3ds Max Blended Box Map - Part 4 - Rendering Templates

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6 min

3ds Max Blended Box Map - Part 4 - Rendering Templates

In this tutorial, learn how to render templates to process textures in a paint program. You will then reuse the results to improve on the scene.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2017.1
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2017.1 or higher.

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A very useful workflow when using Blended Box Map involves rendering templates for further editing in a Paint program.

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Here's a Fire Hydrant that originated in Autodesk's 123D app and that was imported in 3ds Max as an .stl file.

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The geometry is fairly complex which would make it very hard to unwrap. As such, Blended Box Mapping becomes an interesting alternative.

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The fire hydrant is mostly red, but you may want to add scratch marks and dirt marks, or even embossed text and logos to make the model even more interesting.

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Press M to go to the Material Editor. There, you can see the red color material applied to the fire hydrant.

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Apply a single-projection Blended Box Map to its Diffuse channel.

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Make that color a red base color.

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Locate the Render Projection Templates rollout. Here you can define the resolution of images to export.

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The default value of 1024 pixels represents the largest dimension of the projection.

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In the case of a side projection of the hydrant, 1024 pixels represents the height of the image while the width is calculated automatically.

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The top or bottom projections would have their width set to 1024 pixels while their heights are adjusted automatically.

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Leave the default value unchanged for this exercise.

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You can also specify a name and a location for the rendered templates.

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Any file name you enter will be used as a prefix. 3ds Max will append the required suffixes such as _Top, _Left, _Back, etc…

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Once you render the templates to disk,

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you are ready to process them in the paint program of your choice.

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There, you can use various paint techniques to add dirt and scratch marks.

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A typical approach is to use layers set to additive or Multiply blending modes.

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You can then add dirt textures to create the effects that you need. Dirt textures are easy to find on the internet and many are free.

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Ultimately, you can also use custom brushes to create dirt and grunge effects.

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These edited bitmaps seen here have been provided along with the scene file. Use the link in the movie description to download the set.

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The beauty of this technique is that once you have edited and resaved your templates, you can then reload them in 3ds Max as part of the Blended Box Map.

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You could re-use the same material or create a new one.

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Just make sure you set the Blended Box Map to six projections, and simply use the Load Maps feature to reload the updated templates.

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Make sure the material is applied to the fire hydrant and render the scene.

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You should have by now a pretty convincing rendering without any of the hard seams that plague convention box mapping techniques.

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As you can see, this four-part tutorial shows how valuable and how easy it is to use the Blended Box Map.

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This new feature does away with the ugly seams that have traditionally plagued box mapping.

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The ability to render templates that you can edit in a paint program and reload into your 3D scene is extremely powerful and improves the results tenfold.

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It does have a few limitations, mostly with animating objects.

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However, given its ease of use and practicality in most situations, it is definitely a tool you should consider adopting in your future projects.
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