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Step By Step Training

Course Overview

SmartPaint

Apply colors, textures, and more to your model.

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SmartPaint Settings

The appearance properties of a part /face are called SmartPaint properties, which allow you to define the following:

  • Colors and textures
  • Finishes (or shininess)
  • Transparency
  • Bumps
  • Reflections
  • Decals
  • Emissions

Each of the SmartPaint settings have various properties for controlling the desired look of the object. Many of the settings will reflect in both the real-time rendering as well as the realistic. However, some settings may only apply in the realistic rendering such as Bumps, Procedural Shaders, and reflection.

Procedural Shaders are available in most of SmartPaint settings that programmatically control the aspects of the final look. Refer to the Procedural Shader Settings section to find out more details about this capability.

Note: Using the SmartPaint Properties, you can select Apply to All. This will apply the settings to all objects that are similar to the current part being modified. This allows a quick method to group similar objects together.

Color/Texture Settings

Use the color tab of the SmartPaint properties to change the diffuse color of the part /face using a color, image, or shader.

  • Solid Color.  Select this option to specify a homogenous color for the object.
    Color.
     Select a color from the standard palette.
    More Colors.
     Select this option to display an expanded color palette or define a custom color.
  • Image Texture.  Select this option to specify a graphic image to be applied to a shape/part.  The following options are only available if this option is selected.
    Image file.
     Enter the name of the image file to be used for the texture in this field.  Alternately, use the next option to search for a file.
    Browse Files.
     Select this option to locate and select an image file to use as a decal.  The Select Image File dialog box is displayed.  Use the navigation controls to locate the desired file.
    Image projection.
     Use the following options to specify how the image should be projected onto the surface of a shape/part.
    Automatic.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto each face of a transparent rectangular box surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Slide Projector.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected from a slide projector onto the part .
    Cylindrical.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto a transparent cylinder surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Spherical.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto a transparent sphere surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Natural.
     Select this option to specify that the image projection follows the natural contours of the part surfaces, according to the method  used to extend it into 3D (extrusion, spinning, sweeping, or lofting).  This method can be used to apply textures and decals.
    Settings.
     Select this option to display a properties page for the specified image projection type and define the placement and orientation of the texture image.  
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.
  • Use Shader.  Select a specific procedural shader to modify the appearance of the diffuse color settings. Refer to Procedural Shader Settings.

Finish Settings

Finish settings control the diffuse and specularity of the parts /faces based on the lights hitting the objects. Various setting are available to control these aspects.

  • Predefined finishes.  If the desired surface finish is displayed on one of the twelve surface finish options, select its box.  These predefined finishes offer realistic results without trial and error.  Each selection produces a unique combination of settings for diffuse intensity, highlight intensity, highlight spread, and ambient intensity.  You can also adjust these settings manually using the four slider controls.
  • Diffuse intensity.  Use this slider control to adjust the brightness of the reflected light across the object.  Alternately, enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field.
  • Highlight intensity.  Use this slider control to adjust the brightness of the highlight on the object.  Alternately, enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field.
  • Highlight spread.  Use this slider control to adjust the highlight spread. Alternately, enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field.
  • Ambient intensity.  Use this slider control to adjust the brightness of ambient illumination on the part. Alternately, enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field.  Use this option display a base color on a surface, even when the surface is not illuminated by any light sources.  The ambient value is affected by the scene's ambient light intensity, which is defined on the Rendering properties sheet.
  • Metallic highlight.  Select this option to create a highlight with a metallic look.
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.

Diffuse And Specular Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF)

A BRDF is used to describe the way light interacts with a surface material.  As light strikes a surface at a given angle, it interacts with the microscopic details of the material.  This extremely complicated process is simplified and mathematically represented by the BRDF.  For flexibility, the user may specify different BRDF for diffuse and specular reflection.

Diffuse BRDF Settings

None: The color of the surface is constant.  This non-realistic behavior may be used in special situations where a constant color is desired.

