Link to Arena Animation Academy, Sec 17, Chandigarh website

Life Art Study and Portfolio for Admission to top Design Colleges abroad available in India

Check out the Animation Student Comments and Feedback – Meher Vadehra below:

Student Comments and Feedback – Meher Vadehra

Meher Vadehra passed out of DPS Chandigarh and on her way to Emily Carr College in Canada spent someitme at Arena Chandigarh picking up crucial skills in Drawing at Method Art ebsides enrolling at Arena Chandigarh, Sector 17 for the Digital Art Skills. Now, studying at Emily Carr she recollects that her decision to spend time learning these skills stood her in good stead and she was one of the good ones in drawing and sketching amongst her batchmates. Let’s listen to her directly.

If you’re planning to study at one of the top design schools in the world like Sheridan, Calarts, Vanarts, VFS, Gobelins, Emily Carr, Seneca etc then it would do you good to study Art and Sketching during your 10+1 and 10+2 so that you are well prepared – mail immediately to mentioning your complete profile and sample of works with the subject “method art mentoring”. Life Art Study and Portfolio for Admission to top Design Colleges abroad in now available in India

Professional Animation Training available in India

Check out the Animation Student Comments and Feedback – Pawan Nirban and Manish Chambiyal below:

Student Comments and Feedback – Pawan Nirban and Manish Chambiyal

Consistent efforts of Arena Multimedia Chandigarh Team in developing their students in the fine art of character animation has started producing results, and how! Last year 2 students, Mangat Chauhan and Linken Vijan proceeded to Mumbai in their first ever interview in one of the top animation studios of India – Maya Digital! The interview began as usual at night when they were assigned work to be completed by morning. Well, the Maya Digital Team was in for a surprise. For the first time they met a fresher student who had completed the interview assignment! Well, surely they were in! Notably Maya Digital doesn’t hire freshers, but then these talented youngsters trained at Arena Animation Sector 17 Chandigarh were of course an exception.

However, our Chandigarh Sector 17 Team didn’t stop here. The next passouts were this time trained in the finishing school – Method Art akin to animators abroad getting prepared at, The students received advice and mentoring on the finer nuances of animation principles, body mechanics, acting, and characterization. Gruelled for 9 months, the first students to finish were Pawan Nirban and Manish Chambiyal (see interview) and how – Pawan Nirban finished in Top 50 of the 11 SECOND CLUB and Manish finished in Top 100 in the WORLD. Immediately the Maya Digital Team in Mumbai swung into action and signed contracts with these 2 new talents on scene. The students went to Mumbai with contracts in their hand without even facing an interview!

Now various studios in India would be happy to find quality character animation talent freshers who can take on challenging responsibilities. And with the complete understanding on the animation pipeline they are the talent you need on big hollywood projects. Well, the world is our stage and India is Ready!

If you’ve passed out of an Animation School and want exceptional mentoring and professional animation training in a studio mail immediately to mentioning your complete profile and sample of works with the subject “method art mentoring”

12 Steps to Crack Design and Animation Career Code
12 Steps to Crack Design and Animation Code

12 Steps to Crack Design and Animation Code

All my life I have been surrounded by students who do not know where to go and what to do. Do not worry that is a natural stage. It is a sign that you’re looking/ searching. Many students take ideas and do nothing with them. I have distilled what I learnt through my students into 12 Steps to Crack Animation and Design Career Success Code. Ignore any and you’ll miss the eye of the dragon. Of course, he’ll eat you ;-)

Tip 0 - Find a reason to learn (iterate this step after every step).

Step 1 – Learn to Draw. Go for Method Art or Life Art Classes. Study people. Study the history of Art.

Step 2 – Read. Read. Read. You’re going to need a lot of ideas, so this is the time to capture them. Concentrate on Classics and Biographies.

Step 3 – Keep a Journal. Write or draw your ideas in it. This where you’ll dig in when you hit a Writer’s (or animator’s) Block. Study people.

Step 4 – Learn to write stories (or poetry whatever). This will take some effort so don’t give up early. Watch a lot of good (Kubrik, Satyajit Ray, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Lucas, Spielberg, Tarantino, Ang Lee) movies.

Step 5 – Start Learning, or join the school whose environment you like. Check out the environment first. Do not ask recommendations from students. You never know if you’re approaching the dumb one, even if it’s your brother.

