Binääri OptioillaBinære Opsjoner
Home / Tutorials / 3ds Max / Multipass rendering in 3dsmax

Multipass rendering in 3dsmax

When you render your scene in passes it gives you the flexibility to modify the elements in the scene. You can adjust shadows, lights , specular , reflections anytime in a compositing software as per your need.

Basic Render Elements

render elements

Ambient Occlusion – This is not a pass but a shader which can be included as a pass. Use this shader to get contact shadows.


Diffuse pass – It is the flat renders of all colors in the scene. It contains only textures.



diffuse render

Lighting pass – It renders only direct and indirect lighting. Key light , fill light , rim light are rendered in different passes.


Reflections pass – It renders the reflections in the scene.


Self illumination pass – It renders the self illuminating materials in the scene.

Specular pass – The specular component of rendering. Can be additionally used for blooming.


Matte – Perfect black and white images can be used for masking.


Z-depth pass – It is used for depth of field and color saturation based on depth.



Setting up your scene

  • Before you start to render the passes, make sure you complete the texturing and everything in the scene is final.
  • Place the lights in scene. Turn on/off the shadows as needed.
  • Setup camera and create a nice composition. And save the file as Main.max.


Render Passes

Ambient pass

  • Change the renderer to mental ray.
  • In an empty material slot make mental ray material and  under basic shader select ambient/reflective occlusion (base)
  • Set the sample value and max distance as needed.

Apply it to entire scene and render it. Save file as AO with file extension .tga.


Matte , Z-depth and Diffuse

  • Open Main.max file.
  • Open Render dialog and go to render elements.
  • Click the Add button and select Matte,Diffuse and Z-depth.
  • Hit render


Specular Reflection Lighting

  • Open Main.max.
  • Open Render dialog and go to render elements.
  • Click the Add button and select Specular , Reflection and Lighting
  • Hit render.
  • Follow same steps for Shadows and Refraction.



Diffuse Pass – Set blending mode to Normal.

Lighting – Set blending mode to Screen or Multiply depending on the scene.

Shadows – Set blending mode to multiply.

Ambient Occlusion – Set blending mode to Multiply or Overlay depending on the scene.

Reflection – Set blending mode to Add.

Specular- Set blending mode to Screen.

  • Put z-depth in adjustment layer.
  • Adjust the opacity of layers till you get the desired result.

Thanks for reading. Comment below if you have any questions regarding this tutorial.





The following two tabs change content below.

Amod Mantri

Co-Founder and Content Writer
Amod drinks lots of coffee and writes articles. A student by day , blogger by night. When a team needs a gum to hold itself together , he is there to chew it.

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top