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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.
Once you start using the Render layer Editor, you have the opportunity to create multiple layers. Once you have multiple layers, you can turn those into special render passes. There is a simple way to do it through the Render layer Editor, which we'll talk about. So we're picking up from the last movie where we have the spyglass set up on its own special layer called layer1, and of course, we saw the master layer. Now one thing you can do is rename a layer, and this will be good because we need to create multiple layers, to create some additional render passes. So if you just double-click, you can rename a layer. I'm going to call this monolayer, named after the monocular. And you can duplicate layers just right here through the Render layer Editor by right mouse keying and choosing Copy layer, that will copy the entire layer, you'll get all the same objects assigned to it on that layer.
So I can go to that new layer, and it looks just the same. I'm going to do that one more time, we need a total of three in this case, and there are three layers. Now the reason I'm doing that is I want to have three layers for three different render passes, each layer can have its own pass. Now, how do you create a pass? What we can do is go through a layer, right mouse key, and pick Attributes. This brings up the Attribute Editor, and if you scroll down near the bottom, you'll see there is a Render Pass Options section. Now by default this is set to Beauty. That's what you normally see when you render, it's a Beauty pass, always showing components put together as what you would expect.
What we can do is turn off the Beauty and pick some other Render Pass and they come with several here in this case. Now this is an older system in Maya, it's not as advanced as mental ray, but it's a quick way to make these few render passes. The first one is Diffuse. That's just the color. So I'm going to turn on Diffuse for that with Beauty off. Now I go back to Channel Box. I can go to next layer and pick a different Render Pass for that. So I can right mouse key there, go to Attributes, and once again that layer is set to Beauty. I can check that off and pick something else, for example, Specular.
Click on Specular, I am going to go back to the Channel Box. Now since this second layer is going to be a Specular render pass, I'm going to rename that just so I know what's going on there. We call it speclayer. I can go to third layer now and then change the Render Pass for that. Right mouse key, Attributes, once again, set to Beauty. We can turn off Beauty and turn on another pass, for example, Shadow. This is going to be the Shadow pass. We'll go back to the Channel Box. I'm going to rename this so I know where it is, and I'm going to call it shadlayer. You can use any names you want as long as it make sense to you.
So what'll happen is these three layers will render with these different render passes, the Diffuse Pass, Specular Pass, and then the Shadow Pass. I know they will render, because this leftmost icon indicates whether a layer will render or not. They have that little green checkboxes, or checkmarks. Now the one that has a red X means it's not going to render, so you can turn these on or off, but I want to render these three. Now you can actually render all these three layers right in the Render view. We have to set up some extra options so to make sure it's working correctly. I'm going to go to Options on the Render layer Editor, and normally when you go here, this is the way it looks by default.
You'll see the Render All layers is not checked, we actually want to check that on. If you check that on just by selecting that one time, then all those layers will render when you go to the Render view. Now how they render is up to the Option box, so I'm going to go to the Option box, there are a couple different variations. Now by default, it just says, Composite layers. That means it's going to render all three layers, in this case individually, and show me the Composite result. And actually the Render layer Editor serves as a very simple compositing tool. We're going to start with that.
Now, because these are composite, it's going to work pretty much like Photoshop. It's going to stack these layers, giving preference to the top except where there is transparency. Now you can choose how the compositing occurs through the blending mode. There are actually simple blending modes up here. Each layer has a menu right here. Now when set to Normal that means we have the Normal style compositing, pretty much like Photoshop in default. You can change this. So, for example, if we go down to the monolayer, I'll leave that Normal. But then go to speclayer, and change that to something that's going to work with the Specular render.
Specular render is just the highlights, so I can actually set that to Screen. And we're going to talk more about blending modes when we get to After Effects, but blending mode determines how the layers are combined mathematically. So in this case, Screen works well for Specular. Now I'll go to the Shadow layer and switch that to Darken, that also works well for shadows. So Darken, Screen, and Normal. Now I'm going to the Render view, in Render, we'll see what happens. It's going to render each layer individually, and you'll see a pop on the screen for a second, then it starts showing me the Composite result.
That's the composite result of all these three separate layers. Now we can see them individually, if we choose another setting, but the first thing you need to do is clear out the buffer, because what happens is Render view stores a buffer of all the past renders. So what I can do is go to File > Remove All Images from Render View, this will clear out the Buffer. Now I'm ready to render again, but I need the check the Options on the Render All layers. I can switch it from Composite layers to Composite and keep layers. If I switch this to Composite and keep layers, all layers will be stored in the buffer.
Now remember, you can't just close this window, you do have to apply it. So, Apply it, and then you can Close. So, now if I render this, you'll see the layers pop up one at a time, and then you'll see the final result. Now, even though I cleared out the buffer in the Render view, I still have this slider down here, and this slider allows me to scroll through the layers. So the first thing you will see is the Composite result, second thing is actually also Composite Result, the third thing looks black. It's actually the shadow layer, the top layer. It's in the Alpha Channel. We go to RGB again, then the next section is the Specular layer.
This includes reflectivity. If I go to last one, that's the Diffuse or the monolayer, basically this layer at the bottom. So if all your layers here are stored in the Buffer, and then the simple Composite results. Now this is not an advanced compositor, but it's good enough to test how different layers might be combined later on in a program like After Effects. So in this movie, we set up additional layers by copying the first layer, we have assigned render passes through the Render Pass Options section to create Diffuse, Specular, and Shadow Renders, and we learned how to render out those passes within the Render view.
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