Step 6 – Work very hard at each and every subject. Do all your assignments as if your life depended on them. It does. You’re going to need them all if you aim to be the best.

Step 7 – Participate in everything including standing at the door, counselling new entrants, begging for social causes (like blood donation of course).

Step 8 – Make a lot of unassignments – projects other than assignments. Find something which has a client at the other end.

Step 9 – Time to find a mentor. This is the Guru who’ll take interest in your career and guide you through this maze. Otherwise, there are many good internship/ mentorship programs.

Step 10 – Have your portfolio ready with deep focus on what you do best. First show your best work. Then, present the process you’ve followed.

Step 11 – Take the right job once you’ve got your portfolio tweaked. Do not bother about salary. Weak follow the salary. Salary follows the expert. If the right job is not there, take any other design job – and keep practising your favorite at home.

Step 12 – In the job focus on the process and instead of looking for shortcuts to get the work done in 8 hours, prefer to overstay and stick to your process.

About the author: Vineet Raj Kapoor has been guiding and mentoring students through and through lectures at Arena Chandigarh 17. He’s also setup his own Mentoring and Finishing School for Designers and Animators – This was in response to the issue that Indian students find it difficult to afford schools like which charge about $20000 for an online program. He’s been championing the cause of designers to unlistening School Principals, Parents, Government Officials, Ministers and even Students, and has come to the conclusion that very few are bothered. This article is aimed at those who are..

Use these tips and you are aiming for animation career success.

What to Study – Fine Art or Animation Studies?

What to Study - Fine Art or Animation?

What to Study – Fine Art or Animation?

Fine Art people create a world that you can look at, whereas Animators create a world you can inhabit or be apart of. So, if you are not sure of a world and you want to explore it from outside then Fine Art would seem to be a good choice. However, if you want to create a world that you can explore yourself and even discover things in it, you may prefer to go for animation studies. It would be useful to know at this stage that a lot of the leading animators started as a looker on (studied fine art) and later on wanted to enter and explore a world. So from a scientist they wanted to become an explorer.

There is also another way you look at this comparision. Artists over thousands of years have been trying to recreate images that they see and later on even images that they imagine to be there. For this they always used the best methods available with them at that stage. So while the stone age artists used stone to carve images on cave walls, later artists went with the best their era offered. In fact, most of the technologies were invented to help this artist tell his or her story. So, if camera was invented, the best of the artists started using that medium to tell their stories. And while doing this, they invented a new language which was peculiar to that medium. So when animation started they used the constraints and limits of the gadgets that allowed images to move to give the user at experience.

So what are the recent inventions that you may look at?
i. 3D Pen/ Printing – allowing even stop motion to be printed and other impossible sculptures to be made
ii. 3D Stereoscopy leading to Immersive Technology – e.g. 7D Theatre
iii. 3D Gaming using detection – XBox Live!
iv. Social Gaming – massive multiplayer experiences
v. Mobile Devices – many new experiences like whatsup etc are changing the art landscape
vi. crowd sourcing/ crowd creation – many songs/ other arts works are getting created by crowds
vii. UID/ UXD – User Interface or User Experience Design is help new points of view on Design
vii. cloud computing – this allowed the artist to use extensive resources earlier available only yo technical labs

If you have any other questions regarding this article, feel free to write to Vineet Raj Kapoor at If you want to enquire about courses and programs at Arena Chandigarh, feel free to write to Neelu at

Still studying Engineering? You’re Extinct
Still Studying Engineering? You're Extinct

Still Studying Engineering? You’re Extinct

“The Solutions that we seek today are definitely not in the domain of engineering unless you’re still looking for Aliens!”
- Vineet Raj Kapoor

If you’re still studying Engineering considering it as a path for innovation you’re barking up the wrong tree. If everybody you know is doing that you’re in the wrong country. And if you think that is the way to show your prowess, you’re in the wrong century! If as a Business Manager your background reflects a strong understanding of technical information and you hope to find good answers you’re stretching you luck too far. Innovation requires a strong understanding of everything under the sun – sports, music, psychology, neuroscience, geography, anthropology, literature, art, chess and of course engineering. So people who rely on their technical prowess and the ones who can’t get good answers and then they surround themselves with a lot of engineers and then crack the puzzle stepwise and still can’t find the answers. They watch their company go down the drain and do nothing about it since the only way to rescue the company would mean firing themselves from the company, and I am yet to see that happen yet. So now you know why the microsofts of the world suffer as the only way they can see is through the windows and getting the sun in for them is opening their windows. Employ an artist and tell him that you want the maximum sun in your room and he’ll tear down the wall – well that’s what innovation is about. Artists have a way of keeping themselves free from rules and yes they are tough to handle. But the country needs a lot of artistic and design knowledge to cross the next level since that involves innovation.

