3ds Max 2018 - MAXtoA Plugin - Part 4 - VR Camera
Learn how to use MaxtoA (Arnold renderer) VR camera to render a scene in stereoscopic 360-degree left eye/right eye output. This can be very useful for immersive experiences, where a customer can take your design and explore it with a VR headset.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2018
- This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2018 or higher.
?00:00:06 --> 00:00:13
In addition to its hefty arsenal, Arnold provides one more perk, a special camera for VR renderings.
00:00:13 --> 00:00:20
These can be useful to view on VR headsets, even the low-end solutions such as the Google Cardboard.
00:00:20 --> 00:00:31
The Arnold VR Camera makes it very easy to create stereoscopic 360-degree renders of your scenes without relying on special plugins or long procedures.
00:00:35 --> 00:00:42
Let's have a look. Open the scene named Room_VR.max. It's the same room you worked on in the last movie.
00:00:43 --> 00:00:49
The Arnold render settings are at their low defaults for now. We'll revisit those in a moment.
00:00:49 --> 00:00:56
At this point, there are a couple of Physical Cameras in the scene. You don't see them because their layer is set to Hidden.
00:00:56 --> 00:01:04
Make the layer visible and in fact, make it current so that the VR Camera you are about to create is also part of that layer.
00:01:05 --> 00:01:13
From the Create > Cameras panel, switch to the Arnold sub-category. You will find a sole button labeled VR Camera.
00:01:13 --> 00:01:21
It's a free camera type (non-targeted) that you place in a side view so that it's oriented horizontally.
00:01:23 --> 00:01:29
After that, you can use the Move tool to relocate it where you need it to be, usually in the center of the space.
00:01:30 --> 00:01:36
In the Modify panel, you can see the camera parameters, we'll come back to these in a moment.
00:01:36 --> 00:01:41
If you display the camera in a viewport, the effect is quite distorted.
00:01:41 --> 00:01:45
Don't let that bother you, the resulting render is quite different.
00:01:45 --> 00:01:53
The one thing you should look out for however is that the VR Camera does not have EV parameters like the Physical Camera does.
00:01:54 --> 00:01:57
If you're not careful, this can play some bad tricks on you.
00:01:58 --> 00:02:06
Chances are any test renders you have made prior to placing the VR camera involved a Physical Camera with specific EV values.
00:02:06 --> 00:02:12
In this case, the Physical Cameras in the scene are using EV values of 12.5
00:02:12 --> 00:02:17
However, press 8 to go to the Environment dialog.
00:02:17 --> 00:02:23
It states that if Physical Cameras are used in the scene, their EV values are used for rendering purposes.
00:02:24 --> 00:02:31
If not, other cameras would be using the EV value listed in this dialog, currently set to 6.
00:02:31 --> 00:02:38
A render of the VR Camera at this point would be very bright, so overexposed in fact that you can hardly see anything.
00:02:39 --> 00:02:48
So you want to make sure the global EV value in the environment dialog is equal or very close to the one you used on Physical Camera experiments.
00:02:48 --> 00:02:55
By setting the Global Exposure value to 12.5, the render now should look quite a bit more reasonable.
00:02:58 --> 00:03:00
We'll address rendering quality in a second.
00:03:01 --> 00:03:08
The VR camera renders a combination of left eye/right eye in a single image, set in a top/bottom configuration.
00:03:08 --> 00:03:11
This is the default configuration known as Over/Under.
00:03:12 --> 00:03:20
You can choose from different configuration such as side by side, or even render the left and right eye images as separate files.
00:03:21 --> 00:03:25
Your choice will depend on the application you are using to view the scene on your VR headset
00:03:26 --> 00:03:31
Personally, I use a simple Google Cardboard and an android smart phone.
00:03:32 --> 00:03:37
I use an application called VU Gallery (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vustudio.vr.vugallery&hl=en) by a company named VU Studi
00:03:37 --> 00:03:45
This particular app can handle both Over/Under and Side by Side formats. I usually render side by side.
00:03:46 --> 00:03:54
The Eye Separation value controls the 3D effect. Too high a value can in fact work against you and make for a dizzy experience.
00:03:55 --> 00:04:05
Typically, it should be about 1/30th the distance to the focal plane but I have found that the default value of 2.559 works best in most circumstances.
00:04:05 --> 00:04:12
2.559 represents the accepted distance between the left and right human eyes, measured in inches.
00:04:12 --> 00:04:18
Before you crank up the render quality, consider also the image output format.
00:04:18 --> 00:04:29
Right now, the render is set to a 16:9 HD aspect ratio. For 360-degree renderings, you should use a 2:1 aspect ratio.
00:04:29 --> 00:04:40
In the Render Settings > Common tab, set the Output Size to Custom and the width to be twice as big as the height, such as 1024x512.
00:04:41 --> 00:04:47
The Image Aspect value should read 2 and the render is now "VR-ready".
00:04:47 --> 00:04:53
Keep in mind that for VR renderings, you will get much better results with high-resolution outputs.
00:04:54 --> 00:05:04
You'll need at least a 3k (3000x1500) pixel image to experience decent results. The higher the resolution, the better the experience.
00:05:04 --> 00:05:10
You obviously also need to increase the render quality, which in turn will increase render time.
00:05:10 --> 00:05:16
Be ready to render VR images overnight as they will take many hours to process.
00:05:16 --> 00:05:21
The image seen here and that has been made available to you is 4k (4096x2048) resolution,
00:05:21 --> 00:05:32
and the Render Settings were increased to use high Diffuse samples (10) and high Camera AA (8) with low to medium Specular and Transmission samples (3)
00:05:33 --> 00:05:41
It still took a little over 12 hours to render on a relatively fast machine, so keep that in mind before you hit that render button.
00:05:42 --> 00:05:50
Still, what you need to take from all this is the ease of use that lets you create such stereoscopic 360-degree renders.
00:05:50 --> 00:05:55
This can be a very powerful way to convey designs and ideas to colleagues and clients.
00:05:56 --> 00:06:03
This is especially true considering that the viewer doesn't need special or high-end equipment to get an immersive experience.
00:06:03 --> 00:06:11
They already have a smart phone… all they need is a google cardboard that they can pick up for a dollar or two off the internet.?