The Boundary Scene 03 update

Since the release of The Boundary Scene 03 on the Boundary Store, we have had a few queries about the 2013 max versions not having cameras in. Many apologies for this, we had back saved from max 2016 failing to remember that physical cameras don't exist in max 2013.  We have remade the cameras with normal max target cameras and added skew modifiers to approximate the horizontal and vertical shift.  All seems to work now.

All existing costumers should receive an email with a new download link.


The Boundary Film 2016

For those of you not fortunate enough to attend the State of Art Academy Day 7 in Venice earlier this month, here is a short film which we finished off our presentation with.   A compilation of some of the things we have been up to over the past two years.  Not all hard work ;)




The Boundary Scene 03

Following on from State of Art Academy's amazing Academy Day 07, as promised here is The Boundary Scene 03 which features a simple studio with the spherical environment used in our 70 Vestry project.  This scene is set up for Corona and Vray in 3ds max 2013 and 2016.  All those who were at the Academy day and got the discount code can download for free for the next week ending Friday 21st October end of the day.  Enjoy!

Tips and tricks: Corona LightMixer

Simon just posted a nice round up on his blog of a new Corona Renderer feature called LightMixer which we thought we would share here.

Hi guys,

This time it’s really worth it to download the latest daily build of Corona Renderer. Recently the gents behind it introduced an awesome feature called LightMixer. Up until now similar stuff was only available in Maxwell and Fryrender (is that still being developed?!), but right now everyone will have access to this incredible thing. Below you’ll find a short how-to and you’ll also find my notes to that video right underneath.
Ok, based on this video I’m sure you already have a pretty good idea about how this works, but just in case I’ll do a small run down.

What is it? Basically Corona LightMixer allows you to control the power of your light sources straight in the frame buffer. It works with both interactive and “regular” rendering so it can be pretty useful.

How it works? Looking at the video above I’m sure you’ve already noticed that it’s basically a render pass, very similar to VrayLightSelect, but one that allows you to control it’s multiplier straight in the framebuffer, instead creating a need to comp it in postproduction.

To get LightMixer working you have to create a new CShading_LightSelect pass, scroll down and add all the light sources that you want to control in this particular group, to the Light Select Render Element list by pressing “+” and selecting each light individually.

IMPORTANT! LightSelect pass does not care about instances. If you have 100 lights that are all instanced, you have to select all of them.

The amazing thing is that LightMixer also allows you to change the color of your light sources, but in the end, and this is an important one, you have to remember that this is just a postproduction gimmick, basically combining together different LightSelect passes like you would in photoshop, it won’t change anything in your scene, which means that as soon as you’ll reset your frame buffer to defaults or merge those lights into a new scene, you’ll have to go through that entire process once again.

Jobs at The Boundary

A quick reminder that we are always on the lookout for suitable people to join our team here at The Boundary. Send us an email with a CV and portfolio to

All levels of experience will be considered, enthusiasm to do great work is the most important attribute.

You should be eligible to work in the UK.

Expanding The Boundary

Join us at The Boundary!

We are looking for talented, creative and motivated 3d artists to join our expanding team.

Applicants from a 3d viz background should have a strong interest in architecture and photography and be keen to develop new skills in line with the ever evolving requirements of the industry.

Applicants from an architecture background should be familiar with 3ds Max and rendering and be keen to work on projects with the world's most celebrated architects.

Full time position. No freelancers or agencies. Applicants must be legally employable in the UK and be available to work with the team at our North London studio. 

Please send a CV and portfolio to


We are offering a huge 50% everything in The Boundary Store for Black Friday all the way through to end of day on Cyber Monday with the code BLACK50 , enjoy!

The above image was rendered in Corona (which handles god rays beautifully). A reminder that when we make Corona versions of the scenes, people who have already purchased will get the corona version as a free update.

Boundary Scene 02


Here is the second scene to be made available on the Boundary Store.  This one includes several detailed furniture models including Hans Wegner's CH24 Y-Chair and Mendes da Rocha's Paulistano armchair.  Check the Boundary Blog for up coming tutorials on the making of this scene including the spherical panoramic view above.  For the first week we are offering a 20% discount on this scene:

Discount code: STAITHE END
Expires Friday 30th Oct 2015


Super House

Here's a little project which we have been working on for the past six months.  It's a luxury concept house aimed at the super rich as the perfect accompaniment to a Super Yacht!  We've had lots of fun and games with this one as our close relationship with Strom Architects gave us the freedom to create our own Mediterranean paradise.  The aim was to produce a complete 3d environment free from any compositing with minimal post providing a platform for testing 360's, animation and varying moods.  Hope you enjoy the result and if anyone has the odd £30m or so going spare give Strom Architects a call.

Click here for full image gallery

Super House website

SoA Acadamy Day 06

Just received these pics from Gianpiero of our talk at the State of Art Academy Day 06.  Phil here suggested that with our matching Boundary attire we look like a beach volleyball team in a post match press conference.