Lambert: The surface is assumed to be perfectly diffuse.  The surface brightness is not dependent on the angle of view.  This is one of the oldest and most common BRDFs.  This simple model may be suitable for rough surfaces.

Oren-Nayar: This micro-facet approach considers a variable surface roughness.  It is more accurate but more complicated than the lambert BRDF.

Minnaert: This approach takes the standard Lambert appearance and makes areas brighter/darker based upon the angle to the viewer.  This can give the appearance of back lighting or even velvet.

Toon: This stylistic approach flattens the material’s appearance and gives clear boundaries between light and shaded areas.  An edge may be applied to the areas of the surface that are almost facing away from the viewer.

Ashikhmin: A fresnel effect based BRDF model that gives a lower diffuse value at glancing angles of incidence.  This is because at glancing angles, there should be greater specular reflectivity.

Specular BRDF Settings

None: There will be no specular highlights.  This is appropriate for surfaces that are completely dull.

Phong: An extremely common, simplified model that calculates a specular highlight.  The model is not based on any physical behavior. The intensity of the highlights will not change at glancing angles of incidence.

Ward: Ward is a highly flexible model allowing the user control over the size of the specularity.  The size may be adjusted independently in the U and V directions to simulate anisotropic highlights.

Toon: This matches the diffuse Toon BRDF.  It produces sharp, uniform highlights.

Blinn: Blinn is a specular model that is similar to phong- but with a controllable reflectivity.

Cook: Cook is a specular model that is physically based.  It considers the angle of incidence and material index of refraction (IOR) to vary the intensity of the highlight.

Ashikhmin: A fresnel effect based model that gives brighter highlights at glancing angles.  The size may be adjusted independently in the U and V directions to simulate anisotropic highlights.

Transparency Settings

The transparency SmartPaint property controls the visibility of the part /face . Objects can be fully visible or fully transparent or a mixture in-between. The settings below adjust the various aspects of the transparency.

  • Predefined transparency.  If the desired transparency effect is displayed on one of the four transparency options, select its box.  These predefined finishes offer realistic results without trial and error.  Each selection changes the setting of the Transparency slider bar.
  • Transparency.  Use this slider control to increase/decrease an object’s transparency.  Drag the slider or enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field.
    Modify transparency towards part edges.
     Select this option to specify that the transparency in the part’s interior be modified near the part’s edges.
  • Transparency at edges.  Drag the slider control or enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field to modify the transparency at the part edges.
  • Index of Refraction.  Use this slider control to specify that the transparent object should bend the light that passes through it.  Drag the slider to adjust the degree of bend or enter a value between 1 and 2.5 in the associated field.  You are able to enter values greater than 2.5 to adjust the refraction effect to the desired result. To view the effects of refraction, Ray Tracing must be selected on the Rendering properties sheet.
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.
  • Use Shader.  Select a specific procedural shader to modify the appearance of the transparency settings. Refer to Procedural Shader Settings.

Bump Settings

The bump SmartPaint properties allow you to change the smoothness of the object in realistic rendering. The following settings control the various aspects of the bump effects.

