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HDRI and Caustics for the Beginner

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Date Added: 16th June 2009
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Step 7: Materials for Sphere01 and Sphere03 - We will be doing both of these spheres in the same step as both materials will be taken from the Material Library. Select Sphere01 which will have a raytrace glass material applied to it. Hit M to call up the Material Editor, then select the second material slot. Click the Get Material button which will bring up the Material/Map Browser. Click the Mtl Library radio button under Browse From, and under the File area click the Open button. From the Open Material Library List double click RayTrace_01.mat to call up the Material/Map Browser for this file. Double click GlassClear (Raytrace) to place it in the chosen material slot. See images below:

579_tid_pix_008.jpg 579_tid_pix_009.jpg

We will be staying with the default values of this material, so go ahead and assign it to Sphere01, and don't forget to name the material Sphere01. At this time our screen has two large windows blocking our view of our geometry. Hit the H key to call up the Select Objects list, then double click Sphere03. Select the third material slot. The material for Sphere03 will be ChromeWhite (Raytrace), and since our Material/Map browser containing this material is already open, double click the material to place it in the slot for Sphere03. Close the Material/Map Browser, assign the material to Sphere03, then name the material Sphere03. Before closing the Material Editor, click the Background (checkerboard) button for material slots 2 and 3 to see the reflective and refractive traits of both materials. Close the material Editor. Hit F9 to render your scene for a comparison to my render.

If followed accurately the two images should appear similar to each other. Save your file.

Step 8: Materials for Sphere02 and GeoSphere01 - Select Sphere02, then hit M to call up your Material Editor. Select the fourth material slot and click the Background button to set a checkerboard pattern behind the sample sphere.. The default diffuse color, a medium grey, is fine for what we'll need, but we also want this object to be able to reflect only. Slide down to the bottom of the Material Editor where you'll see a rollout called Maps, then open it. We're going to assign a simple reflection map to our material. Click the checkbox left of Reflection, and before assigning a raytrace map, set the Amount value to 50, then click the None button to the right. In the Material Map Browser, double click Raytrace. Note how our sphere in the fourth material slot has now taken on reflective traits. Leave all the values in the Raytrace Parameters rollout to their defaults, click the Go to Parent button, name the material Sphere02 and assign it to the Sphere02. See image below:


Select the fifth material slot which will be for our geosphere. The material we'll be assigning to GeoSphere01 will be a special material from mental ray called Glass (physics_phen). However, before any mental ray material can be worked with, mental ray must be activated first. Hit F10 to call up the Render Scene, click the Common tab and slide down to the very bottom. Open the Assign Renderer rollout, and to the far right of Production, click the button with the three dots, in the Choose Renderer list, double click mental ray Renderer and close the Render Scene. Now, we can access mental ray's materials. Click the Standard button on the Material Editor, and note the three new materials available to us. Simply, double click Glass (physics_phen). Click the Background button to place a checkerboard pattern behind the new material. Different, isn't it? And it seems rather ironic that such an advanced material should have so few parameters. The only parameter we need adjust is the Phong Coefficient, which we'll set to 260. Again, note the changes to this material as highlights appear. Name the material GeoSphere01, assign it to GeoSphere01 and close the Material Editor. On a special note, you may be wondering why we assign names to all our materials. As you advance into 3D art more you'll find that you'll have to deal with an increasing number of objects and materials. Naming these materials will help you keep track of their assignments to the scene objects. Now, return to the camera view by hitting C if not already there, then F9 to do a quick render of our scene thus far. With materials assigned your rendered scene should look like this:


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