View Full Version : Creating a 'beautiful' render

05 May 2009, 10:35 PM
Hello all! Firstly, I apologize if this thread is in the wrong section. I was a bit un-sure of where to post this. So if its moved, I understand why :).

Ok, so onto my questions.

As the title says, how do you go about creating an acceptable renderscene? Preferably with one of 3ds Max's (yes, I'm using 3dsmax 7/8/2009) available tools that are included in the software.

Currently I use a viewport shader. I'm a game artist, so, viewport shaders are good enough for me to view the model with texture maps applied. But, recently I was signed onto a Crysis mod development team, and, we are sort of looking for a new and more professional way to show our work for media news updates. Its probably suggested I ask this on . But, its more suggested on that site to show your game art with viewport shaders, rather then rendering. Judging by the fantastic artwork on this website (renderscenes included), I figured its best to come here for help.

Ok so,

I'm honestly not sure even where to start. I often see people say they have like a sky light and maybe a few options checked for their renderscene setup. But, when I go and do this very same thing, I get a horrible resault, nothing like the person(s) that told me their setup. This leaves me very confused, in all honesty :).

If you look around at some of the game modification teams renders, they are more of what I (we) are going for. Forgotten Hope 2 mod team is a good example. We aren't of course looking to copy anyone, but for an examples sake, Forgotten Hope 2.. or close to the same quality. :)

So its safe to say I have no clue where to even begin with making a renderscene that meets the expectations of my above information. If any of you artists would like to help me out with a step by step guide on how to do something like I described, myself and the mod team would greatly appreciate it. :)

Thank you for your time!

~Sir Apple

05 May 2009, 08:36 PM
The FH2 modeller(s) seem to be using a natural light setting (skylight+sunlight) in addition to a narrow angle spotlight from above. For alternative ways to light a subject, read up on 3-point lighting, or studio lighting. Here are a couple links that might help you:

05 May 2009, 10:09 PM
Ok thanks, I'll give it a try then. :)

Something else I'm curious about.

Is it possible to apply multiple texture maps to a model with max's rendering tool(s)? I've never been able to get it to work. If I first apply the diffuse, then for instance, the specular, the spec overwrites the diffuse. I do have a white clay render scene for rendering models with no textures, just the rendering material made specifically for that scene. So I figured I'll try the three point lighting technique in that, if I can apply all three maps.

I dunno, does max's default renderer not support multiple maps on the same model like this?

Thank you,

05 May 2009, 07:31 AM
Of course it does. Just open the material editor (with the M key) and pick the object's material with the eyedropper tool (next to the material name). In the material's properties there's a rollout called "maps" where you can drop in maps to control different parameters.

Honestly I'm surprised you got this far in max without having to use the material editor ;)

05 May 2009, 01:31 AM
Of course it does. Just open the material editor (with the M key) and pick the object's material with the eyedropper tool (next to the material name). In the material's properties there's a rollout called "maps" where you can drop in maps to control different parameters.

Honestly I'm surprised you got this far in max without having to use the material editor ;)

Hmmm, I guess I'll try this.

Also I've been modeling/texturing for a few years now, and have used the material editor (plus, how do you think I have a viewport shader setup ;)). Its just, everytime I try to do what you said it overwrites my texture maps with the new ones. I'll try again, though,

Thank you

05 May 2009, 08:33 AM
Yeah I thought I misunderstood you, sorry about that. Can you post a step-by-step description of what you're doing?

05 May 2009, 03:28 AM
I'd also suggest spending some time studying books about conventional photography, especially large-format. Read every one of Ansel Adams' books and learn well his "Zone System." There are many characteristics of "a good image" that our eyes immediately detect (or perceive the absence of, as the case may be) that might never be obvious unless someone points them out to you.

It's also true that "a great picture is made in the darkroom." There are many steps which are essential to a "pleasing" image (in a particular type of medium) that happen after the original image was shot.

07 July 2009, 03:49 PM
Ok - sorry to bump this few month old thread back, but I'm afraid I'm still not successful with creating a nice render setup.:blush:

It could be I don't have hours a day to spend on trying to figure out rendering - I have gotten decently close by using 3 point lighting. But its still not showing the textures properly, or the model to be honest (to dark and flat...).

