Lens Effects Flare Filter
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Rendering menu Video Post Video Post toolbar (Add Image Filter Event) Choose Lens Effects Flare from Filter Plug-In list. Setup

The Lens Effects Flare dialog lets you add lens flare effects as a post process to rendering. Flares are usually applied to lights in your scene. The lens flare will then be generated around that object. You can control all aspects of the lens flare in the Lens Effects Flare dialog.


To save your flare settings, do one of the following:

You can save all of your lens flare settings to a file, so you can reload them any time. Lens Effects Flare files are saved to an LZF file (.lzf).

  1. Click the Reset button.

    This resets Lens Effects Flare to its default settings.

  2. Click the Load button.

    This displays a Windows-standard file open dialog from which you can select the settings file you want to load.

  3. Click the Save button.

    This displays a Windows-standard Save As dialog in which you specify a directory and filename.


Preview group

The large black window in the left corner is the main preview window. To the right of this window are smaller preview windows for each part of the flare. You can generate continual previews by clicking the Preview button under the main preview window.

There are nine Lens Effects Flare preview windows. The main preview window in the upper left corner of the Lens Effects dialog shows you the complete scene. The eight smaller preview windows in the upper right corner show the individual parts of the lens flare. Each small preview window has a check box below the window to display the flare effect.

You might notice that an individual part of the lens flare effect might not appear as bright in the smaller preview windows, compared to the main preview. This is because the brightness of a lens flare in the main preview is a result of combining the brightness of multiple effects, the total brightness being greater than a single part.

All of the preview windows are multi-threaded to increase redraw speed and take advantage of multi-processor systems. When you make an adjustment to a lens flare property and the preview window is active, the preview updates automatically. A white line at the bottom of the main preview window indicates that it is updating a change made within the lens flare dialog.


When you click the Preview button, the window displays your flare in the upper left corner if your flare has automatic or manual secondary elements. If your flare does not contain these elements, the flare is centered in the preview window. If the VP Queue button is not on, the preview displays a generic flare to which you can make adjustments. Each time you change a setting, the preview automatically updates. A white line appears at the bottom of the preview window to indicate the preview is updating.


Redraws the entire Main Preview window, as well as the smaller windows each time you click this button. This function is critical when you need to view changes you have made in the Video Post queue, such as moving the Time Slider to a different frame, changing your geometry or a light, or changing another filter that precedes the current one in the Video Post queue. The VP Queue button must be on to preview the contents of the Video Post queue. In this case, clicking the Update button causes a small dialog to appear, with an indicator showing the progress of the update.

VP Queue

Displays the contents of the Video Post queue in the main preview window. The Preview button must also be turned on. Rather than having to test render every time you want to see the result of the effect in the scene, VP Queue displays a final composite, combining the effect you are editing with the contents of the Video Post queue.

NoteIf you leave the Preview and VP Queue buttons active when you exit Lens Effects Flare, it will take several seconds to re-render the scene in the main preview window the next time you start Lens Effects Flare.

The view in the main preview window also depends upon which lens flare options you have set in the Preferences panel.

Lens Flare Properties group

Specifies global settings for the flare, such as the source for the flare(s), the size, seed number, rotation, and so on.


Gives the random number generator in Lens Effects a different starting point, which creates slightly different lens flares without changing any settings. Using Seed guarantees a different lens flare, even if the differences are very small. For example, if you set up a ray effect for your lens flare, you will get slightly different rays in the lens flare if you adjust the seed value.


Affects the size of the overall lens flare. This value is a percentage of the size of the rendered frame. Default = 45.

Other parts of the lens flare, such as glow, ring, and so on, also have size adjustments, but this size setting affects the entire lens flare, including secondary flares. Adjusting individual sizes does not affect this size variable, or vice versa. This parameter can be animated. Animating the Size parameter causes flares to grow or diminish in size over the course of your animation.


If Apply Hue Globally is selected, it controls the amount of Hue applied to the Lens Flare effect. This parameter can be animated.

Apply Hue Globally

Globally applies the Hue of the Node Source to the other Flare effects.


Affects the amount that the flare rotates from its default position, as the position of the flare changes relative to the camera. This parameter can be animated. The lock button to the right of the Auto Key button locks the secondary flares so they do rotate. When the button is disabled, the secondary flares will not rotate.

