Procedural BOLTs (2002)


Procedural Challenge


Side Note : This image/project became part of Autodesk’s Samples and was used as promotional material for 3DSMAX 5 release and demos. The imagem was distributed as a “sample image” bundled with 3DSMax5 package (with my permission of course).
Bolts, max, max5, 3dsmax, autodesk, msouza, kumodot,parafuso, 3d, render, scanline

Final Render.No maps used, everything procedural. / Click to see a full size render.

While working with 3D is a never-ending life of study, we have to keep updated on a daily basis. Many Years ago, back in 2002, i was struggling to improve my Shading skills. So, i got on a  little personal challenge… To make a Photorealistic Rendering but not using ANY external material/Map. Nor HDR, nor dirt or bumps maps, nothing… My goal was to build everything from the scratch using only 3dsmax’s native shaders and native render at that time. I was not able to use area lights/shadows, no Mentalray or any external render engines. Only the scanline rendering.

Fake or Foto

How i’d started…?
First step was to have a real photo reference. And then i followed to the planning how could i reach most of the subtle aspects of reality and translate then on my 3D Scene… On a Macro view you can see much more details than at an average distance…
A ordinary white and matte surface, can show little dirt specks and subtle textures when closer to the camera. Reproducing that is a key to say to the observer’s brain that’s a Macro Photograph. This along with the shallow   focus helps to convincing the eyes.


Bolts, reference, photo, macro
Bolts, reference, photo, macro
To simulate an HDR reflection, i’ve modeled a very simple Room around the Bolts with fake windows and lights using Self Iluminated Pannels. Is VERY important to the reflection to have an enviroment to Reflect.
Shader Complexity

Of course the final shader became very complex to the eyes. But it hasn’t started this way. I am not so crazy like that. The path is to get the shaders, fragmented in stages, diffuse, glossiness, bumps, metalic look, etc. And start it as simple as possible, them put layer after layer of “Mixer nodes” trying to break the default look of every procedural shader, masking and mixing it with other inside another and another and so on until i’ve became satisfied with it’s look. It’s all about a mix inside another mix, ad eternum…

Here’s a Glimpse of the Shader tree, in 3dMax5 (Where i’ve made the original project), and using Slate (3dsMax 2011) :

Material, nodes, Shader tree

This is the SHADER TREE if only ONE material, in 3dsMAX5 (2002) at left and 3dsMax 2011 (Right)

Side Note: To light up the scene, and simulate occlusion/area shadow, i had to use 57 lights. Spots and omni sources. This is the principle of the FAKEOSITY technique. It may look an insane thing to do, but it’s the only method to “fake” a radiosity effect on the render using just 3dsmax’s scanline renderer in 2001-2002. A very simple room was modeled/shaded around the models to act like enviroment reflection “map”.
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