Scale Use this setting to globally adjust the overall lighting level in the scene. The higher
the scale, the brighter the scene will be.
The Point Density and Point Interpolation attributes, along with several other attrib-
utes under the Final Gathering Options heading, optimize and further control the FG set-
tings for optimum efficiency and results, especially with animated scenes. Consider using
the basic settings shown in this chapter to become familiar with mental ray for Maya, and
then use FG to crank out fast and elegant renders to show off your models until you get
more comfortable with mental ray.
When you get into complicated and intricate mental ray renders, you should consult the
Maya documentation to learn more about its advanced settings. For now, however, using
FG with basic settings will get you going. Final Gather is a tough nut to crack; it will take you
some time to become proficient at rendering with FG in large and animated scenes.
Next, we’ll try our hand at using FG and regular lights to render the Red Rocket from
the previous chapters. Take a deep breath, call your mother and tell her you love her, and
get started!
Rendering the Red Rocket
You’re all grown up and ready to light a full scene using FG and regular lights to get the
best bang for your buck out of mental ray rendering. In the previous chapter, we briefly lit
the Red Rocket with a key, fill, and rim light (often called a three-point lighting system) to
somewhat match the original photo of the rocket. In this exercise, we will take this con-
cept a few steps further.
Figure 11.41
Accuracy set at 500 increases the smoothness of the soft
shadows.
Figure 11.40
The Final Gather render of the still life
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83564c11.qxd 10/23/07 2:00 PM Page 498
Open the RocketLighting_01.ma file in the Scenes folder of the Red Rocket project. This
has the three lights mentioned before and is set to render through Maya Software. Let’s
take a quick look at the render in Figure 11.42.
Setting NURBS Tessellation
Notice the little black notches in the wheel well,
which is shown here in detail. There are no
holes in the model, so why do these show up?
With NURBS surfaces, the render tessellates
them, and when the tessellation settings are not
high enough for a NURBS surface, such as on
this wheel well, it can create holes.
You can also see that the wheel well is
not smooth where it meets the body of the
rocket. You will have to manually adjust the
quality settings for the wheel well surfaces to
make sure they render smoothly. Luckily for
you, this doesn’t mean you have to remodel the
surfaces.
Figure 11.42
The Red Rocket sim-
ple render
rendering the red rocket 499
83564c11.qxd 10/23/07 2:00 PM Page 499
1. Select one of the wheel well surfaces (as shown) here with its highlighted
wireframe lines.
2. Open the Attribute Editor and expand the Tessellation heading. Open the Simple
Tessellation Options shown here.
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83564c11.qxd 10/23/07 2:00 PM Page 500
3. Set the Curvature Tolerance to Highest Quality and set the U and V
Divisions Factor attributes to 6, as shown here. This will force the ren-
derer to tessellate the NURBS surface smoother than before. Compare
Figure 11.43 with 11.42.
4. Select the other surfaces of the wheel well on both sides of the rocket
one by one, and set their Curvature Tolerance and U and V Divisions Factor attrib-
utes as you did in step 3 to make sure all of the wheel well surfaces render smoothly
and without gaps as shown in Figure 11.44. Experiment with the U and V Divisions
Factor attribute values for your own model to get the best result efficiently.
Figure 11.45
For now, mental
ray renders a
similar result to
Maya Software.
Figure 11.44
Smooth wheel wells
Figure 11.43
For now, mental ray renders a similar result to Maya Software.
rendering the red rocket 501
Rendering in mental ray
Now let’s enable mental ray and render the same view
we saw in Figure 11.42. Don’t worry about Final Gather
(or anything else) just yet. Set the Quality Presets to
Production, but turn off Raytracing. Render a frame
(Figure 11.45) and compare it with your Maya Software
render (Figure 11.42).
You might not see much difference at all. The mental
ray render will look a touch fuzzy compared to the
Maya Software render. This is easily fixed in the Render
settings. Click to expand the Anti-Aliasing Quality sec-
tion and set the Multi-Pixel Filtering’s Filter attribute
from Gauss to Mitchell. A Mitchell filter gives a crisper
output. Render the frame, and the rocket and its decals
should be crisper than before.
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