Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Comment Test

With quite a few exchanges by e-mail, IRC, instant messanger, and discussion forums I am looking to add a comments button for all to enjoy and share in the knowledge. This may/may not last, so bear with me for a few days. :)

Happy Commenting...

Preset Materials

Like many of you reading this I have work to do. What I mean by this is that in order to get paid I need to complete and deliver projects. I have a standard library of materials, scenes and settings that are used, re-used and updated as new materials get added/created for each job. Not everyone starting out has this luxury of a few years experience and many created textures/materials. What's a new user supposed to do?

For those of you just starting out with VIZ/Max, there is a new material type that will make life easier for use in Architectural renderings, it is the "Architectural" material. For those currently using VIZRender and Max 6 you have access to this, VIZ users will have to wait until the next release (first quarter of 2004). Why is this good for beginning users? With the many settings available to use in VIZ/Max it can seem overwhelming, believe me I know I have been where you are now.

The Architectural Material has a "template" to use for many common items (Ceramic Tile, Fabric, Glass, Masonry, Metal, Paint, Paper, Stone, Water, Wood and more) that will get you started with realistic looking materials that you can adjust to match your particular project needs. For VIZRender users this is your only Material Shader choice, for Max users you still have access to the same Material choices as before along with this one addition.

Happy Rendering in 2004...

Christmas Swing

After spending Christmas doing the family shuffle (in-laws, parents, grandparents, etc...) things are settling back down. Last night we enjoyed the Holiday Lights at the Beach with my in-laws.

Windsurfing Santa from the Holiday Lights at the Beach

A few days ago we visited the local Coleman's Nursery who put on a holiday tradition (39 years) of mechanical dolls and more in a Christmas Wonderland for all ages. Sadly though they are closing there doors after this season. I remember coming here as a child and marveling at the displays that were put together and some fresh hot apple cider when there is a nip to the air. If you live locally you have until Jan. 03, 2004 to visit.

Now that the new year is almost upon us we are getting back into the swing of things. Rendering wise I am currently working on some procedural textures and understanding the best uses for a variety of shaders to make some objects stand-out in some recent work that is due for delivery soon.

With the new year approaching I think it is time for a new look for this blog, keep an eye out for that (after this project goes out of course). ;)

Wishing you the best in 2004.

Happy Rendering...

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


Christmas is approaching like a whirlwind. With so much activity going on around us we can very easily lose track of the things that are happening around us and the reason for the season.

I have taken the week off from work to enjoy the season, town and family. With so many things going on this is a nice time to catch up with everyone. If you are doing any holiday renderings check out the following link for an RPC Santa Clause from Archvision.

Wishing you the best in 2004.

Happy Festivus...

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Color Schemes, or Lack Thereof

One of the biggest issues I see on a daily basis with most renderings is the lack of a color scheme in the composition.

Have you ever looked at a rendering and noticed there is something that does not seem to work but you cannot pinpoint what it is? Most of the time this is due to the colors that are chosen conflicting with each other. Rather than using colors at random in your scenes you should try to focus on keeping your palette of colors in the same range. For more on this take another look at your color wheel and the principals that go with this. In some cases you can take artistic license to make some conflicts deliberate when you are trying to convey a particular look or feel. Unless you are doing this conscienously you may want to stay away from that for now.

Besides your material colors consider your lights sources and the light color you choose. I see it far too often in those just starting out that they consider an exterior scene to have one light only. Guess what the most common light source they pick? If you said sunlight you are correct. In general the issue is they choose default white as the single light source color. Why is this such a big deal, it works in nature just fine right? Not exactly as your digital canvas needs to have bounced light from the environment and other sources to mimic nature. I like to use one main colored light (color tinted) for a daytime exterior scene and a few fill lights of different colors to achieve the right look or feel, sometimes I do this just to play with my shadows or to add a glint off of metal to look more convincing as a material.

While there are many tricks you can use to get the right feel one thing you should try in your next rendering is changing the main light to a bold color to see the mood it conveys. Try a blue, green, red and more to see if any of these pull an emotion from you by looking at them. Do any of these light color changes make you feel cheerful, frightened, sad? Keep these in mind as they will probably elicit the same response from your client.

Happy Rendering...

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


After a delay in posting due to illness and a blown network card due from an electric storm I am back in business.

I am currently working on a rendering of a warehouse facility. This is pretty fun as I am doing a blend combination of a camera match with the new building. I used to be of the mindset to take care of most of the matching in post rendering composite work, but with my deeper exploration into VIZ/Max most of this can be done with very little touch-up needed.

If you have not had the chance to read digital Lighting & Rendering by Jeremy Birn I recommend you to read this. Many of the common mistakes/issues that your renderings have can be solved by reading the information contained in this book. This has given me a better understanding of the entire visualization process and some important steps that I have been overlooking or doing the hardway.

Current gripe that is bugging me, if only the next version of VIZ were available to work with the ADT 2004 .dwg file format in a timely manner. What has my VIZ subscription done for me so far over the past 2 years? Worked great until a new version of ADT with a file format change came out, now I have ADT2004 shelfware in some places. I cannot complain too much as I do like Max 6. :)

Happy Rendering...

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Back In Town

After an extended stay in Vegas over the weekend and catching the Vegas Flu, I am glad to be home though I am still sick.

I will be adding some pictures from AU later this evening. Right now I need to get started working on a new project. More to come later this evening.

If you want to see some pictures from AU check out what Shaan has posted here.

Happy Rendering...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

AU nights

After a few more great classes we took a dinner break and afterwards headed to the AUGI beer bash and exhibition hall.

We ran into a few good friends and met some new ones as well. This was a good chance to demo some products up close.

After a good night we headed back to the room and ran into Tony Hawk and his lovely wife, coming back from the Spike TV video game awards at the MGM.

Now for some rest...

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


We just finished lunch here at AU and are sitting poolside at the MGM.

The developers conference yesterday was great and the party afterwards at the ESPN zone in the NY, NY was a great time.

Now back to classes.

Happy Rendering...

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