The exercise on this page is intended to introduce the students to 3DS Max as a rendering tool.

Exercise: Rendering in Max


For this exercise you will be bringing a model constructed in AutoCAD into 3DS Max. 

Objectives/Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

Students will acquire and demonstrate: 1.) technical competency in working with importing files, setting up cameras, and lighting, and rendering views, 2.) sense of craft through precision and care in the presentation of the work, 3.) design aptitude in the ability to solve an organization problem and explore possible solutions, 4.) judgment in the composition of objects within a field. 5.) consideration of limitations and constraints in the problem solving process.


RM.1. Open 3DS Max.


RM.2. Save the file with your name followed by 3DSMax1. Jill Jansen were name her file JillJansen_3DSMax1.


RM3. Link your AutoCAD file to the 3DS Max file. By linking the files, you can make changes to the AutoCAD file and they can be updated in 3DS Max. Keep in mind that it would be best if both files are in the same folder or on the desktop. When they are linked, the addresses need to remain constant. Browse to find the AutoCAD file. Accept the defaults and click on the Attach This File button at the bottom of the Manage Links page.


RM.4. Generate a second viewport (or more if you wish). Having more than one viewport allows you to view changes as they happen from different views.


RM.5. Zoom into the Top view in one of the viewports. 


RM.6. Zoom and pan to center the model on the screen. You will find the zoom and pan tools in the lower right corner of the screen.


RM.7. Change the Visual Style of your viewport as shown below.


RM.8. If the AutoCAD file contained a camera you can set the view to that camera. To change the view in a viewport to one of your camera views click on the camera and then right-click.


RM.9. When the menu below appears, select Set View to Selected Camera. 


RM.10. To insert a new camera select Target Camera from the menu. Note: free cameras are used in animations.


RM.11. Make one of your camera views the current viewport. 

RM.12. Change the Background. The choice of background type is yours.



RM.13. Next you can apply materials to the objects in your model.  To view a tutorial go to the Welcome Screen. 

Then select the Essential Skills Movie shown below.

The following video discusses how you can generate your own materials: Assigning Materials helpful. 

Set up a material for your Mass layer and any other layers you have within your model. If you use a material from the library, it is recommended that you select a simple material.


RM.14. Next set up a Daylight System.


RM.15. Accept the change to the Photographic Exposure Control and Mental Ray (mr).


RM.16. A symbol will appear as shown below.  


You can move the symbol by clicking on the Move tool and then clicking within the yellow box and dragging the object.


RM.17. Edit the sampling size. This should make the image less grainy.


To achieve high quality images you may need adjust some settings. Changing the size of the image can help to improve the quality. In the image below the output size has been increased. Please note that the higher the quality of the image the longer it will take to render. If you are working in the lab, you can render on one machine and work on something else on another machine.

RM.18. Save the 3DS Max file. Render a view by making a camera view current (1) and clicking in that viewport. Click on Render under the Render tab. Keep in mind that this process could take a long time depending on the complexity of your model. If you are working in the lab, you may want to have the rendering run on one machine and continue working on another. 


RM.19. Save the rendered image as a jpg file. Use the naming protocol shown below.


RM.20. Upload two rendered images and the 3DS Max file to your Google Drive Folder.