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HDRI and Caustics for the Beginner

By Rick Timmons
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Date Added: 16th June 2009
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You can can now close the Environment and Effects panel. In the Material Editor, you'll notice that our environment map is unusually dark. Scroll down toward the bottom and open the Output rollout. Place the value you noted for the White Level Linear value into the RGB Level, and you can close Output at this time. Now the Environment map is much brighter and all that's left to do before we render is to go into Coordinates rollout and set our environmental mapping to Spherical in the drop down list. Close your Material Editor. If not already in the Camera viewport, hit C, then hit F9. This is what I achieved using the Grace Probe from Paul's site (caustic photons = 50000):

579_tid_pix_021.jpg

And here's a second render using 500,000 caustic photons:

579_tid_pix_022.jpg
It's very rare you ever see speed and quality go hand in hand, yet I wanted to show you what such a render would look like. It's well worth the wait. In closing, keep in mind, that learning Max, or any other 3D package is also a matter of having the initiative to experiment with various settings and noting their effects on the rendered graphic. No tutorial could begin to cover every aspect of a 3D subject, e.g. HDRI, modeling, mapping, etc. Good luck to all, and I hope this tutorial has helped you in learning this fascinating element of 3D artwork.

Rick Timmons
DigitalPrizm




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