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Recently I was experimenting with water and glass materials in 3ds max 2010. My main objective was to get a nice looking glass and water rendering with mental ray. I saw that there are lots of good tutorials about glass+water materials for Vray but limited number for mental ray. Meantime I got some fine results and I wanted to share this experimentation with you. I think you can get the same results with 3ds max 2009-2011.
To show you how I handled this particular situation I decided to create a still life scene but don’t want to create the classic apple-plate-banana scene. I wanted something different so I created an aquarium with a jelly fish, a candle for the mysterious look and some metallic eggs. I warn you from the start that this is not a modeling tutorial; it is about lighting and rendering tutorial. Therefore I kept everything simple. I hope one finds this tutorial useful for their renderings with mental ray.
We will be using the Arch & Design material to create the glass+water materials. We‘ll be using two Photometric Area Lights to light the scene, one mr Spot Light for Volume shader, one Sky Light for indirect illumination and Final Gather, mr Photographic Exposure Control and Gamma Control. The scene will be in metric units. Here is the final render of the scene.
Preview of Final Results
Step 1: As usual set the renderer to Mental Ray (Rendering > Render Setup> Assign Renderer). Adjust the scene units to centimeter (Customize > Units Setup). Set the Gamma Settings (Customize > >Preferences > Gamma and LUT tab) as you see in the image below.
Step 2: For the background create three boxes with 38×72 dimensions. Define their heights as required.
Step 3: For the candle holder use Line tool and Lathe modifier. Use a Cylinder and a Box primitive to create candle stick and the fire. Use TurboSmooth modifier for the smooth look.
Step 4: For the jellyfish use a Hemisphere, convert it to Editable Poly, Extrude the side polys and shape them. Extrude the tentacles from the bottom polys and using Soft Selection mode gives them a wavy look.
Step 5: To create the starfish use a Cylinder and copy it four times then attach them together and weld the vertices like the picture below.