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Realistic lighting and reandering


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There isn't much about for rendering architecture in Maya - it's worth searching for XSI tutorials for Mental Ray - they seem to be better organised. Also try the 3D MAX sites as there are some things appearing about lighting using Mental Ray. It may be worth you looking at this site as well:



Haven't seen the tutorial myself, but the content sounds promising. None of the Maya training manuals seem to give any decent advice.

Hope this helps - if you do find something really good, please post, as I'm struggling myself!



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Thanx Guys!! If i find anything i will let u guys know!! and if i figure out a cool way to light the scene up i will also let u know!! :D


derijones: thanks for the link! i will get back to u after i hav had a chance to look at the link!!


thanks again!! :)

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How are you getting on with the outside rendering? I've been playing with Mental Ray for the last couple of days:

1. Scene size - if you do your modelling externally, make sure it's imported at the correct scale (centimetres is the Maya default) - otherwise things like photon intensity and physical light shader values either become huge (if you modelled in metres) or you end up typing a lot of zero's after the value (if you work in millimetres).

2. I use a Mental Ray HDRI node (under image based lighting in render set up) with one of the Dosch HDRI's. This is set to emit some 25-50000 photon's (the emit light settings seem to increase render times massively!) and is used for FG.

3. I use a spotlight with mental ray area light settings for sun - don't generally use a physical light shader for this as it is far away. Area light sampling settings are generally 10,10 for decent soft shadows.

4. Spend time tuning the raytracing, sampling, GI and FG settings in the mental ray render settings - the standard "production" set up will result in very long render times. There's a big thread on the various ways of tuning these on CGtalk - mine end up around:

0,2 for samples, Mitchell, 4,3,6 for raytracing, GI accuracy around 1-2000, radius 50, FG rays 300, max/min radius set at 10%/1% of scene width.

5. Turn on "Progress messages" under "translation" - this gives good feedback as to what is going wrong when its rendering - watch for missed texture file references.

6. For good glass/metals - use the MR materials (DGS).


This has gotten me to a just about acceptable level of lighting - materials is a different story! Please post any ideas here - I need all the help I can get to get my head around it!

PS: the motiondesign website seems to be a bit of a dud- see my post on the other thread. Having read a couple of reviews on the Gnomon DVD's as well, I'm not sure I'll be geting them either.

Best of luck


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