Cómo crear materiales en 3D Studio Max

Como vimos anteriormente en Introducción a la creación de materiales en 3D Studio Max, saber crear materiales y lograr tener una buena iluminación en la escena son dos elementos esenciales a la hora de dotar de realismo a nuestro render.

Ya se dijo que la mayoría de los materiales pueden analizarse de una forma muy sencilla, solo es necesario conocer los conceptos básicos sobre la física de las superficies para poder entender cómo deben usarse los parámetros del Material Editor, logrando así conseguir un efecto u otro.

Una vez comprendido el funcionamiento del editor de materiales, estamos listos para, siguiendo ciertas pautas, crear nuestros propios materiales.

Buscar referencias.

Lo primero que tenemos que hacer es desconfiar de nuestra memoria y conocer de primera mano aquello que queremos simular. Para ello, lo que haremos será buscar imágenes del material que queremos imitar, ya que no nos interesa representar fielmente la naturaleza del material, sino hacerlo fotográficamente, dado que, al fin y al cabo, es lo que pretendemos conseguir, una «fotografía».

Identificar qué canales intervienen.

Existen ciertas características que forman un material determinado, diferenciándolo así del resto. Por ello, una vez conseguida la referencia, el siguiente paso será descomponer dicho material para extraer sus componentes esenciales.

Hay una serie de preguntas que pueden ayudarnos a la hora de analizar un material.

Además de estos componentes, lo primero es procurar ser lo más acertados con la forma en la que vamos a abordar el relieve. Para ello deberemos tener en cuenta la distancia a la que veremos el objeto, y detenernos en las tres variantes básicas que intervienen en este efecto de relieve.

BUMP.

El bump o mapa de relieve es el más utilizado, debido a su sencillez y su uso tan directo. Este mapa utiliza la información de blanco, negro y grises para determinar el grado de irregularidad de una superficie geométricamente plana.

En este caso el negro hace referencia a cavidades y el blanco a relieves y, en función de esto, actúan los grises, dependiendo de su proximidad al blanco o al negro.

Tenemos que tener en cuenta que este tipo de mapa no suele funcionar muy bien sin una fuente de iluminación directa, ya que en función de la luz proyectará sus sombras y creará esa sensación de relieve.

MAPA DE NORMALES.

Se podría decir que es una versión mejorada del mapa de relieve. La principal diferencia que encontramos es que en el mapa bump solo tenemos la información de lo que va hacia arriba y hacia abajo, mientras que con el mapa de normales conocemos la inclinación de un relieve. Esto nos ayuda a generar curvatura en el relieve, dándole más realismo.

Tanto el mapa de relieve como el de normales nos hacen mirar el objeto desde una cierta distancia, ya que si nos acercamos demasiado podemos comprobar que, en realidad, el relieve solo es una ilusión y no existe de verdad.

MAPA DE DESPLAZAMIENTO.

El mapa de desplazamiento es capaz de generar deformaciones e irregularidades, al contrario que ocurre tanto con el mapa de relieve como con el de normales que, simplemente, simulan un leve relieve.

Este mapa se encuentra de dos formas en el programa 3D Studio Max: como un modificador del propio programa, displace, y como un modificador de V-Ray, vraydisplacementmod. También nos lo podemos encontrar a la hora de editar materiales pero es menos recomendable su uso, especialmente si utilizamos como motor de renderizado V-Ray.

Definición del detalle.

A la hora de buscar definir un material fielmente, nos encontramos con que algunos presentan una estructura más compleja de lo que en un principio pensábamos.

Algún material será el conjunto de varios materiales y otros objetos requerirán de cierta astucia para poder optimizar su resultado en la escena. Por lo que para estas situaciones especiales optamos por utilizar:

MULTI/SUB-OBJECT.

Este material nos permite incluir en él tantos materiales como polígonos formen el objeto al que se lo aplicaremos, siendo 99 el número máximo de materiales.

BLEND.

