Exterior Renderings in 3ds Max

portrait, Ramy Hanna

Ramy Hanna

Level 1

4h 3m

In this course, Ramy Hanna will show you the entire process of taking an exterior building model through all the important steps required to create a convincing photo-real rendering.

First, you will learn how to model the surrounding site and hardscape. Then, you will learn how to add textures and lighting to the building. Finally, you will learn how to embellish the site with landscape and entourage.

When you are done with this course, you'll know how to model a site in 3ds Max as well as set-dress an exterior scene with landscape and trees. There are 2 parts to this course:

Part 1- Exterior Renderings in 3ds Max: You will learn how to take an exterior building model through all the important steps required to create a convincing photo-real rendering.

Part 2- Photoshop for Architectural Renderings: You will learn how to significantly enhance the color and quality of any photograph, including architectural renderings.

Modeling

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When we're done, you'll know how to model a site in 3ds Max, as well as set dress an exterior scene with landscape and trees. All of the files we'll be using here are available to members on the course website. So let's get started.

We're not so much concerned about bringing the texture maps from SketchUp as much as the materials as a place holder. If you look, I can show you very quickly how we can texture a model in SketchUp. I'm going to create a box, and the easiest way to do that is the Rectangle tool.

I actually prefer inches, because I find it's easier to hit feet on the keyboard than the inches, which is a Shift and the same button, so it's one less buttons on the keyboard, so I prefer inches. As soon as you hit OK, you can see now, instead of an arbitrary one, it's actually one inch. My control joint now is one inch in thickness.

You can combine objects by material, and if you have materials on your Revit object, this is a really good way to import your model. That way you don't have to guess what parts of your model are different materials. But this is only helpful if the architect has already placed materials on the Revit model.

If I click on an object that's on the site plan, it highlights that without auto-expanding. For now, I'm going to freeze my site plan, because I don't really want to manipulate it, but I'm just going to use it as a guide. Now, everything is frozen that's within that site plan layer.

6m 5s
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If I add a modifier to it, go to modifier tab and click here, we can actually create an extrude modifier. Another option if you don't wanna look for it is this really nice tool in Max where you hit X on your keyboard and it'll search for any action in 3ds Max, which is really cool. If you know what they are, you can start typing them in and I can start typing extrude.

So I'm actually going to come here and just click straight like that. And you can see some areas we don't have a curb based on the way the architect drew it, which is fine. We can ignore some of those and just create the edge the way we wanted to.

And then an angle that's going to work I think for our building is important as well. So I want to show this face off but I also wanna show off the courtyard and so there are lot of things that go into play. And I think an angle like this is good.

So again we're gonna use the spline and I'm going to layout portions of the grass right here. You can see I've got hardscape right here. And I've got grass in these portions here.

So we can go to vert click create line, and I'm actually going to turn on snapping S and I'm going to snap to those verts. And then I'm going to hit S again to turn that off. And we will come back down here and create our sidewalk here.

Let's turn our extrude back on the sidewalk, make sure everything looks the way it's supposed to. Everything's looking pretty good. We can turn our road back on if we want.

Lighting With V-Ray

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And we're going to add a standard V-Ray material, click on that and by default it's 50% gray, which is perfect. If you hit render now, you will see the entire thing is gray. And what's great about this, what's really nice about looking at in in a grayscale is we are looking essentially just at the lighting and the way the lighting is affecting the building.

Right now, this is my material, and it looks like it's doing some strange things. If you want to reset the material, you can always come in here, hit V-Ray, and it will reset the material settings to the default. But glass is usually black in the diffuse, that's white in the reflection.

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So if you have a good foundation and lighting it's gonna affect the rest of the process and so once it looks good, at this level, I think you can be pretty confident knowing that it's gonna look good moving forward. The next portion we'll jump into materials and the building.

Materials & Textures

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12m 43s
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And, we will just turn off our override material right here. So, we'll turn that off. And, my default, if we were just to render what we have, let's go ahead and take a look.

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Again, it's very important to texture things from your camera because you could be up here and say, oh you know, the scale of my grass looks good. But as you get really close to it, and you're in your view, all of a sudden the grass blades look way too large. It's important to scale things correctly based on the camera.

So it's adding a little bit of a reflection to our road, if you don't want the glossiness you can just delete it like that, and just have it driven by the value amount, which is fine. I think that will work as well. If it's too much you can lower the amount, but that's looking pretty good to me.

Plants & Proxies

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And then for the pickets, it's basically just a line that's rendered. And you can see how crude some of the modeling is. But, for rendering purposes, it'll work, especially from our camera angle.

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It's almost three megabytes in file size but the file size is very small. But if you look at the geometry, there is a lot of geometry going on in this scene. And the reason that Macs can do that is because all of these little chains in this file are instances.

So, if we select our proxy mesh now, you can see it's called V-ray proxy right here. And now, if you go the modifier tabs, the controls are a little different. This is the mesh right here and you have several options for display.

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There's a tab here called object paint and if you click on that it gives you all sorts of tools for painting objects into your scene. So, we have an option where we can randomize the objects we paint. We can randomize the rotation, the scale, and how close the objects are together that we paint.

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I've already proxied these trees, which makes it easier for the process, and you can see I have a tree right here, it's a proxy, and sometimes it's helpful to look at a site plan just like this and see exactly where you want to place those trees, so this one, we're going to place here, and put one here, and we have lots of trees that we're going to put in the back here as well. We have some more that we're going to put here. Right now, I'm just placing key trees that'll look good for the camera angle, so you can see, we're placing these right where they need to be.

Forest Pack Pro

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Let's click on custom object, and we're going to use our proxy. Click on none, and our proxy object. And then here it's saying it's going to create a point cloud.

Under create Forest Pack Pro, click your object there and, select the object you want. Under geometry, custom. There we go.

I'm going to create one more force pack object for my trees, and I'm going to use these trees and a combination of the other trees to create a force pack objects. So, this one I'll call it, we'll do this, and I'll call it Force Pack Controller 4. Controller.

And I'm going to add grass in these few areas that we added and so here's another spline and we're going to add a force pack object onto this grass that we have extruded. To do that, obviously it's going to end up being a lot of force pack objects, but it can be pretty efficient the way we do it. So instead of extruding this out, I will actually create a duplicate object.

Final Touches & Rendering

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So let's rotate them 180 degrees and move them fairly close to the tree, we're gonna stick this just over the ground and it's very important that the color of the lights, the temperature is just right so we're gonna make it a warm light. So I like to make it roughly around 3000, 3300 is fine. And to make it a nice spotlight, there is a rectangle option here which we're gonna give it a direction.

And while I have that object selected, I'm going to call it light plane, and right click, go to Object Properties, and we're gonna make it invisible to the camera, and invisible to reflections, refractions, and it's going to catch shadows but not receive shadows. And that way, with these three unchecked, it will generate light but you won't be able to see any object and we'll set the intensity here to something like 30. It's looking a little green so I'm going to add a color correction map inside of it.

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So now if I do a rendering, I'll get a red, green, and blue image that I can isolate those channels and it's useful in post where I can make selections of my grass, my glass, and my road. So that's multimat. Extratechs, if I want to create what we call an ambien occlusion pass, I can create a pass just for shadows.

So now you know how to model roads, curves, and sidewalks, texture a building with realistic building materials, light a building to sell the architecture, and dress the scene with plants, trees, and render all the elements needed for post processing. Don't forget that you can always come back to this course if you need a refresher. So thanks for watching and remember to check out the other courses that we're always updating on blackspectacles.com.

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