Candle And Votive Holder In 3D

January 21, 2010 in 3D, AutoDesk 3DSMax, Featured by admin

Candle And Votive Holder In 3D
( Autodesk 3dsmax 2010 and Earlier)

Welcome to the "Candle And Votive Holder" tutorial. In this tutorial we will be covering how to create the decorative glass along with the wax and flame. I am using Autodesk 3dsmax 2010 while writing this tutorial, although you should be able to follow along with earlier versions as well.

Author: Ryan W. Knope

Ryan W. Knope is a freelance 3D / 2D Artist / Consultant with 13 years experience in the 3D and 2D industry. His main artistic love lies with interior and exterior rendering although he takes on just about every type of graphics work. Ryan is also the architectural / interior voice for 3D Artist Magazine’s Question and Answer Panel. He lives with his wife Krista, in sunny Denver, Colorado.

Tutorial Details

  • Programs: Autodesk 3dsmax 2010
  • Difficulty: Easy (Prior Knowledge Of Software Interface Is A Plus.)

Step 1: Creating The Votive Base

The first step is to create the base of the candle. Go to the create menu > Extended Primitives and select "Chamfer Box". Drag out the box and then go to the modify panel and edit your settings. The most important options here are the Fillet and the Segments.

Step 2: Creating A Copy Of The Base

Activate the move tool and SHIFT drag the base object up. When you release the mouse button the clone dialogue box pops up. Pick "Copy".

Step 3: Editing The Base For The Next Section

Next go to the modify menu and apply an "Edit Poly" modifier to the object. Now we are going to edit the vertices of the object so that we can create the hole in the next step. Activate the "Vertices" selection mode and pull the inside vertices closer to the edge as seen below. It is easiest to pull the vertices out while in top view.

Make sure that you are moving both the top and bottom vertices.

Step 4 – Creating The Hole

While in Edit Poly, activate the "Face" selection mode, scroll down to "Extrude" and hit the dialogue button next to it. This will bring up the Extrude Polygons dialogue box. You want to extrude this face down so that it touches the bottom. It will be easier to tell when it is in the right spot if you have the left or front view zoomed in.

Next, delete the face you extruded down by pressing delete. Now you can rotate your perspective viewport to show the bottom of the object and delete the bottom inner face.

Step 5 – Copy The Glass Pieces Up

This part is quick and easy. Select your object with the hole and copy it up to your desired height. Do not use Instance.

Step 6 – Attaching The Pieces Together

Select your bottom object and go to "modify" to access the edit poly modifier. Scroll down and click the button next to "Attach". This brings up the attach dialogue box. Select the 1st object listed, then SHIFT click the last one. Then hit the attach button..

Step 7 – Using Soft Selection

Now that we have all of the objects joined as one we can go to the vertex level and use soft selection. This tool is very useful when you have to create a nice blending curve out of you detailed mesh, which would take a significant amount of time by hand. You can see below that I chose to select the middle vertices and adjust my soft selection falloff to affect almost to the top and bottom. Now use the scale to (R) to scale up or down.

Step 8 – Creating The Glass Material

To start with I used the Arch + Design "Physical Glass" preset. Then I changed the diffuse to 1.0 and the refraction color to a very light orange or peach. Apply this to your objects.

Step 9 – Creating The Wax Object

Create a chamfer box as seen at the bottom left. Apply an Edit Poly modifier and edit the object at the vertex level. You can see the progression of how I modeled it below. Keep in mind that while modeling it, you want to make sure that it matches the inside edges of the glass.

Step 10 – Quick Wax Material

This is by no means a photorealistic wax material. Normally a realistic wax material would have Sub Surface Scattering or SSS. This is a much simpler material that works in this situation. I started with a default Arch + Design material and edited the options shown below.

Step 11 – Placing The Wick

The wick can be created by drawing a spline. You can access the line tool by going to Create > Shapes > Line. Make sure to check your spline in each viewport. You can edit the shape by going to the modify panel and editing the points. Apply a white material.

Step 12 – Creating The Flame Object

For the flame object I used a plane. You can create the plane by going to Create > Standard Primitives > Plane. You may have to rotate the object depending on the texture map you are going to use in the next step.

Step 13 – The Flame Material

Go back to the material editor and start with a new Arch + Design material. Turn down your reflectivity and glossiness to 0.0. Add a "Glow Lume Map" to the diffuse slot. Turn up your brightness and add the flame texture map using the "M" button to the right of the color.

Now, as long as your flame image map background is black, you can add it to the "Cutout" slot. If it is not then you will need to make the background black in photoshop. The Cutout slot reads images from light to dark, just like the bump map slot. Light being visible and dark being transparent.

You may have to adjust your glow lume brightness settings after we adjust the Exposure Control.

Step 14 – Floor And Back Wall

This step is quite easy. You can use a plane or a box for the floor and back wall. Apply whatever material you desire for these objects.

Just remember, if the environment is more detailed, your reflections will be as well..

Step 15 – Setting Up Spotlights

Drag out your target spotlight as shown below. Now you can adjust your light settings. I always set my Hotspot beam to a very low value and my falloff very high. This creates a softer light. Also set your decay type to inverse square and at a distance where the level will hit accordingly. The multiplier Intensity shown below is quite high. This is because of the exposure control settings that we will cover in the next step.

Step 16 – Render Settings And Exposure Control

For the render setup, I used default Mental Ray settings for the most part. Change your samples per pixel. I used 4 to 16 and made sure that I had finalgather turned on in the indirect illumination tab. Setting a higher samples per pixel will raise render times but it will also gain in quality significantly.

Next go to "Exposure Control / Environment". For your environment map use "MR Physical Sky". Now set your exposure control to "MR Photographic Exposure Control". I used the default settings. Now you are all set to test render. You can use the "Render Preview" under exposure control or render it larger through the main render tab.

Step 17 – Conclusion

Through the past 16 steps we have went over creating your objects, setting up lights, configuring your render and environment settings and finally rendering the scene. While the material properties are not physically accurate, they work in most cases. Physically accurate materials and tiny detailing can take up ones whole day via test rendering and changing settings and repeating. A good place to check out material settings on quality free materials is

Joining and downloading materials from there is easy and fast. Studying them and how they are created can be priceless! Best of luck on your 3D ventures. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.