I’ve often been in a Panel Discussion or Seminar where India lack of Innovation invariably come up for discussion. Mostly that is treated as a trait and sidelined and people focus on more left-brained and compliant activities including backend work. Right-brained thinking has largely been accepted as the fiefdom of the west. That’s pure statement of the problem and wonderfully we see experts tout that as if they were stating a solution. Every time the issue of the large masses to be employed comes up and the entire buildup for innovation goes down the drain.
Many times people compare India to China saying that they are a worker oriented country and hence able to come up with high growth rates. I used to believe that too! Totally wrong! One look at Innovations and Inventions in Wikipedia and you come to know that roughly half of the inventions the world has seen have come from China! Woooow! And people pitch England and America as the powerhouse of the world. Well they took our breath away for a century when they automated everything and that was the time that the engineer took the front seat. However, a century is a long time and he almost had us believe that he owned the bus!
Also in the discussions and meets, the focus largely remains on Big corporations and the SMBs are ignored. Even in policy making largely the requirements of the SMBs do not get heard. The long term vision gets missed in sight of short term gains since Big Corporations promise instant jobs. However, they have the where withal to move away whenever it suits them. The SMBs are generally local and need some handholding (not arm twisting) so that they get on their feet quickly. Also, they would recruit more local people and they usually have new and innovative products which can lead to quick growth and IP creation and hence can look towards high margins and contribute more to the state exchequer. The only need is to be patient, since innovative product take time and there are many failures before the success. More than money SMBs need access to tools which are costly and out of their reach so that they can innovate. They need state support not in financial grants but in the form of purchase orders. Well, let’s get back to the original discussion :
Time has again come for us to pump creative thinking into our school and college curriculums unless we want the country full of dull people who can’t innovate. Time has come to ask students to throw their school scores out of the window and show us their portfolios. Show us the work you did on your own! What did you create, discover or innovate! How did you solve a complex problem through simplification. Could you use your knowledge of playing sport and change the way a company works. Is your company director the referee or the captain of the company? Does his role definition also give him the same powers? Did you make the company employees sportsmanship? Do you see slow motion replays of your competitor to plot a move? Do you create new moves on the drawing table or is your company playing a match without a time limit? Do you know where you’re goal lies? More than that are you aware of the competition’s goal?
We have to change the way we approach university education. Like in IT sector, we saw that an unregulated growth in IT gave us more in 10 years that 50 years of regulation couldn’t. Similarly, do we have the heart for unregulated education? Let it be between the student and the college. Are we courageous enough?

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant froam USA

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant froam USA

Peter Wiant, a corporate film maker from the US visited the Arena Chandigarh Campus on 2 December 2013. He had been also holding a 48 hours movie contest in the US. He premiered the short movie “Gandhi at the Bat” (which has only been showcased on the Goa Film Fest before). He also showcased “A person known to me” in which he was also part of the cast. During this he explained the issues and how the production team handled their artists leading to a wonderful result.
He also showed commercial movies made by Wiant Productions for different corporate and branding clients. He explained the background of the movie and how they handled the situations and found creative solutions to each challenge.

He also told about the use of research in movie making. Till you are able to do good research, the authenticity of the movie will seem questionable. He advised making movies even while on research since such shots may become the base of ideas for shots. Even talking to local people can give you characters and design ideas. He dwelt on the use of sound in movies and how they providing richness to the subject and treatment.

The students came out excited to make their next attempt at movies once again with renewed vigour.

