Render Engine Tests

A rainy weekend was a good excuse to spend some time testing render engines that I haven’t tried in a while.  First up was Thea Render.  I was intrigued by a new feature called layer absorption.  In theory it allows you to tint materials with absorption.  Useful for simulating things like pearl paints.

I converted a model I had from VRay over to Thea and began configuring the absorption type paint.  Seemed to work alright, example:

Thea Render test (bottom)

Unfortunately I experienced a lot of crashes using the 3ds Max plugin for Thea Render.  Probably would have been more stable if I had exported the scene out to their stand-alone application.  However, I prefer working directly in 3ds Max.

Next up, Octane Render.  It was enjoyable working with Octane.  I like the speed and color correction/glow/glare options.  I didn’t experience any crashes with Octane so I was able to produce a few more images with it:

First Octane render.

Octane render (3ds Max plugin) 02

Third Octane Render test (3ds Max plugin)


Exploratory Renders

I wanted to try out some different CG techniques to change the look of my images a bit.  I’ll typically light my automotive scenes with a HDR, and that’s it.  At times I’ll add a light source, mainly for shadows, but typically the modified HDR’s provide most everything I need for a typical shot.

In these tests, using a model from Christophe Desse, I added a black and white projector map of some tree leaves to a light source.  Doing so provided some much needed shadow/light play.  The materials are far from perfect here, especially on the tires.  However, I definitely like the effect of the projector map on the scene and will be using it in my production work as needed.
Projection mapping or using a light gobo isn’t anything new.  However, it’s something I basically stopped using some years ago when I started using HDR/EXR for illumination.

In this final shot I setup some lights as though I were doing a photo shoot of this vehicle on location.  The lights were also set to influence the back-plate via the Shadow Catcher Illuminator option in Corona Render.  Not a great example for that effect since the back-plate was somewhat bright to begin with.  I’ll need to find a nice, dark/moody back-plate next time.  However, it does work nicely.


Complex Fresnel Texmap plugin for 3ds Max

Siger Studio has created a free complex fresnel texture map plugin for 3ds Max.  It’s a great way to enhance your metal materials (plug it into the reflection color).  Some examples, rendered with Corona Renderer.


3d printed plastic material

I’ve placed a 3d printed plastic material sample scene HERE (iray & 3ds Max 2013+).  It’s not perfect but it may work in some situations depending on how close the camera is.  Otherwise perhaps it would be a good starting point to refine it further.

NOTE: You’ll also need the iray material plugin.  It can be found HERE.


2016 AMG GTs Renders

Some recently completed renders of the new AMG GTs vehicle from Mercedes-Benz.  The vehicle data set & back plate image was provided by MBUSA.  I was responsible for lighting/materials/rendering.  I used 3ds MaxCorona Render, and HDR Light Studio.  I supplied each image to MBUSA in a layered file format (PSD) for final retouching and modifications by them.

Some additional info: The images were rendered at 8k to 12k resolution.  I typically provide the layered PSD file with multiple variations that can be used or combined/blended to achieve different looks (different reflection passes, lights on or off, etc.).  For kicks I’ll usually even include ‘my version’ in the file, which is just my own post-processed interpretation of the image.  It’s usually discarded but I’m sure my fellow CG’ers know how difficult it is to not do some post-processing on our renders. :)

As an example, here was ‘my version’ of the yellow AMG GTs on the racetrack image (reduced scale):