Monthly Archives: November 2021

Brazil 3.0 launch

” Brazil 3.0 ” software is a pack of tools, applications and libraries which aims to simplify the work in fields such as scientific research, engineering and digital art.

With Brazil 3.0 you can forget about all the hassles that arise when using commercial rendering systems or working with very large amounts of data in Blender . With this new version it will be much easier to handle different types of projects from simple architectural visualizations to complex VFX simulations. Better yet – you can do so without buying expensive licenses, paying royalties or worrying about render farm dependencies!

The Brazil Rendering system has been around for years but so far was only available for purchase by institutions and large studios willing to invest in its use (the price tag was around $ 20,000 ), but the new version offers many benefits including an open-source library for Blender (BSD license) and other tools which you can get for free.

Brazil 3.0 is one of the main topics of this week’s SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver , where its developers will present their work during a special session on Wednesday at 11AM (Canada Pacific Time).

Learn more about Brazil 3.0 by reading our interview with Marcos Fajardo , lead developer of the project, available at

SplutterFish Developer Blog

Have you been playing with RPManagerBrazil? Left you wishing for more, didn’t it ? That’s what I thought – and so did Grant Adam.

Exclusively to registered Brazil users of RPManagerBrazil, Grant Adam of is now offering a special upgrade price from RPManagerBrazil to RPManager Full for only $200 (USD); A $100 savings!
You’ll find a link to the special purchasing page on your Account page under the RPManagerBrazil download.

Thanks once again to Grant Adam for this amazing opportunity!
If you’re not aware of the differences yet, here’s a comparison page between the Full version and the Lite version (Lite supports renderers besides Brazil r/s) :
Speaking of renderpasses – have you seen the new renderpasses document on your Account page ?

It is one of 15 new documents/tutorials in the updated Examples Guide, as steadily added to over the past few weeks. More documents are to follow, so drop by regularly!
( And, by solitary request, you’ll notice that the Render Passes document has a style selector in the top-right. This will be copied on over to all other documents by yours truly, so that you can view the page in the style you / your eyes prefer. )

Max 2013

Of all the new features in Max 2013, it seems that the one I enjoyed most was a plugin called  ‘ viewport2Bubbleslot ‘ that does exactly what its name suggests. I’m sure many of you have been using this plugin as well, but for those who haven’t yet discovered it… now’s your chance!

For those who don’t know what this plugin is about, make your way to Sketchucation  and download version 3.0 beta 21 or higher (I’ll be using version 3.0 b22). The installation instructions will guide you through the process pretty easily if you follow them carefully (if not, give me a shout and I’ll try my best to help). Once installed, restart max and you should see a new custom rollout in your UI called ‘viewport2Bubbleslot’.

Please note that this plugin seems to only work in 3ds max 2013, it does not seem to be compatible with older versions of max or any other 3D application for that matter. This article is based on max 2013 but the same principles could easily be applied using earlier versions.

If viewport reflections are enabled in the mental ray rollout, they don’t really do much at all – they just make objects appear brighter. Please note that if viewport reflections are turned off in the mental ray rollout, enabling them has no effect either since this isn’t related to the v2b plugin.

The reason why I said this works in almost all situations is because there are certain materials like glass and any kind of ceilling material that cannot be reflected. So you will notice in these cases that reflections won’t work (but this would only be the case if the reflection method for that material were set to be ‘mental ray’).

Once enabled, you should see bubbles randomly appear within your viewports with a random color. What each bubble represents is a light source in your scene with its specular highlight and color represented using the specified shader – so basically what we have here is realtime area light shadows in our viewport!

The plugin also offers an option to activate or deactivate bubble rendering – which can come in handy when turning off bubbles for specific objects for better visibility.

There are several options provided by this plugin which can be modified either directly within the rollout itself or via keymaps. Let’s take a look at these now…

Enable/disable bubbles (useful for object visibility) – to turn on or off bubbles simply tap your ‘8’ or ‘9’ keys, respectively; you can also access this option from the UI;

Viewport curvature (useful for box/sphere reflections) – enables (1) anamorphic mapping in order to display area light shadows with perspective;  (2) viewport curvature using b2 camera settings;

Directional bubble size multiplier (default = 1.0)… since the bubbles are rendering based on photometric units, the size of the bubbles will be dependent on this multiplier (and if nothing is specified it defaults to 1.0);  this is mostly useful for low/high angle shots where bubbles are larger towards the horizon,

Shadow bias – offsets the shadow calculation by a given value so you can adjust it according to your renders;

Use blobby shadows – calculates area light shadows with an iterative method that produces smoother results vs. faster performance but less accurate results compared to raytraced shadows. Blobby shadows are also more suitable when using objects without geometry since this extra step helps avoid dark artifacts near object edges caused by contact hardening,

Max draw distance / Max samples – if enabled, each bubble will cast 4 rays per sample into each direction and the resulting color will be averaged.

