preset: Dust Light


Creating little dust particles in the air is easy, but rendering all passes with real camera DOF can be very time-consuming….

Below is a little example how to render dust particles as separate pass which later can be merged into final shot.



It doesn’t matter which render you use for your main pass, but for little dust particles choose mental ray and in Camera Lens Shaders pick Arch: DOF/Bokeh map. In map parameters just match focus distance with your real shot.

Also, it’s a good idea to render several dust shots with different focus distance to have more control in compositing.


3ds max 2009 scene:

Download (32 KB)


  1. Nice setup. Just one question, why not render out without DOF shader on camera but with a Z depth pass. Would it be quicker to render and you’d have the added control of adjusting the DOF in fusion? Whats your advise on the best way to comp these passes in, are you using overlay?Thanks.

    1. Thanks. In most case, of course, rendering Z channel is most efficient solution. But honestly, I never got fine result for such small details like in this example (especially with particle overlaping). So main layer โ€“ yes, with Z depth and additional particle pass โ€“ with mental ray DOF/Bokeh shader. Thatโ€™s my choice for best results.

  2. As for compositing, I’m always trying to have a several particle pass and each merging differently. One can be overlay, another – normal (+ alpha) with inverted luma from background as mask, to see particles on image dark places, etc etc. I think that there is no strictly rules, it’s all on between image and artist ;)Good Luck!

  3. Thats interesting regarding the compositing, lots of things to try I guess. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. I got almost identical result with vray, in half time. Adaptive DMC antialiasing is important, everything else on default. I checked alpha chanels, as lightning can be set up differently.

    ps. smagu kad pasidalini informacija cia pas saves ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I LOVE ur tips dude, one of the best tips site I’ve come across, keep it up we all appreciate it!!!



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