Animating the Angle parameter does not animate the manual and automatic secondary flares unless you turn on the L button. The default behavior mimics a camera, in which the aperture does not rotate.

Rays, stars, and streaks don't animate either unless you turn on their individual Auto Rotate toggles.


Controls the overall brightness and opacity of the flare. Higher values produce bright, more opaque flares, and lower values produce dim, transparent flares. This parameter can be animated.


Squeezes the size of the lens flare, either horizontally or vertically to compensate for different frame aspect ratios. You can set Squeeze from 100 to -100. Positive values stretch the flare horizontally, and negative values stretch it vertically. The value is a percentage of the size of the flare. This parameter can be animated.

For example, if you convert a film for use on TV, applying Squeeze would cause the lens flare to look correct on the smaller screen, and not thin and tall, although a wide-screen 35-MM film image is much wider than a regular TV.

Although Squeeze is a global setting, you can apply this effect to selected portions of your flare through the Preferences panel so that only the flare elements you want are distorted. The Squeeze spinner value is given as a percentage of the size of the flare.

Node Sources

Lets you select the source object for the lens flare effect. The source of the lens flare may be any object in the scene, but is generally a light, such as a target spot light, or an omni light. Clicking this button displays the Select Flare Objects dialog. You must select a source for the flare to key off.

NoteIf you select a source object, then rename the object later, you must reselect the object to ensure the correct generation of the lens flare.

Lens Flare Effects group

Controls specific effects for the flare, such as fades, brightness, softening, and so on.


Lets you set an overall brightness that affects the whole image. When a bright effect, such as a lens flare, appears in an image, the whole image should appear brighter. This effect is available only when the Brighten option is enabled under the Render section of the Preferences panel. This parameter can be animated. Animating the Brighten spinner is an easy way to create flares that "flash" the scene as they appear.

Dist Fade

Causes the effect of the lens flare to fade with its distance from the camera. This option is used only when the Dist Fade button is turned on. The values are in 3ds Max world units. This option is used when you want to create the effect of flares disappearing at a certain point away from the camera.

Cent Fade

Fades the secondary flares near the center of the row of flares along the main axis of the flare. This is an effect that can be seen in many lens flares seen through a real camera lens. This value is in 3ds Max world units. This setting is only active when the Cent Fade button is selected.

Dist Blur

Blurs the flare based on its distance from the camera. This value is in 3ds Max world units. This parameter can be animated.

Blur Int

Controls the strength of the blur when it is applied to the lens flare. The value set in this spinner takes full effect as the flare reaches the Dist Blur distance in your scene. Flares closer to the camera plane get a percentage of the intensity setting. This parameter can be animated.


Provides an overall softening effect for the lens flare This parameter can be animated.

Flare Parameter tabs

Let you create and control the lens flare. Each of the nine tabs controls a specific aspect of the lens flare.

WarningWhen you animate Lens Effects parameters, this creates pointers into the actual scene, so Lens Effects animation is lost if you save the Video Post queue in a VPX file. To preserve the animation, save the Video Post data, including Lens Effects animation, in the MAX file.

A flare is composed of eight basic parts. Each part of a flare is controlled on its own panel in the Lens Effects Flare interface. Each part of the lens flare can be individually activated and deactivated to create different effects.

Prefs: This page lets you control which parts of a lens flare are active and how they effect the overall image.

Glow: A general glow centered around the source object of the flare. You can control the color, size, shape, and other aspects of the glow.

Ring: A circular color band that surrounds the center of the source object. You can control the color, size, shape, and other aspects of the ring.

A Sec: Auto Secondary Flares. The small circles you would normally see coming out from the source of the lens flare. As the camera position changes relative to the source object, the secondary flares move. The secondary flares are automatically generated when this option is active.

M Sec: Manual Secondary Flares. Additional secondary flares added to the lens flare effect. They appear in the same axis as the automatic secondary flares and look very similar.

Rays: Bright lines that radiate out from the center of the source object, providing the illusion of extreme brightness for the object.

Star: Bright lines that radiate out from the center of the source object, generally composed of 6 or more spokes, (instead of hundreds, like a ray). Stars are generally thicker and extend out farther from the center of the source object than rays.

Streak: Wide horizontal bands that run through the center of the source object.

Inferno: Lets you add special effects, such as explosions, to your flare effect.