3DS Max Tutorials For Beginners

3DS Max Tutorials - Matte-Shadow Material

by Wendy Huther

How To Create a Matte/Shadow Material In 3DS Max

In this tutorial we are going to use a Matte/Shadow material and the mental ray renderer to create a scene made from a 2d image background, we will place a 3d object into a 2d scene and apply a shadow. Matte/Shadow material is used to create special effects. For this tutorial we will use an image from 3DS Max background maps. Enjoy!

matte shadow

Step 1.

Open 3DS Max, start with a new page and save it in your scenes folder in 3DS Max as Matte_ Shadow

Step 2.

First let's set up the renderer to Mental Ray Renderer.

Click on rendering on the main toolbar or hotkey shortcut F10 on the keyboard.

3DS Max will open by default in the Common dialog, so scroll down to Assign Renderer.

Scanline Renderer is assign by default, we will click on the small square icon and the Choose Renderer dialog will appear, select Mental Ray Renderer then press OK.

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Step 3.

Open the material editor first and leave it open while we prepare the environment map.

Click on Material Editor on the main toolbar or the hotkey shortcut M on the keyboard.


Step 4.

Go to the main toolbar and select Rendering, then Environment from the drop down menu. Or use the hotkey shortcut 8 on the keyboard and the Environment dialog will appear.

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Step 5.

We are going to add an image to the background environment.

Click on the None button under the Environment Map and the Material Map Browser appears.

Select Bitmap then press OK.

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Step 6.

The Select Bitmap Image File dialog appears - navigate to the file where you have your image saved, or use an image from 3DS Max Background maps. To do this, navigate to Local Disc C - Program Files- Autodesk - 3DS Max - Maps - Background.
- microwavebackground.jgp

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Step 7.

Now the image is inserted into the Environment dialog, the next step is to drag it over to the Material Editor.

You should still have the Material Editor open if not open it now. Click and hold Environment Map, drag and release the map into the first material slot in the material editor.

When you release the map the Instance/Copy dialog appears - select Instance.

Notice how the sphere has changed it's shape.

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Step 8.

Let's insert the image into the perspective viewport background now.

Go to Views on the main toolbar, then select Viewport Background or Hotkey shortcut Alt b on the keyboard.

Viewport Background dialog set to:

- Use Environment Map

- Display Background

- Perspective viewport

- OK

Now you can see the full mircowave image in the perspective background.

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Step 9.

Go to geometry, and under Standard Primitives select plane.

Drag a plane across the grid in the perspective viewport.

Don't worry about the exact length or width we will modify it later.

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Step 10.

Go to geometry geometryand select Teapot.

Drop the teapot on the plane in the perspective viewport.

- Radius = 35

- Segments = 18

Select the Rotate tool on the main toolbar and rotate the teapot slightly in the Top viewport.

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Step 11.

We can insert the teapot into the microwave just as it is or we can add a bit more realism to the image by placing a plate under the teapot. Let's work in maximize viewport to create the plate.

Click any where in the front viewport then the Maximize Viewport toggle or you can use the hotkey shortcut Alt W.

Use the Select & Move tool to raise the teapot, we need to have a bit of a separation between the teapot and plane to work.

We are going to create a plate with a line then use a Lathe modifier, in the next step.

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Step 12.

Go to Shapes shapes, select Line.

Click the first vertex (the first vertex is always yellow) under the teapot, right in the center and drag the line to the side, click to leave an other vertex and lift the line up this will create a little bit of shape, click again, drag the line down and return to the center inserting the the same a mount of vertices, right click on the last vertex to finish the line.

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Step 13.

Let's modify the line before we add the Lathe Modifier.

Go to the Modifier, and select vertex.

First with the Select & Move tool, move the first and last vertex, so they are exactly above one an other.

There are several ways to smooth the vertex corners we will use Fillet.

Press Fillet then click on one vertex on the corner, hold the mouse and move slightly, an extra vertex appears and you are left with a smooth corner, repeat the Fillet operation on the other vertices.

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