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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

Using the Render Layer Editor


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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

with Lee Lanier

Video: Using the Render Layer Editor

When rendering CG you have the option to render in render passes. Render passes split up a render into different shading components. For example, you can render the diffused color separate from specular highlights, separate from a shadow, for instance. Now normally when you render in Maya, you get a beauty pass, and that's all the shading components combined, that's what you are used to seeing. But you do have the option to render as render passes, and these are great for compositing, it gives you a lot of flexibility because each component is on a different render, which you can affect separately. There are several ways to create render passes in Maya.
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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

Using the Render Layer Editor

When rendering CG you have the option to render in render passes. Render passes split up a render into different shading components. For example, you can render the diffused color separate from specular highlights, separate from a shadow, for instance. Now normally when you render in Maya, you get a beauty pass, and that's all the shading components combined, that's what you are used to seeing. But you do have the option to render as render passes, and these are great for compositing, it gives you a lot of flexibility because each component is on a different render, which you can affect separately. There are several ways to create render passes in Maya.

There is a simple way, which is through the Render layer Editor, and there is a more advanced way, where you go through mental ray and use the Contribution Map System. We are going to start with a Render layer Editor. Now we are not going to use the result of this for the final project, but this is very good to know, and I'll show you a quick way to create some very simple passes. I am going to start with where we left off on project 1, this is shot1_step3. We're going to have the spyglass and the lights set up, and it's basically ready to render in some form. So, how do you use a Render layer Editor? Well, it's in the channel box, so if you bring up the channel box, you'll see it's right beside the Display layer Editor, which you normally use to just hide or show objects in different layers.

So we click on the Render tab, there's the Render layer Editor. In this case you always get a master layer for free, and the master layer contains all of the objects in the scene, everything, all the services and lights. Now you can make a new layer at any point. What you can do is select an object, for example, I am going to select that spyglass. I'm going to go to the Hierarchy mode, I want to pick it as a Group, click on it, go over here to the Render layer Editor. I can use one of these shortcut buttons, in fact, the rightmost button is Create new layer and assign selected objects, so I can click that, and there is a new layer.

If I click on layer1, which is brand new, so it turns blue, we'll see that the spyglass is on that layer by itself. So it's similar to Display layer Editor, however, this is ultimately going to affect the way things render. Now if I render this at this point, the spyglass itself is going to be just pure black, because there are no lights. You have to consider what lights are on your layer also for rendering. What I can do though is go back to the master layer--and again, here is everything--and pick my lights. Now I am going to use a shortcut, I am going to go up to the Hypergraph, you can also use the Outliner.

I am going to select those lights by just selecting the nodes there just by drawing a marquee over it and go back to the Render layer Editor then, click layer1, so it's blue, right mouse-click and Add Selected Objects. So you can add objects to a layer at any point, and you'll see that the shading becomes bright again, it's not black, and then I could test render it. Now there is one thing you have to consider, and that's the Image Plane that I have attached to my perspective camera is still there. So I think I'm going to actually hide that, so it doesn't show up in the render.

So what I can do is go up to View here for the perspective camera, go to Image Plane > Image Plane Attributes, select that one Image Plane, that I had previously loaded--you'll see it right there in the sample--but then turn Alpha Gain to 0 and again that's the trick for hiding it from that view. Now if you do a test render, there's a spyglass by itself, and I'll shrink that render down so I can see it. So that's it. Now this is not very exciting because I have the spyglass and the lights, and there's not really anything else in the scene, but let's test the fact that you can have different objects on different layers, in this case. So I am going to hide this, and then create a brand-new piece of geometry.

For instance a Sphere, just so we have something in there we can see. I am going to scale it up and then go back to the Channel Box by clicking the Channel Box tab right here. Now if you go back to the master layer, it's on the master layer automatically. Now because it created on layer1 while that was selected, it's also on layer1. So it matters where you create it, what layer you're currently on. But what I can do now is delete that, so it goes away, go back to master layer, again, there's everything, then create it while I'm on master layer. So let's create a new Sphere, scale up so you can see it.

All right, that sphere again is on the master layer by default, everything goes there. But if I then go to layer1, it's not there. So you can create objects to always be on the master layer, but you can choose what layer they are on. Now I can add that sphere to that layer later, but if I never created on that layer in the first place, it's not there until I say Add Selected Objects. So master layer everything, layer1 just the things that I added and nothing else. So now I am ready to create some additional layers and then use the render pass options to create some actual render passes.

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