Clay render objects in 3ds Max

When you’re just about finished a model in 3ds max, sometimes a quick clay rendering is needed.

You might need an early prototype for the model. A clay rendering is very fast (especially compared to Mental Ray or V-Ray, which can take a very long time to render).

To set a clay model for rendering, follow the steps below (depending on your version of 3ds max, things might look a bit different).

To make a clay model in 3ds max:

Clay Render 3ds Max
Autodesk 3ds max Clay Rendering

Set all model objects /elements to Standard grey.

Set the render to Default Scanline Renderer.

Set the Light Tracer to active.

Set <no exposure control> for the output.

Place a white plane below the model.

Add a Skylight to the scene.

Then Render the model

Make a new .max file for the clay rendering. If you already have materials on your model, they must all be set to gray. Use the UVW Remove tool to remove the materials, and then apply a Standard grey material to all the model parts. Check 2-Sided.

I will use the car model below as an example. Notice that the default viewport shadowing is not accurate shadowing on the body parts (like the headlights and grill).

Next, go to Rendering / Render Setup. On the Commons tab, change the renderer to Default Scanline.

Make the Light Tracer active, and then under parameters, the main setting to experiment with is Rays / Sample. Set it to 50 for a fast but fuzzy render. At 250 I get a nice clean render. The higher the values for any setting, the longer the rendering time is, but with better results. Increase Bounces and Filter size for a higher quality output.

Go to Rendering / Enviroment. Make sure you have <no exposure control>. Otherwise you might get muddy effects on the model rendered.

In the top viewport create a plane object (with the model in the middle). Apply a white Diffuse material to it.

Place a Skylight in the scene anywhere.

Viewport of model before clay rendering.

3ds Max viewport, default lighting

Now the clay rendering is ready. Go to Rendering / Render. In the case of the model below, the clay render shows nice dark shadows between the different objects and elements (like the headlights and grill). So the model looks good to go ahead and apply all the Mental Ray materials.

The shadowing on the model looks more realistic than just looking at the model through the viewport. So you can get a better idea where more fixing is required if shadows are odd looking.

Clay Render 3ds Max

Other 3ds Max tutorials in this series:

Car Modeling | Lights & Camera3ds Max Tire | Mental Ray Materials

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