This 3 part tutorial will explain how to add more details to material easily while saving time, especially by adding another layer of 2D and 3D maps which are available in the program.
The first thing before we start: If you don't know how to create good detail on your material, just use the same bitmap on Diffuse, Specular map, Specular color map etc.
1.Adding details on Diffuse
1.1. Vertex color map
Vertex color maps help to add a layer of color overlaying the base map. We need no UVWmap for vertex color as the overlay color will change by adding a color on the vertex.
A simple bitmap for the diffuse map on a wood material. Some lighting techniques make objects in a scene appear very flat when rendered. The rendering of this wood cupboard looks flat.
Copy the wood material to another slot, adding mix map on the diffuse map. Put the same wood material in the middle(color#2) and put vertex color map on top (color#1) and bottom (mix amount).
Select Polygons and assign the new material to them.
Go to vertex subobject, select vertices and change the default color of the vertex (that is white) to be dark brown.
The revised rendering which the cupboad looks more 3 dimensional.
1.2. Changing wood's color by using mix map
You can combine two colors or materials on a single side of the surface with a mix map. We only have one single wood bitmap but we can produce many types of wood. This may save you time rather than having to scan a new one.
We just have a black and white map of wood and overwrite a mix map on it so you can change the color freely.
1.3. Falloff map on diffuse
From Max help file: "The Falloff map generates a value from white to black, based on the angular falloff of the face normals on the surface of the geometry. The direction used to specify the angular falloff varies, depending on the methods you choose. However, with the default settings, the map generates white on faces whose normals point outward from the current view, and black on faces whose normals are parallel to the current view."
This technique is suitable for curve/wavy object.
The shaded area of the white curve wall, which is lit with ambient only light, seems to be flat.
Solving the problem by using falloff map on diffuse map.
1.4. Overlay brick map on a simple marble (in max 6, called tiling map)
Some scaned bitmap, used as a diffuse looks like tiling/unseamless or so plain.
Put the same bitmap on a brick map to differentiate the tone of the marble's tiling.
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