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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites
Illustration by John Hersey

Batch rendering render passes: Project two


From:

Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

with Lee Lanier

Video: Batch rendering render passes: Project two

We're now going to move on to the Project 2 and prepare that for rendering. We're also going to use mental ray contribution maps and render passes for this render. We want to split this spaceship up into multiple render passes. Now in order to do that, we have to go through some of the steps we have already discussed in Project 1. It's not a bad idea to get some practice, and in fact some of the render passes we will choose for this particular project will be slightly different from Project 1. So let's get started setting this up for the render passes and the render. The first thing I want to do is once again hide the image plane.
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  1. 2m 0s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  2. 29m 49s
    1. Working with image sequences
      7m 24s
    2. Importing reference video as an image plane
      5m 13s
    3. Matching the 3D camera to the video footage
      4m 23s
    4. Lighting the model
      5m 35s
    5. Creating mattes and shadows in preparation for rendering
      7m 14s
  3. 15m 38s
    1. Using the Render Layer Editor
      4m 21s
    2. Splitting a scene into multiple render passes
      6m 6s
    3. Adding flexibility by assigning material and render overrides
      5m 11s
  4. 15m 2s
    1. Creating render passes using mental ray
      3m 50s
    2. Batch rendering render passes: Project one
      5m 24s
    3. Batch rendering render passes: Project two
      5m 48s
  5. 19m 4s
    1. Importing render passes into After Effects
      6m 25s
    2. Recombining render passes in a composition
      6m 31s
    3. Transforming multiple render passes as a single unit
      6m 8s
  6. 48m 7s
    1. Setting up a motion tracker
      5m 17s
    2. Using a tracker to analyze motion in footage
      3m 56s
    3. Adjusting tracker options for better results
      7m 2s
    4. Matching layer motion by applying tracker data
      6m 26s
    5. Refining a layer's transparency with rotoscoping
      6m 45s
    6. Improving layer movement with the Smoother tool
      5m 7s
    7. Improving the CG by adding blur and effects
      8m 7s
    8. Adding shadow to make the composite believable
      5m 27s
  7. 32m 36s
    1. Recombining render passes for project two
      5m 17s
    2. Removing unwanted elements with a garbage mask
      4m 57s
    3. Applying motion tracking data to a null layer
      6m 38s
    4. Adjusting shadows and matte edges
      8m 12s
    5. Using color correction to improve layer integration
      7m 32s
  8. 25m 46s
    1. Stabilizing shaky video with the Tracker
      8m 2s
    2. Tracking rectangular elements with the Perspective corner pin option
      5m 31s
    3. Adjusting corner pin points and paths
      6m 56s
    4. Applying corner pin data to multiple layers
      5m 17s
  9. 1m 16s
    1. Next steps
      1m 16s

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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites
3h 9m Intermediate Aug 17, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, professional animator and director Lee Lanier shows how to create render passes in Autodesk Maya, recombine the passes in Adobe After Effects, and motion track the passes to live-action video footage that contains a moving camera or a moving character. The course covers both the Render Layer Editor and mental ray contribution pass systems. Additionally, 1- and 2-point motion tracking and match moving, stabilization, and 4-point corner pin tracking are discussed.

Topics include:
  • Working with image sequences
  • Matching the 3D camera to video footage
  • Lighting models in Maya
  • Splitting a scene into multiple render passes
  • Batch rendering
  • Recombining render passes in an After Effects composition
  • Setting up motion trackers
  • Refining layers with rotoscoping
  • Adding blur and effects
  • Adjusting shadows and matte edges
  • Using color correction
  • Stabilizing shaky video
Subjects:
3D + Animation Rendering Textures Video Materials Compositing Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects Maya
Author:
Lee Lanier

Batch rendering render passes: Project two

We're now going to move on to the Project 2 and prepare that for rendering. We're also going to use mental ray contribution maps and render passes for this render. We want to split this spaceship up into multiple render passes. Now in order to do that, we have to go through some of the steps we have already discussed in Project 1. It's not a bad idea to get some practice, and in fact some of the render passes we will choose for this particular project will be slightly different from Project 1. So let's get started setting this up for the render passes and the render. The first thing I want to do is once again hide the image plane.

