Render selected object with shadows

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  11 November 2013
Render selected object with shadows

First, I'm using the default scanline renderer (not vray). Using 3dsMax 2012.

I have various scenes already built. I need to select certain objects in these scenes and render them out individually and save them as PNG's with an alpha channel. Now that part I'm able to do -- I select the item I need to render, set Area to Render to "Selected", hit Render, and then save it as a PNG with alpha.

However when using this method, I lose all shadow information from the rest of the scene. In other words, when rendering selected object only, I don't get any of the cast shadows from the rest of the scene cast onto that object.

Is there any way to render only the selected object, but with the shadow information from the rest of the scene baked in, as if it were there? I would think there's a simple way to do this that I'm somehow missing. I just need to render selected objects with the shadows from the scene (as if I were rendering the whole thing) but I still need to be able to save out individual objects to alpha'd PNGs.

Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!
  11 November 2013
There's a button next to the "Area to render" dropdown menu where you can make it render selected calculating everything in the scene so that bouncing light/shadows etc all still interfere with the selected objects. If any objects interfere with the view of the object (how much of it you can see) it will only render that which you can actually see. One thing though, this does not keep the shadows cast by the selected objects onto non-selected objects, afaik.
  12 December 2013

catche, could you elaborate on the button you're referring to which allows it to calculate everything in the scene (lights/shadows)? I've looked around but can't seem to find anything that does what you're describing. I checked in the 'Render Setup' panel as well as the 'Rendered Frame Window' screen.
  12 December 2013
Hmm you may have a point, I think it's only in newer versions, considering that I recently discovered it after having used max for a few years now. You can read about it in the docs here, scroll down to Subset Pixels (of selected objects)

If you are lazy, this is what it says:
Quote: Subset Pixels (of selected objects)

When on, rendering the scene applies only to selected objects. Available only when rendering with mental ray.

This option differs from the Area to Render Selected option in that it takes into account all scene elements that affect its appearance. This includes shadows, reflection, direct and indirect lighting, and so on. Also, Selected replaces the entire contents of the Rendered Frame Window (except for selected objects) with the background color, but Subset Pixels replaces only pixels used by the re-rendered, selected objects.

Subset Pixels rendering is particularly useful when performing iterative rendering while adjusting lighting, shadows, and other scene elements for a particular object or set of objects in the scene. It lets you re-render repeatedly to view the results of isolated changes without disturbing the rest of the rendered output.

One thing to note is that this does not work with backburner in my experience, it just rendered everything. But again that's just my experience, there might be a way to make it work. There definitely should! As it's way easier than using matte shadow every time you need to render a single object!

Last edited by catche : 12 December 2013 at 05:30 PM.
  12 December 2013
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