3ds Max is a truly powerful programme that offers a wide range of features and is easily compatible with a great many systems. That being said, it takes some effort to master. Fortunately, 3ds is a very intuitive rendering system that allows you to grasp the basics of the program quite easily. It offers some truly awesome creative possibilities and another excellent way to improve your rendering capabilities and design process.

Here are six great tips and tricks for perfecting your rendering in 3ds.

1. Geometry

When managing geometry or modelling using 3ds Max, the best approach is to always utilise a 1:1 scale while naming all your elements using logical monikers. This makes it far easier to identify various elements you are working with, as the default names given to elements are difficult to recall and easily identify, especially if you’re using complex scenes. The Group function along with the use of layers can easily group together multiple elements. If you’re creating repetitions of an element, don’t create copies but rather instances. This way, if you make a change to the material or geometry of one of these items, every other instance of that item will change in the same manner.

2. Isolate

Isolate individual objects when working with complex scenes by using right click, followed by Isolate. This will enable you to focus your editing and texturing on a specific item without being distracted by the surrounding scene.

3. Populate

3ds Max has an excellent populate feature which enables you to populate your scenes using large clusters of people, taken from the handy built-in library. This is a very useful function, as they come pre-animated with slight body movements if they are placed standing still, as well as simple walking motions when they are placed on paths. They are also fully textured.

4. Model efficiently

You can easily select the points of view you desire in 3ds Max by moving around your camera. This function all allows you to select from shots. If you do this before entering detailed modelling, you will find you only have to model what is visible to the camera. This saves a great deal of time. It also removes the temptation to show off your epic modelling skills in a single, unrealistically wide-angle image, which tries to show the whole scene. Use narrow-angle lenses instead. If you find you need to add extra to the scene, you can always pull your camera back, and then use clipped foreground elements taken using the clipping plane.

5. Embracing real-world photography

The rendering software in 3ds Max enables you to tweak your environment settings and camera to your heart’s content and bypass the constraints of real-world photography so that you can curate very specific images. While there are benefits to this, it inevitably results in a very CGI appearance. This is easily avoided by adopting the tenets of real-world photography and attempting to replicate them in your images as much as possible. This will give you a more photographic quality.

6. Embrace realism

Take clues and inspiration from the world around you. Study the surfaces and materials of objects in the real world. Learn how they behave under various conditions and lighting. The natural world seldom displays colours of pure black or white, so avoid the use of pure black (with RGB value 0), as this will suck up any light that falls on it. Likewise, avoid the use of pure white (with RGB value 255), as this will reflect any and all light that hits it.

Other things to take note of are the lack of sharp objects in the world. Giving objects smooth edges with a 90-degree angle will enable them to behave in a more realistic manner when interacting with light.

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