Keep up-to-date with Free tutorials!!


Sign up to our twice-monthly newsletter today for the latest tutorials, interviews and product information.

Sign me up to receive third-party emails from 3dtotal's partners, too!

- Latest news
- Exclusive Shop Offers
- Preview early content
- Plus much more


Not Ready to take that step? OK, Why not just Subscribe to the RSS Feed

submit tutorial
1 | 2 | 3
Global Illumination and Final Gather in Mental Ray for Maya

| Your Rating:
rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star full
(Score 5 out of 5 after 4 Votes)
| Comments 0
Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
Currently, one of the best ways of achieving photo-realistic imagery is to render using Mental Ray for Maya. Mental Ray offers a Global Illumination and Final Gather solution, which when combined, 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 Ray for Maya. It is based on notes from the web, Maya's Help manual and good-old fashion experimentation.



The first thing I always like to do is develop some sort of plan. As they say, 'If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there.' Here is a quick set-up sketch I did in Photoshop. 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 choose from: Lambert, Blinn, Phong or Anisotropic. Lambert has no specular highlights, Blinn has soft specular 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 diffuse increased 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, so as to be able to better study how the light rays are being traced. The last material is the Negative fill. These are being used like large barn doors, stopping the light from spilling. To suck the light from 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 and are 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.

As the sphere subject is not receiving any direct illumination a reflector board has been added. It will catch reflected light from the screen and illuminate the sphere from the front. The same material used for the background has been applied to the reflector board.
A standard hardware render produces an almost black image as most of the illumination is to be achieved from bouncing light.


Global Illumination

The first part involves setting up the Global Illumination. Once a good photon map has been created, then Final Gathering will be added to increase indirect illumination. Global Illumination using Mental Ray, requires the adjustment of two main sections: the light's attributes and the Render Globals Settings.

Both light's attributes are first set-up. To get realistic lighting behaviour,

- the decay rate is set to Quadratic and.
- the light intensity is initially set to 120.
- Raytraced shadows are turn on in the Shadow attributes section.
- Lastly, in the Mental Ray section, the light is set to emit photons.

To create the Global Illumination solution, the Mental Ray render is selected in the Render Globals Settings, and in the 'mental ray' tab, the Quality Preset is set to Draft and Global Illumination is turn on in the Caustics and Global Illumination section.

Here the initial render is created. The Negative Fill boards were adjusted to give a more even lighting. Both the light's intensity was reduced by half down to 60 - giving a total combined intensity of 120. The spot lighting effect was also reduced by increasing the Penumbra Angle to 10.

continued on next page >

1 | 2 | 3
Related Tutorials

Human Skin - the Mental Ray Subsurface Scattering Fast Skin shader

by Philippe Le Miere
published on 2009-12-09

Keywords: character, face, human, skin,

rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star none (19)
Comments 1 Views 171425

Photon Illumination of DGS Materials in Mental Ray for Maya

by Philippe Le Miere
published on 2009-12-09

Keywords: photon, illumination, materials, mental, ray,

rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star full (2)
Comments 0 Views 62442

Diamond Caustics

by Philippe Le Miere
published on 2009-12-09

Keywords: diamond, caustics, lighting, rendering,

rating star fullrating star fullrating star fullrating star nonerating star none (4)
Comments 1 Views 56538

Game Animation Video Tutorials: Workflow Tips for Planning Animation

by Jason Shum
published on 2017-03-11

Keywords: game animation, Jason Shum, Maya

rating star nonerating star nonerating star nonerating star nonerating star none (0)
Comments 0 Views 10566
Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
no comments!
No comments yet. Be the first to comment!
Add Your Comment..