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant froam USA

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant froam USA

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant froam USA

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant froam USA

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant from USA

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant from USA

Seminar, Filmmaking, Peter Wiant, USA

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant from USA

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant from USA

Seminar on Filmmaking by Peter Wiant from USA

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Seminar on Film making by Peter Wiant

Taking admission in the Top 20 Animation Colleges in the world


If you’re planning to take admission in Animation or Design Degree studies at any of the Top 10, Top 20 or Top 100 design colleges in the world after your 10+2 (or equivalent if you belong to any other country) then do start planning early. It would usually take you at least 1-2 years of study in life art to be able to get the nod if you’re looking at Sheridan. Assuming that the requirements for admission at other leading colleges of art would be more or less similar, so you may require the same learning whether you’re trying for top-of-the-line Calarts (California), Gobelins (France), SCAD (Savannah), DAVE (Florida), RISD (Rhode), MICA (Maryland), Ringling, Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburg), SVA (NY), VANARTS (Vancouver), Seneca (Toronto), Capilano (Vancouver), MASSART (Massachusetts), USC (California), CDIA (Boston), VFS (Vancouver), MIT (Cambridge), Bournemoth (UK), or even if you try for slightly lower ranked colleges like NID (India), Utrecht (Netherlands), Emily Carr (Canada) which are in the Top 100 design colleges of the world.

We would use the Sheridan Portfolio description to understand what is required to be learnt for preparing your portfolio

At Sheridan, the components of the portfolio fall into particular streams – Life Drawing, Animation and Character Design, Storyboarding, Layout, and Personal Artwork.


1. Observational Life Drawing

3 drawings of a human figure (preferably nude, however, models wearing a swimsuit or bodysuit are acceptable. Do not draw from photographs or books.)
2. Animal Drawing
2 drawings from life of an animal figure (use pets, visit a zoo or farm)
• Any two of the above five drawings should show stillness. (e.g. the figure standing, sitting, crouching)
• Any three of the above five drawings should show the figure in motion (e.g. walking, running, pitching or batting a baseball)

3. Hand Drawing

2 freehand line drawings of a human hand

• The first should show the hand anticipating an action (e.g. about to pick up a coin, about to knock on a door, about to press a button, etc.).
• The second should show the hand carrying out that action.
Note: In the three Life Drawing sections above, all figure drawings should be drawn from life, not from books or photographs. We are more interested in you demonstrating a knowledge of structure than the ability to use shading on your drawings.

Design one original character to be used in the following drawings (4, 5, and 6) below.
4. Character Rotation

Draw a character rotation of your original character design using the following views. Put each view on a separate (8.5” x 11”) sheet. The sizes and proportions of each view should be consistent with the other views.
• front view
• 3/4 front view
• profile view
• 3/4 back view
• back view

5. Action Pose Sheets – 2 action poses of your original character (each pose on a separate 8.5” x 11” inch sheet). Keep these drawings rough and loose.

6. Expression Sheet – On one sheet only, draw your original character’s head with 5 different expressions (see below). Show dimension by changing the angle of the head for each expression. You may choose to draw these heads on larger paper and cut, paste and reduce if necessary to arrange all five heads on one 8.5” x 11” sheet, but you need to include the original drawings as well as the reductions.


• neutral (normal expression)
• angry
• happy
• sad
• surprised

7. Storyboarding
Choose one of the character designs provided and using the four-panel story board show the character as it goes through the following narrative:
• Panel 1 – One of the characters finds an object.
• Panel 2 – The character shows curiosity about the object.
• Panel 3 – The character attempts to use the object to accomplish a goal.
• Panel 4 – The character reacts after the goal is…or is not… achieved.
Note: The character designs will be provided to applicants. Please remember to number your panels. It is alright to draw larger panels and then reduce them to fit the storyboard template, but you must include the original drawings as well as the reductions.


8. Household Objects

Create 2 composition sheets of household objects (e.g. fruit, a box, a tin can, a plastic funnel) based on these geometric forms: sphere, cube, cylinder, and cone. Do not use a ruler, compass or stencil.

• one freehand line drawing showing an accurate observation of these objects
• one freehand line drawing based on the first composition drawing (from the same point of view). Using your imagination, show how the objects would look if they were affected by some external force. This should tell us a story of what happened to the objects (e.g. a heavy wind, an earthquake, a snowfall etc.)
Note: Do not shade or colour in the artwork on the above composition sheets
9. Room Line Drawing

2 freehand line drawings of a room in your house

• The first drawing should be an accurate observation of the room and should show a person, drawn in scale, sitting, standing or reclining in that space.
• The second drawing should be the same room from that person’s point of view.


