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This video will go through an exercise to explain some of the characteristics that we need to set up correctly, for the rendering on the decals to work. If we take a look at this scene, we have a directional light, we have a simple sphere, we have a plane, which is going to be the one that we apply the decal to, and we have a grand plane. Like so. So as it stands, let's go ahead, check our Render Settings. Right now we're on Mental Ray. And I want to make sure that my default lights are disabled, because we have a directional light, and that's the one we're going to use.
Let's go ahead and render this. So, you can see that the sphere is casting a shadow onto the decal plane. And also the ground plane, and also the decal plane is casting a shadow onto the ground plane as well. Let's save this. Let's go ahead and apply a decal to our decal plane. So let's select that, let's go to Attributes. I'm going to go to Blend, let's go to Transparency > File, and let's just choose something like the letter A.
Now let's re-render. And you'll notice we don't see anything, the transparency hasn't worked correctly in this particular case. So let's see what's happening here. I'm going to go back up to Render Settings, and I'm going to switch to Maya Software. And let's go ahead and re-render. You'll notice that works straight away, there's no shadows right now, but the decal transparency has worked correctly. There is a setting that we need to change, so that it works correctly with Mental Ray.
So let's go back, switch to Mental Ray. And we're going to go up to Windows > Settings and Preferences and Preferences. And under Rendering, we're going to switch on Use Maya style alpha detection. In other words, we're telling Maya to use the same characteristics that are successful for Maya's software rendering and apply those to Mental Ray. Let's Save that. Now if we re-render with Mental Ray. You'll notice that the transparency is working correctly, but our transparency plane has a slight shadowing along the outside and also it’s casting a shadow down to the ground plane.
So first of all, let's correct this slight shadowing on the actual plane. We want that to be completely transparent. So we're going to save this. Let's go ahead and select that plane again. If we scroll down to Specular Shading, you notice that we have a gray Specular Color. I'll going to take that right down to black like this and let's re-render. And you'll notice now, so on the plane, there is no indication other than the transparency alpha, which is the letter A. But the alpha plane is still casting a shadow down to the ground plane.
We need to correct this because the alpha is essentially a sticker that's sitting on top of the body. And we just don't want any indication of a shadow from that decal. So let's select that again, and this time I'm going to go to the PlaneShape2. And under Render Stats, I'm going to tell this plane don't cast any shadows by unchecking this. So let's go back. Re-render. And you will notice now, there are no shadows cast by that decal plane. Finally, the last thing we want to do now is correct the shadowing. I want to just have some soft shadowing along this edge here.
Even though the only shadow that this decal will catch will probably be from the indent on the rotary dial. I just want to fine tune that just a fraction. Let's save this. Those characteristics are going to be held by the actual light source, so if I select the light source, we have a couple of options. We can use Depth Map Shadows, or we can Use Ray Trace Shadows. I'm going to use ray trace shadows for this, and, I'm going to change this value to say 2.000. And let's re-render.
And you will notice, by re-rendering now, we have a softer shadow appearance along the edge there and also on the decal. It's a very subtle change, but it can make a difference in the rendering. So this is the basic setup for all the decals that I've used on this model.
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