Scene Management in 3ds Max - Part 1 - MR Proxy Objects

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  • Design Visualization
  • Animation
  • 2011
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
6 min

Scene Management in 3ds Max - Part 1 - MR Proxy Objects

In this first tutorial, learn how to convert 3D trees to .mib format (mr proxies) and save the source objects' material library to disk.


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


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mr Proxy objects are useful when rendering many instances of an object
using the mental ray renderer.

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They are particularly useful with high-polygon count objects such as
fancy seats in an opera house or 3D trees.

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The reason is that they don't need to be converted to mental ray
objects and you don't even need the source objects to be present at
render time.

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This saves time and frees memory for rendering.

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The viewport display of an mr proxy approximates the source object.

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This helps with viewport performance when you have hundreds or thousands
of instances to render.

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In this scene you have 4 oak trees created using the AEC Extended
Foliage object.

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Their level-of-detail, parameters and materials have been adjusted
to represent the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

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You will create mr-proxies of these trees that you can later scatter
across an uneven terrain.

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Go to the mental ray Create sub-panel and choose mr Proxy.

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Click & drag a proxy object of any size, and then go to the
Modify panel.

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Click the None button under Source Object and then select a tree,
for example the winter tree.

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Click the Write Object to File button.

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Navigate to the folder where you have placed the scene files
you downloaded for this tutorial,

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and then specify a name for your mr proxy, for example

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As you save the file a dialog appears.

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Here you can leave the default Current Frame active, in the case
of a non-animated object like this oak tree,

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or you can specify an animation if you are creating an mr proxy of
an animated object.

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Click OK to exit the dialog. The mr proxy object is created
as a .mib file format and a preview .bmp image is created and displays
in the panel.

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The display of the mr proxy in the viewport is done by a set of points
or Viewport Verts, which mimics the shape of the source object.

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You can increase or decrease this number to your liking.

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Keep in mind that increasing the number may have an effect on viewport
performance when you start adding multiple instances of the mr proxy.

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You can also enable Show Bounding Box as a way to frame the volume.

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You can repeat this procedure to create mr proxies for the other trees,
or use the .mib/.bmp files you downloaded for this lesson.

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To load an mr proxy from disk, you create a new mr proxy object of any
size, go to the Modify panel, and then specify a Proxy File to load.

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The mr proxy size is adjusted to match the source object.

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You can adjust the scale if you need the mr proxy to be bigger
or smaller that the source object.

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Load up the remaining trees to have four proxies for the four source

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If you render the scene now, you will notice that the mr proxies,
although identical to the source objects as far as geometry goes,

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render only according to their wirecolors.

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If you start building a library of mr proxies, you might also want
to save their material libraries as well.

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Go to the Slate Material Editor.

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At the bottom of the Material/Map Browser, notice the four tree
materials that are currently applied to the source trees.

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In order to save these to a separate library that you can recall
at a later time, select the option to Create a New Library
and give it a name, such as myTrees.

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This creates a new rollout, and it is now easy to copy the tree
materials to that new library using simple click & drags.

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Once done, you can now right-click the myTrees rollout and save it
as .mat file, and store it to disk, possibly in the same folder
as the .mib files.

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If the materials are using any bitmaps, it is safer to also include
the bitmaps into the same folder.

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In this case, the file named elmleaf.tga that you downloaded along
with the scene files is needed for the tree leaves.

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At this point, you can leave the mrTrees library displayed or close it.

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If you need to reopen it, you can do so again using the browser's
option button.

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In the next movie, you learn how to scatter the mr proxies across
an uneven terrain.
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  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • 2011
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