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Sample: mental ray area light

From: Lighting and Rendering with mental ray in Maya

Video: Sample: mental ray area light

You can use the High Samples setting in the mental ray Area Light section of the Attribute Editor to improve the quality of the shadows cast by the area light. I'm going to do a test render here. We're using the default settings. So, we could see that the shadow is soft, but it's also fairly grainy. So, I'm going to save this image, minimize this, and I'm going to double this to 16, and create another test render.

Sample: mental ray area light

You can use the High Samples setting in the mental ray Area Light section of the Attribute Editor to improve the quality of the shadows cast by the area light. I'm going to do a test render here. We're using the default settings. So, we could see that the shadow is soft, but it's also fairly grainy. So, I'm going to save this image, minimize this, and I'm going to double this to 16, and create another test render.

It's going to add a little bit to the render time, but it is going to start to improve the quality of the shadow, so we can compare what it looks like before to after. It's a bit subtle. I'm going to zoom in here to make it a bit more obvious. This is with the High Samples set to 16, and this is High Samples set to 8. So you can see that there is a difference there. So, as you're tuning your shadows, you're going to probably want to increase this slowly and test as you go.

Area lights, by their very nature, are usually going to take a bit longer to render than other light types. So, that's something to be aware of when you start to add them to your scene. The more area lights you use, the more you're going to add to the render time. But this has already starting to look very nice. We can even see the shadows cast by the chairs here. It looks pretty good. The other settings here, the High Sample Limit and the Low Sample Limit, these are both related to how the shadow appears in reflections. So I have a mirror in this scene, and I'm going to unhide it by pressing Shift+H. It's just a polygon plane, and has a reflective blinn shader applied to it. Reflectivity is set to 1.

So I'm going to make sure that everything is reflected on the plane. I'm going to create another test render. So, this is a common mistake to make is to forget to adjust the settings so that the shadow appears in the reflection. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to minimize this, and scroll up here to Ray Depth Limit. I'm going to set this to 2, which will ensure that the shadow does appear in the reflection. I'm going to render the region again.

Now, we can see the shadow. You can clearly see that this shadow is a bit lower quality than this shadow. The reason for this is this is actually a more efficient way to render, because in many scenes you might not be necessarily concerned with the quality of the shadow and the reflections. Now, in this case I'm using something that's 100% reflective, so it's a mirror. But if this was something like a window, or a metal piece - like the candlestick, or something like that, I probably don't want to worry about getting absolutely perfect shadows and the reflections of things like metal objects.

So, in this case, having a separate control for that quality is very useful. This basically says, how many times is this shadow going to be reflected before it uses the Low Samples setting, as opposed to the High Samples setting? So, in other words, if I set this to 2 and do a test render, what it's going to say is, okay, you can cast that shadow on two surfaces, one and two, and each time you do that, you use the High Samples Limit, which is set to 24.

So this is going to make the render take a little bit longer, but you're going to see that the shadow quality in the reflected surface looks very nice. It looks just as good as this. If I had a third reflective surface in here, like another mirror over here or something like that, that mirror, these shadows would look lower quality. They would have a sample limit of 1. So, if increase this to 3, then all three services, the table and the two mirrors would use a High Samples Limit of 24. So this is important to know because it's tempting when you're trying to tune the look of the shadows to just start pumping up anything that says samples to a high level.

If you do that, and there are no reflective surfaces in the scene, you're not going to see any difference, no matter how high you set this, or how high you set that. This is the only control that's going to make a difference in the way that your shadow looks on the initial surface. So, only use these two settings when you have reflective surfaces in the scene; otherwise, you're just basically wasting time.

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Image for Lighting and Rendering with mental ray in Maya
Lighting and Rendering with mental ray in Maya

59 video lessons · 7892 viewers

Eric Keller
Author

 
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  1. 3m 46s
    1. Welcome
      1m 32s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 14s
  2. 19m 8s
    1. What is a CG light?
      1m 22s
    2. Types of CG lights
      10m 55s
    3. Direct lighting
      4m 48s
    4. Indirect lighting
      2m 3s
  3. 53m 20s
    1. Decay rate
      6m 30s
    2. Previewing lighting and shadows
      2m 37s
    3. Creating depth map shadows
      1m 57s
    4. Troubleshooting depth map shadows
      2m 38s
    5. Shadow map overrides
      5m 30s
    6. Using the shadow map camera
      5m 31s
    7. Saving and reusing shadow maps
      2m 48s
    8. Creating raytraced shadows
      1m 56s
    9. Adding softness to raytraced shadows
      3m 42s
    10. Creating area light shadows
      5m 11s
    11. Sample: mental ray area light
      4m 23s
    12. Setting area light visibility
      8m 7s
    13. Creating soft shadows with spot lights
      2m 30s
  4. 43m 35s
    1. Setting global illumination for interiors
      2m 33s
    2. Tuning global illumination
      5m 56s
    3. Global illumination photons
      1m 12s
    4. Activating caustic light effects
      3m 28s
    5. Tuning caustic settings
      3m 35s
    6. Setting caustic light effects on metal
      2m 35s
    7. Using final gathering for indirect lighting
      2m 9s
    8. Tuning final gathering
      4m 2s
    9. Reusing final gathering maps
      3m 21s
    10. Adding light with shaders
      5m 27s
    11. Creating final gathering maps for animation
      4m 26s
    12. Combining final gathering with global illumination
      4m 51s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Activating the Physical Sun and Sky network
      2m 33s
    2. Tuning the Physical Sun and Sky settings
      7m 18s
    3. Applying physical light shaders
      8m 54s
    4. Applying image-based lighting
      8m 57s
    5. Tone mapping
      6m 23s
    6. Applying portal light shaders
      7m 45s
    7. Creating light beams with participating media
      10m 9s
    8. Adding depth of field with the Bokeh lens shader
      10m 39s
  6. 48m 21s
    1. Introducing render layers
      6m 13s
    2. Creating render layers
      4m 28s
    3. Splitting a scene into render layers
      15m 36s
    4. Applying render layer presets
      7m 47s
    5. Setting render layer overrides
      7m 7s
    6. Creating render layer composites
      3m 52s
    7. Organizing renders with tokens
      3m 18s
  7. 42m 24s
    1. Introducing render passes
      2m 56s
    2. Comparing render passes and render layers
      6m 44s
    3. Editing render passes
      10m 41s
    4. Using appropriate materials
      5m 51s
    5. Batch-rendering passes
      5m 56s
    6. Compositing in After Effects
      6m 41s
    7. Rendering the EXR image format
      3m 35s
  8. 23m 3s
    1. Anti-Aliasing Quality
      6m 44s
    2. Setting color profiles
      2m 53s
    3. Diagnosing raytracing
      5m 7s
    4. Adjusting motion blur
      6m 57s
    5. Finding mental ray help
      1m 22s
  9. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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