Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya
Illustration by Richard Downs

Describing the Fresnel effect


From:

Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya

with Eric Keller

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Video: Describing the Fresnel effect

Another important concept to understand when talking about reflections is the concept of Fresnel reflections. Fresnel reflections are named after the 19th Century French physicists Augustin-Jean Fresnel. This property describes how reflections behave based on the angle at which they are viewed. The angle which the surface is viewed is often referred to as the angle of incidence. As a surface turns away from the eye or the rendering camera, it can become increasingly reflective.
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  1. 2m 19s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  2. 17m 49s
    1. Explaining diffuse reflections
      2m 39s
    2. Defining glossy and blurred reflections
      2m 32s
    3. Looking at refraction
      4m 20s
    4. Describing the Fresnel effect
      1m 56s
    5. Understanding anisotropy
      1m 10s
    6. Identifying ambient and reflection occlusion
      1m 49s
    7. Defining sub-surface scattering
      2m 4s
    8. Simulating translucency
      1m 19s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Using Maya's standard shaders with mental ray
      7m 2s
    2. Comparing mental ray and Maya shader nodes
      9m 12s
    3. Creating mental ray shaders
      2m 32s
    4. Making sense of mental ray shaders
      10m 35s
    5. Introducing the mia_material
      9m 16s
    6. Creating a custom mia_material preset
      9m 17s
    7. Looking at car paint materials
      6m 43s
    8. Using subsurface scattering shaders
      13m 33s
  4. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding UV coordinates
      4m 26s
    2. Comparing NURBS and polygon UVs
      4m 48s
    3. Mapping polygon UV surfaces
      13m 1s
    4. Using texture maps for color and other shader channels
      8m 1s
    5. Applying and projecting 2D procedural texture nodes
      4m 0s
    6. Applying 3D procedural texture nodes
      7m 1s
    7. Using ramp textures
      8m 12s
    8. Setting up utility nodes
      6m 29s
    9. Using file texture nodes
      9m 41s
  5. 22m 36s
    1. Applying the turbulence texture
      9m 37s
    2. Considering the round corners texture
      4m 17s
    3. Improving skin detail with ambient occlusion
      4m 27s
    4. Applying reflection occlusion
      4m 15s
  6. 33m 6s
    1. Painting bump maps
      4m 14s
    2. Creating normal maps
      5m 24s
    3. Applying normal maps in Maya
      6m 17s
    4. Creating displacement maps
      9m 14s
    5. Troubleshooting displacement maps
      7m 57s
  7. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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Watch the Online Video Course Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya
3h 30m Intermediate Sep 28, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya with Eric Keller shows how to create textures and materials, and then apply them to models to render realistic surfaces. The course covers working with the mental ray shading nodes, including the mental images architectural node, subsurface scattering nodes, occlusion, and car paint shaders, as well as how to incorporate these nodes into shading networks using the Hypershade editor. It also explores using textures, Maya software nodes, normal maps, and displacement maps for adding detail to models. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding shading concepts
  • Simulating the Fresnel effect for realistic reflections
  • Rendering transparent and translucent surfaces
  • Comparing mental ray and Maya standard shaders
  • Introducing the mia_material
  • Developing shader networks
  • Using subsurface scattering shaders
  • Mapping polygon UV coordinates
  • Incorporating texture nodes into networks
  • Improving skin detail with ambient occlusion
  • Painting bump maps
  • Creating normal and displacement maps
  • Troubleshooting maps
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
Eric Keller

Describing the Fresnel effect

Another important concept to understand when talking about reflections is the concept of Fresnel reflections. Fresnel reflections are named after the 19th Century French physicists Augustin-Jean Fresnel. This property describes how reflections behave based on the angle at which they are viewed. The angle which the surface is viewed is often referred to as the angle of incidence. As a surface turns away from the eye or the rendering camera, it can become increasingly reflective.

So a good example of this is this render that I have right now. I'm comparing two different surfaces. They have an equal amount of reflectivity applied. But this surface exhibits the phenomena of Fresnel reflections. You can see on the parts of the surface that are more perpendicular to the camera are less reflective than the parts of the surface that are moving away from the camera. You can sort of think of it this way. Pretend that you are standing at the edge of a clear lake. If you look straight down into the lake, you can clearly see the bottom and all the fish and all that stuff in the lake.

But as you look out over the surface of the lake, in other words, as the angle of incidence increases, the surface becomes more reflective. It becomes harder to see what's actually in the lake. So adding Fresnel type reflections to your surface can greatly increase the realism in the surface. You notice how this perfectly reflective surface looks just a little less realistic than this one right here. This looks a little bit more like steel. This looks like a mirror or chrome, which in some cases can be appropriate. But depending on the type of metal or the type of reflective surface that you're designing, consider how the surface reflects the light in the environment, and whether or not you should add a certain amount of Fresnel reflectivity to the surface.

Some mental ray shaders have this built-in, but in some case, with other shaders it's something that you can build into your shading network.

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