Carey House tutorial 09 - Post Production


In this, the final part of the making of the Carey House tutorial series, we are taking a brief look at post production.  This is an aspect of our workflow which varies from project to project but is always something we try to keep to a minimum preferring to rely as much as possible on getting the image correct in the 3d environment rather than using render elements and painting in detail in Photoshop.

Base render

Although this is the base render we generally apply some curves in the vray frame buffer prior to saving out.  This is just a preference and can all be done in Photoshop if preferred.  

Photoshop layers

There are two basic elements to our post workflow; Camera Raw Filter and a few adjustment layers.  Sometimes we have more adjustment layers including saturation and colour balance, we have found recently however that much of this can be done in the Camera Raw Filter.

As the Camera Raw Filter can currently not be used as an adjustment layer we start by converting the base render to a smart object so the adjustments are not destructive.  In this case under the Basic tab a little clarity has been given and a small amount of highlight compression to bring out some of the details in the bright sky.  A few other tweaks have been made to the shadows and whites to balance the image.

Camera Raw Filter Basic tab

Under the Effects tab a small amount of Post Crop Vignetting is given set to Highlight Priority style.  This is useful as it prevents bright areas of the sky usually in the top corners of the image from becoming overly dark and muddy looking. 

Camera Raw Filter Effects tab

with camera RAW adjustments

Following the overall Camera Raw adjustments a few basic curves have been used to highlight certain areas of the image.  The first one darkens the sky slightly, the second brightens the foreground vegetation and the third increases the contrast of the building itself. 

Final image with Camera Raw + Curves

If anyone thinks that having a closer look at this Photoshop file would be useful, let us know and we will make it available as a free download on The Boundary Store.


Carey House tutorial 08 - Atmosphere

In this tutorial we will look at the finishing touches to the scene prior to final render. VRayEnvironmentFog is used in all of our scenes to some extent even if only very subtly.  The atmosphere in reality is not pure and perfect so there is always a certain amount of dust or fog in the air reducing visibility at a distance.  Even if apparently imperceptible, these effects give depth and realism to all scenes.  At the other end of the spectrum, fog can be used to create some dramatic effects when used in conjunction with lighting and lens effects which were previously only achievable in post production.

VrayEnvironmentFog settings are found under the Environment tab of the Environment and Effects window (8 - keyboard shortcut).  We started in this scene by adding a general fog set to 30m height which extends just above the tops of the trees. This is set to 100m fog distance which just gives a subtle depth to the image without making it too foggy as it were.

The fog colour in this case is completely white rather than the 217 default.  GI Scattering is turned off.  Sometimes this can produce a nice effect and is of course more physically accurate but it increases render times massively and can certainly be done without for most scenes. The default subdivs are set to 8 but having played around with these values I usually set them to 300 as it seems to be the optimum value for general fog in an external scene combining detail with speed of rendering.  Some tweaking of this for different scenes may be necessary but 300 seems to be the sweet spot.  In theory this parameter determines the number of points inside the fog at which volumetric light is evaluated meaning lower subdivs should be noisier but quicker to render.  From extensive testing we have found that this is not always the case and that sometimes higher subdivs can actually speed up the render.  Bear in mind that we use the universal method for our render settings so this may be different with different render settings.

In Ray Filter settings the affect shadows and affect GI are both unchecked.  This allows for a greater amount of fog without having to alter your camera settings too much to compensate from the lower light levels as a consequence of the fog.  There appears to be little difference to the overall appearance of the fog in the scene.



The second and third fog effects are used to produce additional fog in specific areas, in this case, more in the trees behind the building and some low fog in the foreground.  A simple box is used as a gizmo in the VrayEnvironmentFog nodes section.  This means that this fog will be confined to the gizmo area.  If using a box as a gizmo make sure it is un-renderable in object properties.

When distributing local areas of fog in a gizmo we quite often add a basic noise map in the density slot to create some unevenness in the fog distribution. This is particularly effective amongst trees or ground cover giving the impression light air movement blowing the fog around.  Step size is important when using maps for colour density of emission.  The sampler used in this instance is known as a raymarching sampler which steps through the volume evaluating volumetric textures and lighting. Generally step size should be two to three times smaller than fog distance to work well.  We typically use half the size a rule of thumb.

Make sure that if you have multiple gizmos that the gizmo merge mode is set to blend otherwise you can get unwanted interactions and noise between them.  Sometimes if the gizmo is complex geometry rather than a simple box you can get these unwanted effects as well.

you can of course also have the VrayEnvironmentFog as a render element under VrayAtmosphere in render elements in case your computer is not powerful enough to render it into the scene or you would rather have a quicker result and comp it in post. 

VrayAtmosphere render element

As mentioned previously lots of different effects can be created using VrayEnvironmentFog.  In the example below of the original Carey House scene a fog gizmo was placed in front of the car head lamps which were made in the same way as the courtyard tree light illustrated in the last tutorial on internal lighting.  Add lens effects of course and there you go, straight out of the frame buffer with no post. 

The next tutorial will be the final one in the Carey House series where we look at render settings and basic post production techniques to produce the final images.