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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.
When working in a scene that uses Final Gathering lighting and an animated camera, there are some techniques that you can use to help optimize the rendering when you're reusing the Final Gathering Map. So, I have a scene here, and the camera is actually rotating around this object. In my Render Settings, under Indirect Lighting, I have Final Gathering activated. So, when I render the scene, it looks this in the start frame in the beginning of the animation.
So, this is what it looks like. So, what I like to do is save a Final Gather Map from the scene. The problem is since the camera is moving. If I create a Final Gathering map on frame 1, remember that Final Gathering points are actually created by the camera. So they're shot into the scene. So I can reuse that map for frame 1, but as the camera moves around, that map is not going to be useable in subsequent frames. So, one of the things that I can do is, under Final Gather Map, I have this set to Rebuild.
So I'm going to create a Final Gathering Map file. So, I'm going to call this animFGMap. I'm going to turn Rebuild on. I'm also going to enable the Map Visualizer. I'll create a render. So, here is our render from camera one. If I look in the scene, you can clearly see the Final Gathering points. I'm going to turn off the visibility of polygons, so that we can see what the Final Gather points look like.
So, you can see, as the camera moves in this scene, if I decide I want to reuse this map on subsequent renders, it's not going to work very well when the camera is over here. It's going to look somewhat strange. So what I can do is I'm going to create a Final Gather map that takes advantage of different positions of the camera in the scene. Really, the whole point of creating and reusing Final Gather points, you don't have to do this for every time a scene is animated, but it can help out in making the render a little bit faster, and also if I reuse the map, especially in complex scenes, and the render crashes for some reason, at the very least I save myself the trouble of having to recalculate Final Gather for every time I render each frame of this scene, and just reuse that map, and I can just render the rest of the scene separately.
So, what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to move the camera to a different spot, let's say about frame 30, and I'm going to set Rebuild to off. This can be a little bit confusing because what this really means is that it's going to reuse this map. But if it needs to create additional Final Gathering points in this scene, when this is set to Off, it will create those points and add them to what's already created and stored in this map. So, if I go into the Render view, and I'll render again from camera1, I'll store this, and if I look back in the scene, now you can see how I have more points added to the animation.
So, I have from this angle, and from this angle. So now I'm going to set this to about frame 50, create another render. You can see, now I have a third set of Final Gathering points. I'll go to frame 70 and create another render. I have a fourth set of points. I'll go to the end of the animation. So, now I have a Final Gathering map that covers, essentially, every view of the camera.
So, when I'm ready to create a batch render of this animation, I'm going to set Rebuild to Freeze. When this is set to Freeze, no matter what, no additional Final Gathering points will be added to the scene. So, it's going to use exactly what it has. When I render a batch render, it's going to use this map, and exactly these Final Gathering points. This can save a little bit of time. You could also set this to off, and then it will just add the points that it needs while it's rendering the animation, as well as using the points that are in here.
These are just ways to cut down on the render time when using Final Gathering. Also, it's sort of an added security blanket to protect against having to re-create a lengthy render if the render crashes during a batch render.
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