So I want to turn Alpha Gain to 0. Then we want to go right to the Render Settings window, and if I am not already there, make sure I have set up mental ray. Then I want to go to the Quality tab and make sure my Anti-Aliasing is good enough. Right now, it's set to a lower quality, so I'm going to switch to Custom Sampling and set to 0, 2. That's high quality. Now we can set up some passes. I'm going to go back to Passes tab, and right now it's empty. Click the Create Render Passes button and pick some passes. Now this one is going to use a slightly different list as compared to Project 1, and I'll discuss how it varies.

The first one we want is Diffuse Without Shadows. Next, we want Incandescence. I'm going to Ctrl-click or Command-click that. Next is Matte. After that we have Reflection, and then comes Raw Shadow. Again, pick Raw Shadow, and now just Shadow. So Raw Shadow, and then there's the Specular that's also a little bit different, and that's Specular Without Shadows. So the new ones here in this case are Diffuse Without Shadows. So that's actually the color of the surface with the shading but no shadows.

And I say shading in terms of the dark versus light areas. Incandescence is also new. That's because this particular spaceship model has incandescent logos, and we also have Specular Without Shadows which is just a specular pass but no cast shadows. So now we have picked render passes now we can click Create and Close. That makes them list in the Scene Passes section. So then we can click this Associate button and pass them down to the next section which is in the Associated Passes section, and now we can make a Contribution Map, because right now we have none. I'm going to click this Create new pass button here.

If we go to our Render Layer editor and go back to the Channel Box, you'll see that ContributionMap is listed here underneath the master layer. Now we have a contribution map, I can go back to my passes, Shift-select them and associate them with our ContributionMap, and there they are. Now we can go on to our Common tab and set up all our common rendering attributes. For instance, the name, I will call mine Shot2Ship. Once again, we want to use the PSD layered so we can stuff all those rendered passes into single Photoshop files.

We'll test one frame first and name.ext is fine here. We'll double check our resolution, and we still have HD, which is good. So these are all set here, and I can double-check my project settings, File > Set Project. I want to pick my Exercise Files folder, so all the images are rendering to the Images folder below that. Click Set, and now we're ready to test the frame. Let me close this window, go to Render > Batch Render. I go to Script Editor and take a peek. Now this renderer is going to be slower than the render for Project 1.

There is lot of reflectivity and special maps like Incandescence which slows it down. All right, there it's finished. Now we can go out of Maya and go to our Exercise Files folder, and right below exercise files-- in my case if I go to the Images folder--this is where it's going to render. Now much like the spyglass render, it's going to place those render passes in separate folders initially, then combine them into a single PSD, and then get rid of the original IFF renders. So these folders up here, some of these are from the spyglass render and some are from this render, but all these folders are now empty.

The final render for the ship is right here Shot2Ship, so I can open up that in Photoshop, and here it is, and here is layers. So let's take a look at the layers. Once again, we have the background, which you get for free, and that's just solid black. Next is Incandescence. That is the Incandescence logo. Next is diffuseNoShadow. So this is diffuse color quality, but there is shading. In other words, the bottom is a little bit darker, but there's no cast shadow. Next is Matte, once again, a white on black render. Next is ShadowRaw where you get to cast shadow as a white render over the black.

Next is the Reflection, and the here below MasterBeauty is specularNoShadow. That's just specular with no cast shadows. And you'll also get the MasterBeauty pass for free. So that's working. So let's go set it up for a batch render where we can render all the frames. We'll need all the frames so we can composite. We go back to Maya, go back to Render Settings window, and there is really only two things that change here. One is you need to change the frame animation extension to name.#.ext. Again, this is very important to make sure After Effects selects the files in the correct order.

Also, we need to adjust your Frame Padding to a higher number such as 3 to make sure we have the correct number of numeric places--or at least that they are equal for all the numbers. In other words, frame 1 has the same number of places as frame 10 or frame 100, et cetera. Right now, we set these two things. We're ready to batch render the entire sequences. We do need to check our frame range. It's set to 1 to 10 by default. We actually want to render frame 1 to 90, because that's the duration of this pre-animated sequence. So I'll set this to 90, and now we're ready to batch render.

So same approach, Render > Batch Render. Now I'm not going to launch it now. It's going to take a long time, but once this is launched you'll see all 90 frames we have rendered out, and you'll have 90 separate layered PSD files. Now the images have been pre-rendered for you, and they're included in the exercise files if you don't want to wait to render this entire sequence. The final version of this particular file where you have all of the different render passes is already set up for you and all the render settings set for you is saved out. I'd like to take a look at that's called shot2_render.ma.

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