12 August 2013, 05.05 PM
3ds max network rendering issues Part 3 – HDR lighting
Another entry in the “heads up” category of max/backburner funkiness. If you’re trying to light your scenes with high dynamic range images, be aware that both HDR and EXR file types contain load-time settings when they are brought into a copy of max (that’s why you get that pop-up window setting white- & black-points, etc when you load the bitmap into max the first time). The settings you put into that window DO NOT always make the transition to other machines on your network when it comes to render time, meaning the gamma/output of these files will be inconsistent from machine to machine and create terrible flicker artifacts in your final rendered frames.
To avoid this issue, if you know you’ll be network rendering an animation of a scene lit by an image, convert that HDR or EXR to a Floating Point TIF instead. You’ll have to tweak a couple of the bitmap settings inside max (like Output Amount, perhaps some exposure control stuff), but you won’t have the load-time errors with a TIF file.
Pretty sure no max user would end up reading this warning until it’s too late and they’re googling how to fix the problem…so first, sorry it happened to you, and second, hope this solution helps!