10. Personal Artwork – 5 pieces of your personal artwork

These submissions should include a variety of works that best demonstrate the range of your artistic abilities and sensibility. It can be work from high school or college courses. For example, paintings, drawings, etc. The size of any of your personal artwork must not exceed 16” x 20”. No framed work will be accepted. Please do not include three-dimensional artwork (sculpture etc.). Photographs of these works are acceptable. No video or digital media will be reviewed.

Now, the above description is totally subject to change and is used as a reference just to demonstrate the amount of work required to be done by you for pursuing a serious art career.

If you’re looking for a good place to learn life art and sketching, well Arena Chandigarh, Sec 17-C is one of the better place to learn these. Here is one of the Mini-Art Workshop outputs. Do take care to check whether any other place you identify allows you to learn these life art skills alongwith ‘live’ models? If no, then it would not serve much purpose. Copying from art books would not be a solution and may be in fact detrimental to proper art training. A good mentor is required to get you there. For a start you can try going through books like “Drawing from the right side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards or “The Natural Way to Draw” by Kimon Nicolaides.

Now see a video explaining the requrements

Car Paint Material

01                In this lesson we will improvise the look of the Metallic Paint Material that we created in the last lesson. Inside the ‘Slate Material Editor’ bring up the parameters of ‘Ray-trace Material’ by double clicking on it. Under the ‘Specular Highlight’ parameters bring down the values of ‘Specular Level’ and ‘Glossiness’ to ’50′ and ’90′ respectively.

02                We will now add some depth to the Paint Material by using a ‘Fall-Off’ Map in the Diffuse Map Slot. This will enable us to achieve the effect of a realistic looking paint material in which the colour changes depending on the angle viewed in the same manner as the reflectivity. Access the ‘Material Map Browser’ from the ‘Diffuse’ Map Slot and load the ‘Fall-Off’ Map from the ‘Maps’ section.

03                Dive inside the ‘Fall-Off’ menu and under the ‘Fall-Off Parameters’ change the ‘Front’ and the ‘Side’ Color to Bright Red (225,0,0) and Deep Dark Red (5,0,0) respectively. The default Fall-Off type ‘Perpendicular / Parallel’ will give a smooth blend from the Front Color facing us to the Side Color on the edges. Hit Render to see the result achieved so far.

04                Create a copy of the Material by selecting the Material along with the linked Maps inside the Slate Material Editor and moving the whole bunch to a vacant location while holding the shift key. This will create a backup of the material effect achieved by us so far.

05                We will now further refine this copy of the Material by adding a little ‘Speckle’ to the Specular of the material. Under the ‘Specular Highlight’ parameters refine the values of ‘Specular Level’ and ‘Glossiness’ by filling in ’90′ and ’20′ respectively in order to create a large soft specular area. Also bring up the ‘Soften’ value to ’0.51′.

06                Add in a ‘Noise’ Map to the Specular Color Map Slot and Specular Level Map Slot. Dive inside the ‘Noise’ menu of Specular Color Map and decrease the size value to ’0.2′. Change the Noise Color from the Color #1 and Color #2 slot to a darker shade of Red (125,0,0) and a brighter shade of Yellow (255,210,35) respectively.

07                Switch to the ‘Noise’ menu of Specular Level Map and decrease the value to ’0.1′. Change the Noise Color from the Color #2 slot to a a Gray shade (190,190,190). Hit render once again in order to view the result and create another copy of the material for backup, if satisfied.

08                Moving a step ahead we will now refine the Car Paint Material by adding in a few more detail to the Diffuse Fall-Off Map. Dive inside the ‘Diffuse’ map slot ‘Fall-Off’ menu and inside the ‘Front Color’ Map Slot under the ‘Fall-Off Parameters’ load in another ‘Fall-Off’ map from the Material / Map Browser window.

09                Dive inside this new ‘Fall-Off’ Map and under the ‘Fall-Off Parameters’ change the ‘Front’ and the ‘Side’ Color to Yellow (255,245,0) and Red (225,50,50) respectively.

