast

And here's your file that I modfied the colors a bit on:
Download PENdzel scene (

Hope that helps.

12 December 2003, 05:25 PM
i render now 1000 time this wenus statue..... :(
meaby me mist...
and area shadow in IES???

12 December 2003, 05:28 PM
As far as I know, Area shadows are only supported in mental ray if using either of the two mental ray lights. mr area omni, or mr area spot.

However photometric lights seem to work with mr too.

12 December 2003, 05:31 PM
ach yes DOF simulate Area! :)

12 December 2003, 05:47 PM
Just incase, here's a simple scene using area light and skylight together:

Area light & sky light scene (

12 December 2003, 05:53 PM
but no IES sun :cry:

my crap eyes mestake my dont see all ur triks and bliliant renderings :)

12 December 2003, 06:34 PM
I will be sure to note more info on the files I post from now on. For example when I make adjustments in photoshop, or add a DOF effect.

I'm in no way trying to hold back info or anything of the sorts. I just wanted to give the basic information of the scene and shaders themselves without cluttering it with details of DOF, etc. Plus the extras like DOF increase render times and I try to make everything render as quickly as possible.

I can see where it may generate confusion when I post a file and a picture of my render and then people download the .max file and their render output doesn't totally match mine.

Again, I will do a better job in future posts.


12 December 2003, 08:12 PM
i havemt gotten a chance to try any of the things on the last 6 or so pages but just siting here reading them i have learned so much. thanx and keep all the tips comming. im using a few things here and there but i plan on really cranking on everything in the next week. maybe then i will have some worthy screenshots.

like i said, keep um comin

12 December 2003, 12:21 AM
I think I have followed along... but I am unclear about one of the materials.

Does the "Neon" shader actually GENERATE light in MR? If not, can any shader do that? I really woudl love to have objects that can create light from their surfaces. I know lots of ways to fake it, but I would love the real thing :)

I have attatched the render I got. I just dropped some knots, added some shaders (car paint, carbon and so on) and then a neon. I am hoping the neon would provide some real light.

There is a ground plane you can't see set to recieve caustics. The Neon knot is set to generate them and there is one VERY dim omni light.

12 December 2003, 01:36 AM
"Does the "Neon" shader actually GENERATE light in MR?"

Absolutely. Just make sure to have final gather enabled and if you want the lights brighter, just increase the "brightness" amount in the glow lume shader. :thumbsup:

12 December 2003, 10:59 AM
This is all in max glares and contrast effect filter - just rendered!_ftp_!/new_wenus.jpg

scene file:!_ftp_!/

12 December 2003, 11:35 AM
Thanks! That did it - my neon now glows in all its beauty!

12 December 2003, 05:08 PM

I have one question, How would you clean up the edges on the MR DOF? Right now it looks like its a little chunky around the sides. Can this be fixed by just turning up the samples, or is it some thing else. I ask this because I have had this same problem in a few of the test renders that I have done.

folical9, you may be able to answer the question seeing that all of your MR DOF renders look sharp and clean.

Thanks a ton and I hope that others have had this same question.

If this is not relivant to this thread, than feel free to move or delete it.



12 December 2003, 06:10 PM
BigRans, you are so curtiouse. but i do believe that DOF definatly applies to this thread, i am having the same problems as Rans is and havent gotten a chance to try turning up the samples on my work, im kinda on a deadline. but hopefully freetime is right around the courner

12 December 2003, 02:41 AM
great thread

thanks folical. :thumbsup:

I'll try to contribute if I manage anything usefull with mr

12 December 2003, 07:10 AM
true dof

fake dof

12 December 2003, 07:56 AM
Skin Shader:

Ok, I've been mixing this shader for a while now. And while it surely won't replace a good texture map, maybe it can be used in conjuction with a 2d texture map to add some SSS effects? I mainly wanted to get the material out here so you guys can build from it or maybe it's not even worth the effort. I don't know.:shrug:

The head model that I used to test the material was downloaded from:
and the readme file states Eric Marodon was the actual creator of the mesh.

