TUTORIAL: Hidden line rendering in 3ds Max

I came across a post on the Autodesk Area 3ds Max Forums asking about how to render a hidden line look (with a glow). My first quick attempts with a Standard material set to "Wire" didn't quite hit the mark. I noticed using that using this material tends to override any other shaders you combine it with. (Blend, Composite,...)

So I tried to approach the hidden line effect from a different angle. A gradient map set to "Box" and its interpolation set to "Solid", combined with and UVW Map modifier set to "Face" can produce a hidden line look. This could be enough to use in production if you're not concerned with the alpha channel being fully white for your entire object. Setting the render to Add / Screen / Plus in your compositing package can yield the result you want when using black are your base colour in the gradient map.

I like to be thorough though, so combining this technique with a Blend shader and a Matte shader not only gave me the desired result but also a clean alpha channel containing only the lines. I decided to make a quick tutorial explaining the process. This is the first tutorial I've made so if you have any comments for improvement, let me know.

Optimizing Vray for maximum render speed & quality

Check out this great article on optimizing Vray by Akin Bilgic. It goes very deep into explaining how and why your Vray scenes should be optimized. As someone who uses the "Universal Method" (as described in the article and Vray's help) a lot, it's nice to have a comprehensive guide to deeper optimization.

I've done a little bit of testing myself and have seen the improvements this way of working can deliver. The extra bit of attention to your settings can really make your scene look great. Even more advantages show up when using render elements for compositing. The elements are less noisy, so you can colour correct them even more without too much visible noise appearing in the final plate.

Combining the information in this article with the information in "Demystifying the Vray DMC Sampler" (by Toni Bratincevic) is a great way to get deeper into the inner workings of Vray and getting the most out of it.

Image © Akin Bilgic

Image © Akin Bilgic

Hour of Power: Canyon Shot

Every now and again, I'll try these quick shots to see what I can get done in about an hour. It's a great little exercise to see how quickly you can prototype something and get a nice result. This one took just a little under an hour, rendering not included.

The final image in 1920 x 1200 and took about 15 minutes to render with Corona. A little post was done in Nuke.

Corona and some... jelly?!

So I've been messing around with Corona for quite a while now. If you haven't heard about this renderer be sure to have a look at the website! The Corona forum is a great place to ask questions and get the latest updates.

Now for the jelly. I wanted something to test Corona with animation wise, so I created this just fooling around. It's done with MassFX particles in Particle Flow, using the glue to keep them together and give the jelly it's soft body movement.

Then, to light it all I used a single overhead rectangular Corona light. A free HDRI was used for some added reflections, courtesy of user zbyg on DeviantArt.

The result isn't anything spectacular, it was just a test after all. At 100 passes Corona gets a frame rendered at around 10 minutes on an i7 3770.