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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.
There are two basic types of cast shadows that you can create in a Maya scene when you are setting up your lights: Those are depth map and raytraced shadows. This movie is going to cover how to activate depth map shadows for a light. So, if I create a light source, such as a spotLight - and I am going to use the Move tool to drag it up here and quickly look through the light, so I can position it. Switch back to the Perspective view. I want to preview my lighting, so I'll turn on Use All Lights and turn on shadows.
To activate depth map shadows, I'll select the light, and open the Attribute Editor, and make sure that I am on the spotLightShape1 tab, scroll down here, and turn on Use depth map shadows, and that's here in the Shadows roll out. So if I expand Shadows, I'll see Use Depth Map Shadows right here. Lower in the box, you'll see Use Ray Trace Shadows. This is the other type of cast shadow. If I turn this on, it automatically turns off depth map shadows and vice versa.
So if I turn this on, it automatically turns off raytraced shadows. So the two types of shadows are mutually exclusive. You can't use both at the same time for any particular light. You can have lights in the scene some of which use depth map shadows. That's fine. But for any single light, it's either one or the other. So, I am going to increase the Cone Angle of the light and maybe bring it forward a little bit, so I can clearly see the shadows here.
If I do a test render, this is what I get. So here is our basic depth map shadows. You can see it's somewhat grainy. The next step would be to start to tune the shadow so that the quality of the shadow is improved.
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