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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.
Caustic light patterns can also be created by reflective surfaces, as well as transparent refractive surfaces. In this render right here, what you're seeing is a caustic light pattern that is being created by light passing through the surface. I'm going to apply a reflective metallic shader to the vase and see how that changes the caustic light pattern. And I have the vase selected here in the scene, and on the Rendering shelf, I'm just going to click on the blinn material to quickly assign a new blinn material to the vase.
In the Common Material Attributes, I'm going to lower the Diffuse value to better simulate a metallic surface, and then I'm going to go down to Specular Shading, turn the Reflectivity all the way up to 1 and increase the Specular Color to White. To increase the Intensity of the Specular Color, I'm going to increase Specular Roll Off, and to tighten the highlight on the surface, I'll lower the Eccentricity. Now when I create a render, let's see how this looks.
You can see my surface is now opaque, and it's reflecting the table, and you can also see a very faint pattern of light here that's being reflected off of the vase itself. I'm going to store that image. And one of the ways in which I can increase the intensity of that reflected light is I can go to the Specular Color and click on the color swatch and bring up the color chooser. I'm going to set Red to 2, I'm going to set the Green Channel to 2, and I'm going to leave the Blue at 1, and this is going to create a yellow highlight on the surface.
Now when I create a render, I get more of a gold-looking metallic surface, and you'll also notice that the caustic pattern is picking up some of that gold color as well. Another way that I can increase the look of that effect is I can go to my caustic photon-casting light, which is spotlight2, and go down to the Caustic and Global Illumination setting, and I can lower this Exponent, bring that down to 1.5, and increase the Photon Intensity, and do another render.
So, now we're seeing something a bit more obvious here. This pattern is nice and bright now. In general, when you're working with caustics, the more detail you have to your object that's creating the caustic light pattern, the more interesting patterns you actually get. The shape of this object is actually going to influence the way the pattern looks, as well as the other settings.
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