3d Max Material

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Assign materials with advanced lighting to objects in a scene.

Handle instancing of objects and materials.

  • On the Quick Access toolbar, click (Open File), navigate to \scenes\materials_and_mapping\intro_to_materials\ and open army_compound.max.
    Note: If a dialog asks whether you want to use the scene’s Gamma And LUT settings, accept the scene Gamma settings, and click OK. If a dialog asks whether to use the scene’s units, accept the scene units, and click OK.

    Except for the vehicles, the jeeps and helicopter, this scene contains no materials. The buildings and terrain have a featureless, plastic look to them that is typical of newly created geometry in 3ds Max.

Export a scene to FBX format, and select important options. The procedure described in this tutorial works in 3ds Max 2019 and 3ds Max 2020.A change in how 3ds Max 2021 exports bump maps means that normal maps will not be found by the conversion service if that version is used.

Albedo, which is the material's color map and is also called Diffuse and BaseColor.

  1. On the main toolbar, open the Named Selection Sets drop-down list, and choose the Utilities selection set.

    3ds Max selects the various containers.

  2. Right-click the viewport to display the quad menu, and choose Isolate Selection.

    This command is in the upper-right, Display quadrant.

    3ds Max displays the utility containers in the center of the viewport, and hides the other scene geometry.

  3. Use (Orbit) to adjust the view so you can see all five containers clearly.

    Metalness, which determines if a material is metallic and which parts are metallic.

Roughness, which determines how rough or smooth a surface is.It also affects the sharpness or blurriness of the reflections and highlights on a surface.

Normal, which adds detail to a surface without adding more polygons.

  1. Examples of detail are pitting and dents on a metal surface or grain in wood.
  2. Ambient Occlusion, which is used to add soft shading and contact shadows to a model. It's a grayscale map that indicates which areas of the model receive full lighting (white) or full shade (black).
  3. It's worth noting before you start to create assets for Remote Rendering that it uses meters for measurement.
  4. On the main toolbar, click (Material Editor) to open the Slate Material Editor.
    Tip: If this is the first time you are using the Slate Material Editor, you might need to resize it so you can easily see all three of the columns in its interface.

    So it's a good idea to set your scene's system units to meters. It's also a good idea to set Units to meters in the FBX export settings when you export a scene.

    The Material Editor is a workbench for creating, adjusting, managing, and applying materials to objects. The main portions of its interface are:

    • On the main menu, go to Customize > Units Setup > System Units Setup. In System Unit Scale, select Meters:.
    • We can now begin to create the models. In the sample scene, we'll create several box objects, each representing a different material type.
    • For example, metal, rubber, and plastic. When you create assets, it's a good practice to name them appropriately as you go.
    Tip: If the Compact Material Editor opens instead, then on the Material Editor menu bar, choose Modes Slate Material Editor. The Compact Material Editor has a smaller window, with conspicuous sample slots near the top of its interface.
  5. On the Material/Map Browser panel at the left, locate Materials Standard Standard, then drag the Standard entry from the Browser and drop it in the active View (the large panel labeled View1 in the center of the Editor).

    A node for the Standard material appears in the active View.

  6. This makes them easier to find later if the scene contains a lot of objects. Rename the objects, as shown in the following screenshot:.
  7. In the material Name field, near the top of the Parameter Editor, enter Oil Tanks as the material name.

    Notice that as you enter the name in the Name field, the name in the title bar of the node also updates.

    It is good to get in the habit of naming a material as soon as you create it. In a complex scene, intelligible material names are useful.

  8. On the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, below the Name field, click the color swatch that is labeled Diffuse.

    3ds Max opens a Color Selector dialog.

    Use the Red/Green/Blue controls on the Color Selector to choose a yellow color. Set Red = 200, Green = 200, and Blue = 0.

    The diffuse color of a material is the color that appears under diffuse, or scattered, light. It is what we usually think of as “the” color of a material, and what you will set first, when you create a basic material such as this one.

  9. On the main toolbar, select the Material Editor icon as shown in the following screenshot.
  10. On the Slate Material Editor toolbar, click (Assign Material To Selection).

    In the viewport, the oil canisters turn yellow.

  11. Look at the material preview in the title bar: It now has angled corners. Double-click the preview to make it larger so you can get a better look.

    Angled corners on a material preview mean that the material has been applied to at least one object in the scene. When the angled corners are solid white, as they are in this case, the material is said to be hot. When you make changes to a hot material, the scene changes immediately, and usually the viewport display shows the material changes you have made.

