360 Images with Octane

Octane Render is a rendering engine for 3ds Max that can render 360 images with one big advantage: It uses the computer's graphic card to render, so it renders incredibly fast compared to other rendering options.

You will not be able to render a full 360 image with the demo version because of the output size limit. You will require a full license to remove the watermarks and size limits.

You also need to make sure your computer's graphic card is compatible with Octane. Octane requires a recent NVIDIA graphic card. Octane will not work if you do not have access to a compatible graphic card.

Make sure you have the standalone version Octane installed as well as the separate plugin for 3ds Max.

While the Octane instructions are a bit more complicated than other rendering engines, it is by far the fastest engine we have tested so far in terms of rendering time. We were able to create a very good 360 render in less than five minute, which is unprecedented with other rendering engines.

Link your Revit file

In Revit, set you units to feet even if your project is a metric project (this is an Autodesk limitation). Save your file. Then, open a blank file in 3ds Max. Save it immediately into the same directory with an appropriate name.

After this is done, you can link your Revit project. In 3ds Max, make sure that your System Units are in Feet. Go to the Customize tab, click "Unit Setup", then "System Unit Setup" and set the units to feet. After this, you are ready to import the file.

To link the Revit model, click the "3" at the top left and select "Reference", then "Manage Link". Select your original Revit file, then select a camera View and click OK. The default preset "Autodesk Revit - Combine by Revit Materials" should be selected. Click "Attach this file". Once the file is loaded, close the "Manage Links" window.

If 3ds Max offers you to apply an exposure value, select no.

Convert to Standard Materials

At this point, your scene should be imported in 3ds Max. We will need to convert everything so that Octane can render it properly. This requires a paid plugin to do a double conversion, since Octane is not capable of properly reading or converting problematic Autodesk Materials.

Purchase and install 3dStudio's Universal Material Converter.

Input the following settings into the converter

  • Convert: Whole Scene
  • Convert to: Standard (Scanline)
  • Make Instances for Duplicate Materials: Off
  • Bake procedural textures
  • Mute Messages: On

You will need to specify a directory to store the new textures. Create a new "material" folder in your project folder and point to this directory in the Universal Material Converter. The button is called "Select folder to save procedural (and bitmaps) to:".

Click "Convert to Standard" and wait for a confirmation message. You can close the converter once this is done.

Convert to Octane Materials

Once you have converted your scene to Standard materials, you can convert these standard materials to Octane materials.

Open the Render Setup window by pressing F10. Make sure your renderer is set to "Octane Renderer".

You will need to activate your account the the "Account" tab if you've not done this yet.

Go to the "Tools" tab and click the "Convert" button.

You will notice that all your materials will turn black. The best way to navigate through this is to set the view to "Hidden Line".

Your file has now been converted and you are almost ready for rendering, save your file.

Set up Lights

At this point you have to decide what your lighting set up will be. In this example we will only bother with setting up the sun. To keep things simple, we will turn off all the electrical lights.

Open the Light Lister Tool and turn off the Photometric lights.

If you want to use your Revit electrical lights, you can either fix each light so that it has the right luminous shape and move them outside of the geometry or wait for Autodesk to patch lighting interoperability issues between Revit and 3ds Max.

Sunlight

The Standard Sun System that 3ds Max assigns to the scene is not supported by Octane and cannot be converted.

Create an Octane sun system by clicking the Create tab. Click the Light icon, select "Octane" in the dropdown and select "Daylight". Press "T" to go to a Top View. Place the Daylight system with your mouse. Either move the sun manually or deselect the "Use Dummy Direction" and enter valid solar information.

Once your Corona Daylight System is placed, you can delete or turn off the old Sun System. Do a test render to make sure there are no major surprises later on.

 

Set up Cameras

You will need to create a new Octane Camera to render your 360 image.

Press "T" to go to the top camera view. If you have multiple Viewports and want to maximize to a single viewport, press "Ctrl+W".

Open the "Create" tab, select the camera button and select the "Octane" dropdown. Click the "Camera" button and place your camera. The camera is placed in two clicks: Click once to place the camera and then drag to place the camera's target. The camera should be about three feet from any surrounding objects or walls to avoid an uncomfortable VR experience.

Have a look at what the camera is seeing. Click "C" on the keyboard and select the camera you just placed. If needed, move the camera to the proper location, it should be at an average head height from the floor (5'-5"?) so that the majority of users feel comfortable.

Do a quick test render to make sure your materials, lighting and exposure is working as expected.

If you are happy with the view, you can make the following adjustments to render your 360 image. Select the active camera and change these settings.

  • Camera: Cube Map
  • FOV: 360
  • FOV Y: 180
  • Stereo: Side by Side
  • Keep Upright: ON

As soon as you make these change, you will no longer be able to see what is in the viewport. This is normal since the viewport is unable to represent a decomposed cubemap.

Click F10 to open the Render Setup page and go to the Common Tab. Set the Output Size to 18432 pixels wide by 1536 pixels high.

In the Render Setup window, click the "Camera" tab. Make sure Post Processing is off.

Click Render. Save the image when it is crisp enough or wait until the render is done.

The rendered image is a cubemap, so it will not look like a traditional render. Do not worry, it will look fine after it is processed as a 360 render.

Upload to InsiteVR

Once you've saved the JPG file, you can upload it to InsiteVR and share your renderings on a regular screen, a cellphone or embed them into your 3D model walkthrough for VR.

You can have a look at the project on InsiteVR with your cellphone or on an internet browser here.

References: https://docs.otoy.com/3dsMax_2_X/?page_id=690

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