In this tutorial we’ll demonstrate the import procedure of a specific virtual studio scene. We’ll see the typical tasks and provide solutions for the possible difficulties occuring during the process.
I’ve created a separate folder for the scene in the Projects folder of Aximmetry. Let’s enter it. Here you can see a folder named “The Midnight Show” - this will be the name of the TV show. Inside of it two further subfolders have been created. One is the Model that contains the source file of the model which were created in 3D Studio Max. The other is the Textures where the textures used by the model were placed. Of course we can use any folder structure to store our source files here.
We’ve rendered a preview image of our studio scene in 3D Studio Max. Let’s see it. So this is the look the graphic artist imagined for the studio and this is what we want to reproduce in Aximmetry as close as we can.
The export-import process has to be performed through the Collada format. Of course, it can only transfer a fraction of this look, so do not expect a one-click import. Basically what is transferred automatically is the geometry, of course, the hierarchy of the objects, and certain basic properties of the materials, for e.g. the base textures and the base color settings.
However, we need to work on the following.
First is the lighting. We can see that a lot of the light source is used in the scene. Though these light sources can be transferred into Aximmetry automatically, where they work as realtime light sources, but it is highly ineffective to use this number of realtime lights because of the performance penalty. And what’s more important we won’t get the same look in Aximmetry as here on the Max render. In fact we’ll see a completely different look. Firstly, in Max the light sources can have special properties that won’t be transferred during the export-import, or are not implemented in Aximmetry, secondly the sophisticated effects calculated by Ray Tracing or Global Illumination in Max won’t show up in Aximmetry. For example reddish scattering from the curtains, the soft shadow of the scattering on the ceiling, or the red area light strip here. Neither these can be reproduced with realtime means within Aximmetry, nor can the related extra information be transferred via the export-import process.
Therefore we’ll solve the whole lighting problem via rendering Light Maps for the objects and we’ll apply these maps on the materials. The light sources themselves won’t be imported at all, it’s unnecessary. Instead, in case we want to use some dynamic lighting effect in the scene, for e.g. we want a shadow for the Presenter or any moving object, we can add a dedicated realtime light source for this purpose in Aximmetry. So we don’t have to add this light source in advance in 3D Studio Max, we can do it later in Aximmetry.
In case we want to play with the overall light intensity of the studio, for e.g. we want fading in lighting at the beginning of the show, we won’t need a realtime light source either, because the intensities of the Light Maps are controllable within the materials, what is suitable for this task.
The next issue we have to deal with is reflection. In this rendered image they’re also calculated with Ray Tracing method. We won’t be able to do this in realtime. We’ll separate the two types of reflection. One is the “real” reflection, where by “real” I mean that if any object or the Presenter moves then their reflected image also moves accordingly. This type of reflection only can be applied on planar surfaces in Aximmetry. We use duplicate rendering for this purpose. This is typically applied on floor surfaces.
The other type of reflection is the one appearing on objects with arbitrary shapes. We can see examples of this on these red glowing surfaces where the light sources are reflected a bit, or on these glass surfaces. For this type of reflection we use the Environment Map method. The Environment Map itself can be totally fake containing some blurry image, the only point is that we see some alteration of the reflection when we move the camera. But if, for some reason, it’s important that the actual studio scene is to be reflected on the surface, we can render the studio from a specific point into an Environment Map, and then we apply that map on the object.
The third issue is the glow effect appearing around the shiny objects, for e.g. here at the lamps, or at the neons. For this purpose we’ll simply use the special post-processing modules of Aximmetry.