We’ll setup the basic light settings for linear worklfow with scripts. Please see linear workflow for Mental Ray for more details.
Maya, Mental Ray
This page is for rendering out model turntables for show reels. It’s already a little dated and in 2016 some of the process is a lot easier but it should be helpful. We go through the Mental Ray Setup including some MILA shaders right through to After Effects compositing. The compositing can be just as important as the rendering so make sure you look at that section.
We’ll explore two simple lighting setups for turntable creation…
1. An IBL setup that uses one directional light and the IBL spherical image for fill.
2. A three point area light setup with MR type Area lights
These two methods are designed for compositing a background in post either in AE or Nuke. They include a shadow onto an invisible ground plane which can be removed easily if desired.
We can make a ramp shader or any texture in Maya but while rendering the image sequence we’ll want to switch to a black background and comp it in later.
Lastly we’ll look at the creation of RGB mattes for compositing in After Effects. There’ll be a class covering the grading process in AE too. And we can see the creation of wireframe renders as well. I’d also like to add occlusion layering, rgb mattes and frishluft depth of field. (coming soon)
There’s many styles of turntables, at some stage I’ll create a pinterest page showing some common styles for still images. Many times we can use actual geometry for the background, this might include a studio like rounded room for final gather bounce, tables, stands, black bgs, white cards geometry for reflection and other tricks and techniques. If I have time I’ll add these later.
For reels remember it’s often best to cut turntables together, show close up detail with panning moves, mix up the camera’s a little. The best reference for this is found in car commercials in studio lighting, showing of the details of cars. It’s often done very well. If you plan to do an edit style always render the images in playblast first and cut to music before taking the time to get the lighting right.
*Please note the above Yoki video turntable is 40sec but the passes rendered were only a 200frame repeated loop. It’s not recomended to have the full 40 sec for a show reel and if your model has details be sure to cut the camera in closer as well as per car ads mentioned above. 20 sec per model is plenty for a reel in most cases.
Below are some examples of student work, all rendered in Mental Ray.
Chopper – Tim Krakowiak – 360
XWing Gerrard Southam – 360
Train – Luca D’Annunzio – 360
Munster Mobile – Murray Gardner – Montage
Moon Buggy – Robert Snars – Montage
Professor – Andrew Silke – 360
Contents (3:37 hrs)
1.1 – Camera Setup
1.2 – Turnaround Animation
1.3 – Linear Setup
1.4 – IBL Lighting
2.1 – Invisible Shadow Catcher
2.2 – Changing The Background
2.3 – Background Colour
2.4 – Customising The Background
3.1 – Assigning Shaders
3.2 – Sub Surface Scattering
3.3 – Removing Noise in MILAs
3.4 – Adjusting The Crown
3.5 – Fake Eye Specular
3.6 – MILA Glossiness
3.7 – Second Specular layer
3.8 – Excessive Render Times
4.1 – Render Layers
4.2 – Area Light Setup
4.3 – Three Point Lighting
4.4 – Rim Lights
4.5 – Disabling FG Receive
4.6 – Total Spec Control
4.7 – Reflective Cards
5.1 – Beauty Render
5.2 – Rendering Wireframes
5.3 – RGB Mattes
5.4 – Ambient Occlusion
5.5 – Depth Pass
5.6 – Plain Grey Render
6.1 – AE Folder Structure
6.2 – AE Project Settings
6.3 – AE Composition Settings
6.4 – Creating A Background
6.5 – Adjustment Layers
6.6 – Adding Vignettes
6.7 – Understanding Curves
6.8 – Adjusting Colours
PART 2. IMAGE BASE LIGHTING: ONE LIGHT (STYLE A)
In this section we’ll do a basic IBL setup with a spherical image dome. This is a standard light setup where you can test shadrs easily so it’s good to know. In the later sections we’ll switch over to a 3 point light setup with area lights.
Now we’ll explore the shader setup for the scene and use the new MILA shader which is new in 2015. This section was the first time I’d used MILAs so be a littl epatient with the teaching.
PART 3. SHADER SETUP: MILA MATERIALS & SSS
Time to try out a new lighting setup, this time with area lights, lots of little things to know here.
PART 4. THREE POINT LIGHTING WITH AREA LIGHTS (STYLE B)
Now we’ll prepare the renders for compositing. This is an important setup and will give us a lot of control in After Effects. Grading in After Effects is fun and quick, we’ll get immediate feedback in the compositing program so it’s good to prepare our renders for ultimate control later.
PART 5. RENDER PREPARATION
Now we’re ready to composite in After Effects. We’ll need to setup a solid folder, setup After Effects correctly to work in the correct colour space and structure and learn about the different grading techniques. This is the great part where it all comes together.
PART 6. COMPOSITING IN AFTER EFFECTS