This Getting Started Guide is for Rhino users unfamiliar with advanced rendering programs like Brazil. If you are new to advanced rendering, much of the learning process comes down to absorbing new terminology such as global illumination and render cache. Once you have a basic understanding of these terms, you'll find it easy to set up a rendering in Brazil for Rhino. In this guide you'll find a synopsis of the basic settings used for high-quality renderings.
At this time, all objects in the scene are their default white color. The result should be similar to the image below.
Rendering the scene with the Skylight turned on will produce the image below.
Note: You can use regular Rhino lights with the Brazil Skylight or use them on their own. Every Rhino light in your scene, such as a spotlight or rectangular light has its own Rhino Properties. Keep in mind that fewer lights result in faster rendering times.
Before continuing with other settings, increase the resolution of the rendering. The image produced by the default settings is too rough to use for demonstrating the other rendering settings.
Two sections in the Brazil Settings dialog determine the rendering resolution: the Simple Antialiasing and the Simple Luma Server panel.
The settings in the Simple Antialiasing panel determine how sharp the edges of your model look in the rendering. The detail of fine textures also depend on these settings. The simple options consist of three choices… Low, Medium, and High. Higher values equal sharper edges.
In the Simple Luma Server, in the Quality section, setting the quality to Slower and smoother will produce smoother shadow detail, but will take longer to render. The quality settings change the sample rate for the Skylight. Click the Show Detailed Controls button to see the changes to the sample rate. Higher sample rates yield smoother results.
The image below shows the results of increasing the rendering resolution.
So far, the Skylight illuminating the scene has used only direct illumination. This method lights the model by shining light directly at it. In the case of the Skylight, this happens evenly around the model from all directions. The result is a nice, soft shadow where objects meet. Brazil also has an indirect lighting method called global illumination (GI). This method allows light bouncing off objects to further light the model. Both direct and indirect illumination are normally used to realistically light a model, but Brazil only lets you use one or the other.
Since the Skylight shines light evenly around the model, it is easier to see the effect of indirect illumination using a single directional light source such as a spotlight. The example below illustrates a single spotlight with the Skylight turned off. The detailed control panel for the Luma Server contains a setting for the number of light bounces in the scene. When indirect illumination is calculated for the Skylight the number of bounces must be set to a minimum of two for any effect to be seen.
On the Rhino Render menu, click Material Editor.
Several material types can be used to make just about any type of material. For example, the Brazil Chrome Material and the Brazil Glass Material can be used as a base for metallic or translucent materials. The Brazil Advanced Material (BAM) has several material types included as base shader options.
Color and reflectivity are the first material settings to familiarize yourself with. The default Basic Material is very simple and has only a few controls available for customizing it. On the other hand, the Brazil Advanced Material (BAM) has many options and is often a good choice even for simple materials because it is so expandable.
Clicking these swatches opens a Select Color dialog box. The Reflectivity value can be set in the grayscale range if no additional color is desired in the material.
It may be helpful to think of materials in Brazil as simply containers for textures. A texture can be a .bmp or .jpg image or a procedural pattern already installed with Brazil such as the Noise or Tile textures.
With a BAM selected, expand the Basic Surface Parameters panel. You will see several slots containing the word none. These channels are aspects of the selected BAM material that can receive textures to customize the material further. To select a texture or to create a new one, right-click the slot to the right of the Color swatch and on the menu select Change.
Here are a few simple uses of Brazil materials and the settings used to produce them.
The expandable panel to the left of the material thumbnails lists the Nodes in the active material. When you select a material, this panel shows all the textures applied to the material. Select a node to display its parameters in the Material Editor.
To create the checkered sphere, the Brazil Checkered texture was selected from this list and edited. In this case, the number of times a texture is tiled on the object was changed in the Local Mapping section.
For the textures in your materials to look correct when applied to your model, you need to understand the concept of texture mapping. Look at the two spheres in the images below. One sphere has a checkered texture mapped around its own UV coordinates. The other has been mapped with the identical texture projected on to it as if from a flat plane. This is due to a different texture mapping method chosen for each sphere.
In the following example, the square cushions of the sofa chair work well with Box mapping. However, two of the cushions respond better to Planar projection and were individually selected to change their texture mapping method to be planar. Using the same texture, several different projection methods are below.
A big part of how a rendering looks has to do with where the objects rendered are supposed to be. Changing the environment surrounding your model in Brazil produces more realistic lighting and reflections.
Option settings, materials, textures, or environments can be saved and loaded into Brazil when needed.
In the Tasks panel fo the Material and Environment Editors, select Save To File and Load From File options.
You now have the basic building blocks to effectively use Brazil to render your Rhino models.
Be sure to check out more advanced tutorials and share your own work at www.brazil.mcneel.com.