The skin shader is a mix of SSS & procedurals. And the only post work done was to rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise and change the background to match the color here..and add a drop shadow effect.

Download scene (

12 December 2003, 10:15 AM
Ceramic Tiles

scene file

enjoy :)


12 December 2003, 09:31 PM
Do you think that by changing the bucket size, that will speed up a render??:shrug:

01 January 2004, 03:47 AM
Thats a good question BigRan. I tried it on a simple scene and the smaller the bucket, the LONGER it took to render! I started at the default 48, then slowly decreased bucket size to 8. Each time the render took slightly longer.

Bucket size 48 rendered the scene in 38 seconds, while at bucket size 8, it took 57 seconds. :hmm:

Edit: I thought maybe my results were due to the simplicity of the scene I was using. So I tried it on a more complex scene.

Bucket size 48 = 8 minutes and 37 seconds
Bucket size 8 = 12 minutes and 38 seconds

Thinking along these lines, I increased the size of the bucket to 64 and it took the same amount of time as bucket size 48.

01 January 2004, 06:44 AM
That's pretty strange, anyone test this with other renderers?

01 January 2004, 08:50 PM
As far as I know it is the same at least with Brazil too. The larger the bucket size, the faster the render.

01 January 2004, 09:09 PM
hmm I've read before that theres pretty much no difference in render times for the different size buckets for brazil...

01 January 2004, 09:14 PM

Read the bottom section of this link. This is where im getting my answer from.

Not a huge difference, but a difference none the less.:)

01 January 2004, 02:45 PM
Well, hi all.

Anyone figure out how to do proper human skin using mental ray?

01 January 2004, 03:32 PM
Thanks for the test, I was wondering why there would be the option to change the bucket size if it did not do something for the render time. My small mind would think that the smaller the bucket the faster the render, due to the computer having to render the slower alpha and shadows in the same bucket as the background! But like I said, small mind :argh: I think it looks like its rendering faster when they are smaller because they move around faster.

Thanks for the link with all the reading stuff. I love getting to a page with ton's of information. Its the time to read all the pages that i have book marked! :cry:

Off to work on the skin shader.:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 05:29 PM
Here is the skin that i have..

It took a while to render, but that is because i just started building and did not optimize any of my settings for the skin.

Hope this works as a good base for you all to work from. (

I hope this helps.:thumbsup:

:EDIT: the JPG compression destroys some of the quality.

01 January 2004, 07:56 PM
Hey thanks BigRanS & PENdzel

Mind if I add those materials to the ongoing .mat file?

01 January 2004, 08:24 PM
of course!

01 January 2004, 08:26 PM
Hey man, that's cool with me.

I know that I have been using all the files that I have downloaded. I just hope to see a post on here of a Final Fantasy, or a LOTRís like skin shader soon :drool:

I need to under stand the settings for the SSS stuff better. I also have questions about the UV Generator material. What can it do for me? All that it looks like its doing is making pretty colors on my sphere.

01 January 2004, 08:37 PM
sorry, maybe I missed something here

but where did the glare shader go in folical9's wee scene?

01 January 2004, 08:48 PM
I just hope to see a post on here of a Final Fantasy, or a LOTRís like skin shader soon
I doubt that day will ever come... :)

Maybe new member KellyM will join the thread here and help shed some light on mental ray shaders?

Use the glare shader as a camera shader (output to be exact). You will find camera shaders in the renderer tab....."wee scene", that made me chuckle...dont really know why....but it did.

01 January 2004, 08:50 PM

thank you that man :thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 03:32 AM

Any possiblity of posting the model with the glow elements. It rocks. I would like to see how you did it.

01 January 2004, 04:48 PM
Which model? The room that has the glare? it's already posted on page 12 of the thread.

Also, over at cgarchitect, they are testing the GI capabilities of different rendering systems. This gave me the opportunity to test mental ray's GI. Normally I just use final gather only.