Here is an example of what I think I may want to achieve - at least just for a start, and then work up from it.

Do you guys have any ideas of how a render like that is done? I appears to be a curved 2d-plane with a nice subtle color, but the rest of it, proper lighting and rendering the texture maps nice, clean and proper is beyond me.

I imagine its unrealistic of me to post an image and say "how do they do this". I'm not exactly asking that of course though :). I merly want to achieve a render setup of the same quality, and similar atmosphere.

Thanks for your time! And in the mean time I'll keep working at it.

07 July 2009, 06:09 PM
Have you tried standard studio style lighting, by which I mean seting up lights as you would in a photograph?
If not, this guide is useful, there are also a few other guides on the site regarding setting up studio style lighting for max(although it applies to all 3D packages)
Mental Ray Illumination (http://www.*******.com/freestuff/tutorials/max/illumination/index.html)

07 July 2009, 05:25 PM

I can't get the link working, though :hmm:.


07 July 2009, 01:12 PM
Go find a copy of Ansel Adams' definitive series of textbooks on (conventional) photography... the ones in which he describes, among other things, his "Zone System." You need to study not only his rules-of-thumb but also the theory behind it: if you have not yet encountered the word "densitometer," keep reading.

As one photographer put it, "Look at the light." Not the image, not the subject: the light.

Tools like Photoshop make it particularly easy to quantify and to visualize such things: use the Histogram tool and carefully observe the shape. The distribution should be approximately a bell-curve. Those battle-tanks, for instance, are murky and underexposed.

You need to understand the technical limits of your medium, whether that medium is film or video or print. You need to know ... to measure ... how your image translates from an abstract (digital) model to a physical embodiment, and from that to the viewer's eyes, and from that to the viewer's perception. "In the blink of an eye."

The way in which the eye regards an image is also important. What draws my eye on those tanks? The brightest, sharpest spot: the two stars. Really, nothing else in the image "draws my eye" and there is no visual path through the image space. So, "at a glance," I come away with the feeling that I don't know what I'm supposed to be looking at.

A good render is, first and foremost, a technically-good and aesthetically pleasing picture, for the medium in which it is intended to be expressed.

You won't go wrong by getting a nice 4x5 field-camera (with bellows...), and some boxes of film, and getting out there and shooting a lot of "big pictures." It slows you down ... makes you look ... and is a truly delightful thing to do on a weekend.

07 July 2009, 07:01 PM
Well, thanks :). I do need to get more into the creative side of it. Currently I do game art though so rendering isn't as big a deal with it, in terms of the many different aspects.

With that said, I made a big leap and got Modo today. I saw and heard great things about its rendering system, so I figured I should get into it. With that said, I'm mainly going to use it to import 3dsmax files. However, I can't seem to figure out how to get it to read the import. I exported the object from 3dsmax.7 as an .obj file. When I go into modo and select import, on the object i want, it never shows up. However it shows up on the list to the right hand side (sorry I'm new to Modo so its like a new whole world).

Does the exported file need to be in a specific folder in one of Modo's root folders? Currently the exported file is on my desktop.

Also hopefully this isn't considered off topic :).


07 July 2009, 01:58 PM
damn CGS link block.
http://www.cgŁ (
For some reason it blocks cg arena(jealousy?)
just remove the Ł sign.

07 July 2009, 04:58 PM
Thanks mate :).

I'll look through that then and try it out. What concerns me is it seems to not be geared towards rendering materials, like actual texture sheets in a high res manor? I guess I shouldn't judge it until I try it, though, just wondering.

I only have 4 days before my time to have a quality render setup is out :hmm:. When I look at the most simplest render setups for showing game art, they look so simple, but the hard part is trying to make one. For me anyway, just some shadows and lighting in a scene doesn't seem to do anything more then create shadows and directional light sources. But when it comes down to it, I still can't get 3ds to render normal maps correctly and show the texture properly. The reason I know its not rendering the textures correctly is because while I'm working on a project I view in Marmoset (real time renderer) and they look great.

Perhaps if I actually show some of my render attempts it would make more sense, rather then me just babbling :). I think I'll do that....

Thanks for reading,

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