Dome Based Lighting

Hello every one.

And welcome to my tutorial on how to produce a dome based lighting efect. In this tutorial I will show you how to light up your scene using dome based lighting in Maya 8.0. I Iove this technique, because it's very fast when it comes to rendering and can save you alot of time when using this method.

So lets begin, if you launch Maya up or if you have Maya already open make sure you have a new scene open.

1. Well in this case I will render my Fiat Punto car model which is illustrated below, you can use any object regardless.

2. Now go to the top view port and create a plane with a height of 50 and a width of 50 like the image below.

3. While still in the top view port, create a sphere with a radius of 25 and subdivisions of 40 x 40 as in the image showed below.

4. Turn your view port to the side view and right click the sphere object, then from the pop up menus choose (Faces) like the image indicated right below.

5. Select the half faces and then hit the delete key to remove them just like the image below.

6. Now set your scene and move your object where you think it's looking nice and neat, here is mine in the the picture below.

7. Since you have setup your view ports, it is know time to book mark our scene to move easily back and forth while working on materials, click on view, pull down menu from your active view port and then (Bookmarks>>Edit Bookmarks, like the image below.

8. From the window hit (New Bookmark) button this will bookmark your active view port, now when ever you like to have the same position on the view port you will just bring it by clicking on the view, pull down menu, and then your camera name, like the illustrtaion below.

9. Now Zoom out to see the entire sphere then we will add material just like the image indicates below.

10. Ok go to (Window>>Rendering Editors>>Hypershade) like the picture indicating below.

11. The hypershade window should come up, from the materials list click on the (Lambert) material this will appear on your work area inside the hypershade, first select the sphere which is representing the dome and then on the hypershade right click in (Lambert) material then from pop menus choose (Assign material to selection) this will apply the material to sphere, like the image below.

Note: you can also apply your materials by middle mouse button and drag to desired objects.

12. Still in hypershade window double click on (Lambert) Material to bring the (Attributes Editor), as in the picture showed below.

13. On the Attributes editor click on the small rectangular button in the front (Ambient Color) like the picture.

14. The render node will appear from the list choose file, like the image below.

15. Now from file Attributes click on the small folder to find out your HDRI images like the picture below.

16. Once you have done that you will now need to find out your HDRI images from your hard drive or if you don't have the HDRI images I suggest you go to Paul Debevec website to download your HDRI images , in this case I have few HDRI images in my hard drive so I will use them, on the images below.

17. If you then look at your file Attributes they should look like mine but the HDRI image will be different according to your HDRI image.

18. Its know time to go back to the original view which we have bookmarked our scene, like the image below.

19. Now's the time to setup the render attributes to get a realistic result, ok go to (Window>>Rendering Editors>>Render Settings) as the picture is illustrated below.

20. From the (Render Settings) Dialogue box change the (Render Using) to (Mental Ray), scroll down to bottom from (Render Options) uncheck the (Enable Default Lighting) like the image below.

21.The last but no means least is to click on mental ray tab scroll down a just bit to find out (Final Gather) tab, expand it then use the settings I did below,
(Note: the values you are seeing on the (Min radius) and in the (Max radius) set to (0.5) and (5.0), why I put these values? I would like to share something with you I hope this will make your rendering pretty fast, always make sure you have specific dimensions of your objects, like in this case I have the plane of 50X50 which is repressing the ground, so I divided the value of 50 to 10 and I got the result of 5, like this (50/10=5) so I put the value of 5 on the (Max Radius) and then I again divided the value of 5 to 10 and got the result of (0.5) like this (5/10=0.5) and put it in (Min Radius) by doing this technique you can improve your rendering result plus you will reduce the rendering time pretty much.)

So now we are finished it si time to render out your scene, these are a few my final renders.
Note: the lighting of your scene is depending on your HDRI images, so here I rendered with different HDRI images which is obviously affected on the scene lighting.

So guys this was the conclusion of my tutorial I hope you have learned something from this, there are a lot of settings which I recommend, but there are many other ways and settings to change so try messing around with the settings yourself. I am pretty sure you will find something new.

Thank you for reading my tutorial I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

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