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[TUT](3dsMAX) Render to Texture - A Powerful tool.

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  • MenuET

    Maxscript Modeler

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 05:00 AM Edited by MenuET, 02 August 2014 - 02:52 PM.

Here i will compile some tutorials about Render to Texture.


At first, what is Render to Texture and what it does?


Feature #1: Accurate Normal and Bump Maps.

Just view that video, at first. It shows how you can transfer the details from a Hi-Poly model to a low poly model, just using the high detailed model to bake a Normal Map to the low quality model and then, every detail the high quality model has is transfered to a simple poor detailed model.

If you saw the video, you got a simple idea what Render-To-Texture does. It copys information from a model and a scene, like

the tire on the video, and transfers that information to a map, or a texture. You can gather any information from a model and convert it to a Bump or a Normal Map.



Figure copied from http://www.chrisalbe...p_Tutorial.html (BTW, it is also a great tutorial to see, i highly recommend you to read)

Left: High-Poly Model

Right: A simple low poly Cylinder Primitive.

As you can see in the image, the Render-To-Texture virtually transfered all details from HighPoly model to a Low poly model, without even adding to this model a single polygon. The Same detail, with less memory.


If you try to do the same thing by hand, you might spend hours, or even days with it.

"Duuuh, i can simply use the NVIDIA Plugin to do the Normal Map"

Not truth. The NVIDIA Photoshop plugin bakes normal maps from a texture, not from a model. Render-To-Texture does.

Render to Texture is a way to extract detail from a Normal Map, Just like NVIDIA Photoshop Plugin does with textures.



-Killing Polygons from a model, and still with same result

-Useful for doing high-detailed LODS

and anything else.


Outside Link#1: Baking a Flawless Normal Map Using Render-To-Texture





Feature #2: Baking Ambient Occlusion and easily shade your model.


Let's imagine you want to do a new house for your mod.

Just because in 3dsMAX scene is already shaded, you will do your mod

and save it to GTA format thinking that your model in the GTA will be like that:



But actually, when you put your model into the GTA and test it, that is how your model looks like:


And that:


Like That:


And so many other exemples. See how the models looks funky and completely flat and unshaded. You certainly noted that by playing some MOD.

(House images are from "http://online.ts2009...nder_to_Texture", GTA examples are from respective mod topics from GTAForums. BTW, i don't want to undervaluate any work from here. The images shown here are only for educational purposes, and not a critic.) 

That happens because GTA do not export the shaders (as the shaders are from 3dsMAX perspective viewport) as it exports the model and textures,

so you have 3 options by here to fix it:


-Set the lights onto your scene and use Radiosity to paint the shadows with Vertex Paint, just like shown here by ParoXum:


But with that method you can't shade everything, as MAX "paints" the shadows on the model vertex. So if you have a low-poly model, with a BIG space between a vertex and another, the MAX will shade the areas between one vertex and another, and nothing in the middle. In other words, that technique posssibly will not shade details from your scene.

So you have one option to contour it, that is:


-Painting shadow details by hand in the texture using Photoshop.

But that really is not the best option, as the process is complicated, boring and seems unrealistic. Thats where Render-to-Texture

enters to save you.


-Baking the scene shadows and ambient occlusion into the texture using Render-To-Texture.

Ambient Occlusion is a shading system that uses the scene light and the indirect illumination of the scene objects to generate shadows.  It is a realistic shadow maker, in other words, and we will use it to make soft and realistic shadow detais on our model.


Diffuse (Basic) Texture with shadows baked on it. Image taken from "http://www.3dartisto...king-tutorial/"


Well, lets do it. At first, do your model, texturise it and finish your model, make everything as normal. After done, Create a Skylight:


Image taken form "http://online.ts2009...der_to_Texture"


After that, press F10 to open "Render Setup". On the "Assign Renderer" rollout, make sure "Production" is set as "Default Scanline Renderer"



Select "Advanced Lighting" and on the Select Advanced Lighting Rollout Select "Light Tracer"



Well, now we're ready!


Select every model on scene.

Press "0" (zero) key. It will open the Render-to-Texture window and set everything as the image follows.



That is the most basic way to do this

Other Techniques and related tutorials shown here:






(In Video)









And well, that is all.

"But, MenuET, why you didn't do all the tutorials instead just making references?"


Well, that's because of some reasons:


-That people can explain the same subject better than me.

-It is better learning from more than one source.

-You will learn with the same material i learned. In other words, what is better, learn with the guy or with his master?



TheMenuET Creative

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  • indraCG

    3d Modeller

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:09 AM

for the second feature...the ao baking thing... it wont work with model with overlapping uvw which most of map object uses...instead of bake the shading into texture, you should bake it into vertex color....

  • MenuET

    Maxscript Modeler

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  • Joined: 27 Nov 2008
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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:10 PM Edited by MenuET, 04 August 2014 - 03:17 PM.

for the second feature...the ao baking thing... it wont work with model with overlapping uvw which most of map object uses...instead of bake the shading into texture, you should bake it into vertex color....

As far as i know it works. It bakes a new diffuse map with AO included on it.


Vertex color baking also is mentioned, and surely is the best method, but as i said in the tutorial, we can't bake details, but i redirected this subject to another tutorial already made.

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