Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creating a Foggy Scene in 3D Studio MAX using "Fog" and "Volume Fog"

This tutorial will teach you how to create a foggy scene in 3D Studio Max. I applied this effect to the ending result of my previous tutorial about Texturing (Using UVW and Unwrap UVW). We will create our scene using two atmospheric filters: "Fog" and "Volume Fog". It is possible to create a foggy scene using one of these alone, you shall be able to experiment with these on your own once you are done with this tutorial. We are using this model (MAX File) in our tutorial, please download it to follow this tutorial.





It is necessary to explain the difference between our two effects. Fog is the more generic effect which applies to the whole scene in a constant level, you have a relatively less amount of control over this effect. On the other hand, "Volume Fog" generates an inconsistent flow of clouds through out the given 3D space. "Volume Fog" requires a container to which we apply it to, this sort of container is called Gizmo.

Adding the "Fog" atmospheric effect

Applying the standard "Fog" effect is straightforward using the Environment and Effects window. Open up this window by hitting 8 on your keyboard. Scroll down to the Atmosphere rollout from where you can click on Add to find the required effect.

You can simply apply the effect using the preset configurations, however, I did make some changes to the parameters as could be seen in the image below, you can use these instead of the presets and then experiment with these on your own to get your personally desired result.

You may render your scene at this point to acquire a scene similar to the one below.


Scene rendered with "fog" effects only. Click to enlarge.

Adding the "Volume Fog" effect

Unlike the Fog effect, Volume Fog generates a less synthetic looking environment by having an inconstant density volume of fog. Adding "Volume Fog" requires having a container, or as 3DS calls it, "Gizmo". To create a Gizmo go to Create>Helps>Atmospherics>Box Gizmo. You will then have to draw your Gizmo in the place where you want to have your Volume Fog, we want to have it all around the house in our tutorial. Enlarge the image below to see how I did it.


"Gizmo Box" placed it around the house. Click to enlarge.

We will now fill our container with our Volume Fog, access the Environment and Effects window, you can press 8 on your keyboard to open it if you closed it. Scroll down to the Atmosphere rollout and click on Add, select Volume Fog from there. Now, this will have to be assigned to our Gizmo. Look for the Volume Fog parameters rollout, click on the Pick Gizmo button that you'll find there and simply select the Gizmo from the scene.


Assign "Volume Fog" to "Gizmo Box". Click to enlarge.

The Volume Fog default parameters are not too bad, you may want to play around with them though to have it look in your own way, you can use the same values that I used as seen in the image below.

This should do the trick, but before you render your scene I suggest that you deactivate the previous effect so that you can clearly see how different it is from the normal Fog effect. You can deactivate the first effect by accessing the Environment and Effects window once again, and this time simply unchecking the Active checkbox to hide your effect. Hide the first effect that we created, Fog. Render your scene afterwards.



Once you are happy with setting of the both fogs setting, hit render and see you awesome fog effect on your scene. But make sure you activate them first.

This concludes our tutorial, you can activate both effects and render the scene once more. You should play around with the parameters to see what values work best for your work. I hope that you learnt something new by reading this tutorial. If you need any more help feel free to drop at Oman3D Forum.

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