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  1. RAY TRACING: SPEEDING UP THINGS (OBJECTS)
  2. RAY TRACING: SPEEDING UP THINGS (GLOBALS)
  3. RAYTRACING: INDEX OF REFRACTION (IOR)
  4. RENDERING: FILTERS FOR STILL IMAGES VERSUS VIDEO
  5. RENDERING VIDEO: RENDER FRAMES, NOT FIELDS
  6. RENDERING VIDEO: MAKE SURE VIDEO COLOR CHECK IS ON
  7. RENDERING VIDEO: CHECK YOUR GAMMA!
  8. RENDERING GREAT BIG, GIANT, HONKING, ENORMOUS IMAGES SUCCESSFULLY
  9. DON'T RENDER MOVIES—RENDER FRAMES!
  10. SPEAKING OF THE RAM PLAYER...
  11. RERENDERING FROM THE ENVIRONMENT BACKGROUND
  12. OKAY, SO YOU REALLY WANT TO RERENDER YOUR ANIMATION...
  13. IFL = IMAGE FILE LIST
  14. YOU CAN'T CREATE .IFL FILES ON READ-ONLY MEDIA!
  15. MANIPULATING IMAGE SEQUENCES USING .IFLS
  16. CREATE NESTED .IFL FILES
  17. A CHICKEN AND EGG PROBLEM: HOW DO YOU SET UP AN ANIMATED BACKGROUND FOR A SCENE IF YOU HAVEN'T RENDERED THE BACKGROUND YET?
  18. COULD YOU MAKE THINGS MORE COMPLICATED, PLEASE? (WHAT ABOUT USING A COMPOSITING PROGRAM?)
  19. COMPOSITING USING VIDEO POST
  20. RENDERING WITH SCANLINE MOTION BLUR: MULTI-PASS AND IMAGE
  21. RENDERING WITH SCANLINE: MIX IMAGE AND MULTI-PASS MOTION BLUR
  22. RENDERING IMAGES FOR PRINT: TEACH THOSE PRINT FOLKS A LESSON (OR TWO...)
  23. RENDERING IMAGES FOR PRINT: OH YEAH, ANOTHER THING...
  24. "THOSE PRINT PEOPLE"—MAKE IT EASIER ON THEM WITH 3DS MAX 6
  25. THE PRINT SIZE WIZARD (ENOUGH WITH THE PRINTING STUFF ALREADY!)
  26. MENTAL RAY IS IN THE BUILDING!
  27. MENTAL RAY IS ON THE COUCH!
  28. USE MENTAL RAY'S IMAGE SAMPLING WISELY
  29. IN MENTAL RAY, CONTRAST CAN SAVE YOUR DAY!
  30. HIDDEN LINE RENDERING: RENDER TO VECTORS IN MENTAL RAY
  31. TRIM YOUR (BSP) TREE IN MENTAL RAY
  32. MENTAL RAY PREFERENCES: PLEASE LEAVE ME A MESSAGE
  33. RENDERING AESTHETICS: OUTER SPACE SCENES
  34. RENDERING AESTHETICS: UNDERWATER SCENES
  35. RENDERING AESTHETICS: DISTANT LANDSCAPES
  36. RENDERING AESTHETICS: STILL LIFE AND MACROPHOTOGRAPHY
  37. "HELLO... YOU'VE GOT RENDER!"
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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

IN MENTAL RAY, CONTRAST CAN SAVE YOUR DAY!

Have you tweaked your mental ray pixel sampling and noticed that you still seem to lose important details, even with a high Maximum Sampling per Pixel setting? You notice that you're losing fine details (such as wispy cables or antennas in an architectural rendering), but at the same time, your render times seem to be going through the roof—and you don't want either of those to happen!

Figure 6.32Figure 6.32

You can fix this and render even highly detailed scenes without too much hassle by memorizing two words: Contrast settings. (Actually, you shouldn't just memorize them, you should use them.) The Contrast settings are located on the mental ray Renderer > Renderer tab, right below the Samples per Pixel values, and their defaults are set 0.05. Contrast settings determine how to "weight" the Samples per Pixel values—toward the Minimum or the Maximum values you have set. If your fine scene details get chewed away in the rendering, it's usually not because your Maximum sampling rate is too low, but because your Contrast settings are too low.

Figure 6.33Figure 6.33

To fix this, keep your existing Samples per Pixel Min/Max values within reasonable limits. (There's no need to go above Minimum 1/64, Maximum 4 for very detailed scenes; for most scenes, even Minimum 1/16, Maximum 1 should work fine with finals.) However, if your scene details show rendering artifacts with these settings, increase your Contrast values slowly, working toward a lighter gray. This triggers the Maximum Sampling values earlier and should fill out those fine details. (Note: The Contrast Spatial settings are primarily for still renderings; adjust the Temporal settings if you need to tweak fine details during an animation.)

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