Lighting Checklist

Maya, Mental Ray: Lighting

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1. Render Settings Linear Colour Workflow

– Use Mental Ray
– Color management ticked on srbg > Linear
– open exr file type
– RGBA (Float) 4 x 32 bit
– HD render size


2. Render View Linear Colour Workflow

– Display 32-bit floating point on
– Display > Colour management Image: Linear to Display: sRGB


3. Shaders

– Use Mia materials/Mental Ray materials where possible
– colour swatches gamma corrected (.4545)
– bump normal and displacement maps Texture Colour Profile: Linear


4. Scene Scale

Be sure that the scene is scaled to real world units


5. Maya Lights

– Raytraced Shadows On
– Quadratic Falloff (except directionals and portal lights)
– high intensity values for lights if using quadratic falloff
– gamma correct coloured lights using swatches (.4545)
– blackbody for kelvin colour
– Shadow Quality = Shadow rays
– Shadow Blur = Light Angle
– Render Settings > Quality > Unified Sampling Quality (also adjusts shadow quality/anti aliasing)


6. Mental Ray Lights (Use Light Shape Option)

Light Shape Node > Mental Ray > Use Light Shape: On
High Samples is the shadow quality
Render Settings > Quality > Unified Sampling Quality (also adjusts shadow quality/anti aliasing)


7. Physical Sun and Sky

– Camera > Mia Exposure Simple set Gamma: 1
– Directional Light Oriented to time of Day


8. Image based Lighting (IBL)

Make sure you use a HDRI or EXR for your texture, not a .jpg!!

– sphere scaled correctly
– sphere rotated correctly
using a blurred image for lighting helps in animation to smooth FG

Can use 3 IBL setup (optional) 2015 automates this!
– High Res HDRI for reflections
– Blurred HDRI for lighting
– High Res JPG for Backgrounds


9. Camera Exposure

– Gamma: 1
– Film ISO: 0
– Cm2 Factor: Adjusted Accordingly


10. Final Gather

– A good understanding of the 3 settings
– Accuracy (rays cast per point)
– Point Density (amount of points)
– Point Interpolation (blur of points)
– Secondary Diffuse Bounces to 1 or 2 for better bounce quality
(More detail)
Final Gathering Map
– Rebuild On (default rebuilds every render)
– Rebuild Off (adds to FG every render)
– Rebuild Freeze (disables FG and uses cached version only)
– Enable Map Visualizer to view FG points in viewport
Final Gather tracing
– Final Gather Mode set to Animation for rendering FG without caching for animations.


11. Render Settings Quality

Render Settings > Quality > Unified Sampling Quality:
– low .1
– default .25
– high 1 – 2


12. Portal Lights

– Area Portal lights for lighting interiors through windows


13. IES Lights

– Use IES lights for actual manufacturer light settings
– Will probably need to adjust Camera Exposure (mia_exposure_photographic)


14. What’s Causing Flicker/Artifacts/Grain?

– Final Gather: Flicker and Artifacts (see FG sections)
– Shadow Grain on the lights (change Shadow Rays or High Samples)
– Antialiasing (Unified Sampling > Quality)
– Texture Aliasing (coming soon)
– Other Sampling issues such as SSS


Andrew Silke

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