Containing the power to control the world, this small gold ring is part of one of the greatest book series of all time, and now some of the best movies of all time.
-3DS Max (I'm using version 5, but older versions will work)
Step 1: Open up a new session in Max, then create a Torus with the following parameters.
Step 2: To make the rest of the steps a lot easier, you might want to create your camera next. Depending on where you're going to place your ring, you can make the camera zoom in as close as possible. NOTE: Because this tutorial uses raytracing for the reflections if you put the camera too far away you won't see the fine detailing in the reflections. This deserves a close up look.
Step 3: You'll notice in the movies that the inside of the ring doesn't bulge out as much as the outside. To fix this on your Torus, apply Edit Mesh for the Modifiers menu. Click under the Selection pull down choose Vertex. Now you have a couple of options on how you select the inside vertexes. On the main toolbar you'll find the option to change the shape of your selection tool. You can either change this to the Fence selection, or the Circle selection. I prefer the Fence, there's more control. Once you have your selection tool you need to go in and select the vertexes the make up the bulge on the inside of the ring. Carefully scale ONLY along the X and Y axis until the bulge is gone, like as shown below. Not much scaling is required for this.
Step 4: From here you need to apply the Mesh Smooth modifier to smooth over any imperfections the scaling might have caused.
Step 5: This step really depends on your individual taste. When I see the ring in the movie I think it looks a little bit larger height wise than you see on posters, commercials or the official replicas. This is just my opinion and does not have to be done if you don't want it. Using the scale tool, set to scale only the Y axis, in the Front viewport scale the ring up until your reach your desired height. For mine I scaled it up to about 120%.
Step 6: Alright the easy part's over. One of the most important aspects of making The One Ring is the gold material. Open up your Material Editor and select a new map slot. Change the material type from Standard to Blend and the mix amount to 30.
Step 7: In the Material 1 slot set the material type to Raytrace. Set the Raytrace Basic Parameters to these.
Step 8: Go back to the Blend material. Set Material 2 to Standard material type and use these settings. Once your done go back to the main material, rename it to Ring Material and apply to your Torus.
Step 9: Now the most important thing when dealing with reflections is to have something to reflect. In my scene I created a pedestal, similar to the one seen in The Fellowship, for the ring to rest on. I also added 2 Box objects. I placed on in the background with one image material and another in front of the ring so it would seem like the ring was reflecting an entire scene. If you are just interested in making the ring against a black background you can create various objects (i.e. spheres, boxes, ect.) to create reflections on your ring. If you don't want the objects to be visible select the objects, right click and go to the properties menus. Under Render Control uncheck Visible to Camera. Whatever you plan on doing you must have something to reflect.
Step 10: Depending on the scene you want to create you'll have to use good judgment in placing your lights. I wound up with four lights on the ring, one on the pedestal and one just to cast shadows. There are two tricks that will make your working with lights much easier . First, use Omni lights that are pure white in color. This depends on your scene, but I wouldn't set the lights any higher than 1, so you don't have to go back and turn them down later. Second, use the Place Highlight tool Ctrl + H to put the highlights exactly where you want them.
Step 11: You could stop right here, the ring itself is finished, but I will show you how to create the text on the ring. When creating the text the first thing you want to do is find the proper Elvish font. I used a font I already had which comes really close, but if you want the official I'm sure it's out there. Once you have a font chosen (it's always good to pick out a font beforehand), in the front viewport create some text.
Step 12: Add the Extrude modifier to your text and set the amount to 0.5. Once that's through add the Bend modifier to the text. Depending on how small or large you made your ring geometry the amount of bend will differ (mind ended up being 350). This also depends on how much text you entered. NOTE: You'll have to adjust the font size and spacing if you want to fit the proper wording. To get the text perfectly aligned with the ring use the Align tool under the Tools menu. It'll take a few tries to get it to fit perfectly along the outside of the ring.
Step 13: Open your Material Editor again. In a new map slot set the Self-Illumination to 75 and 0 for the Specular and Glossiness levels. Make sure the Material Effects ID is set to 1. Under the Maps rollout click the Diffuse map slot. When the Material/Map Browser opens choose Gradient Ramp. You can use the settings below, or you can experiment to taste.
Step 14: This step is if you're planning on doing an animation and want the text to do its fiery appearance. Back in the Maps rollout, set the Opacity map to another Gradient Ramp. Set all the colors to black and the noise amount to 1 and Turbulence. Turn on your Animate button (Auto Key in version 5). I would suggest that text should appear within 30 to 40 frames. To do this, move your Time Slider to 10 and change your first position color to pure white. I always check my work, so move the slider back to 0 and make sure the first color is still black, if not change it to black. Once your done with that, continue with the animating. Move your Time slider to 20 and change your second color to white. Do the check again and make sure your second color is still black at frame 10. Finally move to frame 30 and change the third color to white. Remember to make sure it's still black at frame 20. The text should now fade in nicely.
Step 15: Once you've applied your material to your text, exit the Material Editor and open up Video Post. Click Add Image Filter Event and select Glow. Click setup and under the Properties tab change from Object ID to Effect ID 1. Under the Preferences tab, set the size somewhere between 0.5 and 1. Make sure the color is set to Pixel and an Intensity of 1.
Step 16: Just kidding, you're done. Make sure you add and Image Output Event and render your scene. Here's what the ring should look like with the text on it.
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