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For this tutorial you need basic knowledge of creating and editing materials geometries


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1.- Prepare the scene

In this tutorial you will learn techniques to illuminate your scene with a HDRi and need to do the following:

The scene is optional because in 3ds max just need to create a simple scene: a geometry and a plane at the base of the geometry so will see the shadows emitting HDRi; but even better if you download the scene.
If you downloaded uncompress and open it with 3ds max.

2.- Sets the render engine Maxwell

Now prepare the 3ds max to work with Maxwell Render for that opens the Setup (F10 or Rendering> Render Setup …) window and assigns the common tab as Maxwell render engine.

Asignemos el motor de render Maxwell

3.- Desactiva la iluminación Sky type

En la pestaña Renderer > Environment Setting desactiva Sky type, esto es para que no intervenga nigun otro tipo de iluminación nada mas que la iluminación del HDR. Esto no quiere decir que no se puedan combinar iluminaciones, pero ahora solo queremos la luz del HDR.

Environment setting sky type none

4.- Active Image Based Environment

In Image Based Environment Background mark and select Activate On, now loaded in the Image field HDRi, this makes it automatically load the same HDR for lighting, reflections and refraction. Later we will see how to control multiple HDR separately.

3.- Activar Image Based Environment

5.- Test Settings

In General setting placed 30 Time (min) with this value you are saying that the render has a duration of 30 minutes maximum. In places Sampling Level 10 means do 10 sampling levels (SL sampling level), is to tell how many interactions take place in the calculation of the light to find the right solution. When Starting the calculation will render up to one of the 2 values that we have introduced so complete stop even missing in the other.

General setting sampling level

6.- Configuring the Camera

The 3ds max camera itself works great on Maxwell as this within the 3ds max does not have own camera as if you have other rendering engines.
Target Distance In 55,25 put this is very important because in Maxwell camera works like a real camera creating depth as accurate to reality field, ie where to put the Target distance will be your focal point and objects as but stay away from this point will be more blurred.
Are below controls Maxwell Parameters for the camera which we will put in Exposure Mode Manual to also have full control of all parameters.

I’ll explain some concepts that you must know to control a camera with Maxwell parameters and are also applied to a professional camera:


Is the distance in millimeters from the optical center of the virtual camera lens to the focal point of the virtual mirror virtual lens or camera for this scene I used a Lens of 43,456 mm.


Put the value of 8, set this value the depth of field render.

Shutter Speed

Put the value of 2, this parameter controls the shutter speed ie render exposure.

Film ISO

Put it to a value of 100. Photograph in this parameter represents the sensitivity of the sensor, the sensor is the chip fall where light entering the lens and is responsible for capturing the image.

If you want to extend these concepts about photography and 3d cameras I recommend visiting: Parameters of the cameras and photographic settings.

Configurando camera 3ds max Maxwell renderer

7.- First render test

Now do the render (Shift + Q or Rendering> Render), a new window (Maxwell Render) will open with many parameters as the Maxwell Motor is not integrated into 3ds max. Upon completion of the render (top yellow bar 100%) we ended upon reaching Level Sampling we set 10 as the weather just arrived (in my case) to a little over 5 minutes.

Ventana Maxwell Render

8.- Quality adjusting

Now you will focus on the final quality, as you showed in the previous step the Sampling Level 10 was not enough to achieve a good quality, then you have to change and for that in the same window Maxwell Render at the bottom click on the Render Options tab, there are settings Scene, the Sampling Level increase it to 16, the same time keep it to 30 minutes and hopefully it’s enough to be the value of Samplig Level and not the time it reaches the end first. Click on the yellow button RENDER and …

Ajuste de calidad Maxwell Render Sampling Level

… a window appears that gives you the option to start the render from 0 (Start) or continue to calculate where the render finished (Resume), this is a great advantage of Maxwell, of course click on Resume to save the time you got in the first test render. Wait and Done.

MXI output already exists

Final render

Final Render 3Ds max y Maxwell


Then I leave some notes for you to know something more regarding the handling of HDR.

Controlling different HDR separately

In step 4 when you loaded the HDR in the Background> Image automatically loaded for Refraction, Reflection and Illumination, change this and HDR load a different resolution for each one of them is important if you want to have more control for your scene since often the same resolution of a HDR is not used for everything, usually for the pixels in the HDR lighting is lower, a middle-high resolution for reflections and a super high quality for background (backplate).

Change orientation of HDR

In the same window where you load the HDR are options Offset U and Offset V which change the orientation of the HDR, the Offset U rotates horizontally HDR and Offset V does vertically, both values are in degrees ranging from 0 ° to 360 º.

Change Settings from the window of Maxwell Render

One option that has the Maxwell as you saw in step 7 is that if you change the resolution measures, Time, SL, F-STOP, save the render is made from the same window Maxwell Render without returning to 3ds max, but even better while doing the rendering calculations, you can change the Shutter Speed and the next SL you visualize and even when it has completed 100% of rendering also change the Shutter Speed and save, this saves much time not having to render if you have to change the exposure.

Default gamma 2.2

By default, the Maxwell is installed and configured to save rendering in gamma 2.2. Check it in the window of Maxwell Render, the Camera tab the drop Tone Mapping, the Monitor Gamma option.

Image without depth of field

As I had said before the Maxwell used the camera as a real camera so it is inevitable that some objects often blurred out because of the depth of field. To correct the blur you should apply a technique called stacking Focus (Stacking approaches or bracketing Focus) which consists of a sequence of renders changing the Target Distance and then coupling said render into one showing the right of each focus. To know more about visit the following tutorial: Extends the depth of field of your images – Focus Stacking.

Tell me as has been the quality of your render with this tutorial?, Did you know that in maxwell render some take days to complete?


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