Lighting and Rendering / 3ds Max

This page contains the information about 3ds Max' lighting and rendering settings which can be used with Verge3D.


Verge3D supports three renderers provided by 3ds Max: Scanline, ART (recommended), and Arnold. The Scanline renderer is intended for use with Standard lights and materials, while the ART/Arnold is typically used with Photometric lights and Physical materials.

Choosing the right renderer is the first thing you should consider before starting to work with graphics. If you are not sure which renderer to choose, we recommend using ART. In order to set the renderer in 3ds Max, use the "Render Setup..." window.

Environment Lighting

Environment lighting is a very important component of Verge3D graphics pipeline based on ART/Physical materials. You may illuminate your scene with an environment map alone, without using any light objects (as in the Scooter demo).

The default cube template provides an HDR texture for image-based lighting. You can replace this texture with your own file, or setup environment lighting from scratch as shown in this video.


If you'd like to have dynamic shadows in your scene, or if you need to move the source of light (as with car lights), you may utilize light objects.

Verge3D supports two types of lights provided by 3ds Max: standard and photometric.

Photometric Lights

Photometric lights are typically used with Physical materials. Verge3D reproduces them by using 3ds Max' ART renderer as reference. In addition, you may use Physical Camera Expose Control settings to tweak the brightness and color range of your renderings.

Standard Lights

Standard lights are typically used with Standard materials. Verge3D reproduces them by using 3ds Max' Scanline renderer as reference.

Reflection Cubemap Light Probes

Verge3D add-on adds a custom light probe object called V3DReflectionCubemap, which can be used to apply indirect lighting to objects via a local reflection cubemap.

The object can be found in the Create panel -> Helpers category -> Verge3D subcategory:

A reflection cubemap object defines a volume of influence represented by a box or a sphere. All objects contained inside that volume will use a local reflection cubemap generated in runtime instead of the scene's global environment texture/color.

The advantage of using a local reflection map is that it has surrounding objects baked in it, while the scene's global map only contains the background texture/color specified in Max's environment settings. Local reflection maps also have a parallax effect depending on the geometry of the influence or parallax volume.

Left - reflection cubemap object in Max viewport, right - effect it adds to a reflective material in Verge3D.

Reflection Cubemap objects have the following parameters:

general probe settings:
Influence Type
type of the influence volume: Sphere or Box. Only objects located inside this volume are affected by the probe's lighting.
Influence Distance
the size of the influence volume. You can also change object scaling and make the shape of the influence volume non-uniform.
the intensity of the indirect lighting. Any value different from 1.0 is not physically correct.
Clipping Start
near clip distance. Objects located closer than this value won't be rendered into the reflection cubemap.
Clipping End
far clip distance. Objects located further than this value won't be rendered into the reflection cubemap.
Visibility Selection Set
object visibility settings:
Selection Set
limit objects that should appear on the reflection cubemap to those belonging to this selection set. Choose the empty string option ("") in order to not specify any set of objects - that way all scene objects will be used for generating the reflection cubemap.
Invert Visibility
invert the selection of objects visible to this probe if Selection Set is specified.
Custom Parallax
parallax settings:
Enable Custom Parallax
enable custom settings for the parallax correction. This group of settings defines a parallax volume, which is used to project the lighting captured by the probe. If Custom Parallax is not enabled the parallax effect is calculated based on Influence Type and Influence Distance.
Parallax Type
type of the parallax volume: Sphere or Box.
Parallax Distance
the size of the parallax volume.
Custom Influence
custom influence settings:
Enable Custom Influence
enable custom influence settings. This group of settings allows defining a selection set of objects that will be affected by this light probe. Influence Selection Set (if specified) will be used instead of the Influence Type and Influence Distance general probe settings.
Influence Selection Set
limit objects that should be affected by this light probe to this selection set. If specified it is used instead of the Influence Type and Influence Distance general probe settings.
Invert Influence
invert the selection of objects affected by this probe if Influence Selection Set is specified.

Reflection Plane Light Probes

Reflection Plane Light Probes used to apply real-time reflections (indirect lighting) to planar objects, such as mirrors, floors, walls, etc.

Verge3D plugin adds a custom light probe object called V3DReflectionPlane. The object can be found in the Create panel -> Helpers category -> Verge3D subcategory:

Reflection plane objects have the following parameters:

Reflection plane length.
Reflection plane width.
Influence Dist.
Influence distance of the probe.
Controls how fast the probe influence decreases.
Clip Offset
Near camera clipping for objects rendered in the light probe.
Visibility Selection Set
Selection set of the objects visible for the probe.

Planar reflection probes can greatly reduce performance of your scene, since they multiply the number of draw calls by a factor N+1. To make rendering faster, specify a limited set of reflected objects as the Visibility Selection Set property.

Global Rendering Settings

Global rendering settings accessible from the Verge3D Export Settings dialog window (Verge3D->Export Settings... in 3ds Max menu).

Anti-Aliasing — select what anti-aliasing algorithm to use for the scene:

Use HDR Rendering — enable high-dynamic-range rendering.

Environment Map Size — texture size to use for environment lighting:

IBL Environment Mode

Object Outlining — see below.

Outline Rendering

Outline rendering (aka silhouette edge rendering) is a common non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) technique that can significantly enhance the visual perception of your scene. This effect can be used for various applications such as e-learning, games, architecture visualization, and technical drawing.

To use object outlining (and optional glowing) in your Verge3D application, first enable the effect in the Verge3D Export Settings dialog, then use the outline puzzle to apply it to your object(s).

