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This installment of Maya Essentials covers the basics of rendering and lighting tools in Autodesk Maya. Author George Maestri goes over the standard renderers and lighting types, and then goes into features such as render layers and advanced lighting. In particular, the course shows how to manipulate lights, add depth of field, and create bokeh effects and reflections—giving your scene just the atmosphere and drama you want.
Anytime you work with cameras you want to see exactly what's going to be shot and rendered from that camera. I've got as seen here that's actually in the Viewport but, I can change the size and shape of that Viewport. I really want to be able to see exactly what the camera is seeing. So we can do that by using gates and we can also add in safe frames to add in things such as Title and Action safe. So I have a scene here with a camera called Camera One. So if I'm in the Camera One Viewport under View, I should have some options here under Camera Settings.
So I've got a number of gates here. Right now it's set to No Gate but if I set it to Film Gate what it will do is it will set it to whatever the back of the camera is set to in the attributes. So we go into View > Camera Attribute Editor you'll see that under Film Back I've got my Film Aspect Ratio and this will determine the aspect ratio of this gate.
So if I bring this up, you will see it gets wider, if I bring it down, it gets smaller. So if it's at 1 it's 1:1. 1.5 is a 3:2 aspect ratio, so that will be 640x480 NTSC TV, and so on, okay. I also have a Squeeze Ratio, so if you're doing something like cinemascope or any anamorphic stuff you can do that as well. Now I have another type of gate, and that's called the Resolution Gate. Now before I get to that, let me show you how that works.
That's based off of the Render Settings. So if I go into my Render Settings window and you scroll down here, you'll see that my Image Size right now is 1280x720, so it's a Device Aspect Ratio of 1.77 and this is at 1.5 right now. So this is actually going to be wider. So if I go to View > Camera Settings > Resolution Gate, it will pick up the Render Settings and use those for the gate.
So that's a crucial setting. Once I have this gate I can use it to position my camera, so for example, I've got this kind of false floor on the set. And if I don't want the edges of that to show in my render, I can make sure that I frame my scene, so I don't see it. Now if I go in to View > Camera Settings, I can also turn off the Gate Mask and that's this gray area around the mask. And if I want to, I can turn that back on to again mask that out.
So it's really just how you want to work, I like keeping it on so that way I very clearly see what's in frame and what's out of frame. Now in addition to this, we also have some basic options here. We have a Safe Action and when I click that on it brings in my Safe Action and Safe Title. And if I want, I can turn on in a Field Chart which gives you a standard animation field charts, in other words, it just lays a grid over the scene and sometimes it's really handy to have this because, at the very least, you know exactly where the center of your frame is, and if you're doing actual animation on a light table with the animation disc, you will understand how this works in an animation context.
So those are some of the basics of how to set gates as well as create safe frames and field charts.
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