DMMultimedia

3D Graphics, Tutorials and Tips
Using 3DS Studio Max and Mental Ray

DMMultimedia

3D Studio Max - Car Paints - Using the Arch & Design shaders to create Silver and matte finishes

The Arch & Design shaders in 3D Studio Max are very well suited for creating car/automotive matte/glossy undercoats or finishes like matte wraps. Combined with the Shellac material it is possible to simulate silver metallic finishes.

The Arch & Design material, when combined with the Env Blur shader can make realistic matte or very glossy materials. Materials like the wrap on the Ford Focus RS500 and the Frozen Silver finish on the BMW E92 M3. This glossy material also works very well as a base coat for metallic silvers - If you see the unfinished base coat for a metallic silver paint (look inside of boot, doors etc.). This base layer is a glossy reflection of the environment, to which is added another layer of lacquer. The lacquer is a reflective top overcoat.

Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish (like BMW Frozen Silver)
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish (like BMW Frozen Silver)
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish, with laquer top coat using Shellac material
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish, with lacquer top coat using Shellac material
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish (like BMW Frozen Silver) in an environment
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish (like BMW Frozen Silver) in an environment
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish, with laquer top coat using Shellac material in an environment
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish, with lacquer top coat using Shellac material in an environment
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish (like BMW Frozen Silver) in an environment, rear view
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish (like BMW Frozen Silver) in an environment, rear view
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish, with laquer top coat using Shellac material in an environment, rear view
Arch & Design : Base layer Matte finish, with lacquer top coat using Shellac material in an environment, rear view


Arch & Design Metallic Paint setup

The metallic silver as seen on the BMW above is created from a Shellac material, with a glossy base coat and a reflective top coat (lacquer). First we will create the glossy base coat. This can also be used as a template that you can adjust to give a "wrap" effect finish to your paint (Ford Focus RS500 wrap, and Frozen Silver paint finish on the BMW E92 M3)

RS500 Wrap effect - created using a Mental Ray glossy Arch & Design material
RS500 Wrap effect - created using a Mental Ray glossy Arch & Design material

When using a glossy material the problem is always a trade-off between quality and speed of rendering. As most glossy materials work by taking multiple samples, there is a great tip to help reduce rendering time. As our paint will mostly be reflecting the environment we can use the Environment Blur shader. This is explained by Zap here : Zap's Mental Ray Blog. This shader can use a blurred environment for reflections (blurred according to individual A&D glossy settings). This works very well.

MR Car Paint Flake Denisty
The ENV Blur material is used to hold your Environment map. It will blur the environment according to each Arch & Design material

The Base Coat

The basic setting for the silver base material, the lower level of the paint is shown below :

Base coat for the Silver Metallic Paint - Glossy Arch & Design Mental Ray Material
Base coat for the Silver Metallic Paint - Glossy Arch & Design Mental Ray Material

The Topcoat/Lacquer

The topcoat/lacquer layer gives the metallic paint a shiny, reflective finish - that waxed. wet look finish. The basic settings are shown below :

Topcoat/Laquer for the Silver Metallic Paint - Standard Arch & Design Mental Ray Material
Topcoat/Lacquer for the Silver Metallic Paint - Standard Arch & Design Mental Ray Material

The Shellac Material : Combining the base coat and the top coat layers

We use a simple Shellac Material to combine the base coat and the top coat. The Shellac Colour Blend value controls the effect of the top coat - higher values will give a more reflective paint, lower values will be less reflective.

Mental Ray Car Paint Flake Colour
Combining the base coat and the top coat using the Shellac material

Using the above settings we get the following result. Adjust the base coat and top coat, and the Shellac Color Blend to get subtle differences :

Mental Ray Car Paint Flake Reflections
Combining the base coat and the top coat with the Shellac material to give a Silver Paint