Jul 6, 2012

Create a Glowing Text in 3Ds MAX

Hello guys and welcome to another 3Ds MAX Tutorial! Today we will learn how to create a glowing text inside 3Ds MAX and how to render it with Mental Ray. You don't need any plugins to complete this tutorial, because Mental Ray comes with 3Ds MAX in its package. We will be using the Glare Shader, we will create a nice looking water material and of course our glowing text. The end result will look similar to these ones:

Of course, you can make any object glow because in the end the glow is just a material shader, but for this tutorial we will use a simple text. Make sure to check the pictures under each step to understand better what I'm trying to say with words.

QUICK TIP: Press your mouse scroll button to open images in New Tabs or just click it once and you can view them like a gallery.
So let's get started!

Step 1: Open 3Ds MAX and go to Create > Shapes > Text and click once into the Front View to place our default MAX TEXT:

Step 2: From the Modify Tab change your text to whatever you want, I chose Glow Tutorial as you can see below (also you can choose another font if you want).

Step 3: Apply an Extrude Modifier from the Modifier List and change it's Amount to 25. This will create our 3D Text for us:

Step 4: Press F10 to bring up the Render Setup. Scroll down to Assign Renderer and press on the [...] box to Choose Renderer... and pick Mental Ray Renderer from the list:

Step 5: Now still inside the Render Setup go to the Renderer tab and scroll down to Camera Shaders and Enable Output.

Step 6: Press M to open the Material Editor and click and drag the DefaultOutputShader (Glare) into a new material slot. Enable Streaks and increase Streaks Weight to 0.6 :

Step 7: Inside the Material Editor choose a new material slot, press on Standard button and choose Arch & Design (mi) from the list:

Step 8: Inside the Arch&Design material scroll down to Self Illumination (Glow) and enable it. Change Luminance to Physical Units and type 1000 into the slider then enable Illuminates the Scene (when using Final Gather). Apply this material to the text:

Step 9: Now it's time to create the water. Create a new Plane from the Create > Geometry > Plane and make it really big (about 4000x4000):

Step 10: Press M to bring up the Material Editor again. Inside a new material slot change the Diffuse color to pure black, increase Specular to 83, Glossiness to 36, then inside the Maps tab go and apply a Noise map as the Bump, make the Noise Fractal and change Size to 1.5 now press Go to Parent (the button before the last one, after Show End Result) to go to the Main Material and apply a Raytrace as Reflection Map. Apply this material to our Plane:

Step 11: Create a Sphere from Create > Geometry > Sphere and make it really big, about 2000 in radius and change its segments to 64 to make it smoother:

Step 12: This Sphere will be our "environment" but we won't see it from the inside only from the outside. To see the inside polygons go to the Modifier List and apply a Normal modifier (this will flip the normals):

Step 13: Create an Omni Light from Create > Lights > Standard > Omni and place it above our sphere into the Left View. Also change its color to a Light Blue:

Step 14: Now if we do a test render we can see that the text is way too bright. To fix that we need to apply a color to our glow to match the omni light and to decrease the glowing value a little. To do that Press M onto your keyboard to bring up the material editor and inside our Glow Material change Physical Units value to 700 and the color to a light blue:

Now choose a good angle and render it out. You should get something very similar to this:

And that's it, we have created a glowing text inside 3Ds MAX with Mental Ray. If you wish to make your glow color different make sure that you also change the Omni Light color to match your glow. Also you can increase the Streaks Weight to achieve different results and you can also increase/decrease the Spread value inside the Glare material from the Material Editor to achieve shinier/darker glowing results. If you have any question about this tutorial please use the comment section below.
See you next time with another tutorial !

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