Autodesk-3dsMax-tutorial by Saud-Flickering Lamp in 3ds Max

Autodesk 3dsMax Tutorial

Requirements: 3DS Max (v 6.0 or higher recommended)
  3DS Max 7 or higher is required for using files provided for download
  Basic knowledge of working in Max
Special Notes: I used 3DS Max 7(in 1024x768 res.)
  I leave space b/w text lines because it make reading easy
Tutorial Type: Basic

Techniques you'll learn:

Using the Blend material type

Animating Values with Noise controller

Copy and pasting the values of Noise controller

Adding a Volume Light


In this article/tutorial we try to simulate a flickering lamp.We use a Blend material , apply

a Noise controller to make it flicker,and last create a light source with volume light.

Modeling is quite easy since it only require Primitive cylinders.

Modeling Quick Start

Just look at the pic,this gives you idea that its a simple thing to model, I used Cylinders for the base,rod,

and lamp head,sphere for the bulb. So I hope you'll model the lamp easily.

Let's Get Started

For the base of the lamp,select the Top viewport,drag a cylinder roughly,in the modify panel set the Radius = 30, Height=5, Sides 36

Set height segments to zero because we don't need it.

To move the cylinder right click on the Select and move button,right click on the Y and Z spinners and enter 50 in X field.

To make the cylinder like oval base,click the Scale button
 or press "R" key,drag the gizmo by clicking on the X handle.

Give it oval shape as you like.

For the rod (i don't know what its called but I am calling it rod) Enable the option.

On the Top Viewport create a Cylinder on the right side of the base.Set its Radius=3, Height=175, sides 36.

As we have to apply the Bend modifier to the rod,set it height segments to 40 or more,you can change this value later.

Select the Rod cylinder and in the modifier panel,click on the modifier list, press B and select the Bend modifier.

In the Bend modifier parameters set the angle to -70,your rod should look like this(Plz note that the rod cylinder in

the pic is 200 pts high,which is too much so 175 pts height is ok.

For the head object Create a cylinder in Top viewport,Shift+drag it down to make its clone.

Adjust the radius of both cylinder to make the lamp head as show in pic.

Select the larger cylinder of the lamp head,right click and select Convert To:>Convert to Editable Poly

In the Selection rollout of editable poly select the Polygon sub object mode
,select and delete the bottom

polygon(see the pic),apply the Shell modifier.


To join the upper part of the lamp head,select the Editable Poly,expand the Edit Geometry rollout,

click the 
button and select the other cylinder.

Position and rotate the lamp head,you can use Angle Snap 
for precise rotation.Rotate about 30 degree.

Add a sphere for the bulb.Press ALT + A for align tool and select the lamp head.

In the Align dialog check the x,y,z positions,select center in both current and target object,also check all boxes in the

Align Orientation .

In the last modeling step create a Plane,adjust its size as you like.Your study lamp should look like this.

For your convenience rename your objects as Lamp Head, Bulb, Rod and Base.


Creating Materials

Select the bulb object,press M to bring the Material Editor window,select any material slot(sphere) click the

select the Blend in the list.Choose Discard old material and click OK.

Blend material is type of material where you can blend to material.

In Blend Basic Parameters click the button next to Material 1. Rename it to Dim and select black color for diffuse.

To goto the second material click on the Go Forward to siblings button(black arrow-->).

Rename second material as Lit.Use White for diffuse color,and enable the Self-Illumination button and select White.

This will give our bulb a glowing look. Apply this material to the Bulb object.

Click on the Goto Parent button to return to the Blend Parameters and close the Material Editor window.

Animating the Blend material's parameters.

To simulate a flicker lamp we can animate the blend material's Mix Amount values,instead of animating manually we'll

apply the noise modifier.

Deselect any thing, right-click and select Curve Editor,on the left side of curve editor locate and expand

Medit Materials>Blend and right click on MixAmount and select Assign Controller.Select Noise from the list.

Set the parameters as you like,set the Strength to 200.

To test your work,Press the M button again to bring up Material Editor window,adjust it so you can see the Blend

material slot press / key to play the animation, the Blend material sphere should be flickering.

OR Select the Blend material, on the menu bar click Material > Make Preview or Press P button,accept default,click ok.

3ds max will generate a animated movie of your Blend materials, cool ! . You can render your scene to see the effect of

the noise controller.

Adding Default Lights to the Scene

When we add light to the scene 3ds max turn off the default lighting sources,so everything become dark.

Its a good idea to add those default light which are unselectable and hidden to our scene.

Try to add a Free Spot light to our scene,you'll see that everything becomes dark,undo your action by CTRL+Z

Select the Perspective viewport and right click on its label (on top left corner)click on Configure...

On the Viewport Configuration dialogue box Rendering Method> Rendering Options,check the Default Lighting box and select

2 Lights.Close the dialogue box.


Click on View>Add Default Lights to scene.Click ok on the dialogue box.Two light are now added to your scene.

Adding a Light for the Lamp

To complete the scene we have to add a light for the lamp.Select the Top viewport, and create a Free Spotlight by

Create>Lights>Standard Lights>Free SpotLight

ALT + A for Align tool,select the Bulb sphere as the Target Object,also enable orientation.Light should jump in right

position as shown in pic.


To make the light flicker in same pattern as the Bulb, we copy the noise modifier to the light Intensity parameter.

Open the curve editor using method I described earlier (don't Scroll,use your Brain) OR Menubar Graph Editors>Track View Curve Editor ...

Select the MixAmount of Blend material (i hope you can find it easily now)Right-click and select Copy

Find Fspot01,expand it and select Object (Free Spot) expand it too,right click on Multiplier and choose Paste.

Right click Multiplier and select Properties.In Noise properties set the strength to 0.2.

Do not change other settings,otherwise Bulb and light flicker at different patterns.


Add a Volume Light

To make things look cool we'll add a volume light effect to our Lamp light.

Click on Rendering > Environment..

Expand the Atmosphere rollout,click on Add button and select Volume Light.

Click pick light and use Select by Name to choose Fspot01.Set its density to 3.

Test Render to see the results.If everything looks OK then it end and you can render your movie.

This is the end of this tutorial/article


Saud Syed

Hyderabad, Pakistan.


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