TurboTips: V-Ray Material, Part 1: Diffuse

April 8th, 2014 by

In this series of Turbo Tips, we’re giving you an in-depth guide to regular V-Ray Material. We’ll cover the theory behind many of the features of the material and give you specific examples of settings and tricks to use. While the example images are from 3ds Max, the same concepts and settings can be used in V-Ray for Maya. The information covered here is generally useful in V-Ray for C4D, but the specific fields and values may be different.

The VRayMtl is the main workhorse for creating shaders in V-Ray. Eighty percent of the time, it is all you’ll need to create realistic results that also render quite fast. It is optimized to work with all other aspects of V-Ray (lights, GI, sampling, etc.), so it should always be used instead of 3ds Max native materials.

Main components

Generally, the main components of a CG shader are:

  • Diffuse

  • Reflection

  • Refraction

  • Bump

These are the names that V-Ray uses. They may have different names in different renderers, but the functions are pretty much the same.

Diffuse gives the basic color to the shader; reflection controls how the the shader reflects light; refraction controls how it lets the light through; and bump simulates a distortion of the object’s surface.

With the exception of the refraction, the other 3 components should be present in all materials.

This week, we’ll talk about the first of the main components:

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TurboTips: An In-Depth Look at Falloff Maps

February 18th, 2014 by

Falloff maps are an extremely powerful tool for artists to utilize when creating procedural shaders. They are essential when trying to create any realistic shader that is reflective or has color changing properties like chrome, metals, and pearlescent paint.  In order to use Falloff maps effectively, it is important to understand how the map works.

In this week’s edition of Turbo Tips, we’ll explain the ins and outs of Falloff map parameters.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating with 3ds Max, but the ideas and concepts can be used in many other 3D programs.

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TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 4

February 11th, 2014 by

It is very easy to zone out and work away without thinking about your scene, naming, or organization. Before you know it, you have a few dozen cloned objects named Box#### or a Material Editor full of textures named # – Default, and if you take a break, you may not always remember what’s what, or what’s applied to where.

Our Turbo Tip of the week (and possibly of the year– this advice is that important!): keep things simple by naming and organizing as you go.

For now, this will be our final post in our series on Scene Optimizations & Best Practices.  If you have a topic or question you’d like to see addressed in a future edition of Turbo Tips, check out the bottom of this post to find out how to get in touch with us.

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Not So “Generic” Post

February 7th, 2014 by

I’ve been asked my opinion on one of our competitors going “Generic”. My first thought was that it was an interesting choice of words on their part.

TurboSquid is an ardent supporter of fair use of 3D models, and that will not change. We will continue refining our handling of cases, how we label items, and so on. I personally engage with each case and concern about items sold on TurboSquid. Some gray area does indeed exist, and it is a personal mission of mine to do my best to make that as black and white as possible. That will help everyone: artists, manufacturers, and TurboSquid.

It takes thought, engagement, and respect towards people who are worried about TurboSquid’s intent and our artists’ intent. Fair use is ethical. Our artists are ethical. Our customers are ethical.

I’ve been insulted by lawyers many times, but when they figure out that we are a professional company, that our artists are professionals, and our customers are professionals (who include a huge number of news outlets), the conversation changes.

Bottom line: these folks become reasonable when they understand we respect their intellectual property. You would be surprised about which things people care about. It is *not* obvious. That’s why I want to participate in discussions and work with them. I purposefully do not invite TurboSquid’s lawyers. The reality is that the internet has run ahead of current legal frameworks that originated from the notion of copying books hundreds of years ago. That said, legislatures do not want to make stupid legislation that harms progress. Courts don’t want to make historically bad decisions when the nature of intellectual property itself is changing.

That leaves rational people to the process of solving this as a business problem, not a legal problem.

TurboSquid has worked a lot with big companies in strategic capacities. We have had many people try to acquire TurboSquid. Instead, we chose to keep our independence. Solving the problem of managing fair use is exactly the kind of problem we can tackle. But a big company that has a legal department, and that doesn’t care about visual 3D, just doesn’t need the headache.

If you are an artist with your content taken down from another site, let’s avoid the spin — content that was taken down is obviously not selling now. This is a loss to you, not a new opportunity.  We created SquidGuild Bridge last year at the request of people who wanted to participate in CheckMate and higher royalty rates. If it makes sense for you, we’re happy to have you join.

Remember, as an artist, you are responsible to make sure that you publish content for which you own or have the rights to publish — all of those rights. Artists warrant to us that they have these rights, and we tried to make this clearer in our publisher recently, and our license revisions. If you don’t own the rights from a manufacturer, for example, to generally sell a 3D model, then you must list it as editorial use only. TurboSquid does not protect you from your own infringement. Some artists selling on their own sites have been tracked down and contacted directly by big companies, and those artists acted as they saw fit. On our site, TurboSquid does a very good job keeping the peace and talking sense into all parties when there is conflict.

On a personal note, I know we (and I) pissed off a lot of artists when we started the SquidGuild and changed our royalty rates in 2009. It was hard to be criticized, but I understood why and knew that a meaningful number of artists felt like we broke their trust. The competitor I mentioned earlier took this to a level that was really out-of-bounds, with outlandish accusations about what we were doing and future conspiracies about what would happen and how we would keep changing royalty rates and all kinds of things.

The only thing that we could do (that we were willing to do) was to stay the course with our original intent and over time earn back trust from those artists. The royalty rates stayed the same, we have invested in trying to create great content, and we have many more opportunities on the horizon. We have not abandoned our core business, and believe that the future of the industry is not in a race to the bottom on pricing, and it is not in printable 3D. At least, not for people who love making incredibly photoreal models.

The future is in taking the work we love, working in the apps we love, and reaching a much, much broader audience. TurboSquid has made a huge number of investments to make this happen, and they will roll out when they are ready. 3D is hard to do well, but it will have its day, and it will be big.

~ Matt

TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 3

February 4th, 2014 by

For viewport navigation, grouping and selection sets are the way to go. Both can be as big or small as you want. Like layers, groups are retained when merging scenes, while selections are saved per scene.

This is the third part of our four-part series on Scene Optimizations and Best Practices.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating below with screen shots from 3ds Max, but these fundamentals can be applied to other software packages.

3. Working with Groups

Good Organization_0

Groups are very useful for scene organization. Rather than combining objects into one big object, group all the objects together. Unlike attaching or merging the objects together, the group can be opened, allowing you to work at the object level or closed for easy selectability of the entire model.


Groups can also be stacked inside each other to organize the object up into larger more logical pieces. Above, you can see that the object has been broken into 3 groups within the Main Object Group. All individual objects are still editable by opening the groups. Usually having groups inside of groups is only necessary for models with many parts that need to be organized for easier navigation.


4. Selection Sets

Selection_Dropdown_1 Selection_Dropdown_2

Selections sets are another useful option for simplifying scene navigation. With selection sets, you can select everything you want, the same way you would a group. So if you have a set of objects that you need to select often, and for some reason you don’t want them grouped, simply type the name of the set into the Selection Set space. That selection will be stored in the drop down for easy reselection without grouping the objects or merging them into a single object.


4.1 Managing Selection Sets




You can edit selection sets from the Manage Selection Sets menu. Access it from the Edit menu or the icon next to the selection set creation box. You can view all objects within each selection set, add objects, or remove objects from this menu. Other options are also available by right clicking on the object names in the window.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

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