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Lighting and Rendering with mental ray in Maya with Eric Keller shows how to master practical mental ray techniques for rendering models created in Maya. This course walks through the most efficient and innovative mental ray techniques, including direct versus indirect lighting methods, creating different types of shadows, using the new ShadowMap camera, and reusing shadow and final gathering maps. A chapter on optimizing render times and enhancing render quality is also included. Exercise files are included with the course.
So I'd like to show you how to set up a batch render, when you are using render layers and render passes together. So I have simple Frankensteins monster toy in this scene. I just have a very simple camera animation. So, it's just moving back and forth. The whole animation is about 48 frames. I have several render layers here. On this toy layer, I am going to render the toy, the ground, I am going to render the shadow of the ball, but not the visibility of the ball.
It's been turned off in this render layer, using render layer overrides. chromeBall, I am going to render just the ball and the reflection of the monster on the ball, and then I have an additional render layer, which has a colorMask, so I have this blue applied to the ground plane, green for the ball and red for the monster toy. So if I open up the Render Settings window and take a look at the passes that I am going to render, for the toy layer, I have an ambient occlusion pass, a diffuse pass, and a reflection pass, and a specular pass.
And I came up with custom names for these passes, which will make it much more easier to see what's going on. I am going to bring them into After Effects. To do this, just double-click on the pass, and in the renderpass field, type in a custom name. It's a great way to help organize your files. Also remember, since I want to render an ambient occlusion pass, remember to go in your Features tab and turn on ambient occlusion. This is an easy thing to forget, and you don't want to come the next day to find that you've rendered out 2,000 frames of nothing, because you forgot to turn this on, so make sure you turn that on.
I am going to switch to the chromeBall render layer, and you will see these are the same thing, ball ambient occlusion, ballDiffuse, reflection, and specular. In some cases, of course, I can reuse the same pass for both render layers, but I would want to demonstrate other files look once you create a batch render. And if I switch to the color mask, all these will pop up to the same passes, meaning there is no associate passes. So I don't have any passes associated with this render layer.
It's just that render layer. So I just want to do a couple of things to set this up to get it ready for the batch render. I am going to switch back to the toy layer, and I want to make sure that I am going to render out a sequence. So I will set the Frame/Animation Extension field to name, number, extension, and I would like to put my frame padding at 4, so that I have a number of zeros before the number of the frame. After Effects is fairly forgiving if you don't put it frame padding here, but Nuke is not.
If you are getting composite with the Nuke, make sure you have some frame padding in there, and I am going to go to my Frame Range and set my End frame to 48. And then in order to organize these a little bit better, I am going to type in the File name prefix, RenderPass. You can find these just by right- clicking and choosing right here, just a little secret there for you. I am going to hit Enter, so what will happen is it's going to create a folder named after my render layer, so there will be a folder called toy, and a folder called chromeBall, and a folder called colorMask, so different folder in my Images Directory for each rendered layer.
Within that directory, it's going to name the image after my renderpass, so I will have an image called toyAO, toyDiffuse, toyReflection, toySpecular. I will actually create an image sequence name for each one of those. The other thing I like to do is, since I am not rendering render passes for the colorMask, I am going to create a render layer override for the file name prefix. Notice this turns to orange. And here I am just going to right-click, and instead of render pass, I am going to choose render layer.
So in this case, for colorMask, I am just going to have sequence named colorMask, so it's not going to add anything that I don't want. But since I have created a render layer override for this, you will notice that it's just on for that layer. If I switch to chromeBall, this should switch back to RenderPass - same with the toy. You can see this is toy/renderpass. The last few things I always like to double check. Make sure I am using the right camera, in this case, the renderCam. That's the one I want. And I can disable the Default Light.
I don't need that. And I have, one more time, double-check my ambient occlusion and at this point, I am ready to create my batch render. So I'll open the Script Editor, so I can see the progress, and I am going to choose Render > Batch Render. And while you are watching the Script Editor update for the batch render, it's just going to show you MasterBeauty. And you will see, in a moment here, it's not actually going to list out the name of the passes, so it will say here is my toy directory and here is the name of the file MasterBeauty.
You won't see a separate label for the render passes, because remember those are coming out of the frameBuffer that's being created here. So don't panic if you don't your Ambient Occlusion pass or your Diffuse pass, and so on and so forth; it should be created as this is rendering. So once the batch render has completed, the next step will be to import the files into a compositing program, such as Adobe After Effects, and piece together the composite from the rendered images created by the render passes.
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