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Fast Ambient Occlusion in 3ds Max

By Tom Isaksen
| Your Rating:
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(21 Votes)
| Comments 11
Date Added: 16th November 2010
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop

The shader should look something like this now (Fig.05).

Fig. 05

Step 2: Assign to Render

Open the Render Setup menu (F10), then click the Processing tab, find the Material Override option and click Enable. You can now drag and drop the material you just created onto the Material:None button. Chose Instance to make sure the material updates when you change the settings (Fig.06).

Fig. 06

Click Render (Fig.07)!

Fig. 07

And you will probably see a more or less completely white render. The default values assigned to the material are not optimal for what we want to do. Please note: if your render is black, try to set your exposure control to No Exposure Control in the Rendering > Exposure Control menu.

Find the Max Distance value and increase to let say 100. And the render again (Fig.08).

Fig. 08

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 308140, pid: 0) Ariespranata on Tue, 11 November 2014 3:16am
Hi, this is a very nice tutorial. Btw, I've spent a little time and creating a script that will do exactly the same as what you're doing in this tutorial. Take a look: Nice thing about this script is, when you run the script, it will render the AO pass and leave your scene as if nothing happened. :)
(ID: 305753, pid: 0) Anoop Eapen on Tue, 28 October 2014 2:55pm
Dear, pls give the 3ds max system requirement pls send me
(ID: 253998, pid: 0) Aily on Fri, 21 February 2014 7:06am
You can use mr AO shader on standart Omni light, but in it "advanced" rollout enable "ambient only" flag. And now any materials (not only mr) will be with AO. And you don't need photoshop anymore for this ;)
(ID: 235779, pid: 0) Mick on Sun, 24 November 2013 8:41pm
Great...thanks for this.
(ID: 235417, pid: 0) David on Fri, 22 November 2013 12:10pm
This is great to follow up for a quick 'render to texture', nothing wrong with it at all, even though it isn't 'physically accurate' and all that rubbish.
(ID: 222498, pid: 0) Martin on Thu, 03 October 2013 12:15pm
Thank you for making this tutorial. I know it was not supposed to be a 100% accurate AO map, but it is absolutely perfect for a very quick way to get very nice results for quick proofing renders. Cheers Martin
(ID: 203675, pid: 0) Merey on Sat, 22 June 2013 9:35pm
nice but how do you handle a;pha maps like leaves with this technique?pls if you know tell me: tanx
(ID: 178697, pid: 0) Grant Salisbury on Mon, 28 January 2013 2:13am
A great way to do this quickly is to use this script. Quick Passes Great for quick mattes and lighting as well as ao passes.
(ID: 31457, pid: 0) Tim on Sun, 09 January 2011 11:00pm
also, you can disable final gather for your ambient occlusion pass, makes it at least slightly faster.
(ID: 27523, pid: 0) Tom Isaksen on Wed, 17 November 2010 10:05am
Actually Vladimir, the point is to make it easy and quick, particular if you NOT just using Arch & Design shaders.. But you are right, it's not a physically correct Ambient Occlusion effect, and I suppose I could have stressed that more in the tutorial. So thanks for pointing it out.
(ID: 27505, pid: 0) Vladimir Jankijevic on Tue, 16 November 2010 9:22pm
I'm sorry but if you've read that post by Master Zap, you'll see that your technique isn't quiet right and is missing the point of ambient occlusion. here is the link to the post:
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