    You will take advantage of adjusting a “hot” material in the next set of steps.

You can also select M on your keyboard to open the editor.

    The Material Editor has two modes that you can select in the Modes list: Compact Material Editor mode and Slate Material Editor mode.

  1. On the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, in the Specular Highlights group, change the value of Specular Level to 90.

    Bright highlights appear on both the sphere in the preview, and the oil tanks in the viewport.

  2. Also in the Specular Highlights group, change the Glossiness value to 32.

    Left: Preview with the oil tank material

    Right: Specular highlight controls with Glossiness = 32

    As you can see the preview and in the graph to the right of the Specular Highlight and Glossiness controls, the highlight is now narrower. Specular Level controls how bright highlights are, while Glossiness controls highlight width. In general, shinier materials have smaller highlights.

Because this scene is relatively simple, we'll use the compact mode. In the Material Editor, you'll see a number of spheres. These spheres are the materials. We'll assign one of these materials to each object (each box) in the scene.

To assign the materials, first select one of the objects in the main viewport.

    Then select the first sphere in the Material Editor. After it's assigned to an object, the selected material will be highlighted, as shown in the next image. Select Assign Material to Selection, as shown. The material is now assigned to the selected object. In the Material Editor, you can choose from a wide selection of material types, depending on your needs.

  1. Typically, the material type is set to Standard by default. This material is a basic material that's not suitable for PBR setup.
  2. So we need to change the material type to a PBR material. Physical Material is the preferred 3ds Max material for Azure Remote Rendering projects. In the Material Editor, select the Standard tab.
  3. In the Slate Material Editor Material/Map Browser panel, at the left, locate Maps Standard Bitmap, and drag this map type into the active View.

    3ds Max opens a file dialog.

  4. In the file dialog, click to highlight the file metals.checker.plate.jpg (it is in the project folder \sceneassets\images\, like all the maps for the tutorials), and then click Open.

    3ds Max adds this Bitmap node to the active view.

  5. Drag from the Bitmap node’s output socket (the circular control at the right of the node). When you drag, 3ds Max creates a wire.

    Drop the wire on the input socket for the Canister node’s Diffuse Color component.

    The Bitmap is now wired to the material.

  6. In the Material/Map Browser, select Physical Material.
  7. On the Slate Material Editor toolbar, click (Show Shaded Material In Viewport) to turn it on. (If you use a legacy viewport driver, this button's tooltip reads, "Show Standard Map In Viewport.")

    A red diagonal shape appears in the Bitmap title bar, to indicate that Show Material is active.

  8. This action converts the assigned Standard material to a PBR Physical Material.
  9. Move the Slate Material Editor window so you can see both the objects in the viewport, and the Canister node in the active View. Make sure that none of the utility objects is selected, then drag from the output socket of the Canister node (the output socket is the round control at the right of the node), drag to the viewport, and then release the mouse over the blue canister in the middle of the group.

    In the Material Editor, you now see the properties for the Physical Material, as shown in the following screenshot.

    3ds Max applies the Canister material to the ammunition canister.

    Dragging and dropping from the output socket of a material node is an alternative to using (Assign Material To Selection).

You can now start to assign textures to the asset.

    It's good practice to name your materials appropriately, as shown in the preceding screenshot. In the selected objects properties editor, select the modifier list.

    In the drop-down list that appears, scroll down and select Unwrap UVW.

    This action applies an unwrap UVW modifier to the asset.

  1. The map channel is set to 1. You'll typically do the main unwrapping in map channel 1.
  2. Open the drop-down Modifier list, and choose UVW Map from the list.
    Tip: Once you open the list, you can press U a couple times until the list highlights UVW Map, and then press .
  3. In the Parameters rollout Mapping group, choose Box.

    The radio buttons at the top of the Mapping group (Planar, Cylindrical, Spherical, and so on) tell the UVW Map modifier how to project the map onto the object. Box mapping projects the map from all six sides, so the texture display is more uniform.

  4. Also in the Mapping group, set Length = Width = Height = 2.0m.

    Now the mapping is uniform and looks good from any angle.

    In this case, the object has been unwrapped with no overlapping texture coordinates (UV).

Close the UV editor if it's open. In the Channel section of the Edit UVs menu, change the channel number to 2.

  1. Map channel 2 is the expected channel for AO maps. In the Channel Change Warning dialog box, you can either Move the existing UVs in channel 1 into the new channel 2 or Abandon the existing UVs that will create a new UV unwrap automatically.
  2. Press .

