Caustics through Mental Ray
by Mario Malagrino, Italy

Caustics are really great light effects that you can observe in liquids, glass objects and gems. We are able to simulate this effect with 3D Studio Max perfectly. This tutorial about Caustics will work only if you enable "Mental Ray”! (This tutorial was made in Max 8).

Step 1: Let's Create a small room like on image "1" (try to do that in realistic sizes, it is important that you make the setup of the "unit system", only in this way Mental Ray will give you an optimal end result since it will consider all measurements of the objects in the scene for the final rendering).Now create your lights to illuminate the room.

There are several techniques to create a correct illumination. In the case of the room I have created 3 long "free area lights" like on below image (you can find them under photometric lights).

Step 2: Place them under tree long boxes. Select the bottom polygons of the boxes and assign them a white self illuminated material like below image.

Step 3: To get a more realistic illumination I have enabled Final Gather in "indirect illumination". I put a quite high number in "samples" to make the final rendering (600).

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