Anyway, I added the glare shader to this as well. Here's my entry and the scene. (building model provided by cgarchitect)

Download Scene (

And a link incase anyone wants to see all the renders:;f=34;t=000001

cris castro
01 January 2004, 04:49 PM
your glass w/SSS material its just ****ing awesome man

01 January 2004, 06:48 PM
actaully this is the one I was refering to

01 January 2004, 07:10 PM
DOH, sorry I got glow and glare mixed up in my mind. Here it is:

Glow-tube thing (

thanks cris castro :blush:

cris castro
01 January 2004, 06:41 PM
i think in the "Area light & sky light scene" the render doesnt work allright, isn't it?:shrug:
p.s: wich software opens a .mat file

01 January 2004, 11:26 PM
The 3D Studio Max material editor opens .mat files :thumbsup:

cris castro
01 January 2004, 09:08 AM
hi everybody:
I want to install a render on my machine:if you had to choose between vray or mental ray?what are the pros and cons?

01 January 2004, 02:20 PM
Seeing as how I have only had dealings with Mental Ray my comments will be one sided, but I like Mental Ray. I have seen some very impressive work done with Vray. The + side to Mental Ray is that I comes with Max6 and is fully integrated.

So go buy a copy of Max6 and try it out.:D
You probably have some money just lying around!!


cris castro
01 January 2004, 04:33 PM

01 January 2004, 04:59 PM
Could somebody please post a working link to the metal materials, because the link in the opening post is not working...

I'm currently experimenting a bit with ray trace materials in combination with mental ray.. but I havent used any of the MR shaders as of yet..

This is what I got with standard max ray trace materials (a bit dissapointing imho)

01 January 2004, 05:04 PM
forgive me for being a double-post noob >_<

sorry I cant read :P

01 January 2004, 05:31 PM
5 of the 6 links just worked for me. The only one that appears to be down is the 1000mbit mirror.

Edit: What type of environment map are you using?

01 January 2004, 05:48 PM
No, I mean this link:

its about the (non)blurred metals and the link doesnt seem to work here...

The environment map I am using is an image of a living room ('S%20LIVING%20ROOM.jpg)

01 January 2004, 06:31 PM
Ahh, I will check with Equinoxx about that. However, those are the same metals that are included in the general .mat file. Which is probably why that link doesn't work now.

Also, you may want to just try another background. Might I suggest the hdri images that were used in the test metal scenes? You could also try and brighten that image that your using now or use spherical mapping on it.

Note: Be sure to use spherical mapping for the environment images that you use.

01 January 2004, 11:44 PM
weird thing is, i don't have that rar on my system either :surprised

but as Folical said, the metal materials are in the CG-Mat.rar as well, so get them from there.

in the meanwhile, I'll remove the link from the 1st post to prevent further confusion ;)

01 January 2004, 09:41 AM
Sorry if this has already been answered but which parts of the dirtmap.rar do you copy over to the max6 folder and where do you put them?

[Edit:] This is the error i get;

MI 0.0 warn 122001: standard startup file ray3rc not found
MSG 0.0 error: Shader declaration 'Dirtmap' has no apply type. This shader cannot be used in 3ds max until it has at least one apply type.

Great thread by the way, very helpful as i know very little about MR and i'm trying to get good results that don't take ages to render.

cheers. :thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 09:48 AM
"You simply must put the .mi files into "include" and the .dll files into "shaders". That's all. All the other stuff is for Maya or XSI.


quote regarding where to put the dirtmap shader files.

01 January 2004, 09:55 AM
i've done that but i still get the error as above.

01 January 2004, 11:18 AM
Open up the dirtmap.mi file and add the line "apply texture" after "version 1". It should work properly after that.

01 January 2004, 11:35 AM
cheers matlock, thats done the trick!! :thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 11:59 PM
Make a new .mat file, and I will upload them to all of the servers again, or mail me at and I will put them up.

01 January 2004, 03:04 PM
Speaking of tile floors, I did this for a project that I was working on for the J.O.B.

The tile is what took me so long to get right, although I could work on it for a few more hours. The first image is before auto levels in Photo Shop. There is an acoustic ceiling tile, vinal flooring and some texture for the thick bumpy type of paint that is on the walls. You may need to go through and find some of the materials that are not open in the editor.

I hope that these help other people with setting up simple environments that they may need.

Thanks for all of your help!


The ole' ZIP (

01 January 2004, 04:25 PM
Cool thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:

Edit: I've updated the .mat file to include PENdzel's tiles, and I added a blue version to it. Also included BigRanS skin & tile shaders and Q_B's ocean shader.

Thanks guys for contributing!

Also, thanks in advance to Deetee for updating the mirrors.

01 January 2004, 12:36 AM
Landscape Lume

I saw a tutorial in the lume documents about making a rusty texture with of all things, the landscape material (which is cool in it's own right...but that's another post).

Heres the link:

I think it was written for Maya. However, I was still able to match most of the terminology. I played around with the settings and came up with a pleasing result. The material itself is mixing the non-rusted texture with the rusted one, based upon height (a negative value in this case).

Heres my result:

01 January 2004, 05:24 AM
Hi guys

Just came back in action and moved from Brazil (max5) to Mental Ray (max6) and found this thread quite nice!

Will cooperate actively in the next days, keep the good work going on, yo! :buttrock:

01 January 2004, 06:15 AM
first up, id like to thank all of you for the work done as of yet... it has helped immensely.

i do have a question in regrards tot he dirtmap instructions as explained on page 9 (so long ago now).

when i attempt to replicate the effect, any non shadowed area of the render is transparent. i have used hdri maps, bitmaps, procedurals, and simple colors, and all are quite visible in the dirt-free regions of my geometry. here's an image:

i cant be the only one with this issue! ack!

01 January 2004, 06:52 AM
Thats an odd effect. You could try rendering it in passes like this:

1) Place the dirtmap shader in the diffuse slot of a material.

Then follow these steps. The images are large, so I'm only going to post a link to them rather than post the images here.

Step 2 (

Step 3 (

Step 4 (

Maybe that way we will be able to better see whats happening.

01 January 2004, 08:00 AM
Ok, I had a same problem before. Here's how I solved it.

1. A mesh with a material applied into it.

2. And then lit with one shadow casting Omni light.

3. Then I applied Dirtmap to its material's Self-Illumination channel and UNCHECKED the Probe Environment. (Note: the scene's background is black).

Here's the render with Omni turned off (no active lights in scene).

4. And here's slightly adjusted and composited scene.

Hope this helps, Sami.

01 January 2004, 09:21 AM
Yo Folical great explanation here, thanx, but I got a question that actually has nothing to do with MR and promise to be short on it

How did you do those fancy boxes on the Sphere?
Looks like a plugin I know nothing about, which is bad ehehe

EDIT: Or is that Displacement mapping?

01 January 2004, 10:02 AM
I believe he used the Greeble plugin.

01 January 2004, 02:19 PM
Here is that link to the greeble dl that folical9 had posted.


Folical9- Thanks for the work with that landscape shader. That will go into use shortly.

01 January 2004, 03:32 PM
Here is my try at the Landscape material.

Keep the tuts comming,

I can post the material if you want.

01 January 2004, 04:08 PM
Yup Greebles it is.

Cool job BigRanS! On my version of the rusted metal, I used the "shader to material" map for the base and rust colors. Therefore, my landscape material is using two additional materials. How would I add something like that to a .mat file? Or is it even possible?

If this question doesn't make sense, I can post screenshots.

01 January 2004, 04:18 PM
I just tried to make a texture like you said. I then click the save to library button. I guess that then you can find that texture in your library and save into the .mat file that you are using.

I don't know if this will help you at all but its all I got right now.
If you could, post a shot, so that I can see what you are talking about.