The outline rendering does not work inside AR/VR sessions. Use other methods to highlight your objects, such as animation or changing material's color.

You can tweak outlining using the following properties:

Enabled — enable/disable the effect.

Edge Strength — outlining strength factor.

Edge Glow — intensity of additional glowing (rendered beyond the main outline edge).

Edge Thickness — outline edge thickness factor.

Pulse Period — pulse period in seconds. Specify to make the effect animated.

Visible Edge Color — visible edge color.

Hidden Edge Color — color of the outline edge being rendered behind any other scene objects.

Render Hidden Edge — enable/disable rendering of the outline edge behind other scene objects.

Though it's possible to render glowing objects, in the most cases the outline rendering is used to improve visual clarity of your scene. If you need glowing from lamps or another bright objects, consider using the bloom post-processing instead.

Exposure Control

Verge3D for 3ds Max supports the following exposure control algorithms:

See the Autodesk's official documentation for more information on how to configure exposure controls for your scene.

Per-Object Rendering Settings

Verge3D Rendering Params panel

Render Order
Modifies the rendering order for a particular object. The smaller the index, the earlier the object will be rendered. In most cases, you need to tweak this value when using Blend transparency to eliminate transparency artifacts.
Frustum Culling
Enables/disables frustum culling optimization for the object. Uncheck this option if you have some skinned object which can move beyond the screen space to prevent it from being culled.

Verge3D Adv. Rendering Params panel

Fit to Camera Edge
See here for more info.
Visibility Breakpoints
Enable object visibility breakpoints. See here.
HiDPI Compositing
Render object using HiDPI compositing pass. See below for more info.
Fix Ortho Zoom
Apply inverse orthographic camera zoom as scaling factor for this object. Enable this property for object parented to ortho camera, so they don't move/scale when the user zooms the camera.

Rendering on HiDPI (Retina) Screens

As of today, most mobile and many desktop screens have high pixel density (so called "Retina" displays). These displays allow you to substantially increase quality of your renderings. The downside of rendering many pixels is reduced performance.

There are two approaches how to make your content look better and do not make your scenes really slow:

The latter approach can be easily achieved by enabling the HiDPI Compositing property located on the Verge3D Adv. Rendering Params panel:

Fit to Camera Edge

Fit to Camera Edge is a technique to draw screen-space UI elements based on 3ds Max models. This approach to UI design is more “native” to the 3D artist than using HTML/CSS, and does not require external tools. But there is more in it: since the UI elements are genuine 3D objects, you can apply shaders, lighting, animation, morphing – you name it – making them truly interactive and seamlessly integrated into the scene.

When you parent some object to the camera, the following settings appear on the Verge3D Adv. Rendering Params panel:

Horizontal canvas edge to fit object to. None — no horizontal fit, Left — fit to left edge, Right — fit to right edge, Stretch — scale object horizontally to fit on the screen.
Vertical canvas edge to fit object to. None — no vertical fit, Top — fit to top edge, Bottom — fit to bottom edge, Stretch — scale object vertically to fit on the screen.
Canvas fit shape. Box — use object's bounding box, Sphere — use object's bounding sphere to fit the object on the screen.
Fit Offset
Additional offset used to fit object on the screen. Effectively, this value extends object bounding (box or sphere) by the specified absolute value.

Visibility Breakpoints

Visibility Breakpoints allow you to show/hide content depending on 3D viewport width/height or orientation settings. The most important use case of this feature — adapting your scene to different screen sizes and orientations. E.g you may have two different models for portrait and landscape screen orientations.

If assigned to the current camera, tries to switch to an alternative camera (must have acceptable visibility breakpoints) in the scene, if no alternative camera is found, does nothing.

You can configure the breakpoints on the Verge3D Adv. Rendering Params panel:

Min Width
Minimum canvas width the object stays visible.
Max Width
Maximum canvas width the object stays visible.
Min Height
Minimum canvas height the object stays visible.
Max Height
Maximum canvas height the object stays visible.
Screen orientation the object stays visible.

Clipping Planes

Clipping planes (aka section planes, cross-section planes, mesh sections) is a technique used to show internal arrangement of complex objects, such as buildings, cars, appliances, gadgets, machines etc.

To add a new clipping plane, use the Create -> Helpers -> Verge3D -> ClippingPlane button in 3ds Max:

The objects on your scene will be clipped in the negative Z direction of the clipping plane object.

Clipping planes have the following parameters:

Affected Objects
Selection set of the objects clipped by the plane. If empty, all scene objects will be clipped.
Swap clipped and unclipped sides.
Clip Shadows
Clip shadows cast from the clipped objects.
Union Planes
Construct a union from all the clipping planes, affecting the object, not their intersection.
Fill cross-section between the clipping plane and the affected objects.
Cross-Section Color
Cross-section diffuse color and opacity.
Cross-Sect. Size
Cross-section plane size. Increase this value if you use larger scene size.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion is a rendering technique that improves a scene's realism by adding soft shadows from indirect (ambient) lighting based on how much the point is exposed to the light sources.

Verge3D implements Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion (GTAO), which settings you can find in the AO section of Verge3D Export Settings (accessible through Verge3D->Export Settings... in 3ds Max menu):

Enable Ambient Occlusion in the scene.
The radius (in system units) within which to calculate ambient occlusion. Higher values make the effect more noticeable by over-darkening and expanding the area of it, but also can decrease performance. Lower values make occlusion less noticeable.
The strength of the occlusion effect.
Trace Precision
Higher precision means more accurate occlusion at increased performance cost. Lower precision means better performance but the effect appears less prominent.

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