The VertexPaint modifier
lets you paint vertex colors onto an object. You're not restricted
to only vertex-level painting. Using sub-object selection, you can
also control which vertices get painted, face-by-face. All faces
sharing a vertex have the adjacent corner shaded as well. The resulting
painted object receives a coarse gradient across each face.
The amount of color that 3ds Max applies
to a vertex depends on the distance of the vertex from the position
of the paint cursor on the face. The more you select a face, the
more it changes to the new color. The Opacity button also controls
the strength of the color. 3ds Max shades the color, so if you
have one green vertex and two white vertices for one face, for example,
you'll see a gradient on that face.
also lets you paint values for the vertex alpha and illumination
channels. These channels affect the transparency and shading of
vertex colors, respectively.
Notes and Tips
For best results with
VertexPaint, keep the following in mind:
- VertexPaint is automatically applied
to the selected object when you click
Vertex Colors Assign To Selected. It is not available
directly from the Modify panel or Modifiers menu.
- To render vertex colors, assign a
Color map, as described in
render vertex colors.
- If you select faces using the selection
tools of the VertexPaint modifier, you restrict your painting to
the selected faces, as opposed to all faces. This allows you to
sharply define the edges of your painted selection.
- You can streamline the painting process
by using the
- Each VertexPaint modifier works internally
to itself, and cannot modify existing vertex coloring. To paint
over existing coloring, use the
to single layer function.
About Map Channels and
Vertex Color, Vertex Alpha, and Vertex Illum
When using vertex paint,
it is helpful to understand how 3ds Max manages vertex color,
alpha, illumination, and map channels. 3ds Max stores and manages
all of these different pieces of information using the same underlying
The map channels are
defined as triple-value channels (tuples) with a unique integer
ID number ranging from –2 to 99. The first five map channels have
specific and familiar usages:
- Channel (2): UVW
“second pass” texture mapping coordinates
- Channel (1): UVW
standard texture mapping coordinates
- Channel (0): RGB
- Channel (–1): FLOAT
vertex alpha (really only 1 value needed)
- Channel (–2): RGB
Every geometric vertex
of a mesh or poly object can be assigned up to 102 channel values
(99 + 3).
The reason for the negative
numbering scheme for the vertex alpha and illumination channels
is actually historic: It serves to preserve the meaning of existing
map-channel data in older scene files before vertex alpha and illumination
You can paint on any
arbitrary channel, and to use one or more channels for any arbitrary
meaning for a given vertex. It is useful in development of content
for games to paint on arbitrary map channels numbered higher than
those used for texture mapping (such as channels 3, 4, 5). These can
be used to store logical information about a vertex: for example,
whether it is “slippery” or “explosive.”
You can assign a single
vertex a stack of map channels that carry different meanings. When
you collapse the modifier stack, 3ds Max preserves these map
The VertexPaint modifier
takes this into consideration through its simple exposure of map
channel IDs for display and painting.
About Painting in Layers
The layer system allows
you to paint changes on a single layer, then make another layer
on top of that, and paint additional changes. This can be used to
store different versions or variations of your vertex color painting.
Every layer has a blending
mode that it uses to determine how it combines with the other layers.
You can assign vertex colors using the
Vertex Colors utility, then add another
layer, change the layer mode operator to Lighten, and paint with
a white paintbrush to lighten up areas. Fifteen different modes
are available, and many tasks can be accomplished using paint layers.
One of the primary advantages
of VertexPaint is its use of the modifier stack as a kind of image-composite
stack. Each VertexPaint modifier serves as a single layer in the
composite. You can move layers up and down the stack, enable and
disable them, and flatten the stack using
to single layer.
If you load an older
file that uses a previous version of the VertexPaint modifier, then
the legacy modifier will be loaded when the file is opened.
The legacy modifier has
not been changed, and the two modifiers are not inherently compatible
in terms of their data format during loading and saving.
If you have vertex color
data in a legacy VertexPaint modifier, you can use the
to single layer tool of the new modifier
to migrate the vertex colors into the new modifier.
To add scene lighting into an object's
- Select the objects in the scene that
you want to color.
- On the Modify panel, choose VertexPaint
from the modifier list.
docked to the left edge of the viewports.
- Open the Assign Vertex Colors rollout.
NoteThis rollout provides
the same tools as found in the Assign Vertex Colors utility.
- In the Light Model group, choose Lighting
- Click Assign.
- On the Vertex Paintbox, choose (Vertex Color
Display Shaded) to see the vertex lighting in the vertex color map.
To paint vertex colors on an object:
- Select the scene objects to paint.
- On the Modify
panel, choose VertexPaint from the Modifier List.
The Vertex Paintbox appears.
- Choose the color you want to paint with
by clicking the large color swatch below the Paintbrush button.
This opens the Color Selector.
- Change the color using controls on the
- Adjust the strength of the color by entering
a percentage value in the Opacity field.
- Choose (Vertex
Color Display Unshaded) to see the vertex colors without shading.
- Click (Paint), and move the cursor
over the selected object in the viewport.
- When the cursor displays over the object,
press and hold down the left mouse button and drag to paint the
TipThe cursor displays
the size of the brush. Use the Size spinner to change to a larger
or smaller brush.
To see vertex colors in a viewport:
- Right-click the object with painted vertices,
and choose Properties from the quad menu.
- In the Display Properties group, turn
on the toggle for Vertex Color.
Vertex Color is one item
on a drop-down list. The other items are Vertex Illumination, Vertex
Alpha, Map Channel Color (which uses the spinner immediately below
the list), and Soft Selection Color. Viewports can display only
one of these vertex channels at a time.
