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3ds Max 2008 Portal light tip

Tried the mr Sky Portal yet? Good stuff eh? Well, don't forget that you can use the mr Sky Portal lights for more than just skylight portals. They work great for visible area lights as well. In this tip I'll show you how you can add kelvin temperature control to the sky portal lights and use them in your scenes as area lights.

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How to: Skydomes in 3dsmax with mental ray (and FG)

Ok, so you've purchased some really nice panoramic sky bitmaps, like these:
https://www.doschdesign.com/product...ding_Skies.html
http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPrevi...x.cfm/ID/309623

Nice right?...But in order for them to look their best your need to map them to a "skydome" object. Naturally that isn't a real difficult task, but what if you want to use the mrSun & FG with your skydome? Chances are it'll block the mrSun, which is an easy fix by adjusting the shadow options on the dome properties...but that's just going to allow indirect lighting from the mrSun...what about some skylight?

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Managing color bleed (when using final gather)

This is sort of a continuation on my last entry. In that post I spoke about how color bleed is a perfectly natural phenomenon and not something wrong with your rendering application (mental ray in this case).

With that being said, there are many people out there that want to have control over this natural effect. So how exactly does one control color bleed? Well as with anything in 3ds Max there's probably a dozen ways to accomplish this task...I'm going to discuss one easy (IMHO) method.

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Realistic results with the mr Photographic Exposure Control

I thought it would be helpful to post some info on getting realistic results out of the mr Photographic Exposure Control. I see frequent questions on various forums in regards to getting photometric lights to "work" with the mrSun/mrSky. There's no problem with using photometric lights and the daylight system configured with the mrSun/mrSky. Most of the time I think the problem stems from improper exposure settings, or users that want/need unrealistic results...like an architectural interior that has an under-exposed exterior (windows show a dark blue sky outside), but is also brightly lit on the interior by the sun/sky.

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Fix the black edges on your glass material (and other stuff)

Recently Zap gave me some advice on a question I had about glass materials in mental ray / 3ds Max. It was quite helpful so I thought I'd pass the info along.

If you've ever been frustrated with having black edges/faces on your glass materials, this may help. Now of course the most important issue with glass (or anything reflective) is to ensure you have a nice environment for it to reflect. If you leave the default black background then you can't really be too surprised when your glass renders black.

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Looking for a good way to hone your skills?

Often various CG forums will offer monthly/weekly challenges/charrettes. These are excellent ways to improve your CG skills. Generally these monthly/weekly challenges do not offer official prizes or even designate anyone as a "winner". Which is great because it makes for a very friendly and inviting environment. Now even though you probably won't receive a prize for your efforts you will still benefit from the feedback/advice that others provide on your work.

By participating you'll often pick up a new tip/trick that allows you to render more efficiently or makes your work more realistic, etc.. Therefore my tip today is to go out and participate in these challenges/charrettes regardless of your current skill set. BTW, if your fairly new to 3d don't have the mindset that your work isn't up to par so you can't join...jump in! At the end, I bet you'll be glad you did.

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