Clay Rendering in 3DMax

Rendering 3D models can be over complicated, our favorite technique is the quick and easy ‘Clay’ render using 3DMax.The image above was created in SketchUp and then simply imported into Max using the .3ds export.

Once in Max take these simple steps to produce a image similar to the one above:

1) Add a ‘Skylight’ to the scene (click lighting, select a Skylight and click in your scene).The Skylight can be placed anywhere as is not a direct lighting component.

2) Hit F10 to bring up the Render Dialog and select the ‘Advanced Lighting’ tab, now click ‘LightTracer’

3) Render your scene.

That’s it, a quick and simple render that we often use for our images.

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  1. ervin - January 16, 2007

    …this visually sucks in my opinion. donno how much time it takes, but it looks not really cool for some sort of “clay” rendering.
    something much faster and visually more appealing can be achieved using vray+vray dirt material with the proper fallofs. has some AO touch then, but looks far more cool than this above mentioned….

  2. Grafdom - January 27, 2007

    This looks rather premature for a clay portrayal…. True, i agree with ervin vray could be a substantial upgrade in thought.

  3. jphelps - January 30, 2007

    I tried this clay modeling method with good results but… I noticed a bunch of black artifacts showing up in the renders. They looked like little bits of shadow, some occuring along edges, others out in the middle of a flat surface. This was not too distracting until I animated the model (camera fly-around) and then it looked like World War Two over Germany (lots of flack exploding randomly everywhere). Any ideas?

  4. 3dcircle - May 15, 2007

    I think it is looking better in way its different giving more of a better view of what’s in it.

    But definetly not competitive with vray…

  5. Anonymous - April 16, 2008

    is that UCL??

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