Please note that this means bubbles won’t cast shadows when using more than 1 sample so if you try to increase samples beyond 4 while wanting to use blobby shadows, only the lowest number of samples specified for each direction will be considered.

Also note that since 2Bubbleslot uses your viewport’s full resolution (no matter what resolution you’re rendering at) there is a performance hit on lower end machines – keep in mind that max doesn’t automatically set your frame buffer size equal to your render size, which would mean around 30 fps with a 1080p scene at 32 samples per direction. In this case I recommend keeping both buffers equal in order to avoid any performance issues.

Splutterfish Wiki

So there’s been a lot of controversy lately about which Linux package manager is better, Apt-get or Yum. This debate has raged on for years, and still no one can give a decisive answer. As that argument is not likely to be resolved soon, let us look at the next best thing: the graphical interfaces for each of these package managers, known as GUI frontends .

Aptitude , GNOME Software Center , Synaptic , KPackageKit , and Muon Discover are some alternatives for package management in Ubuntu. Of these, only Synaptic and Muon Discover will work on other GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian and Fedora (which uses Dnf ). While it’s already possible to use any of these GUI frontends on any popular GNU/Linux distribution, let us focus on Synaptic and GNOME Software Center in particular.

Gnome Software Center provides a graphical way to install software like Libre Office, Spotify, Skype, or Minecraft in Ubuntu. It is an easy-to-use application that can be seen in action in the following video:

Synaptic , on the other hand, allows users to manage repositories (i.e., sources of packages), create repositories if none exist for specific software they need, track updates for installed packages with its ‘Rel’ column, and perform package searches easier via keywords or expression search . Like Gnome Software Center , it too has an easy-to-use interface. The following is a screenshot of Synaptic:

While both Synaptic and GNOME Software Center provide the same functionality, only one of them is available for other GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian and Fedora. That’s right: it’s Synaptic . Seemingly unintuitively, Synaptic is not available in most repositories of Ubuntu (i.e., sources of packages) because it is considered “less user-friendly” than Gnome Software Center by many Ubuntu users and developers. This is ironic considering that most people who consider themselves advanced users would be familiar with package managers such as APT and DNF , but this has been part of the problem behind the controversy surrounding which package manager is better: Apt-get or Yum.

Synaptic’s lack of availability in Ubuntu repositories, however, is not due to any technical limitation. The developers behind Synaptic have simply chosen not to include it in the main repositories that are available in most GNU/Linux distributions. This also entails that there are no packages for other Linux distributions that can be downloaded via Synaptic’s official website .

This could explain why despite being powerful and easy-to-use, only advanced users actually use Synaptic in their day-to-day operations with their GNU/Linux distribution. Most beginners tend to be more familiar with graphical frontends such as GNOME Software Center , which is one of the reasons why it has become popular among novice users.

Yet because experience tends to breed familiarity with commands, it is not unheard of for experienced users who aren’t comfortable with the usual package managers to use both Synaptic and GNOME Software Center together. This means that novices can benefit from the familiarity associated with ease-of-use provided by GUI frontends such as GNOME Software Center , while more experienced users still have their powerful, text-based interface represented by programs such as Synaptic .

While it may be true that using a text-based interface is unfriendly for beginners to GNU/Linux, there are many instances where even advanced users would prefer a GUI frontend . This might be due to unfamiliarity or preference, but either way it signifies a clear advantage in terms of flexibility for developers behind Synaptic compared to those developing GNOME Software Center .

Not only does this mean that users can adopt a piecemeal approach towards learning packages and package management, but it also means that more experienced users have the ability to choose app development platforms such as Unity or KDE , depending on their preference for graphical interfaces. The latter is an advantage because different developers prefer working with specific GUI frameworks, meaning that each frontend can be paired with its own platform leading to greater customization and choice among software consumers.

It’s true: GNOME Software Center provides a more user-friendly interface than Synaptic by using the latter merely as backend (i.e., providing functionality). But other than ease of use, what exactly does GNOME Software Center offer over Synaptic other than both GUI frontends exist side-by-side in the Windows Store? While GNOME Software Center is powerful, perhaps it’s time to focus more on real functionality rather than ease of use. Otherwise, novices might never get to experience the power that GNU/Linux has to offer.

End of Life (EOL) Announcement for SplutterFish Brazil and Rio for Autodesk® 3ds Max® products.

SplutterFish, part of the Imagination Technologies group, will End of Life (EOL) all of its Brazil and Rio software plugins for 3ds Max as of May 14, 2012. Effective immediately, no further product development will be done on these products and no purchases will be accepted. There has been no development for Autodesk 3ds Max 2013.

