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The open EXR image format is a special image format that can contain the render passes that you set up in mental ray as separate color channels. If you are used to working with the EXRs in your compositing program, I want to show you the steps that you will need to take in order to create one of these from a Maya render. So there is a few steps that you need to know about. So I have my Frankensteins monster toy scene right here, and I have already set up some render passes, so let's take a look.
I am going to disable the rendering of the chromeBall and the colorMask. Let's just take a look at the toy render layer. So if I go to my Passes tab here, for the toy render layer I have my Ambient occlusion, the AO pass, Diffuse, Reflection, Specular, and any other number of passes that I could add to this will be included. So to render an EXR, there are couple of things you need to do. First, what I like to do is go to the Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager and make sure that open the OpenEXRLoader.mll is activated.
This is the same window on the Mac, but instead of .mll, it will say .bundle; that's the only difference, but it's the same plug-in. Let's just make sure that I can view OpenEXRs and work with EXRs in Maya smoothly without any problems. So just make sure that that's loaded. The next thing you will need to do is make sure that the Framebuffer is set correctly so that you can contain the extra channels within the EXR image. So you will want to go to the Quality tab, scroll down to Framebuffer section - It's at the very bottom - and set the Framebuffer. By default it's set to RGBA, so that's four channels at eight bits per channel. Set this to RGBA (float), so that's four channels, 32-bits per channel.
This is necessary in order to render EXRs correctly.
So once you have that set, you can go to the Common tab and set your image
format to EXR, OpenEXR, right here.
When you do that, you'll have an extra option here.
This is the Frame Buffer Naming option, and this will allow you - when you import
this into your compositing software, you will actually see the names of your
renderPasses as extra channels.
So you can leave this set to Automatic, or you can set this to Custom, and you
can see this is the file tokens that will be added, so it will be
The only other thing you will need to worry about is make sure that this file
name prefix is not set to renderPass, because what will happen is it will create
an extra image for renderPass and kind of defeat the purpose of using the EXR
format, so you can set that anything else.
I usually set to something like the
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