Render Groups: Render Group is a hierarchical render-object grouping & management system, and it can make lots of things easier for you. After you create a Render Group, just drag in the items that you want to put into that group. You can even make hierarchies of Render Groups. Here are just a few benefits of Render Groups:
Helps keep your Surfaces List organized.
Lets you make certain changes to the entire group at once, such as dissolving objects.
Lets you apply materials globally, with the option to override them.
Lets you set groups to render or not render (with one click), which is useful for hiding stand-ins or for rendering layers to composite.
Lets you set specific lights to only affect certain objects (the objects in the Render Group with them)
As you start to use Render Groups you will find your own interesting uses for them too. It's one of those features that everyone will see something different in.
Key: (For the Opacity setting.) Moves through the existing keyframe numbers. Enter a number in the entry field to go to a specific key or use the arrows to scroll through. Note: This is not referring to the frame number, but rather whether it's the first keyframe, second keyframe, etc. For example, the first keyframe might be on frame 0, and the second keyframe might be on frame 65.
Frame: (For the Opacity setting.) Displays the frame number that a keyframe is on. Also, you can type a number in here to change the actual frame that a keyframe is on. For example, lets say you have keyframe #2 and it's on frame 33. Just type in 52 and now keyframe #2 will be on frame 52. It's a really fast way to accurately move a keyframe.
Opacity: Sets the opacity of the Render Group. In other words, to what extent the objects in this Render Group will be dissolved. The range is from 0.0 (dissolved out-- invisible) to 1.0 (solid-- no dissolve). Note: This will apply to all objects in the Render Group.
Notes About Lights In Render Groups: Light Masters can be added to Render Groups. When a Light Master is added to a Render Group, it (and its member lights) will illuminate only the objects contained in that Render Group and all of its child Render Groups. With this feature you can drag & drop Light Masters, Render Groups, and objects to easily test various lighting conditions. See the LightSystem_Sample.mpj scene for a sample of using lights in Render Groups. It is located in the messiah_content\Scenes\Samples folder.
Any Light Master not contained in a Render Group is a global light source; it will light all objects (though you can still use the per-surface light exclusion).
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