    Deleting nodes from the active View simply cleans up the View for further work. It does not remove the materials from the scene: You can still see the materials you created in the Material/Map Browser Scene Materials group.

    If you need to edit a material again, you can drag it from this group and into the View as an instance.

    Note: You also have the option of maintaining multiple Views of the materials for your scene. See the 3ds Max help for more details.

Select Abandon only if you plan to create a new UV unwrap for the AO map that differs from the UVs in map channel 1.

    (For example, if you want to use tiling textures in channel 1.) In this tutorial, we'll move the UVs from channel one to channel 2 because we don't need to edit the new UV channel.

  1. Even if you've copied (moved) the UV unwrap from map channel 1 into map channel 2, you can make any necessary edits to the new channel UVs without affecting the original map channel.
  2. In the Physical Material's Generic Maps list, select the No Map slot next to Diffuse Roughness and load your AO map.
  3. In the AO textures properties, the map channel is set to 1 by default. Change this value to 2. This action completes the steps necessary to add your AO map.
  4. Double-click the Noise node to display its parameters. On the Noise Parameters rollout, click the color swatch labeled Color #1.

    3ds Max opens a Color Selector.

  5. This is an important step, particularly if your UVs in channel 2 are different from those in channel 1, because the AO won't map correctly if the wrong channel is selected.
  6. In the Special Maps section of the Physical Material properties (in the Material Editor), select the No Map slot next to Bump Map.
  7. In the Material/Map Browser, locate and select Normal Bump.
  8. This action adds a Normal Bump modifier to the material.
  9. Click (Assign Material To Selection), and then click (Show Shaded Material In Viewport) to turn it on. (If you use a legacy viewport driver, this button's tooltip reads, "Show Standard Map In Viewport.")

    The map appears in the viewport, but the camouflage pattern isn’t very apparent.

  10. On the Noise Parameters rollout, change the Noise Threshold values. Set High = 0.51 and Low = 0.49. In addition, change the Size value to 18.0.

    Now the generator casings have a recognizable camouflage pattern. A bonus of the procedurally generated 3D Noise texture, is that the pattern is not quite the same on either generator. (This effect is more apparent when you render the scene: In viewports, both generators look much the same.)

In the Normal Bump modifier, select No Map next to Normal. Locate and load your normal map.

Make sure the method is set to Tangent.

  • On the status bar, near the bottom of the 3ds Max window, click to turn off (Isolate Selection Toggle).

    The viewport shows the entire scene once again.

(It should be, by default.) If necessary, toggle Flip Green (Y).

    In the main viewport, select the object or objects that you want to export. Hold the Shift key and drag the assets upwards by using the transform (move) tool.

  1. In the Clone Options dialog box, set Object to Instance and then select OK:. Any changes you make to an instance while you're in sub object mode are transmitted to all instances of the object.
  2. In the Slate Material Editor Material/Map Browser panel, at the left, locate Maps Standard Bitmap, and drag this map type into the active View.

    3ds Max opens a file dialog.

  3. So if you're working with an instanced object's components, like vertices and polygon faces, be sure that you want any changes you make to affect all of the instances.
  4. Remember that any instanced object can be made into a unique object at any time.
  5. When instancing in your scene, it's a good idea to create instances as you go along. Replacing copies with instanced objects later is difficult.
  6. Drag from the Terrain material node’s output slot, and in a viewport, release the mouse over the Ground object.

    The Ground object turns brown, but it doesn’t show the texture map. This is a sign that the object doesn’t have mapping coordinates.

    Primitive objects such as boxes and spheres have default mapping coordinates, but editable geometry such as Ground, which is an Editable Poly, does not. You have to assign mapping coordinates by applying UVW Map.

  7. On the main toolbar, go to File > Reference > Asset Tracking Toggle.
  8. Use the Modifier List to apply a UVW Map modifier.

    For the terrain, the default Planar projection works fine, and the map terrain.jpg is already the right size for the scene, so your work in this lesson is now complete.

In the Asset Tracking window, you'll see all or most of the textures that you've applied to your PBR materials listed in the Maps/Shaders column.

Next to them, in the Full Path column, you'll see the path of the location of your textures, most likely the path of their location on your local machine.

  • Finally, you'll see a column called Status. This column indicates whether a given texture has been located and applied to your scene.
It flags the texture with one of these terms: Ok, Found, or File Missing.