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What Can a Teapot Teach You About Rendering?

In this Black Spectacles FREE tutorial, you will use a teapot to illustrate how to increase your render speed by using a proxy as a representation of an external mesh. The geometry doesn’t live inside your Max model, the mesh is imported only at render time, so it doesn’t use up any additional resources. This tutorial is part of the Black Spectacles course on 3D Rendering with Vray 3.2 for 3ds Max in which you will learn how to bring a 3d model into Vray, render it out, and touch it up in Photoshop to give your final image a professional finesse. View the entire course here.

Teapot Example Free Tutorial

Step 1: Create a teapot

To begin, go ahead and hide the topography and go to the zero-layer, just to keep things simple. Then go to “Create Geometry” and make a teapot. 

Step 2: Export a mesh to a file

The first thing you need to do is actually create the mesh file. Then you can create the proxy. The way to do this is actually really straightforward. Select the teapot, right-click on it, and go to “V-Ray Mesh Export.” A window pops up that prompts you for a location for your export file. This is going to be the proxy file that's going to live outside of your Max model. 

The file name is auto-populated as “Teapot001.vrmesh.” It takes the object name and gives it a proprietary file format. Under the “folder” at the top, click “Browse” and save it to your Desktop or wherever you want. Also in that window, make sure “Export each selected object in its separate file” is selected. In this case, you only have one object, so that option is fine.

Towards the bottom of the window, you will see it has 10,000 for “Faces in preview.” This is quite a bit for this example, so change that to 2,000 faces for now. “Refined clustering quality” is fine for the “Preview Type” for this example. Click “Okay” to apply those changes. 

Now, go to your desktop (or wherever you just saved that file), and you can see there’s your Teapot V-Ray mesh file. 

Step 3: Create a proxy

Go back to your program, and click on “Create Object.” Then if you select “VRay” from the dropdown menu, you will then see “VRayProxy” listed as an option under “Object Type.” If you click on that, you can add an object, and it immediately prompts you to select a VRay Mesh file. So select the proxy file you just created, open it, and there is a proxy of your teapot. 

Step 4: Render the object

When you select that proxy, in the right-hand menu, you can see it’s referencing a file outside of this Max model. And you can see it’s very rough in its format, but if you go ahead and render the object, it is going to look just like what you exported out. 

Step 5: Visualize the object

There are different ways of visualizing this teapot in your model. If you go to “Display” in the right-hand menu, you can see several options. If you were to select “Bounding Box,” you will see very few polygons in the shape of a box, but when you render, it will still look like a teapot, even though the representation in your model is a box. For example, imagine a file where you have 10,000 trees. You don’t need to see every tree and all its leaves, or even part of their leaves. You can just see them as simple boxes to save time, and it’s easier to navigate on your screen. 

Step 6: Instance the object

Also in that right-hand menu, there is an option to scale the object. You can also rotate it, or move it anywhere you want. You can copy it, as long as you “Instance” them, they’re fine. You can make as many teapots as you want. And the nice thing about Instances in Max is that they can all still be unique in terms of their location, their size, and their position, but they are still all referencing one proxy. So you can create thousands of these teapots, but none of them will live in this Max file, they are all referenced from an outside file that only gets called upon when you have to render. It’s a very powerful tool.

View the video for this tutorial here: