Materials and Mapping in 3ds Max - Creating Technical Renders with Ink n' Paint

Login to Follow
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
  • Animation
  • 2011
  • Shading
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
7 min

Materials and Mapping in 3ds Max - Creating Technical Renders with Ink n' Paint

In this tutorial, learn how to create a render, using the Ink 'n Paint Material to convey contours and shading. You will even simulate "hatching" in the shadow areas, much like you see in architectural drawings.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2011
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2011 or higher.


00:00:00 --> 00:00:08
There are many ways to simulate "tech renders" or sketch effects.
This movie shows how you can achieve the result
using the Ink 'n Paint material.

00:00:09 --> 00:00:13
Usually, Ink 'n Paint is used for cartoon effects.

00:00:13 --> 00:00:18
As you will see in this movie though, it can also be used
for technical renders.

00:00:19 --> 00:00:22
The scene shows two futuristic buildings.

00:00:23 --> 00:00:27
The current materials applied are based on mental ray Arch & Design materials.

00:00:28 --> 00:00:30
No maps or bitmaps are used at this time.

00:00:31 --> 00:00:38
To create a "tech render" material, go to the Slate Material Editor
and drag an Ink 'n Paint material into the viewer.

00:00:38 --> 00:00:41
Double-click its node to see its properties.

00:00:42 --> 00:00:46
Alternatively, double click the sample image to get a better view
of the material.

00:00:47 --> 00:00:53
Ultimately, you're looking for a monochrome image, so start by setting
the Lighted color to full white.

00:00:54 --> 00:00:58
You can also change the Paint Levels to affect the shaded areas.

00:00:59 --> 00:01:06
For the effect you are aiming for with this scene, a value of 3 should
be adequate but feel free to experiment with other values.

00:01:06 --> 00:01:11
The percent option lets you adjust the intensity of the shade.

00:01:15 --> 00:01:21
Disable this value as you need to replace it with a map to simulate
hatching, or pencil strokes.

00:01:21 --> 00:01:27
Instead of the blue/gray solid color, apply a Gradient Ramp map
to the Shade Color channel.

00:01:29 --> 00:01:36
You'll be adjusting the gradient map parameters momentarily but first,
set the Ink Width to 0.5

00:01:37 --> 00:01:42
Again, you can experiment with this value but thin contour lines
arguably look better.

00:01:42 --> 00:01:46
Double-click the Gradient Map node to display its parameters.

00:01:47 --> 00:01:52
If you wish, double-click its sample image to better view the changes
you are about to introduce.

00:01:52 --> 00:01:59
Set the W Angle value to 45. This will give the hatching a NE/SW direction.

00:02:00 --> 00:02:05
Double-click the first color flag (on the left) and set it to full white.

00:02:11 --> 00:02:17
Drag a point above the first color flag to about a third of the way
to the right (Position 33).

00:02:18 --> 00:02:23
This makes a copy of the white color and ensures a third
of the gradient is solid white.

00:02:23 --> 00:02:27
Move the third (Gray) flag to position 66.

00:02:28 --> 00:02:34
You can change the color value to make it a lighter or darker gray,
or you can choose another color altogether.

00:02:34 --> 00:02:39
Try a blue/green color, RGB values [80,100,100].

00:02:40 --> 00:02:48
At this time, you can test the material by applying it to objects.
Another method is to override all scene materials with this newly
created one.

00:02:48 --> 00:02:54
The advantage of this method is that you can revert back to the original
materials if you need to.

00:02:54 --> 00:02:57
Go to the Render dialog > Processing tab.

00:02:58 --> 00:03:00
Enable the Material Override option.

00:03:01 --> 00:03:05
Instance the newly created material into that channel.

00:03:06 --> 00:03:11
If you tried rendering the scene now, it turns dark.
This is due to the environment settings.

00:03:12 --> 00:03:13
Go to the Environment dialog.

00:03:14 --> 00:03:21
Set the Background Color to full white and disable Use Map
on the Environment mr Physical Sky map.

00:03:22 --> 00:03:24
Disable Exposure control completely.

00:03:25 --> 00:03:29
Render again. You start to see some results but they are not convincing yet.

00:03:30 --> 00:03:36
One of the problems is with render quality & anti-aliasing, the other
is with mapping scale.

00:03:36 --> 00:03:42
In order for the gradient map to be consistent throughout the scene,
all objects must be mapped the same way.

00:03:43 --> 00:03:50
This can be done by selecting all objects and applying a Map Scaler
(OSM) modifier to them.

00:03:51 --> 00:03:55
Try rendering again, the hatching looks better.

00:03:56 --> 00:04:01
You can adjust the coarseness of the hatching by changing the U Tiling

00:04:02 --> 00:04:07
A bit of trial & error is involved. A value of 3 works well
for this scene.

00:04:10 --> 00:04:19
To improve render quality, you need to increase Image Precision
(Antialiasing). Set it to Very High (Min 4, Max 64).

00:04:20 --> 00:04:31
You can disable all other sliders as the scene does not require
Reflections, Refractions, Soft Shadows or even Final Gather.

00:04:40 --> 00:04:45
Notice how some of the missing lines from earlier are now visible
with the improved antialiasing.

00:04:46 --> 00:04:50
However, there are still some artifacts around the corner
of the highrise.

00:04:51 --> 00:04:57
These are happening because some of the polygons on the rounded corners
happen to have multiple smoothing groups.

00:04:58 --> 00:05:04
One way to fix this is to disable Smoothing Groups
from the Ink properties of the material.

00:05:07 --> 00:05:13
However, this is global to the whole scene and will remove ink strokes
that you actually want to have.

00:05:14 --> 00:05:18
A better solution is to adjust the smoothing groups on the building corners.

00:05:19 --> 00:05:23
Restore the Smoothing Groups option of the Ink n' Paint material.

00:05:27 --> 00:05:33
Select the highrise and go to Editable Poly > Edge mode.

00:05:40 --> 00:05:47
Select a vertical edge on a corner, and then click on Loop to select
the whole vertical loop.

00:05:47 --> 00:05:53
Holding Ctrl, repeat the procedure until you select all four corners.

00:05:56 --> 00:06:03
Again holding Ctrl, Click the Ring spinners, once on the top,
and once on the bottom.

00:06:04 --> 00:06:07
This selects three vertical loops for each corner.

00:06:08 --> 00:06:17
Holding Ctrl, click the Polygon icon to convert the selection.
Now all polygons representing the rounded corners are selected.

00:06:20 --> 00:06:26
In Smoothing Groups, notice that the selected polygons are part
of smoothing groups 1 and 2.

00:06:27 --> 00:06:36
Disable both and enable another smoothing group, such as 21 for example.
Any number would do, as long as it doesn't belong to the other sides
of the building.

00:06:37 --> 00:06:42
Exit Polygon mode, restore the Active Perspective View and render again.

00:06:48 --> 00:06:50
The artifacts around the corners are now gone.

00:06:54 --> 00:06:58
Experiment with this technique using your own scenes.

00:06:59 --> 00:07:05
Remember to have the mental ray engine enabled and to set
the gradient map tiling according to the scene scale.

00:07:05 --> 00:07:07
Remember also to adjust Smoothing Groups where needed.

Posted By
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • 2011
  • Shading
1 Comment
To post a comment please login or register
| 1 year ago
Wonderful! Thank you very much. I practiced with the kitchen and got nice result
*Save $70 per month on Autodesk's Suggested Retail Price (SRP) when purchasing 1 year term 3ds Max or Maya subscription.