10                In order to make it look less CG we will add a ‘Smoke’ map to the ‘Front Color’ Map Slot under the ‘Fall-Off Parameters’. This step makes the material looks very convincing for closeup shots by delicately but effectively breaking up the very regular color facing us.

11                Dive inside the ‘Front Color’ Map Slot and under the ‘Smoke Parameters’ change the Smoke Color from the Color #1 and Color #2 Slot to a Orange (225,145,0) and Yellow (255,235,0) respectively. Also bring down the ‘Size’ value to ’0.1′ and ‘Exponent’ value to ’0.5′.

12                Create two more copies of sphere in the scene in order to see the effect of each material copy that we backed up in the Slate Material Editor. Assign all the backed up materials onto each copy of the sphere and hit render in order to see the final result.

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Reflections with HDRI

In this lesson we are going to learn how to do reflections inside 3DS Max using HDR Images and Panoramas. In order to learn how to capture a basic ‘Panorama’ and ‘HDR image’ you guys can have a look at the articles on ‘HDR Image’ and ‘Panoramas’ covering all the basic steps involved in the process.

01                Now we will further improvise the IBL scene by adding in some metallic objects into it. Open up the ‘Slate Material Editor’ by pressing ‘M’ on the keyboard and create a ‘Raytrace’ material inside it from the right click menu.

02                Add in the HDR Panorama Image of the scene inside the ‘Environment’ slot of the ‘Raytrace’ Material. Bring up the ‘Specular Level’ to ’90′ and ‘Glossiness’ to ’100′ in order to get a super glossy metallic finish out of the material. Also change the diffuse color to a darker shade of red.

03                Change the ‘Reflect’ Method to ‘Fresnel’ by clicking onto the Reflect Text in order to toggle between the different reflection methods. Bring up the value of ‘Index of Refraction’ to ’1.7′ in order to make the material more reflective.

04                Create a Sphere object in the scene and apply this Raytrace Material onto it in order to see the result in the render. Fresnel reflections has helped us in altering the reflectivity of the material so that it becomes much more reflective on the edges. The Material becomes much more reflective as the angle of the surface moves away from perpendicular to the viewer as we can notice on the top right side and bottom edges.

05                Now we will improvise the result by improvising the effect of the current HDR Image. We will achieve it by creating a Mix Map inside 3DS Max and blending up the standard HDR and a boosted HDR from Photo-shop. Bring in a ‘Mix’ map inside the ‘Material Slate Editor’ from the right click menu.

06                Open the HDR Image of the scene inside Photo-shop and convert it into a ‘Gray-scale’ Image from the ‘Mode’ options inside the ‘Image’ menu. We will further modify the gray-scale values of the image with the help of ‘Levels’ settings accessible from the ‘Adjustment’ options inside the ‘Image’ menu.

07                We will tweak the ‘Levels’ settings in order to change all the light areas on the image into bright white and the darker areas into more dark or black. But while tweaking it we have to make sure that the gray-scale balance effects the white hotspots on the image.

08                In order to save this modified version into a JPEG file we have to tone it down from 32bits/channel to 8bits/channel version from the ‘Mode’ options available inside the ‘Image’ menu. From the ‘HDR Toning’ dialogue box select the ‘Exposure and Gamma’ method for reducing the bits/channel amount. Save the file while renaming it as ‘Output_Grayscale.jpg’.

09                Bring up the ‘Mix’ Map Parameters and load the ‘Output.hdr’ file inside the ‘Color #1′ and ‘Color #2′ map slots and load the ‘Output_Gray-Scale.jpg’ file inside ‘Mix Amount’ map slot. Dive inside each of the Maps Parameters and decrease the ‘Blur’ amount to ’0.01′.

10                Inside the ‘Output’ options of ‘Output_Gray-Scale.jpg’ loaded inside the ‘Mix Amount’ map slots turn on the ‘Invert’ option in order to invert the gray-scale effect on the blending. This option will reverse the effect of mask so that we can modify the areas that are white in our mask, and use the normal bitmap in all other areas.

11                Bring up the value of the ‘Output Amount’ from ‘Color #1′ map ‘Output’ parameters to ’2.5′. This will help in boosting up the color levels of the map giving a good quality HDR Image based result.