  • No bumps.  Select this option to specify a flat surface.
  • Make bumps from color texture.  Select this option to create bumps from the image on the surface of the object.  Bumps are created by raising or lowering a particular pixel based on its brightness.
  • Make bumps from image.  Select this option to create bumps from an image other than that currently displayed on the surface of the object.  The image acts as a template for bumps, but does not otherwise appear on the object.  The following options are only available if this option is selected.
    Image file.
     Enter the name of the image file to be used for the bumps in this field.  Alternately, use the next option to search for a file.
    Browse Files.
     Select this option to locate and select an image file to be used for the bumps.  The Select Image File dialog box is displayed.  Use the navigation controls to locate the desired file.
    Image projection.
     Select one of the following options to specify the method for projecting the decal image onto the part or individual part surface.
    Slide Projector.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected from a slide projector onto the part.
    Cylindrical.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto a transparent cylinder surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Spherical.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto a transparent sphere surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Natural.
     Select this option to specify that the image projection follow the natural contours of the part surfaces, according to the method used to extend it into 3D (extrusion, spinning, sweeping, or lofting).  This method can be used to apply textures and decals.
    Settings. Select this option to display a properties page for the specified image projection type and define the placement and orientation of the image.  
  • Bump Height.  Use this slider bar to adjust the apparent height of the bumps on the surface of the object.  Drag the slider bar or enter a value between –100 and 100 in the associated field and observe the results in the Preview window.  Negative values reduce the height of certain image pixels; positive values increase the height.  
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.
  • Use Shader.  Select a specific procedural shader to modify the appearance of the bump settings. Refer to Procedural Shader Settings.

Reflection Settings

The reflection SmartPaint property controls the part/face reflectivity in the environment. Users can set the reflectivity as well as the Fresnel effect to illustrate the desired effect in realistic renderings.

  • Reflect Environment.  Select this option if you don’t want a reflected image on the surface or part (Set the Reflection Intensity to 0.) or to reflect the environment on to the surface or part (Set a Background image as either 2D Image, 3D Environment, or 3D Skybox and set the Reflection Intensity). This allows a surface or part to become more realistic based on the background environment of the scene.
  • Reflect image.  Select this option to reflect an image.
  • Image file.  Enter the name of the image file to be reflected in this field.  Alternately, use the next option to search for a file.
    Browse files.
     Select this option to locate and select an image file to be reflected.  The Select Image File dialog box is displayed.  Use the navigation controls to locate the desired file.
    Mirror Horizontally.
     Select this option to specify that the reflected image should appear reversed, as in a mirror.  If the image is not a tiling texture, selecting this option can cause the image to appear more continuous, i.e., the edge where the left and right sides of the image meet is not visible.
  • Reflection Intensity.  Use this field’s slider control to adjust the intensity of the reflected image on the surface of the object or the strength of the part’s reflection when Ray Tracing is selected.  Drag the slider to adjust the intensity of the reflection or enter a value between 0 and 100 in this field.
  • Reflection Blur.  Use this field’s slider control to adjust the blurring of reflections from images and ray tracing.  Increase the blur to make reflections seem softer and out of focus.  Blur only works if you choose Antialiasing in the scene’s Rendering properties sheet.  To produce blur for ray-traced reflections, activate antialiasing and use a minimum of four extra shading samples.
  • Fresnel Amount.  Many materials in the real world appear more reflective when viewed at glancing angles.  This occurrence is frequently referred to as the fresnel effect.  This setting allows the user to control the ratio of fresnel based reflectivity to perfect reflectivity.  A value of 0 means zero fresnel effect and total perfect reflectivity.   A value of 1 means total fresnel reflectivity.  Fresnel reflectivity is based on material index of refraction (IOR) and angle of incidence.  Perfect reflectivity is constant regardless of IOR or angle.
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.
  • Use Shader.  Select a specific procedural shader to modify the appearance of the reflection settings. Refer to Procedural Shader Settings.

Decal Settings

The decal SmartPaint property allows you to add decals projected onto a part /face . This is can be used in conjunction with the image texture used in the diffuse color SmartPaint.