Note: This EOL announcement does not apply to Brazil for Rhino. Customers using Brazil for Rhino may continue to purchase and receive support for Brazil for Rhino directly from Robert McNeel and Associates at

Support after EOL
• The SplutterFish Forums will be retired on July 31, 2012. We will archive and post a “read only” version of pertinent, supported related forum messages to assist customers that wish to continue using Brazil or Rio for 3ds Max unsupported. These will be located on the Caustic Professional web site
• Licensing matters, such as requests to transfer a Brazil license from one computer to another will be supported until December 31, 2012. If you are a commercial licensee of Brazil™ and need assistance with installation or licensing, you may email with a description of the problem.

Retirement of
On August 1, 2012 will be redirected to a page on With the exception of support related forum messages, all other pages (e.g., Gallery) will be retired, and all SplutterFish forum user logins and passwords will be deleted.

Migration Options
The functionality that exists in Brazil and Rio for 3ds Max is not available in any current products from Imagination Technologies. Other final frame renderers compatible with the latest releases of Autodesk 3ds Max

Professional-stable vs Professional-beta (as of Build 1449) 21659

As of Build 1437, Brazil r/s v2 Professional Edition has been split up into two different versions:

Professional-stable is intended to be the current ‘locked’ and ‘known good’ version of Brazil r/s v2 Professional Edition.
Professional-beta contains beta features and changes which can be highly in flux (including, potentially, breaking file compatibility – although we’ll certainly try not to ). So a bit more risky, but more production tools to play with.

The list of what’s in beta that’s not in stable, as of Build 1449, is:

Material Editor rendering
Brazil r/s v2 can now be used as the Material Editor renderer. This allows you to do things like preview SSS effects on, say, the Cube or any custom scene geometry loaded into the Material Editor renderer.
Note that you can’t interrupt material editor renders at this time, so if you create a very heavy setup – consider switching back to the Scanline renderer for material editor rendering.

Dome Light
The Dome Light, to be found in the Brazil r/s v2 Lights category, is a spherical / dome light that implies importance-sampling. In short, the Dome Light allows you to light a scene much like you would with Sky Light, with the major advantage that it is magnitudes more efficient for a textured light source (mapped skylight), especially HDR and EXR ‘Image Based Lighting’.
Currently the Dome Light samples on its own, not hooked up with Light Portals and the Render Cache, so typical speed compared to using the Render Cache will be slower.

Originally Posted by minimaldocs by 0xc02da5
  • On, Color, mult : old same obvious stuff
  • Limit to Hemisphere: When on, light will come only from the above (+Z part of the world space). When off, light will come from below too. Having this on, as you can guess, causes slightly better quality and speed with the same settings.
  • Texture
    • Use Environment: when checked, the light will use max’s environment texture and settings. I think currently the non-textured max environment (constant color) is not bind. I’ll fix that
    • Specify Texture: when checked, the texture in the below slot will be used as the sky texture. You can put any texture map there including bitmaps and procedurals. Currently only the “Spherical Environment Mapping” is supported. So please make sure that the texture mapping settings are correct (Explicit mapping will give you constant color).
    • Resolution: This determines the lookup table size that the importance sampling system uses. The higher this value, the more details of the texture is preserved and more RAM will be needed. RAM usage is ~(4xResolutionxResolution) Bytes.
    • Filtering: This is another obvious parameter. Please note for filtering be effective, filtering settings of the texture should be enabled (non-None) too. Also you may find slightly increased filtering amount values (1.5 maybe) giving better results. Please let us know your findings.
  • Shadows: Should be obvious. The shadow type used is the sharp ray shadow (the dome lighting will automatically make for soft area/occlusion shadowing)
  • Sampling / Quality:
    • Adaptive sampling: This is the usual block of adaptive sampling parameters.
    • Importance: This parameter controls the “importance sampling” feature. Normally almost always you should keep it at “ON” and use “1.0” as the amount. There are theoretical cases where you may want to slightly lower the amount value. For example if there is a very very bright small spot in the HDRI texture map, all the samples will be concentrated to that region (this is how the importance sampling works). This makes the variance (noise) in the image quite low as long as that spot is visible by the illuminated surface point (which is the dominating light source). But, if there’s an object between the illuminated point and that bright spot in the sky, then that point will not get illumination from the other parts of the sky, so will totally black. So if that happens, you can lower the importance amount letting some samples to hit non-bright areas as well. This will increase the noise a bit but will also make sure that sky texture will be sampled more homogeneously. Practically I couldn’t find a scene/texture which shows such a need. But you are the real users and so please do report if you find lower numbers giving better results.

Analytical Bump
The Analytical Bump map calculates bump maps on objects as if they were small surface displacements, rather than simple normal perturbation. This increases the quality of the bump significantly, especially when used for seams, paneling, etc.
As a huge bonus, the Analytical Bump map works off the Mono channel of maps – if you’ve ever had problems with maps seemingly not working (properly) when used as a Bump map, it would be because the Map either incorrectly implemented the Bump channel – or did not implement it at all. By using the Mono channel, this map doesn’t care whether the submap supports the Bump channel or not. The only down side is that ‘Bump Amount’, present in some procedural maps, will have no effect – use the RGB Level output instead.

