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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.
So you can save a little bit of time when you are rendering with Final Gathering by saving the Final Gather Map file. The Final Gather map is a record of where all the points in the scene are that are created by the camera when rendering with Final Gathering. So if I look in my Render Settings under the Indirect Lighting tab, I have Final Gathering activated. I have the Accuracy set to 200, which is fairly low, but it should work fine for demonstration. And what I want to do is go down to the Final Gathering Map section and Rebuild is set to on, and this is the default setting.
And what I want to do to save a Final Gathering Map file, I want to create a name for my map and put it in this field. So I'm going to call this roomFGMap. And the other thing I want to do is I'm going to enable the map visualizer. And this will basically create a way to visualize where the final gather points are in the scene after I've created a render. So now that I have that activated, and I have a name for my Final Gather Map file.
I am going to create a test render. Okay, here is my render, so I'll store this. It took about 32 seconds. When I go back into Maya and take a look at the scene, I am going to switch to the Perspective view, and in the Perspective view I am going to turn off Polygons and turn off NURBS Surfaces. So now what I am actually seeing is a 3D representation of the Final Gather map in the scene, so each one of these points is a Final Gather point.
And you can see that they are coming from the camera. You can also see they are color coded to show you some of the color bleeding effects. So here is the green that's coming off of this sphere and blue that's coming off of this cube and the red that's coming off of this cube. The map itself can be found in the Outliner. I can select it. If I wanted to get rid of it, I could just hit the Delete key to delete it from the scene. I am just going to hide it by doing Ctrl+H. And I'll turn my geometry back on. So show NURBS Surfaces and show Polygons, and switch back to my camera 1.
If I take a look in my exercise files, I can actually find the Final Gather Map file. It's under renderData/mentalray/final gather map/roomFGmap, and it's about 3 MB. Come back to Maya here and go back to the Render Settings. And now to reuse that map that I've stored on disk, I am going to set Rebuild to off. Now that's been stored to disk, and now I'm going to create another render.
And we can see, this render took two seconds. I stored and compared it to the previous render. The previous render, they look exactly the same, but the previous render took 32 seconds, and this one only took two seconds. So that can save an awful lot of time when rendering. Of course, you do need to create the initial Final Gather map before you create the render. So this can save time when you are re-rendering a scene after making changes that don't involve the Final Gathering effect.
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