This tutorial will show you how to setup the lighting scene in 3D Studio Max for rendering using Brazil render.
This should be quite a simple and a little time-consuming tutorial about lighting an indoor scene using Brazil.
I'll show the basic setup for Brazil and materials used in the scene. In this case, all I have at the beginning is a Lego-car model on a table (plane) and a camera shooting the objects (See Fig. 1)
Start by opening "Render Scene" window.
In Current Renderers select your Brazil renderer to be used in production-slot (See Fig. 2) . Few menus below, in Brazil: Image Sampling, you should either select button P2 or P3.
This determines how antialiased the render will be. Because of wood texture we'll be using later on the tutorial, I recommend using P3 settings.
So, press P3-button (See Fig. 2). It's a bit slower in rendering but gives better results.
Now, go down to Brazil: Luma Server and enable both Sky Lights. Enabling Sky Light also in Indirect Illumination gives you more realistic results by bouncing the light rays from objects surfaces (As they do in real life too). (See Fig. 3)
Look at the Sky Light section in the lower part of Luma Server menu. Default color in Skylight color selector does the job well, but you could increase the number next to the "Color"-text a bit.
This sets the power of Sky Light. I used value 1,2. Depending on your monitor settings, you may have to increase or decrease it. (See Fig. 3)
That's all you have to do for Brazil settings. Next we assign some materials for the objects.
Open Material Editor by pressing "M"-key. Create a standard material as shown in figure 4. This will be a material for standard Lego-pieces only.
By simply duplicating a material and changing the diffuse color, you can make new materials. Assign a new material by draging it on the desired object in viewport.
For metallic objects, such as a spring in a shock absorber, select an empty slot in Material Editor. Now select the material to be Raytrace, not Standard. (See Fig. 5) Then change a diffuse color to light gray.
Uncheck Reflect box and hit the value of 40.
The most important part is to change Specular Level and Glossiness to something like in Figure 5.
For example, Specular Level: 300, and Glossiness: 35. Now assign a material to all of your metallic objects in a scene.
Tyres need their own material too.
Again, select an empty slot in a Material Editor.
Be sure this new material will be Standard, not Raytrace this time. Select a diffuse color to be dark gray, almost black.
The difference to the first material you created lies in highlight options.
Change the Specular Level to near 50 and Glossiness to something like 20. This will turn tyre-material to be only a little shiny. (See Fig. 6)
As always, assign a material to desired objects.
The last material you'll make, is for a table-plane. Create a Standard material as before, and hit an empty box next to the diffuse color selector. In a new Material/Map Browser -window select "Mtl Library" and hit "Open…" in a lower section of a window. Now select Wood.mat -file and open it. From a new list of wood-textures, select "Oak1.tga". It's the same texture I used in this tutorial.
Make all the changes as shown in Figure 7. Depending on the size of your table-plane, you may have to change Tiling-values found in texture settings.
Now assign a material to your table-object.
You should now have materials assigned to every object in a scene. Ok, it's time for a test render. Make perspective or Camera viewport active and hit the Render-button.
Because of rather high quality settings made in Brazil options, rendering may last several minutes. All you can do is wait. …After rendering you should see something like this:
You may notice that there are no highlights at all, even though you made changes in highlight options for all the materials. This is simply because there is nothing in a scene to cause the highlights. Brazil's Sky Light alone doesn't give any highlights to the object surfaces.
So, let's make some Brazil point-lights to simulate bright areas in a scene surrounding. Think these lights as pendant lights or light sources outside the room window. Select "Create"-panel from the Command Panel.
Now hit the "Lights"-button (The third button from left) and from the pop-down menu select Brazil r/s, not Standard (Standard Omni might just work as well).
Click on the "Brazil Light" -button and in a top-viewport create one light by clicking on somewhere in a view. This new light still selected, click the "Modify" -tab to see properties for a light.
Now make the changes to properties exactly as in Figure 8. Be sure that light casts shadows by checkin the shadow-box on the top.
Light source should be "Omni".
The important step is to decrease the Intensity multiplier to value of 0,1. This should give shininess slight enough to the objects.
With default (multiplier 1,0) you would end up with exaggerated reflections. Last thing to do in light properties is found in "Affect Surfaces".
Uncheck the "Diffuse" -box. This prevents a light actually lighting a scene and making a render restless. You won't need any extra light because of Skylight.
But, what you really made this light for, is to produce highlights. So keep that "Specular"-box checked! (See Fig. 8)
To make your render look more realistic, copy that recently made light about 5-10 times and place them all around the scene in top viewport.
You may place three to four lights to represent a pendant, for example, or just some diffused light from outside the room.
And remember to raise all the lights from the table-level a bit higher, so the light comes from right direction. (See Fig. 9)
After placing the lights you can hit the Render-button. Depending on how you have placed the lights you should see something corresponding to the picture below.
Here's a cropped are of my final-render to better illustrate the differences between recent renders. Left one naturally with Brazil Sky Light only.
Right one with Sky Light and extra 9 omni-lights to give the slight shininess. I don't say this looks better with shiny parts, but anyway, this is the way to easily add some life to Brazil renders.
Have a nice day!