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Realistic Architectural Visualization with 3DS MAX and Mental Ray

3ds Max is one of the state of the art tools for architectural visualization, game design, animation, and industrial design. Mental Ray® renderer from NVIDIA® is one of the integrated renderers in 3DS MAX 2010 onwards. It is a general-purpose renderer that can generate physically correct simulations of lighting effects, including ray-traced reflections and refractions, caustics, and global illumination. As a production-quality rendering application, it has been used in the production of many feature films, including Hulk, The Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions, Star Wars: Episode II ‒ Attack of the Clones, The Day After Tomorrow and Poseidon.

Learn about Mental Ray, the render engine of choice for many 3ds Max users. In this course, the trainer covers the basic and intermediate features of this production-proven renderer. The mental ray workflow, Arch & Design materials, lighting tools such as the daylight system and exposure controls, global illumination, and the Unified mode sampling options are all examined. Finally if the class time allows, the trainer covers the creation of render effects such as caustics, depth of field, and motion blur.
This course gives you a fundamental understanding of the tools you are using and also puts you into real-life situations in which you would be required to produce renderings of real-life projects. The trainer’s approach is to go over tasks that an architectural visualization artist would typically find him/herself in. This course is designed for intermediate users or amateur users who are familiar with the 3DS MAX interface. So it is assumed that you already know how to create architectural models, and thus the trainer will not cover modeling with 3DS MAX in this course.
Some of the topics of this course include:

  • Setting mental ray as the render engine
  • Working with ActiveShade mode
  • Creating a daylight system
  • Controlling the mental ray sun and sky
  • Using Final Gather and photons, both individually and together
  • Working with diffuse, reflective, translucent, and other materials
  • Controlling render quality with image sampling
  • Working with displacement mapping
  • Using proxies

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Course Code: CRS-N-0042149

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Course Cancellation/Reschedule Policy

We reserve the right to cancel or re-schedule the course due to unforeseen circumstances. If the course is cancelled, we will refund 100% to participants.
Note the venue of the training is subject to changes due to class size and availability of the classroom.
Note the minimal class size to start a class is 3 Pax.

Training Grant and Subsidy

All Singaporeans aged 25 and above can use their $500 SkillsFuture Credit from the government to pay for a wide range of approved skills-related courses. Visit the SkillsFuture Credit website to choose from the courses available on the SkillsFuture Credit course directory

Course Details

Module One: Getting Started with Mental Ray in 3DS MAX

  • Important information before we get started
  • Software driver
  • Units
  • An Introduction to the Key Concepts
  • Shaders
  • Global Illumination
  • Final Gather
  • Photons
  • Ambient Occlusion

Module Two: Rendering with Mental Ray inside 3DS MAX

  • Changing the renderer in 3DS MAX
  • Indirect Illumination in Mental Ray
  • Final Gather
  • Caustics
  • Global Illumination
  • Global Illumination + Final Gather
  • Hidden Lines Contour Rendering
  • Camera Shaders
  • Displacement

Module Three: Lighting in Mental Ray

  • Introduction to Lighting in 3DS MAX and Mental Ray
  • Standard Lights
  • Photometric Lights
  • Mental Ray‒Specific Light Rollouts and Shaders
  • Indirect Illumination Rollout
  • Light Shader Rollout
  • mr Sky Portal
  • mr Sun Parameters
  • mr Sky Parameters

Module Four: Mental Ray Materials

  • Introduction to Materials in Mental Ray
  • ProMaterials and Arch & Design Materials
  • ProMaterials Ceramic
  • ProMaterials Concrete
  • ProMaterials Glazing
  • ProMaterials Hardwood
  • ProMaterials Masonry
  • ProMaterials Metal
  • ProMaterials Metalic Paint
  • ProMaterials Mirror
  • ProMaterials Plastic/Vinyl
  • ProMaterials Solid Glass
  • ProMaterials Stone
  • ProMaterials Wall Paint
  • ProMaterials Water
  • ProMaterials Generic

Module Five: Shaders in Mental Ray

  • Material‒Related Shaders
  • DGSM Material Shader
  • Metal Shader
  • Car Paint Shader
  • SSS Physical Shader
  • Glass Shader
  • Landscape Shader
  • Translucency Shader
  • Bump Shader
  • Environment Shader
  • Photon Basic Shader
  • Water-Related Shaders
  • Water Surface Shader
  • Submerge Shader
  • Wet‒Dry Mixer Shader
  • Ocean Shader

Module Six: The Studio

  • Rendering an Interior/Exterior Scene with Mental Ray in 3DS MAX

Module Seven (Optional): Render Effects

  • Motion Blur
  • Depth of Field

Who Should Attend

  • Architects, engineers and interior designers who want to learn how to render their designs realistically.
  • 3D enthusiasts who are interested in learning about lighting and rendering in 3DS MAX and Mental Ray.
  • Any other individual interested in pre-visualising architectural spaces, models, 3D prototypes for post-sale or to evaluate their impact, finish or lighting.
  • Any individual interested in making money with architectural visualization or 3D Art.
  • Anyone interested in starting a career as a 3D artist in various industries.


You need to have a slight familiarity with 3DS MAX Interface and Tools. It is assumed that you already know the interface, can navigate 3DS MAX viewports, and know about 3D modeling. In case you are a beginner with 3DS MAX, you may wish to start by taking a foundation course like “3DS MAX for Architectural Visualization” or “3DS MAX Modeling for Game: The Core Concepts” and then take this course.


3DS MAX Studio TrainerJavad is a new media artist, animator and scholar. He studied Engineering and Animation and is currently a PhD candidate at the School of Art, Design & Media in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has years of experience in 3D modeling with 3ds Max and has collaborated in 3D visualization projects with various architects and architectural firms. He was previously an instructor, teaching 3ds Max courses. As a scholar he presented several papers at animation conferences around the world, including the Society for Animation Studies Conference at USC in Los Angeles, USA. He has also published several articles in academic journals in the past five years.

Graphics Design TrainerSven J Norris received his BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff in 2000 and completed his Masters in Computer Arts at
Thames Valley University (now University of West London) in 2002. He has worked as a freelancer, contractor and full-time employee in industry within the fields of new media, designing and development where he created screen-based experiences and content for companies and agencies including Arc Worldwide, Leo Burnett Group, Reuters, McKinsey & Co, and Tidal Wave in England. Sven spent 7 years as Assistant Professor of Interactive Media Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design & Media (ADM) in Singapore and was the area coordinator for Interactive Media for some of this period.

Most recently, he has founded an independent design studio Vithereal Pte. Ltd. focusing on 3D Visualization, Product Design and Web Development while
continuing to teach as an Adjunct Lecturer at the above-mentioned ADM in Singapore as well as a degree program in NTU’s Electronic Engineering faculty.
He teaches and practices in the areas of:

  • Web Development
  • Game Design
  • User Interface Design
  • 3D Visualization
  • Product Design

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