Originally Posted by minimaldocs by strangelove
  • Bump Source: This is the map who’s output is used to ‘displace’ the surface. We evaluate the map using the monochannel api in max, similar to how true displacement evaluates the map. This means that bump specific settings in the texmap used as the Bump Source will have no effect, since the source map isn’t being evaluated as a ‘bump’ map. For example, Bump Smoothing in Cellular will have no effect. A big advantage is that maps that don’t support bump properly should work when used in the analytic bump map.
  • ‘Displace Amount’: Controls the amount to displace the microtriangle when computing the new surface normal. This is in world space units and will change to reflect the unit display preferences (feet, cm, etc.) Generally this should be set to the amount you would displace the surface physically if you were using true displacement mapping.

Bi-Directional Sub-Surface Scattering
Bi-Directional SSS has been added to the Brazil2 Sub-Surface Scatter map. Essentially, this adds backscattering in addition to Forward scattering.
Additionally, the SSS Map can force a material to evaluate as 2-sided (required for proper SSS), and adds an Include/Exclude list so that you can ignore (internal) geometries when using this map.

Brazil2 Global Fog
In addition, we have added a volumetric (environment) effect that simulates a full fog that can react to lighting.
Another common complaint about 3ds Max’s volumetrics is how they blend; they don’t. They are composited in listed order. Global Fog, when using the Illumination option, will create a perfect blend between apparent volume light and fog. If your volume light is in the distance, the closer ambient fog (if used) will partially occlude it.

Originally Posted by minimaldocs by strangelove
  • General Parameters
    • Fog Background: This one should be obvious – controls whether fog should be applied over the background.
    • Fog Color: Effectively the diffuse color of the fog particles. The actual rendered color will still depend on the Ambient and (if illumination is enabled) illumination color from lights.
    • Ambient: This is the global ambient fog illumination. If you don’t have Illumination enabled, you may want to set this to White and forget about it. Where not illuminated, the rendered fog color will be FogColor*Ambient, regardless of whether illumination is on or not. I may move this control to the Illumination group and have it be ignored if illumination is disabled (there’s potential future features that make me hesitate to do this.)
    • Extinction: Controls how opaque the fog particles are. This determines how rapidly objects (and illuminated fog) are occluded by the particles in front. Higher values lead to effectively denser fog. This does NOT increase the amount of light reflected. That is controlled by Outscatter in the illumination control group.
    • Mode:
      • Manual: user specifies both the max steps and the step size. This is what the original version used.
      • Auto Max Steps: Max steps is computed based on the specified ranges and the step size to guarantee the entire range is covered. This is the recommended option in combination with setting up appropriate environment ranges for your scene.
      • Auto Step Size: Step size is computed based on the specified ranges and max steps to guarantee the range is covered. This is the default option for new scenes as default environment ranges are rather large.
  • Step Size: This is the distance in world units to step along the ray. At each point along the way, illumination is calculated if needed, and the overall opacity is accumulated. If the fog becomes totally opaque at some point along the way, ray marching terminates.
  • Max Steps: Controls the maximum number of steps we can take along a ray. If max steps is hit before the far range is reached, ray marching terminates anyway. If you are not seeing a light in the fog that is within the near/far ranges, you are probably being limited by max steps. Try increasing either max steps or step size.

[*]Ranges – 2 choices for controlling the distance over which the fog is applied. Note, that these ranges ALSO effect fog visible in reflection/refraction, just like normal Max fog. So if near is set to 100, the fog (and ray march) will not start until 100 units from the camera, or in the case of reflection, 100 units from the reflective surface, etc.

  • Use Camera Ranges: Near and Far ranges should be taken from the current camera environment settings.
  • Near/Far: manually set the ranges

[*]Illumination – This group controls the fog’s response to scene lights

  • Illumination On: When enabled, the fog will sample the lighting at each point along the ray march. This creates light beams just like volume light. Unlike volume light, the fog IN FRONT of the light will occlude the light beam, so the lighting effect will recede into the fog properly.
  • Outscatter: Effectively a multiplier for the light reflected from the fog. If light beams are too bright, lower this setting. If too dark, increase it
  • Symmetry: Controls the ‘phase’ or tendency of the fog to scatter light back toward the light, or away from the light. At a value of -1, all light is scattered back toward the light source (back scattered), at 1, all light is scattered away from the light (forward scattered.) This is easiest to see with an omni light in the fog, using colored attenuation. In most cases, a value of 0 works best (uniform scattering in all directions.)
  • Use All Scene Lights – When enabled all lights will be used by the fog. When disabled, only lights in the list will be used.
  • Lights group: This is just like the light list in Max’s volume light, without the retarded space wasting ‘pick light’ and ‘remove light’ buttons. We use these new fangled icon button things instead


  • In order to minimize banding issues, the ray marcher jitters the start sample position, this is the source of the noise. To reduce noise, decrease step size.
  • Brazil 2 lights will generally be faster than max lights, especially when using features that constrain the light, such as attenuation or focus.
  • Unlike Volume Light, all shadow types should work with all light types (e.g. ray shadows with Max lights works properly.)