- Click OK.
To render vertex colors:
- Open the Material
Editor, and apply a Standard material to the object.
- Click the map button for the Diffuse
- In the Material/Map Browser, choose Vertex
Color as the map, and then click OK.
Now, when you render
the scene, the rendering shows the painted vertices.
To animate the opacity of a vertex color layer
- Choose the layer you wish to animate,
by highlighting the Vertex Paint modifier in the stack that corresponds
to that layer.
- Turn on (Auto Key).
- On the floating vertex paintbox, in the
Layer group move the Opacity slider.
This sets a key for the
- Move the time slider to another frame
and again change the value using the Opacity slider.
- Turn off (Auto Key).
- Click (Play Animation) to see
the animated opacity in the viewport.
To animate vertex color using UVW XForm
You can use the UVW XForm
modifier in conjunction with a specific vertex paint layer to modulate
vertex color effects in the viewport.
- Apply a UVW XForm modifier directly above
the VertexPaint layer (modifier) you want to modulate.
- Set the Channel type on the UVW XForm
modifier to Vertex color.
- Animate the U, V, and W spinners using
identical values. For example, animate UVW from 1 to 0 over the
length of the animation.
This will attenuate the
RGB values of the underlying vertex color results uniformly. It
will effectively dim out the vertex color result directly below
the UVW XForm modifier.
NoteAny additional vertex paint layers applied
above the UVW XForm modifier in the stack for the selected object(s)
will be unaffected
TipYou can add multiple UVW XForm modifiers
in your stack in this way, giving some progressive control over
modulated vertex colors. The effect is always additive, however,
and cannot be weight-blended.
To paint under an existing layer and
view the result:
- Select an object that has several VertexPaint
modifiers displayed in the stack.
- In the modifier stack, activate the VertexPaint
modifier that is the layer you want to paint on.
- Turn on (Show
End Result On/Off Toggle).
Now, when you paint on
the layer, you will see the painting taking place under the top
The controls in this
group are identical to the selection controls found in the
Selection group of the
These controls specify
which channel type the vertex paint layer will affect, and which
map channel number you'll paint on.
- Vertex ColorChoose
this to paint on a vertex color layer.
- Vertex IllumChoose
this to paint on a vertex illumination layer.
- Vertex AlphaChoose
this to paint on a vertex transparency layer.
- Map ChannelChoose
this to paint on a specifically named or numbered map channel.
- Map channel spinner
Specifies the channel number.
Available only when Map Channel is chosen.
NoteIf you have painted
on a layer and then change the channel setting, the painted information
will be moved to the new channel. For example if you select Vertex
Color and paint, then turn on Vertex Illum, the painted information
will be removed from the Vertex Color channel and applied to the
Vertex Illum channel instead.
If a channel has a name defined
it will appear here. Channels can be named using the
Channel Info Utility.
- Ignore underlying color
When turned on, VertexPaint
ignores whatever vertex colors it receives from below it on the
stack. As a result, you will see the layer's raw colors on an otherwise
white object. The blend mode has no effect (it behaves like Normal
mode) because the base color is considered transparent, so the layer is
not blended with anything.
The purpose of this toggle
is to isolate a layer from the colors below, to help the user visualize
the layer's raw data. The layer is not completed isolated when this
is on, because layers above it can still affect the result. The
user needs to disable those layers or turn off Show End Result to
see the current layer in complete isolation.
The Ignore Base Color
toggle should only be needed when the object
at the bottom of the stack already has some vertex colors baked
in. In other cases, you can just disable the paint layers or whichever
modifiers are adding vertex colors to the object. In that case,
the active paint layer would not receive any vertex colors from
below itself on the stack. As a result, it treats all base color
as transparent and the layer colors are displayed in the raw (not
blended with anything).
opacity is not passed up the stack.
A paint layer modifier makes a yes/no decision about whether an
object below it has vertex colors or not, and will subsequently
treat all base colors as transparent or all as opaque. So if you
paint even a single vertex using Edit Mesh, for example, the object
is considered to have vertex colors, and a paint layer will blend
its colors with the (predominantly white) mesh instead of treating
the mesh as transparent.
- Preserve Layer
When on, the modifier will
not be deleted by any Condense To Single Layer operation. Since
Condense To Single Layer performs two independent actions (creating
a new baked-color modifier and then deleting existing modifiers),
this option allows access to only the first part of the functionality
when necessary. That is, you can bake colors into a new paint layer,
without being forced to have the old modifiers deleted.
Assign Vertex Color rollout
This rollout gives you
access to the same controls found in the
Vertex Colors utility. They let you take
the scene lighting information and bake it into the vertex channel system.
- VertexPaint Paintbox
The VertexPaint modifier's
Paintbox is a floating toolbox with various vertex painting tools.
The Paintbox is launched automatically after the
VertexPaint modifier has
been applied to one or more objects. You can close the Paintbox
by clicking the X button in the upper-right corner of its window.
To open it again, click the Edit button in the Parameters rollout
of the VertexPaint Modifier
- Adjust Color Dialog (VertexPaint Modifier)
The Adjust Color dialog
lets you adjust the color of currently selected vertices. If there
is no active vertex sub-object selection, it affects all vertices
- Color Palette (VertexPaint
The VertexPaint modifier's
Color Palette lets you create and maintain color palettes for use
with vertex paints. You can save or load palettes as Color Clipboard
(CCB) files, which are also used by the
- Painter Options Dialog
Painter Options dialog for the Skin modifier appears when you click
the Painter Options button.