12                Now we will replace the ‘HDR Panorama Image’ linked to the ‘Environment’ map slot of our Raytrace Material with the new ‘Mix Map’. Hit render in order to see the result achieved by us so far.

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Image Based Lighting

In this lesson we are going to learn how to produce realistic looking renders using Image Based Lighting. IBL is basically a 3D Rendering Technique which involves attaching a HDR Panoramic image of the same environment to a spherical dome or skylight. The HDR Panorama contains the environment lighting and content information of the scene. So while rendering the scene with global illumination and final gather, most of the 3D Programs take into account the lighting characteristics of the surrounding surfaces with the help of HDRIs.

01                Fire up 3DS Max and open up the ‘Cardboard Box’ scene that we animated in one of our last lessons. We will start lighting up our scene by importing our Back-plate as an ‘Environment Map’ available inside the ‘Environment and Effects’ dialogue box. A Back-plate can be an image or a video that will form the background of our scene.

02                Turn on ‘Use Environment Background’ and ‘Display Background’ inside ‘View-port Background’ dialogue box accessible through ‘Alt + B’ keyboard shortcut. These options will helps us to display the ‘Environment Map’ inside the view-ports.

03                Now we will align our 3D scene according to the Back-plate with the help of viewport grid. But before that we will make the grid bigger from the ‘Home Grid’ menu available inside the ‘Grid and Snap Settings’ dialogue box. ‘Grid and Snap Settings’ dialogue box can be accessed by right clicking on any of the snap toggles.

04                Match the grid in the perspective view-port according to the Back-plate by aligning the lines of the grid to the white line on the road and the corner of the road. Also try to match the ‘Field of View’ of the 3D scene according to the Back-plate. Once satisfied press Ctrl +C on the keyboard in order to create a camera on the current view.

05                Turn off the ‘Grid’ display by pressing ‘G’ on the keyboard and create a big ‘Plane’ object in the center of the view-port, defining the ground level of our scene. Assign the ‘Matte/Shadow’ material over it in order to make it a non render-able object while only displaying the shadows of the objects in contact with it.

06                Bring in a ‘Skylight’ into the scene from the ‘Standard Lights’ menu. Inside it’s parameters load in the HDR Panorama Image of the scene from the ‘Sky Color’ menu. Browse the folder containing the ‘Radiance Image File (HDRI)’ and hit ‘Open’ after selecting it. Also hit ‘Ok’ on the ‘HDRI Load Settings’ dialogue box that pops up, in order to load the default settings of the HDRI.

07                Turn on the ‘Cast Shadows’ option of the Skylight and hit render in order to see the effect of HDRI based Skylight with the default scan-line rendering. It will take a long time to render the scene as we are not using any advanced lighting plug-in to calculate the global illumination of the scene. Also the render might come with a lot of patches of noise.

08                In order to improvise the current scene we will take the help of some ‘Advanced Lighting Plug-ins’. Open up the ‘Render Setup Dialogue Box’ by pressing ‘F10′ on the key board and from the ‘Advanced Lighting Menu’ select ‘Light Tracer Plugin’.

09                Just hit render straightaway and have a look at the significant difference that it makes on the render time. And also there is actually a discreet difference between the quality of the render at step ’7.0′ and at step ’9.0′.

10                Now we will improve the render time without disturbing the quality of the render. From its ‘General Setting’ menu decrease the ‘Rays/Sample’ to ’100′ and increase the ‘Filter Size’ to ’2.0′. Rays/Sample actually means the number of rays cast per pixel of the image whereas the ‘Filter Size’ is actually the size of those rays. So the current settings means that although there are less samples in the scene they are actually bigger so they are going to overlap a lot more.

11                We will further improvise the scene by adding in some shadows to the scene. Grab a ‘Target Direct Light’ from the Standard Lights menu and place it at the top of the scene at an angle that will create a very small shadow. Turn on the shadows and change the shadow type to ‘Area Shadows’ in order to get smoother shadow effect.

12                Improvising the quality of shadows depends on the time spend on playing with Area Shadows parameters. Turn down the ‘Shadow Bias’ to ’0.0′ in order to diminish the distance between the object and its shadow. Increase the ‘Sample Spread’ to ’2.5′ in order to soften the hard edges of shadows.

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