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Global Illumination and Final Gather in Mental Ray for Maya

Global Illumination and Final Gather in Mental Ray for Maya

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Published by Ryan Anderson

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Published by: Ryan Anderson on Dec 05, 2009
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04/01/2011

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Global Illumination and Final Gather inMental Ray for Maya
Currently, one of the best ways of achieving photo-realistic imagery is to render using MentalRay for Maya. Mental Ray offers a Global Illumination and Final Gather solution, which whencombined, simulates the physics of real world lighting effects. Now, for the first time in 3d,lighting techniques used by photographers and filmmakers can be applied to computer graphics.The following is a guide for setting up Global Illumination and Final Gather using Mental Rayfor Maya. It is based on notes from the web, Maya’s Help manual and good-old fashionexperimentation.
Setting-up
The first thing I always like to do is develop some sort of plan. As they say, ‘If you don’t knowwhere you’re going, you probably won’t get there.’ Here is a quick set-up sketch I did inPhotoshop. I have included lighting placement and some material information.
 
The basic idea from the sketch was modelled and setup. Maya has four basic shaders to choosefrom: Lambert, Blinn, Phong or Anisotropic. Lambert has no specular highlights, Blinn has softspecular highlights, Phong has hard specular highlights and Anisotropic has irregular highlights.Based on the sketch, the first material will be a white, matte background that has no shine. A basic Lambert material was used with color set to an off white (very light grey) and diffuseincreased above 0.8. Next is the sphere, which will be used as a prop to study the effects of illumination. A Phong shader was used to give it a highly polished, chrome like appearance, soas to be able to better study how the light rays are being traced. The last material is the Negativefill. These are being used like large barn doors, stopping the light from spilling. To suck the lightfrom the scene, a Lambert material was again used, with both the color and diffuse set to black.
 
This is the final scene set-up. Two spot-lights have been added either side of the negative fill andare pointed at the wall. Their light will bounce of the white wall, to create a soft large light,illuminating the back of the ball. Any spill from the lights is being stopped by the black boards.Later the lights will be converted to Mental Ray area lights to create softer shadows.

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