Este material nos permite combinar dos materiales y controlar su visualización en base a una máscara. Esta máscara es un mapa en blanco y negro o en escala de grises, siendo la parte blanca un material y la negra el otro. Las zonas grises actúan como transición entre ambos materiales.

Cabe decir que el blend de V-Ray es capaz de contener muchos más materiales que el blend que incorpora 3D Studio Max de base.

Modelado.

El modelado es la parte más básica y esencial a la hora de realizar una escena 3D, por lo que deberemos valorar qué alcance tendrá nuestro material y ajustar la geometría al resultado deseado. Generalmente se divide en tres tipos:

  1. Geometría pura de alta resolución o alta densidad.
  2. Geometría media con ayuda de algunos mapas.
  3. Geometría escasa con ayuda de mucha información en el material.

Normalmente, si no buscamos algo extremadamente detallado sino, más bien, una vista de conjunto, utilizaremos las dos últimas opciones. Cuanto más compleja sea la geometría más recursos y tiempo empleará, siendo en la mayoría de ocasiones algo innecesario.

Escala, tamaño y proporción.

A la hora de procurar conseguir realismo, hemos de ser fieles a la realidad. Por ello, crear la escena atendiendo a un buen escalado y dimensionado será fundamental para ayudarnos a conseguirlo. Además, cuidando estas dimensiones, será mucho más sencillo aplicar tanto materiales como luces de manera satisfactoria.

Mapeado.

El mapeado o mapping es el proceso gracias al cual se decide dónde y cómo irán los atributos de un material, desde escalarlo hasta ocultar costuras o controlar la repetición del mapa.

Existen dos maneras de realizar el mapping:

  1. Modificador UVWmap. Está opción es bastante sencilla y se mapea mediante la proyección de objetos básicos sobre nuestra geometría. Sus ventajas son la sencillez y rapidez de aplicación. Su principal inconveniente es que solo se aplica un tipo de proyección por objeto, por lo que resulta complicado o desacertado utilizar este  modificador con objetos más complejos.
  2. Modificador UnwrapUVW. Es bastante más complejo de usar pero también más completo.

Práctica.

Como todo en la vida, para conseguir dominar el programa y todo lo que le rodea, necesitaremos practicar mucho. Nos podemos encontrar con muchísimas formas diferentes de trabajar con 3D Studio Max, pero para conseguir buenos resultados, sin desesperar en el intento, debemos tener presente que la forma en la que trabajemos ha de ser funcional y nos tiene que hacer sentir cómodos.

Almacenar y reutilizar.

A medida que vayamos creando materiales podemos ir almacenándolos en nuestra propia biblioteca para usarlos tantas veces como necesitemos en futuros proyectos.

Por otro lado, si aún no sabemos utilizar las bibliotecas de materiales, podemos mover objetos, con sus correspondientes materiales, de una escena a otra mediante merge. Hay que tener en cuenta que si el material tiene mapas anexados (que seguramente los tenga), estos no están incrustados en el material, sino que son referencias externas y estarán en una ubicación concreta.

Otra cosa a tener en cuenta es no almacenar nunca ningún material en la biblioteca raíz de 3D Studio Max, ya que, si guardamos muchos materiales ahí, cada vez que arranquemos el programa se cargarán todos estos materiales (aunque no vayamos a usarlos) y ralentizará el proceso.

Además, podemos conseguir materiales de otras fuentes, no necesariamente hemos de crearlos nosotros, o simplemente buscar lo necesario para crear un material en concreto.

Generalmente, cuando descargamos un material nos solemos encontrar con una serie de archivos en la carpeta:

  1. Archivo .mat. Tiene la configuración del material.
  2. Archivos de imagen. Son los mapas necesarios para crear el material.

Si el .mat no fuera compatible con la versión de 3D Studio Max con la que trabajamos, tendríamos que crear nosotros mismos el material. Por eso mismo es tan importante tener unos conocimientos básicos sobre el funcionamiento y creación de materiales en 3D Studio Max. a pesar de poder conseguir materiales ya creados.

 

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