Autodesk-3dsmax-tutorial-by-saud---Magnifying glass-in-3ds Max

Autodesk 3dsMax Tutorial

Requirements: Autodesk 3dsMax v 9.0 or higher.
  3dsMax 9 or higher is required for using files provided for download
  Basic knowledge of working in 3dsMax
Other Notes: I used 3dsMax 9 (in 1024x768 res.)
  I leave space b/w text lines for easier reading.
Tutorial Type: Basic

Techniques you'll learn:

Using Thin Wall Refraction map™


Hi , In this tutorial I'll show how to use the thin wall refraction map to simulate a magnifying glass in 3dsMax.

As magnifying glass is quite simple to model , I won't show you step-by-step how to model but give you some

hints how I made mine

The Scene®


We use the above scene in this tutorial,some capsules scattered over a checkered board.

You can use your own but make something to be magnified,

Capsules are quite easy to model,go to Create > Extended Primitives > Capsule.

Model your magnifying glass with Tube, and cylinders.Look the picture.

After modeling your magnifying glass group the frame objects but Link the lens to the frame group so it

move along with the frame.

Material for the Lens.

Select the object you're using for the Lens and open the material editor (Short key"M").Select any empty slot

and choose a diffuse color of your choice. Adjust the Specular Highlight setting to give material a glassy look,you can adjust

these later.Name it as Lens Material.

Set the Opacity amount to 50,to make it look little transparent.

Close the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout by clicking on the title,scroll down and open Maps rollout.

Locate the "Refraction" (not Reflection) map and click the None button on the right.

3dsMax show you list of available choices,as items are listed in alphabetically order you may need to scroll down

to find the Thin wall refraction map.

After choosing the Thin wall refraction map,you'll get the its parameters window,but before tweaking these settings

(or messing with these) apply it to the Lens object and do a quick render.


In this initial rendering there's no magnify effect and lens is invisible too.

Adjust the Thin Wall refraction parameters.

Open the material editor and set the Refraction Amount to 50,do a quick render (Shift + Q or F9)

Click the Thin Wall Refraction button , this will bring up the parameters settings.

Luckily there's not much to tweak.Use the setting as shown above.

Set Thinness Offset to 10.0(max value),this will give the magnify effect,and in the Render group select the

Every Nth Frame,this will generate refraction accurately in animation.We're done with these.

Do a quick render:You'll see some magnify effect.

Need more Zoom/Magnify effect ?

And if you want to get more Zoom/Magnify effect, you can Increase Thickness Offset.

But for some reason the Maximum Thickness offset value is set to 10.You cannot enter more than 10 or drag the spinners.

But don't worry I found a workaround :).

Select the Lens object,right click and choose Curve Editor.

Expand World > Scene Material > Lens Material > Maps > Refraction Map > Select Thickness Offset.

Right Click and select Assign Controller , choose Beziar Float.

Click "Add Keys" button,highlighted in blue box below.

There is dotted line (like ----)locate it and click on two points to add two keys.

If you are new to Autodesk 3dsMax and Curve Editor looks little complex then no problem,

You'll get familiar with it as you work on 3ds Max,for now just remember that:

Vertical are the Parameters Value of selected item and horizontal are frames,and these are displayed in the

boxes highlighted,Frame number displayed in left box (pink) and values in right one (blue).

As highlighted on the above screenshot you can enter the Parameter value in the input box in blue outline and

frame number in the box highlighted by pink outline.

Click the Move Keys button,highlighted yellow.

Select the both keys by dragging a box,while both keys are selected enter 15 in the Parameters box(blue box)

Render to see the effect.


Above : Thickness Offset : 18

You can experiment with Thickness values ,but entering higher value cause distorted effect.

Entering the same parameter value on both key tells 3ds Max that we want to keep this value

Note: You can adjust the color of the glass by using a different Diffuse color of your choice.

Exclude the frame from Refraction:

If the frame of the magnify glass is visible in the lens,you need to exclude it from Refraction.

Select your magnify glass frame,right click,and click again on the Object Properties,

In Object Properties ,locate rendering control (see the pic below) uncheck "Visible to Reflection/Refraction"


Animate your Scene:

You can animate your magnifying glass scene...Select the frame of your magnify glass.

Select the move gizmo and choose Local from the drop down list.

Example: (You can animate in anyway you like)

Turn on AutoKey button , move the time slider to frame 25, move your magnify glass to the right,

goto to frame 50 and move it down, on frame 75 move it to the bottom left...

and if you want your magnify glass to return to the starting position in the end..

select the frame 0 on the Track Bar,when you see icon like <--> hold down shift and drag it to the frame 100 or

the last frame you're using.This make a nice loop movie.

The End


If you like this 3ds max tutorial then you can try these tutorials written by me: