Wednesday 19 December 2012

3d images: Correcting the Vray and mental ray self-illumination display in the viewport

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The following tutorial assumes that the user has a basic knowledge of 3Ds Max when applying textures to the self-illumination toggle; applying the “UVW map” modifier and assigning material slots to objects/surfaces.

When using a bitmap in the “VrayLightMtl” or mental ray “Self Illumination (Glow)” toggle, the texture display is often overridden by its default colour swatch (i.e. white) in the viewport.


The viewport artifact occurs even when the “Show Standard Map in Viewport” button is enabled in the “Bitmap” parameters.

It’s also worth mentioning that this problem is only specific to 3Ds Max 2012 and 2013.

This current “bottleneck” is a major setback to users trying to tweak the bitmap to fit a specific area of a surface while using the “UVW map” modifier.

So far, some users resort to numerous unpractical solutions to overcome this hurdle.
The practical approach frequently used by most professionals to correct this viewport artifact, is to simply change the self-Illumination default colour swatch, to 100% black.

This “trick” will enable the self-illumination texture to automatically become visible in the viewport, for both Vray or mental ray.


I hope you have found this tutorial useful.

Video Captions available (CC)

                                                         Video Captions available (CC)

                                                      Video Captions available (CC)

                                                      Video Captions available (CC)

Finally, I have just published a New Book with Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, entitled,  

V-Ray 5 for 3ds Max 2020: 3D Rendering Workflows

 Click on the image below to find out more about my new book.

More tips and Tricks:

Post-production techniques

Tips & tricks for architectural Visualisation: Part 1

Essential tips & tricks for VRay & mental ray

Photorealistic Rendering

Creating Customised IES lights

Realistic materials

Creating a velvet/suede material 






  1. Thank you! I needed it many times and the most the last week!

  2. Thank You, nice, fast, and very helpful :) !
    Hope you have a great New Year!

  3. Hi EduardoSG and Josh,

    Thank you very much for your kind words...and a Happy New Year to you too!!!


  4. Thank you!
    I realized, that the same problem appears when trying to display a hdri map as a backround in the viewport. you wont see the sky, just an whit backround . . . any solutions? this problem also started with max 2012.

  5. Awesome information provided you about the Illuminated Displays.
    Thanks for the sharing with us.

  6. if you switch the view port to consistent colors it will fix this as well... again not a solution just another work around :/