The goal of this quick start article is to provide the three most relevant topics for getting started quickly in Octane for 3ds max. This includes the use of progressive rendering, illumination basics, and material design. For more detailed information, please reference the online documentation.
Activating the Octane Renderer
Octane is tightly integrated into 3ds max. Much of Octane's functionality can be found in the Render Setup window. The latest version of Octane now includes a menu item as well which can be used to set Octane as the current renderer (Figure 01).
Figure 01: Octane can be set as the Production Renderer from the Octane menu
Rendering with Octane
Once Octane is selected as the render engine, rendering with Octane is done using the OctaneRender Viewport (Figure 02).
Figure 02: The OctaneRender Viewport
The OctaneRender Vierwport can be accessed via the Octane menu (Figure 03a) or from the Render Setup window (Figure 03b).
Figure 03a: OctaneRender Viewport accessed via the Octane menu
Figure 03b: OctaneRender Viewport accessed via the Render Setup window
The OctaneRender Viewport should be used to render while working on a scene. Scene elements such as materials, lights, and cameras will update in real-time inside this window. The Rendered Frame window does not allow for real-time updates. It will continue to render until it reaches the Max Samples specified in the Kernel settings. The Rendered Frame window is typically used to execute an animation rendering while the OctaneRender Viewport is used during the scene editing process.
Lighting in Octane
By default, there is no illumination present in a scene. Ambient light can be added to a scene by increasing the color or adding an HDRI texture map to the Background parameter in the Environment window (Figure 04).
To use HDRI textures in the 3ds Max environement slot:
Select Octane map > Texture environment node
Select > RGB Image node
In RGB image node > Set gamma 1
Figure 04: Adjusting the Background parameters in the Environment window
Octane for 3ds max also provides access to three additional direct light sources. These lights can be accessed from the Lights subcategory of the Create Panel (Figure 05).
Figure 05: Octane Lights accessed via the Command Panel
- Octane Daylight: In addition to providing ambient light in the form of a sky, this light type also provides a directional light source in the form of the sun (Figure 6a).
- IES Light: The Octane IES light source is similar to the Octane Light, however, it can accept an IES light profile. The IES light does not have light shape options (Figure 6b).
- Octane Light: This light type provides a finite light source with a host of shapes including plane, sphere, and disc (Figure 6c).
Figure 06a: Daylight System
Figure 06b: IES Lights
Figure 06c: Octane Light with Square Shape
Illumination is also possible by applying a diffuse material to the mesh object, and then connecting a black body or texture emission node to the diffuse material's emission slot.
In order to use a mesh as a light source, first apply a diffuse material to the surface, then connect an emission node to the Emission pin. There are two types of Emissions:
Black Body Emission
The black body emission type uses Color Temperature (in Kelvin) and Power to control the light's color and intensity, respectively.
This allows any valid texture type to set the light intensity. You can use this emission to create interesting effects, such as TV screens, by using an image texture as the source.
Materials in Octane
Octane-specific materials can be accessed and created from the Slate Material Editor. There are five material types available in Octane for 3ds max (Figure 07).
Figure 07: Octane Materials in the Slate Material Editor
- Diffuse: used for dull, non-reflecting materials or light emitting surfaces
- Glossy: used for shiny materials such as plastics or metals
- Mix: used to mix any two material types
- Portal: a special type of material that assists with bouncing exterior illumination into an enclosed space
- Specular: used for transparent materials such as glass and water
- Toon: Used to design hand-drawn looking surfaces
- Metallic: Similar to the Glossy material except, by default, it exhibits more metal-like characteristics.
- Specular: Used for transparent materials such as glass and water.
Octane also provides an online database with pre-made materials. The LiveDB can be access via the Octane menu (Figure 08).
Figure 08: Octane LiveDB access from the Octane menu
Figure 09: The LiveDB window containing libraries of pre-made Octane materials
Octane will only render its native material types. However, 3ds max materials can be converted to Octane Glossy materials using the material convert tool (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Access to the material conversion tool via the Octane menu
Additional Online Resources