  • No decal.  Select this option to specify that no decals should be displayed on the surface of the object.
  • Decal from selected image.  Select this option to display an image as a decal on the object.
  • Image file.  Enter the name of the image file in this field.  Alternately, use the next option to search for a file.
    Browse Files.
     Select this option to locate and select an image file to use as a decal.  The Select Image File dialog box is displayed.  Use the navigation controls to locate the desired file.
    Image projection.
     Select one of the following options to specify the method for projecting the decal image onto the part or individual part surface.
    Slide Projector.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected from a slide projector onto the part .
    Cylindrical.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto a transparent cylinder surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Spherical.
     Select this option to display the image as if projected onto a transparent sphere surrounding the part and then transferred to the part itself.
    Natural.
     Select this option to specify that the image projection follows the natural contours of the part surfaces, according to the method used to extend it into 3D (extrusion, spinning, sweeping, or lofting).  This method can be used to apply textures and decals.
    Settings.
     Select this option to display a properties page for the specified image projection type and define the placement and orientation of the image.  
  • Transparency.  
    Type.
     From this field’s drop-down list, select the desired transparency effect from the following:
    None.
     Select this option to specify that the decal be applied "as is."
    See-through.
     Select this option if a portion of the decal should be replaced by the underlying surface's material.
    Cut-away.
     Select this option to display only the decal on the surface, while the remaining surfaces become transparent.
    What is transparent.
     From this field’s drop-down list, select which element of the decal image should be transparent.
    Black pixels.
     Select this option to specify that all pixels on the decal with an intensity value of 0 should be transparent.
    White pixels.
     Select this option to specify that all pixels on the decal with an intensity value of 255 should be transparent.
    User color pixels.
     Select this option to specify that all pixels on the decal with a user-assigned intensity value should be transparent.
    Alpha channel.
     Select this option to specify that all pixels on the decal's texture with a non-zero alpha value should be transparent.  If the decal texture has no alpha values, this setting has no effect.
    Chroma key.
     Select this option to specify that all pixels on the decal's texture that match the given chroma, or hue, should be transparent.  The chroma setting disregards the color’s intensity.  For example, if you set chroma to green, both light green and dark green pixels become transparent.
  • User color.  Select this option to display the Color dialog box and specify a color for the transparency effect.  This option is displayed only if the User color pixels or Chroma key option is selected in the What is transparent field.
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.

Emission Settings

The emission SmartPaint property allows you to emit light from a part /face . This can be useful for creating various lighting surfaces such as neon lights.

  • Emission.  Drag this option’s slider bar to adjust the intensity of emitted light, or enter a value between 0 and 100 in the associated field.  At 0, the surface emits no light, but still reflects light.  At 100, the surface emission appears very bright.  Note that setting the emission will transform a surface into a light source in the Advance Rendering Engine. Using this capability will decrease the rendering times.
  • Emission Samples.  The number of random points located on the surface of the mesh to use as light emitters.  You may think of a sample as a simplified area light positioned on the surface, facing in the direction of the surface normal.  A high number of samples will give a close approximation as if the entire surface is uniformly emitting light—at the expense of performance.
  • Replace surface styles.  This option is activated when SmartPaint properties have been defined for one or more of the surfaces on a shape/part.  Select it to specify that the color properties of the part should take precedence over those for individual surfaces.
  • Use Shader.  Select a specific procedural shader to modify the appearance of the emission settings. Refer to Procedural Shader Settings.

NOTE:  Emission settings will slow down the rendering time significantly.

Procedural Shader Settings

A shader is a small program used to control the appearance of a material.  Shaders are often preferable to discrete image textures because they can calculate their values using complex algorithms— rather than based upon a fixed size array of colored pixels.  This enables shaders to have infinite detail and variety.  Shaders can be used to calculate a color or a value based upon the particular material characteristic the shader is being used to modify.

Shaders may be written using any COM aware language.  It is possible for 3rd parties to implement their own custom shaders—please contact IronCAD API support apisupport@ironcad.com for more details. The coding of shaders will be outside the ability of most users so several basic shaders are supplied.

Gradient: The Gradient shader transitions its value from 0-1.  When color shading, that value is used to mix two user specified colors, resulting in a color gradient.  The direction of the gradient is controlled by the Orientation specification along with the UV mapping.

RGB: The RGB shader is used to specify a constant color based upon Red, Green and Blue components.  The user may specify RGB values > 1.0.  This is useful in high dynamic range images. If a value, rather than a color, is required-- the average of the RGB components is used.