[/list]Controlling the quality and speed of the fog render is a combination of the Step Size and Max Steps controls in the General group, as well as the Ranges. No fog or illumination occurs outside the ranges specified and step size coupled with max steps control the detail while limiting the number of samples into the fog.

Thin Translucency shader
This is useful for creating the backface illumination of thin translucency materials such as paper and cloth. It allows blurring the illumination, biasing the diffuse falloff, and several other effects.

Originally Posted by minimaldocs by Steve Blackmon

General parameters

  • Color (mappable): The translucency color of the material. This is effectively the backface diffuse color. When used in standard material’s colored self-illumination slot, or b2 advanced’s luminosity slot, this will completely determine the resulting backface illumination color. When used in the extra-light slot of b2 advanced this will typically be combined with the Cs (diffuse) color of the shader.
  • Diffuse Bias: Controls the sharpness of the diffuse falloff. The default value of 0.5 results in normal falloff. Lower values, from 0.0-0.5, will cause the diffuse falloff to occur very quickly, so areas will only receive light if the backface is pointing directly toward the light. This is useful for thick, rough materials such as satin or velvet, since it implies more self-shadowing of the material. Values from 0.5-1.0 will gradually flatten out the lighting. At 1.0 there is no diffuse falloff. This is useful for materials like paper, where the light scatters through the material and there is little surface self-shadowing.
  • Diffuse Level: This is a simple multiplier for the diffuse lighting.

Illumination Blur parameters

  • On: Enables illumination blur (go figure)
  • Blur Amount Map: Acts as a multiplier for the Radius.
  • Radius: The distance in world units to blur the illumination.
  • Surface Offset: A fixed distance in world units to offset the illumination along the surface normal for the backface. This has two purposes – it helps mimic the distortion of the backface lighting that would occur if the surface had thickness, and it acts as a material level shadow bias, to prevent self-shadowing issues.
  • Auto Bias: This computes a surface offset for each illumination point based on how far that point is from the original point being shaded. When illumination is being gathered for points far from the actual point on the object, auto bias creates a larger surface offset. For points very near the actual shade point auto bias only adds a small offset. This provides good self-shadow artifact control without completely sacrificing contact shadows. It also tends to create an interesting distortion of the blurred illumination/shadows based on closeness of the translucent surface to the shadow casting/etc object.
  • Sampling Controls: The full set of min/max samples, adaptive on, and max error controls everybody should be familiar with by now.


Of course the fun doesn’t stop there… there’s more in the line-up that’s alpha material and thus not in the beta yet, such as…

Brazil2 Volume Light
This is our implementation of a Volume Light. A common complaint about the 3ds Max Volume Light is that it is purely additive. The Brazil2 Volume Light adds a Blend compositing mode that more faithfully reproduces lighting within dusty or thick foggy, rather than misty, environments.
We also did away with the absolute necessity to pick lights (although you still can) – it features a “Use All Scene Lights” option.
Last but not least, fBM (fractal Brownian Motion – google it!) noise types are included in the Brazil2 Volume Light, allowing for more believable fog/dust noises without having to set up expensive procedural projector maps for the lights.

Physical Sky environment
Your basic physical sky with quick setup of any sky environment. Great for exterior renders to make the Sky Light shading just a little more interesting than a single color, and without having to fuss with gradients or third party HDR images.

and more which I just can’t post about yet


HDRI Tutorial v.2

High Dynamic Range Image (HDRI)

Brazil r/s offers the option of HDRI to Max. HDR images, as you may know, have wider luminance data stored than other formats.
First of all we have to understand what type of HDRI we need to import. Usually you can find probe images: this is not the type we can use with MAX, we need to transform into latitude mapping with HDR Shop.
You can find a public release here, with thanks to Paul Debevec.

1. Using HDR Shop
HDRshop menu Open the HDR Shop and load the Kitchen probe image you can find here.
Now, let’s transform into latitude by choosing Image, Panorama, Panoramic Transformations.

HDRshop panoramic transformations dialogIn the Format Source Image take care of selecting the right format, Light Probe in this case.
Then choose Latitude for Destination image format. You can also modify the final resolution and conversion quality.
Hit OK and you’ll obtain the wanted image to save to your preferred destination and to use later.
2. Getting Started
Viewport view Open the file HDRI3.max. Click here to download this file.
The scene should be the same as shown on the left.

Bitmap Type selection list Now we’ll add a background image: in the Menu bar, choose rendering, environment, environment map, bitmap and go down till Radiance Image File (HDRI);
for this example we we’ll use the latitude Kitchen image as said before.
We want to setup this image so press the Setup button before you choose Ok.

3. Getting Started
HDRI load setup dialog Now we can adjust the importing options: take care of the Linear white point because we need it later.
If you increase the value you’ll see all the magenta areas decreasing; if you decrease linear white point you’ll see all magenta areas increasing.

Decreasing the white point Magenta areas identify all the pixels that will be taken as white in the meanwhile cyan areas identify all the pixels which value will be considered as black.
All the pixels which value is greater than white point value will be clamped as white, reducing the available illumination range.
In the image on the left you can see the clamped preview.

Increasing the white point You can choose a value that in the preview area looks quite fine to your purpose.
In this case we leave it at Log. 8 and Linear 256. Doing so we will have all the range available and more illumination informations.
A little tip is to choose the value right before Magenta coming out. Press OK

4. Adjusting the HDRi map
Mapping coordinates Remember to set the Coordinates to Environment – Spherical Environment mapping to create the correct background (3ds max defaults environment map backgrounds to ‘Screen’, which is wrong.)
Drag the map from the Environment dialog’s ‘background map’ slot to a Material Editor sample slot first

RGB Level control And now you can play with the RGB Level, found in the HDRi map’s Output rollout.
If you leave it at 1, The image will be black.
If you remember the previous linear value, it was at 256 and 8 for logarithmic. By placing the 256 value you’ll obtain the same light intensity of the previous preview.

different RGB levels You have only to play with RGB Level decreasing it at something like ½ or ¼ of the previous value.
On the left you can see various exposure settings: RGB Level at 1,10,20,51.2,100,256.
In our scene we’ll use 256 for our background.

5. Correcting filtering and the first true HDRi render
Scene render – showing wrong filtering If you render the Camera01 viewport now, you probably would end up with an image that looks like the one on the left.
The blackness and ‘posterized’ render of the reflection on the top of the ring is due to 3ds max’s HDRi-unfriendly filtering.

In the HDRi map, change the “Blur:” value from 1.0 (default) to 0.1
See dialog in Step 4.
This should correct one of the most common problem that went out in the previous HDRI Tutorial.

Scene render – showing corrected filtering If you render again now, the result should be correct.
However, so far the render doesn’t show the power yet of High Dynamic Range data.

In the Material Editor, go to the Wood material, and enable the reflection map.
The reflection map is a simple Falloff map set to ‘Fresnel’ mode.
The fresnel reflection map will create dimmer reflections of the chrome ring onto the table.

Scene render – showing off HDRi reflections Rendering at this point should get you the image to the left.

This image shows the power of High Dynamic Range data.
Notice how in the chrome ring, the windows are completely blown out, whereas the kitchen is visible normally.
Whereas in the reflection of the chrome ring in the wood top, you can easily see the trees outside the windows, whilst the kitchen is completely dark, except for the kitchen’s light.

6. Setting up HDRi lighting (image-based lighting/mapped skylight) – Brazil’s specific instructions.
Skylight map slot Open the Luma Server rollout in Brazil r/s and under Direct Illumination, enable the Skylight option.
Next, scroll down to the Skylight group of parameters, and click & drag the map from the Material Editor to the Skylight map slot depicted to the left.
When asked, choose Instance to duplicate the map.

Skylighting – too bright If you render now, you’ll end up with an image that appears too bright, as shown to the left.
In addition, the render is fairly slow in rendering, and looks noisy.

That is because the strength of the HDRi map is far too high for lighting purposes.
This of course makes the image blown out, but it also means that there are areas of very high contrast in the HDRI map which ‘confuse’ the Skylighting – making it waste time.
We’ll get to optimizing the speed later – let’s first bring lighting levels down to more reasonable values.
Simply lower the Skylight multiplier value (to the left of the Skylight map slot) to something like 0.5

Skylighting – lowered lighting level The lighting level is now more like how one would expect it to be, and You can still see the ‘shadows’ generated by the kitchen’s light and window coming from the chrome ring.
But the render is still a bit slow and noisy due to the contrast of the HDRi map used for the skylight.

7. Optimizing HDRi lighting
HDRshop – resize menu

HDRshop – arbitrary resize dialog

resized hdri Because diffuse lighting is a far less precise thing than reflections, and because the contrast in some HDRI maps can confuse the lighting, wasting time, we can ‘blur’ the HDR image a little in order to get a faster and cleaner render.

Switch back to HDR shop, and choose : Image > Size > Arbitrary resize.
In the dialog that pops up, enter the dimensions : Width:64, Height:32 – and click OK.
This resizes the HDR image so that it can be processed faster.

HDRshop – Specular Convolution

HDRshop – Phong Exponent dialog

HDRshop – Specular Convolution resultNow to lower the contrast, we’re going to blur the HDRI map.
Not just any simple blur, but rather HDRshop’s Specular Convolution.

Won’t I lose detail when blurring ?
Yes – but those details are generally lost in image based lighting anyway – it only slows the render down.

When prompted for the “Phong Exponent”, enter a value of 16.
1.0 is perfectly diffuse, but in this case, we’d like to keep some distinct features from the HDRi (such as the kitchen light.)

To the left are the dialogs discussed here, and the tiny result of the operation.
Save this image as a new .HDR image, say “kitchen_diffuse.hdr”.

Skylighting – blurred skylight mapBack in 3ds max, duplicate your existing HDRi map by click & dragging the map to a new Material Editor slot.
Rename this material to “Skylight”.
Now click on the bitmap path button, and browse for the blurred HDRi.

Just like in Step 6, click & drag this new map to the Skylight map button.

If you render now, you’ll notice that the image renders much faster, and cleaner as well.
The shadows from the chrome ring are less defined – this is a trade-off you make for speed / smoothness.

Skylighting – blurred skylight map – no filtering There’s one more optimization you can make.
The previous image rendered in a timeframe that we’ll set at 100%.

Back in the “Skylight” HDRi map in the Material Editor, change the Filtering type to None.
Since the image is really just a blurry thing, we don’t need correct ‘filtering’ of the map – it would add nothing but processing time (each time Brazil r/s samples the skylight, 3ds max filters the map.)
Now render again.
Doing this with 0.4.53 public version you could have a strange effect shown on the left. The quick solution to this psycho look is to turn a little bit the plane and the ring as shown below.
The new result rendered in 2/3rds of the time.

Skylighting – HDRi-rendered scenes Just for kicks, add a teapot to the scene, and give it a light grey Standard material set to two-sided (or we’ll see right through the teapot.)
This will show off the lighting better than just the table top will (since the chrome ball receives no illumination whatsoever.)

You’ll notice that the lighting is quite blue – that’s because of this particular HDRi’s strong lighting from outside the window – caused by the sky, which is blue.

This is the antialiased render. Note at last the HDRi reflection of the window on the ring: it’s all blown up; then note in the middle the windows reflection laying on the table reflected on the ring: you start seeing the trees out of the window, more visible in the third reflection that is on the table.


Award winning Brazil r/s is a rock-solid, advanced, fully-integrated rendering suite for Discreet’s top-selling animation software 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ.

Developed in a production environment, Brazil r/s is engineered to be a stable, reliable production tool. Its thoughtfully designed, intuitive interface offers uncompromising control and flexibility. Brazil

r/s is packed with the features that animators want most. Its unmatched, production proven lighting and rendering technologies offer fast, accurate photorealistic results.

Brazil r/s works directly in 3ds max to achieve integration of tools, materials and lighting; enabling artists to work faster than ever before. Brazil allows you to create complex shaders without writing any code or using advanced text editing programs like Photoshop. Material presets are easy to apply making it simple for anyone working in 3D to take advantage of state-of-the-art rendering capabilities. Thousands of preset materials are available out-of-the-box including Autodesk VIZ style material templates created by professional designers at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. Artists can use Brazil r/s as a plug-in by connecting it to 3ds max or as a stand alone rendering solution from the command line using any of today’s most popular image formats.

A streamlined workflow allows you to create production quality images with just a few clicks. Perfect for architectural and product visualization, digital matte painting and design visualization, lighting sets fast with auto exposure routines and features shadow catcher support for creating accurate shadow maps in VIZ. Render time is greatly reduced thanks to instancing capabilities found throughout the program including object instancing, material instancing and terrain instancing. Additional speed improvements come from procedural texturing, level of detail (LOD) rendering, surface modifiers and fast geometry display options.

Additional features include: raytraced stereo rendering, render to geometry, render caching and multilanguage support for English and Japanese. An updated color management system helps you achieve faster turnarounds by allowing multiple users access to the same project through network rendering over a LAN. Artists can work simultaneously on projects without having to wait in line; using Brazil r/s’ “render anytime” feature that allows artists real-time rendering capabilities while another artist is already rendering in 3ds max. With an intuitive matching interface like Photoshop’s “Match Color,” you can completely automate the process of correcting lighting and exposure throughout all your renders with just one click.

Brazil r/s supports native files created using RenderMan Pro Server or RIS, allowing the exchange of geometry, shading, lighting and texture information between 3ds max and RenderMan compliant rendering software.

Brazil r/s also supports other standard file formats including Autodesk VIZ (.iv), JPEG (.jpg), Photoshop (.psd) TIFF (.tif), PNG (.png), OpenEXR (.exr) and many more. The supported renderers include: Mental Ray for Maya, Pixar’s RenderMan Pro Server, Chaos Group’s V-Ray for 3ds max, Maxwell Render for C4D and modo with BMRT support.

Brazil was originally developed in 1998 by Randy French as a DOS program called DrPath that allowed users to render using NewTek’s LightWave 3D without leaving their Windows applications. The program was then expanded to include other 3D programs, and in March 2000 French founded Brazil r/s Pty Ltd under the name “Brazil” (with no space).

