Exterior Tutorial for 3ds max
In this exterior tutorial I would like to give you some guidelines to create an park scene with water and a lot of tree. Software used will be 3ds max with V-Ray and Photoshop. The idea of this scene will be a small pond with a pathway around it and trees grownig in the background and next to the path. Pond will have a small white brick ledge around it and it will be a little lower relative to the pathway.
You need to start by setting up units – I personally use inches as system units and centimeters as display unit scale with grid spacing of 0.1cm. Next you maust make a spline which will be a pathway and made it renderable in viewport and renderer. Set it to rectangular with leght of 10cm and width of 160cm. Then place a VRay Camera in the scene to make sure the path goes in direction you imagine in the final render.
After that increase interpolation of the spline and convert it to editable poly. You may use sides of this object to make small curbs on each side of the pathway. Detach them as clone and use shell modifier to give them a thickness. Chamfer a little their top corners.
Next step is to map the pathway and curbs. Use Unwrap UVW with Unfold Strip from Loop function and correctly rescaling resulting UV’s. Diffuse map for the pathway will be tileable gravel texture (8192 x 2048). Its material also must have a bump (set to 10) and displace map used by VRayDisplacementMod modifier.
Same procedure will be used for curbs – it also have diffuse, bump and displacement in VRayDisplacementMod. All its setting you can see in the screenshot below.
After making a pathway you need to create ground around it. You can make it from plane and move it left side below and the right side above the pathway. Then add turbosmooth with 2 iterations and noise modifier with not very big values. After that use boolean to remove ground under the path.
Next step in this exterior tutorial is very important to making a nice looking grass terrain. Create two simple vray materias. First for dirt with tileable diffuse and bump maps. Map channel for these maps set to 1. Second is for the grass with tileable diffuse map and the map channel set to 2. Then map terrain with three UVW Map modifiers.
First with planar mapping with lenght and width set to 400cm and Map Channel to 1. Second with also planar mapping with lenght and width set to 500cm but map channel set to 2. The third one with also planar mapping but its lenght and width set to fit mapped object. Map channel in this modifier is set to 3. Last UVW Map will be used for density, lenght and thickness maps in VRayFur.
You may make grass by using VRayFur object. As source object use terrain object and set values as such: Lenght: 16cm, Thickness: 0.3cm, Gravity: -0.5cm, Bend: 1.9, Taper 1.0, Knots: 3, enabled Flat Normals. In Variation section: Direction var: 0.4, Lenght var: 0.9, Thickness var: 0.2, Gravity var: 0.6. In Distribution use ‘Per area’ with a value of 7. Add same image in lenght map, thickness map and density map.
To create it render whole terrain from top view and crop image to fit only terrain. Then paint monochromatic image to have less grass in some places and more grass in the other (black is no fur, white is 100% fur). Drag this map from VRayFur to material editor as instance and set it map channel to 3. When the grass is done assign created earlier materials: one with dirt texture to the terrain and one with grass texture to the VRayFur.
After making grass and terrain it is time to make a water in the left part of the scene. Create a spline which will be a path and a second spline which will be a crosssection of the ledge around the pond. Then use Loft object with these two splines to create a mesh.
Next step is to map this object with a texture. Use tileable brick map – little darkened on the bottom to seem to be wet. Material must have diffuse, bump and reflection maps. Set Glossiness to 0.55 and Fresnel IOR to 8.0. Bump around 40. Water will be simply a plane object placed below ledge.
Material will have dark green as diffuse color, falloff in reflection map (reflection glossiness set to 1.0) and fractal noise in bump (set to 8). Since it is not necessary in this scene you do not have to use any refraction parameters.
Now it is time to place some lamps and trees along the pathway. For the lamps you need to merged classic street lamp (https://cgaxis.com/product/classic-street-lamp-2/) from CGAxis Models Volume 44. Clone it several times with about 8 meter distance between them. Create VRayProxy object and loaded vrmesh file with small horse chestnut trees from CGAxis Models 67 (https://cgaxis.com/product/cgaxis-models-volume-67-trees-vii/). Then load materials for these trees and assign them to VRayProxies.
By using the same procedure add more trees for the background: from CGAxis Volume 72 (https://cgaxis.com/product/cgaxis-models-volume-72-trees-ix/) all models of wild service trees and palmate maples. From collection CGAxis Volume 67 (https://cgaxis.com/product/cgaxis-models-volume-67-trees-vii/) all sycamore maple trees. Beneeth the trees merged some shrubs and bushes from CGAxis Volume 66 (https://cgaxis.com/product/cgaxis-models-3d-garden-plants-ii/): japanese maples, flowering quince plant and pidgeon berry shrub.
In camera settings you do not have to change much. Set white balace to neutral with vignetting turned off. Set shutter speed to 50 and ISO to 100. Also set focal lenght in to 35mm. Only source of light in this scene will be VRaySun with default settings and only ozone multiplier raised to 0,6. You need also accept VRaySky as environment map when asked after creation of the sun. Place sun around 40 degrees to the ground.
In render setup set resolution to 2800x1575px and render output file as .exr file with Full Float (32-bits/channel). In V-Ray tab change image sampler to Adaptive with Min shading rate of 20. Image filter to Area with size 1.5. Adaptive image sampler need to have min subdivs value 1 and max subdivs 10 with color threshold 0.01. Set color mapping to Reinhard with multplier 1.0 and burn value 1.0. Global illumination need to have Brute force in both primary and secondary engine with subdivs value 20 and 3 bounces.
In Render elements add VRayAlpha, VRayRawLighting and VRayZDepth. In the last element choose to use camera clip boundries and set them in VRayCamera. You can next turn off clipping in camera and settings for ZDepth will be kept.
Raw render from this exterior tutorial should look like this:
In post-producion in Photoshop you need to add all render elements on seperate layers. Alpha in channels will be used to cut the background. Defringe cutted raw image by 1px (Layers > Matting > Defringe) to remove any white borders around rendered objects. Beneth render place an image with sky and clouds.
Next add some brightness and contrast to the rendered image and reduce vibrance a little. From the ZDepth made a layer (white in the back and transparent in front of the camera) which will lighten a little farthest trees. Set this layer opacity to 35%. Change RawLighting layer to Screen option and set its opacity to 50%. After that change some color balance: shadows to more blue and highlights to more yellow. Finally add Unsharp Mask filter with some low values.