Image: The Image shader is used much like an image texture.  The shader will attempt to load the specified file at render time.  Options are available for tiling and alpha behavior.  If a value, rather than a color, is required-- the average of a pixel’s RGB components is used.

Perlin Noise: Perlin Noise has a soft, lumpy, cloud-like appearance.  It uses interpolation to calculate values that vary pseudo-randomly through space.  Multiple octaves may be summed to add more detail to the noise.  A scale may be applied to the U, V and W position components.

Voronoi Noise: Voronoi Noise has a cellular appearance with sharp discontinuities.  It can be used to make diamond, star, rectangle or crack-like noise that varies pseudo-randomly through space.  Multiple octaves may be summed to add more detail to the noise.

White Noise: White Noise gives a pseudo-random value based only on a given seed value.  Because this noise is not positional, it will generally flicker during animation.  

Cell Noise: Cell noise gives a pseudo-random value that is broken up into distinct rectangular regions through space.  The regions are positional and may be scaled.

Waveform: The Waveform shader uses a function (sin, ramp, pulse, triangle, etc) to calculate a value.  The direction is controlled by the Orientation specification along with the UV mapping.  The frequency, phase, amplitude and vertical shift may be controlled.

Wood Shader: The Wood shader is a non photo-realistic shader designed to resemble wood grain.  The position relative to a central ‘trunk’ is used to generate radiating rings.  Perlin noise is used to modulate the wood rings.

Marble: The Marble shader is a non photo-realistic shader designed to resemble stone marble.  It uses a technique similar to the Wood shader.  Veins are located radiating out from a center point.  The veins are modulated by perlin noise.

Musgrave: The Musgrave noise shader is capable of generating fractal terrain type values.  Options are given for the exact method used to generate values.  An offset value specifies the “sea-level” of the noise.

Mix: This highly versatile shader mixes the results of two other shaders.  Two input shaders are specified.  A multiplier is used to scale the values of each input shader.  Then the final result as calculated by combining the two values with the specified operator (+,-,*,/, etc).

Multi-Layer Metallic: This allows for a material that represents paint or metallic paint as would be seen in car paint. This shader adds additional realism to the material allowing the user to secondary color for the specular highlights along with options to add metallic flakes.

Fresnel: This is used to get realistic reflections/refractions based on the angle of incidence. When Fresnel is enabled, the amount of specular reflection depends on how the viewer is oriented relative to the surface. Fresnel means that a surface is more reflective at grazing angles than at perpendicular ones. IOR controls the Fresnel reflection strength, the higher the more reflective at every angle.

Shaders may be used with any of the following aspects of a material’s appearance:

Diffuse Color: The shader is used to modify the material’s general color when lighted.  The shader color is combined with the Diffuse BRDF to calculate a resulting color.  Alpha values are properly handled when combining the shader output with the material’s native diffuse appearance.  For example, and image shader with an alpha mask will blend appropriately with the material’s normal diffuse color.

Transparency: The value of the shader is used as a multiplier with the user specified transparency value.  One might use a gradient in the transparency channel to make an object fade from transparent to opaque.

Bumps: The value of the shader is used to modify the surface normal of the object to which the material is applied.  The surface normal is used in shading, reflection, and refraction calculations.  The position on the surface is NOT modified.  A noise shader might be used to give a material a rough appearance—with basically infinite detail.

Reflection: The value of the shader is used as a multiplier with the user specified Reflection Intensity value.  A noise shader might be used to give a material the appearance of uneven reflectivity— as if the surface was covered.

Emission: The value of the shader is used as a multiplier with the user specified Emission value.  A shader can be used to vary the intensity of the light emitted from a surface to which the material is applied.

This tutorial uses the Mechanical Add-on, click here to download it.
This tutorial requires the MultiPhysics Add-on, click here to download it.
Download the 3D files used in this course
This tutorial requires the KeyShot Add-on, click here to download it.
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