Rendering with light domes

The process for setting up a dome light within 3DS Max is as follows:

Remember that in 3DS max to enable true reflections the channel can not just be using a simple projected bitmap but needs an actual "Raytrace" shader to input into the reflection property.

It seems that Autodesk reccomends using the "Raytrace" map instead of the "Reflect/refract" map.

When setting up a reflection on an object you may need to change the ambient / diffuse light to black so that the surface color doesn't add to the color of the reflection.

For any object that has self illumination you'll want to do two things. Change the ambient / diffuse colors to black and check on the "color" option under "self illumination" so that it actually emits the color (if a map is defined the color here can be left as the default black).

Please note that if you're using a physical sky object (like a sphere) instead of an environment map then you'll want to go into the "Attenuation" roll down of the "Raytrace" map object and change "Falloff Type" to off (or else increase the falloff distance). This is because be default the distance the rays of the "Raytrace" travel is limited.

Under "Global Illumination" tab in the render settings increase the "Diffuse Bounces" under the "Final Gather" roll down to 1 or 2. This may increase the render time but should make the bouncing light pick up more of the color of each surface.

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