Caustic (optics), the envelope of light rays reflected or refracted by a curved surface or object, or the projection of that envelope of rays on another surface. Caustics are light patterns that are created when light from a light source illuminates a diffuse surface via one or more specular reflections or transmissions.
1.Here is the initial scene view. MaxScene file can be downloaded here
2. Caustic Materials. In this scene sample, i use raytrace material, with white color on transparency color slot. (transparency and reflection will be discuss here as the tutorial goes) Apply Noise material on Bump
3.Activate Mental Ray as rendering engine, then go to Indirect Illumination Parameters and enable caustic under Caustic and Global Illumination (GI). Accept default as it is for the meantime.
4.Then create lights. ( in my case, i use free lights) and use Ray Traced Shadow.
5.Initial rendering - on initial render, a warning window will pop up. Hit okay for now. We will attend to it later. And so here is the initial render. As you can see, even we activate caustic on the render dialog box, still we don't have caustics.
6.Activating Objects caustic generator. I choose all the objects i want to generate caustics, right click and select Objects Properties . Go to Mental Ray Parameters and activate Caustic.
7. And now here is the initial render with generated caustics.
8.Ok let us now look to some parameters affecting the caustics effects aside for the previous settings we have done. We go first on the caustic Multiplier. Changing Multiplier will enhance the caustics brightness.
9.Changing the Photons per sample will enhance the caustic rays number.
10.Changing the Maximum Sampling Radius will take effects on the caustic size.
11.Let us now go back to the transparency and reflections of our materials. If we take on the refractive properties of the materials and take out its reflectivity, we will got this Refractive Caustics or Caustic Refraction
12.Vice versa, we take Reflection properties into account, and take out refractive properties of the material, we will got this Caustic Reflection.
13.Or we can do both. Of course we will consider the materials we are using in our scene into account.
14.Initial view of the raw scene. Maxscene File (3D Max 2009 without the water falls object)can be downloaded here
15.Applying a caustic materials
16.Changing the settings and object properties
17.Final render completed with mini-waterfalls with some photoshop touches.