Shading and Lighting Massive Scenes in Air Space


A Massive rib file that has been converted with massrib can be edited with Air Space, the standalone shading and lighting tool included with the Windows distribution of AIR.  Air Space provides a simple means of lighting a scene and customizing the shading for individual agents.  More information about Air Space can be found in the Air Space user manual.

Preparing a Massive Scene for Air Space

When preparing rib export in Massive, make sure the main rib file name is of the form:


Air Space looks for a frame number between periods just before the .rib extension.

Creating a New Air Space Project

A new project is created using a single frame as reference for the IPR preview and opengl window.    You can change the reference frame at any time using the Switch Model item in the File menu.

For a new project you will have the option of importing the existing shaders and lights from your rib file, allowing you to utilize the shaders assigned to agents in Massive.  If your scene contains references to texture maps, make sure you use the -mapdir option in massrib to remap the texture file references if necessary.

Note:  distant lights imported from Massive will appear quite small, near the scene origin.

Rendering a Frame Sequence

The shading and lighting in a project can be applied to an entire sequence.  To render a sequence of frames, select Frame Sequence in the Animation panel on the Render page and enter a frame range in the text box, such as


Click the blue Render button in the toolbar to render the sequence, or choose Export Only from the Render menu to export frames without rendering.  Exported frames reside in a subdirectory of the current project directory.  For a project named stadium with version number 1, the exported frames will be, e.g.,


While a sequence is being rendered, it is important not to overwrite the files in the export directory.  You can continue working and rendering in Air Space by incrementing the version number, which will create a new export directory.  Note that the export directory contains only shading, lighting, and basic rendering options. The scene geometry is stored in the mapped rib files created from the source ribs, and those are shared across render versions.

Making Changes to Animation

Air Space stores shading and lighting information in a manner that is independent of the underlying scene file.  If you make changes to your animation in Massive, you can re-export rib files, convert them with massrib, overwrite the current ribs used by Air Space, and Air Space will automatically produce new mapped rib files and apply current materials and lights to the new simulation.  Use the Refresh Model button in the Air Space toolbar to reimport geometry from a changed source rib file.


  • Shadow maps cannot be generated per-frame.  Use ray-traced shadows instead.


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