In October 2004 the company released Brazil r/s for Autodesk’s 3ds max. In January 2005 they began shipping a version for Discreet’s 3ds max. In April 2008 they transitioned from a DOS executable to a plugin which allows the software to render within the host application without a separate window or process. They also added support for Maya and Softimage XSI versions of mental ray through RenderMan compliant plugins. In September 2008 they announced that “Brazil” would be open sourced under an MIT license with all non-commercial features being free.

In September 2010, they released Brazil r/s 10 which included a redesigned interface that allows users to work with multiple scenes in viewports across one or more monitors. The new “Viewport Preview Renderer” was designed to optimize the use of GPU rendering for final frame previews by using pixel shaders in Microsoft’s DirectX 9. With Viewport Preview Rendering enabled, you can see near photorealistic results while interactively navigating complex scenes on modern graphics hardware making real-time decisions about lighting, look-dev and materials. In July 2013, it was announced at SIGGRAPH by Autodesk that Brazil r/s would be flagged as an Autodesk recommended plug-in for 3ds max.


  • Physically accurate lighting for fast clean results–in addition to standard max lights, several custom Brazil lights are ideal for those with demanding lighting requirements
  • Blazingly fast ray-tracing, and highly-evolved anti-aliasing and filtering.
  • Advanced GI algorithms that produce crisp, detailed output.
  • Carefully engineered memory/cpu pipeline easily renders large data sets (multi-millions of polys)
  • High-performance materials–car paint, wax, glass, skin and more
  • Sophisticated photon mapping and caustics.
  • Innovative camera tools to match real-world cameras and lenses.
  • Versatile Brazil Toon™ shading that’s capable of infinite looks.
  • Pure, multi-threaded, highly scalable, full-latitude floating-point operation.
  • Handling of 3ds max scene files natively; unparalleled compatibility with third-party plugins.
  • Support for REYES and scanline rendering.
  • Pre- and post-render scripts.
  • Batch processing capabilities, including noise reduction and render farm support.
  • Viewport preview rendering–realtime interactive walkthroughs of scenes with photorealistic output at the click of a button (requires Viewport 2.0)

DirectX 9 pixel shaders can be used to speed up final frame previews on supported graphics hardware.
A powerful expression engine that enables users to drive any aspect of their scene using real-world mathematical principles
Thematic problem solving environment simplifies tasks like changing the day on which a shot is supposed to take place or flattening geometry onto tiling textures so it tesalates seamlessly along animated paths allowing artists to quickly explore AOVs and shot variations.
Brazil r/s 10 introduced the ability to create, edit and save named rendering presets with custom settings that can be used across any project or shared among co-workers. It also added support for caustics, letting artists add accurate light effects such as water reflections and refractions for free.


SplutterFish has a long history of providing free high-quality production tools to the cg community. We maintain all our own software, the indispensable BlurBeta toolkit from Blur Studio, and the SplutterFish OpenEXR plugin for reading and writing high dynamic OpenEXR files into 3ds max. Visit out downloads section for the latest free software and plugins, including the new Rio Edition of Brazil r/s.


We are also known for our constant stream of free updates. Most of the software on this site is updated frequently, often monthly. We endeavor to release new versions as soon as updates are ready. Visit out downloads section to get them!


SplutterFish sells professional support and development services for all the software on this site. Check out the SplutterFish website at for more information about professional products and services developed using these tools, including 3ds max plugins, Maya scripts, training videos and more! We also provide commercial licensing options for many of our tools – contact if you need a quote or further information.

Support the development of free tools and software by buying one of our commercial products. And remember – all sales directly support this site!

We are always interested in finding new team members with skills in programming, modeling, animation or other areas that could benefit our projects. Please see the jobs page if you would like to work with us or just send

Licensing Terms Latest Release

All the software in this site is available free for use in non-commercial work. This means that you can download and use these tools in your personal artwork! We only ask that you to remember to visit our website ( ) when you’re done making something cool with our products, because we always love to see what our users are up to. Commercial users need not be reminded of this 🙂

Professional support services are available through SplutterFish Technologies, LLC . We also provide commercial licensing options for many of our tools – contact if you need a quote or further information. To assist artists using Open Source Software, please do not distribute binaries compiled using the 3rd party license exceptions granted to the Blur Beta and OpenEXR projects for this site.

Pre-Release Distribution Terms Previous Releases

The previous releases of our software (prior to version 4.1) were open source and free for non-commercial use. If you’re running an older release, we ask that you update to a more recent version as soon as possible! All licenses prior to v4.1 were included with the download archives and are available on request from . To assist artists using Open Source Software, please do not distribute binaries compiled using the 3rd party license exceptions granted to the Blur Beta and OpenEXR projects for this site.

Thank You! We appreciate your interest in our software and hope it is of use to you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments or suggestions. We love hearing from our users and try to answer everyone that writes in. Thanks again for trying out our tools!

The SplutterFish Team.

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