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This course has two goals for two types of professionals: photographers and CGI artists. In a very understandable manner I’ll teach photographers to use some of the essential technics in 3D.

On the other hand CGI artists will find useful and interesting those parts where I share my lighting set up methods and do it from photographer’s point of view.

This course is for you, if you:

  • Have no experience in 3D rendering or d3s Max, you will learn everything following instructor’s video step by step.
  • Have experience in 3D /CGI but have no experience in studio lighting and photography: Ilya explains how to setup the lighting to mimic a real studio environment.

About the Course

Take This Course

Over 4 hours of video materials

Basic photography for CGI artists and 3D for photographers

Course Breakdown:

Total Running Time: 4 hours

Level:  Beginner 

  • Course Introduction - 2min

  • Basics of 3D Max - 43min

    I go through all tools and parameters that I used throughout the course. It’s purpose is to make it possible to take the course for those who have no experience in d3s Max whatsoever.

  • Building 3D Model -Part 1 - 14min -

    An Introduction to Splines. I start with creating splines for a future bottle and a liquid inside the bottle.

    Basic photography for CGI artists

  • Building 3D Model -Part 2 - 10 min -

    I start with finalizing the splines and build and actual model of the bottle by using Lath modifier. After it I prepare a part of the model for an emboss on glass. The emboss will be done with Displacement.

  • Building 3D Model -Part 3 - 3 min -

    I prepare a texture that will be used as a displacement map.

  • Materials - 10 min -

    Maxwell Render materials. Starting point for everyone who is digging in this theme is resources.maxwellrender.com. There is a huge library of materials that is accessible right from the program. In the second part of this video I set the displacement map by using UVW Map modifier.

  • Camera - Part 1 - 10 min -

    Theory with examples from the real life. I show how different focal length and distance to product change perspective and mood in the image.

  • Camera - Part 2 - 7 min -

    I talk about depth of field and aperture and show how to achieve desirable result by changing camera parameters and setting Camera Target.

  • Lights and Displacement - 10 min -

    I set a simple light scheme and start working on displacement.

    Basic photography for CGI artists

  • Lights and Materials - Part 1 - 19 min -

    The last tweaks with displacement map. Then I change a glass material in order to get green glass and show why standard Maxwell lights is not the best choice for rendering transparent products. After it I show how to use the real life experience and simulate a photo studio light in CGI.

  • Lights and Materials - Part 2 - 25 min -

    Extension of the previous video. Simulation of a real photo studio in 3D. Faded reflexes and proper position of lights.

  • Scene - Part 1 - 17 min -

    The first scene with the first light scheme, created by using technics from previous videos. Multilight option in Maxwell Render. Export a scene to MXS file.

    Basic photography for CGI artists

  • Rendering - 14 min -

    Prepare scene for render. Render from MXS file. Advantages of MXI files over regular formats such as tiff, jpg or png.

  • Scene - Part 2 - 9 min -

    The second scene with new light scheme.


  • Scene - Part 3 - 7 min -

    The third scene with the last light scheme. One more photography trick replicated in 3D in order to get a light contour of the product while it stands against black background.

    Basic photography for CGI artists


  • Saving Images - 8 min -

    Proper way of saving rendered image for future retouching. Using Material ID for easy clipping.


  • Image - Part 1 - 14 min -

    Retouching of the first render. Mostly by composing with layer masks and eraser tool.


  • Image - Part 2 - 14 min -

    Retouching of the second render. An example of how a simple combining of different images might bring an impressive result.


  • Image - Part 3 - 17 min -

    I make a composition of three bottles by copying rendered image and changing color of the contour. Explore some options with different colors and depth of field.

Basic photography for CGI artists


  • When I have a question or trouble getting a shot, can I ask the instructor for help?

    – Yes! As a course student, you will be a part of a private group and forum, where you can ask the instructor any question and/or post your results for review. We encourage you to participate in this group!

  • I am new to 3DS Max, is there a way to get a free copy of it to learn this course?

    – Yes! As a course student, you can register and get a free student license here: Free software download for students & educators

  • What OS 3Ds Max is running?

    – 3DS Max runs on Windows OS only, meaning you’ll need to use PC.

Take This Course

Over 4 hours of video materials

Final Images you'll be able to make yourself

Basic photography for CGI artists and 3D for photographers
Basic photography for CGI artists and 3D for photographers

Course Curriculum

00. Introduction FREE 00:02:00
01. Basics of 3D Max 00:43:00
02. Building 3D Model – Part 1 00:14:00
03. Building 3D Model – Part 2 00:10:00
04. Building 3D Model – Part 3 00:03:00
05. Maxwell Render materials 00:10:00
06. Camera – Part 1 00:10:00
07. Camera – Part 2 00:07:00
08. Lights and Displacement 00:10:00
09. Lights and Materials – Part 1 00:19:00
10. Lights and Materials – Part 2 00:25:00
11. Scene – Part 1 00:17:00
12. Rendering 00:14:00
13. Scene – Part 2 00:09:00
14. Scene – Part 3 00:07:00
15. Saving image 00:08:00
16. Image – Part 1 00:14:00
17. Image – Part 2 00:14:00
18. Image – Part 3 00:17:00

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