May 6, 2012

Creating a 3D Abstract Wallpaper using 3Ds MAX & Vray

Tutorial difficulty: Medium 
Software required: Autodesk 3Ds MAX & ChaosGroup Vray 
Time necessary to complete: 10-15 minutes


In this tutorial we will create a simple abstract wallpaper using 3Ds MAX with the help of Particle Flow and the power of Vray rendering.

Your result will be similar to this:

Step 1:  Go to the Create > Geometry > Extended Primitives > Chamfer Box and make a box with a fillet of 1.5 and 12 Fillet segments. The size of the box (length, width, height) doesn't really matter.

Step 2: Go to Create > Geometry > Standard Primitives > Sphere and create a sphere with 64 segments (again the radius is up to you).

Step 3: Select the Chamfer Box and the Sphere and with them selected go to Group > Group and give the group a name then press OK.

Step 4: Go to Create > Particles Systems > PFlow and drag a Particle Flow in the perspective viewport.

Step 5:  With the Particle Flow selected press on Particle View and the Particle View should pop up like in the image below (we will use this view to make some adjustments to our particles options).

Step 6: Inside the Particle View drag a Shape Instance on top of Shape 01 and a Spin operator under Rotation 01.

Step 7: Inside the Shape Instance operator click on the None button under Particle Geometry Object and then press H to bring the Pick Object dialog then select our Group and press OK.
Step 8:  Inside the Shape Instance thick Group Members and bring the Variation slider to 50% to add some randomness to the particles dimension.

 Step 9: Inside the Display Operator change the Type to Geometry so we can see the actual geometry of our particles inside the Viewports.

Step 10: Inside the Speed operator change the Direction to Random 3D. This way the particles will be pushed in every direction.

 Step 11: Select our Group in the viewport and press Right Click and select Hide Selection.

 Step 12: If you did everything correctly then you should see the particles animation by scrolling the timeslider.

Step 13: Open the Particle View again and add a Material Static under the Render 01 inside PFSource 01 just like in the picture below:

Step 14: Inside the Material Static operator press the None button and select a VrayMtl from the list:

Step 15: Press M to bring up the Material Editor and then drag the Material from the Material Static operator to an empty material in the Material Editor and chose Instance (very important).

Step 16: Inside the VrayMtl in the Material Editor change the following:
  • Diffuse color: Pure Black
  • Reflect (RGB): 245,245,245
  • Refraction: Pure White
  • Enable Fresnel Reflections 

Final Step: This is my Vray-Setup with all the things you need to achieve the final effect. I use HDR images for the Environment, Mitchell-Netravali as the Antialiasing filter, Global Illumination is enabled with Irradiance Map and Light Cache as GI engines. You can add Vray lights to your scene if you want to but I decided to let the HDRI do all the illumination. Remember to save the image as PNG for further editing!

Because we set the VrayMtl settings to reflect and refract as white the rendered image will be gray, something similar to what I have below:

I decided to do the coloring using Adobe Photoshop and for the sake of this tutorial I will cover those steps too:
  •  So open Adobe Photoshop and open the rendered image you saved from 3Ds MAX
  •  Add a new layer under it and fill it with Black
  •  Duplicate the rendered image and set the Layer Style to Overlay
  •  Press CTRL+U to bring up the Hue/Saturation tab and thick Colorize then adjust the color to whatever you like and press OK.
Here is an image from photoshop with the layers I have:

So that's it, you have created a cool 3D abstract image using 3Ds MAX, Vray and Adobe Photoshop. If you are a 3Ds MAX user with experience you can use this technique to create even more complicated things or other abstract images. I hope you enjoyed my tutorial, thanks for watching and stay tuned for other tutorials. If you have any questions please fell free to ask in the comment section below. 

See you next time :)

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