Creating a Reflective Sheen in 3ds Max

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I’ll show you how to render it as a separate pass so that you can control its intensity in multi pass compositing easily.

Open 3ds Max. Open the smart_phone.max file which has been provided with the tutorial.

Open 3ds Max
Open 3ds Max
  • Press M to open the Material Editor. Select an empty material slot.
  • Click on Diffuse channel. It opens the Material/ Map Browser window.
  • Select Bitmap and click on OK.
Material Editor
Material Editor

Select screen.jpg image. This will be used as the texture of the mobile screen.

Texture
Texture

I have used several omni lights in the scene.

Lights
Lights

Press Shift-Q or F9 to render the frame. This looks good but there is no reflective sheen on the screen right now.

Render the scene
Render the scene

Create a plane with the length and width as 200 and 80 respectively.

Create a plane
Create a plane 

Put this plane in front of the mobile phone as shown in the following image.

Put the plane on the front
Put the plane on the front
  • Press M to open the Material Editor
  • Select an empty material slot
  • Set the Diffuse color as grey
  • Increase the Self-Illumination level to 100%
  • Apply this material onto the plane
Material Editor
Material Editor

With the screen material slot selected, click on Reflection channel.

Reflection
Reflection

It opens the Material/Map Browser window. Select Raytrace and click on OK.

Material Map Browser
Material/ Map Browser

With the plane selected, do right click and select Object Properties.

Object Properties
Object Properties

It opens the Object Properties window. Turn off Visible to Camera option. Click on OK.

Visible to Camera
Visible to Camera

Press Shift-Q or F9 to render the frame.

This time you get the sharp reflective sheen on the mobile phone’s screen. The reflective plane is there but you don’t see in the rendered frame because you have turned off Visible to Camera option.

Render the scene
Render the scene

If you want to control the visibility or intensity of the reflective sheen, you need to render it as a separate pass, so that you can control it later in the compositing software.

For separate pass
For separate pass

Press F10 to open the Render Setting window. Click on Render Element tab.

Render Setting
Render Setting

Click on Add button. Select Diffuse, Lighting and Reflection. Click on OK.

Render Elements
Render Elements

Click on Render button.

Render
Render 

You get three different passes as Diffuse, Lighting and Reflection. Save each of them in the TGA file format.

Save the passes
Save the passes

Open After Effects.

Open After Effects
Open After Effects

Import all 3 passes one by one and put them in order on the timeline.

Import the passes
Import the passes

Put Reflection layer on the top of the Diffuse layer. It looks dark.

Order wise layers
Order wise layers 
Step 4

Change the blending mode of the Reflection layer to Add. Now you get the reflective sheen on the screen. Since this reflective sheen pass is a separate layer so you can easily control it without affecting any other layer.

Add blending mode
Add blending mode

Reflective sheen pass adds beauty to the final output. There is quite an easy set up for it. If you use it as a separate pass, you can control it quite easily in post production software.

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