Rendering Massive Scenes with AIR


Rendering a Massive scene with AIR requires several steps:

  • Create one or more render passes.
  • Create one or more "renders".  Each render is associated with a render pass.
  • Assign shaders to agents, terrain, and lights for each pass.
  • Export files used for rendering with the Sim dialog.
  • Render using the resulting exported files

Creating a Render Pass

  • In the Options menu select Render to display the Render dialog.
  • Choose the renderpasses tab and click add to create a new pass.
  • Change the renderpass name to beautyAir by typing in the top text box.
  • Change the renderer for the pass to Air using the selection list next to the render caption.

Creating a Render

The next step is to create a "render" with which to associate the render pass.

  • Select the render tab and click add to create a new render.
  • With the new render selected, click on the parameters page.
  • Change the associated render pass for the new render to beautyAir.
  • Use the output ribs entry to enter the path and file name specification for the exported rib files that will be used for rendering.

Important: the export directory must exist for the scene export to succeed.  If the directory does not exist, you'll need to create it outside of Massive.

The remainder of the parameters dialog allows you to customize other aspects of the rendering, such as the image size.

Assigning Shaders

Massive allows custom shaders to be assigned to agents, terrain, and lights on a per-pass basis.  If no custom shader is assigned, Massive will translate the basic shading and lighting information to a standard AIR shader.

After making any changes to the shaders (including assigning a shader for a new render pass), be sure to re-save the agent file in Massive.

Saving Simulation Data

In order to render a Massive scene with AIR, the simulation data must first be exported as a set of files.

  • From the Run menu select Sim to display the Sim dialog.
  • In the list of Outputs, select the sims button and choose an appropriate output path for the sims export.  Note that the export directory must exist; Massive will not create it for you.
  • Select the ribs button and provide an output path and file specification for the exported rib files.
  • Next to the ribs export path, change the DynamicLoad option to RunProgram for Air.
  • If the agents have cloth, select the cloth button and provide an export path for cloth files.
  • In the list of renders at the bottom of the dialog, select the Air render.
  • Choose a start and end frame at the top of the dialog.
  • Click go to export the files required for rendering.


The scene is now ready for rendering using the rib files specified in the output ribs section of the render dialog.  Air has a convenient command line option for rendering a sequence of frames from a command shell.  E.g.,

    air -frames 1 99 main#4f.rib

would render main0001.rib, main0002.rib, etc in order.

Massive also creates a small batch file in the output directory for rendering the frames.  Alternatively, the frames can be sent to a render farm using appopriate software.

Note on Agent Files:  To render agents the ribs generated by Massive use a small procedural primitive (a program) to generate agents on-demand.  That procedural and the agent data must be available to all machines used for rendering.  If changes are made to an agent inside Massive, the agent must be re-saved for the changes to show up in a rendering.  Some older sample agents included with Massive must be re-saved to render properly even if no changes have been made to the agents.


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