A White Plane That Fades Into A White Background
By Neil Blevins
Created On: July 25th 2005

Go here to read this tutorial in Russian.

A common asked question is how to make a white plane that catches the shadows from your objects, but that then fades off as it goes into infinity with a white background. An example of what I'm talking about is seen in my White Orbs image from my gallery...

WHite Orbs

Lets start with a simple example. Here's a teapot on a white ground plane, and there's a skylight and a spotlight with shadows in Brazil.

Figure 1

Here's the max file that made the image above, max7, brazil rio: rio_whiteplane1.zip (20K)

Now why if the groundplane is white (color value of 1.0) doesn't it appear white and properly fade off into the white background? Because if you add up all the light hitting the plane, the light multiplier value of the skylight and the spotlight is far less than a value of 1.0. So even though the material has a color value of 1.0 (white), it's multiplied by the lighting which is less than 1.0 to give you a final image color value of less than 1.0. And the background color is just that, a color, it recieves no lighting information and so remains pure white while the plane doesn't.

So the first thing you might try is turn the self illumination of the material to 100%. That should make the plane glow pure white right? Well, it does, but it also gets rid of the