Flash Photograhy Effect in MAXtoA

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  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Lighting
  • Lighting and Rendering
  • Arnold
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Beginner
15 min

This short tutorial will show you how to emulate a flash photography effect used to enhance this shocking render of a zombie attack!


  • Create a Quad Area light. Position and rotate it so that it sits in front of the render camera. Group the Area light with the camera. This will ensure that when you move the camera, the light will follow. Increase the Exposure of the light to around 4.

Quad light positioned in front of camera


  • We can use Spread in the Quad light to focus the light more on the zombie's face. In this case it has been lowered to 0.2.

Low spread values can be noisier than the default high spread, so be careful when using them. The lower the value, the more light samples will be needed to avoid noise in the shadows.

An alternate method for controlling how the light falls off in a scene is to add a Light Decay filter to the light.

Atmospheric Volume

We can use Volume Scattering to add a creepy atmosphere to the scene.

  • Go to the Slate Material Editor and create a Atmosphere Volume shader.
  • Open the Environment and Effects window and drag the Volume Scattering onto the Background Environment Map.

That concludes this short tutorial on how to create a flash photography effect. Have pleasant dreams!

Many thanks to Snaptank for providing the 3D scan.

Posted By
  • Arnold
  • 3ds Max
  • Lighting
  • Lighting and Rendering
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