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Crystals are the final inorganic things that we're going to add to the scene. The scene is a little dark and bare, so they will add contrasting elements to keep the viewer interested. We're going to make the crystals glow a misty blue color to offset the overall red. The blue will also make the scene look cold on the edges and warmer in the middle. It never hurts to make the viewer think a little, even if your work has no deeper meaning than “Oooh, look at the pretty colors!”

Start with a new scene. Begin by making a Pyramid primitive with a Width and Depth of 400 units and a Height of 300 units (Figure 8.42).

Figure 8.42. Creating a Pyramid.

Convert the Pyramid to an Editable Poly object. Select the bottom polygons of the pyramid, use the Bevel tool to extrude the polygons downward about 1500 units, and then scale them in to about half the size of the top section. Name the modified pyramid Crystal01. This is a very simple way to make a crystal shape.

Go to the Hierarchy panel and click Affect Pivot Only. Move the pivot point down to the bottom of the crystal (Figure 8.43).

Figure 8.43. Modifying the crystal's pivot point.

Turn off Affect Pivot Only, then hold down the Shift key, and use the Rotate tool to make copies of the crystal around the original Crystal01. Once you're happy with the arrangement, select Crystal01, and in the Edit Geometry rollout, click the Attach List button to the right of the Attach button. Select all the Crystal copies in the list and attach them to Crystal01 (Figure 8.44).

Figure 8.44. Creating clusters of crystals and attaching them together.

In the Material Editor, select an empty material slot and then click Get Material. Choose Mtl Library and then click Open. Click Crystals.mat, and click Open on the dialog box. Apply this material to the Crystal01 model. It's a Raytrace material with a misty blue color. Also notice that the Material Effects Channel is set to a value of 1. This will allow us to assign a glow to the crystal once we have it in the scene. Save your work as Crystal01.max.

Open Landscape_FieryPit.max. Merge the Crystal01 model into the Landscape_ FieryPit.max file and duplicate it around the scene at the bottoms of the cliffs. You can also add lights and a glow to each of the crystals to make them really stand out. To see what you might end up with at this point, open Landscape_Crystals.max. This scene has a Lens Effects Glow added to the crystals and omni lights added to light up the cliffs close to the crystal formations. Also present is a red volume light coming up from the bottom of the pit to make the scene more dramatic. If you want to speed up the render, turn down the Sample Range for the red light that is casting the volume light in the scene. The Sample Range of the volume light is set to 20 to avoid banding (an ugly render artifact caused by a too-small Sample Range, among other things).



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