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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Ramp material is probably one of my favorite materials in Maya. It allows you to change the color of an object depending upon the way that you look at it. So let me show you how this works. We're going to start off with just a simple torus this time, and we're going to apply the Ramp material, which is here, or you can find it in the Assign New Material menus, but let's just do it over here in the shelf. So I'm going to assign it and our Attribute Editor comes up. This one is called a Ramp shader, and the cool thing about the Ramp shader is the way that it handles color.
So, what you can do is you can make the color of the object a ramp or a gradient. So, for example, if I want I could change the initial color to something like red, and then if I click inside this bar here, I can make a second color. So again, all I have to do is just highlight this, touch this, and I can go from red to blue, for example. What we've got is we've got it going from red to blue, but we need to determine how it's determining that. So we can either do it from the angle of the light that's shining on it, the brightness, which means the illumination.
One I like to do, and this actually is probably the most obvious way to use this is by doing Facing Angle. So, if we take this, we'll see that the pixels that are closest to us that are most facing us are blue. The ones that are on the edge are red. So when I do a quick render of this, you can see how every edge that's facing away is kind of a different color. Then this is a great way to create slightly richer shading. So if we want it to do blue to red, that's actually pretty extreme, but we could also do blue to like maybe even a saturated purple.
So you can see how you can get this really nice, almost second light effect on the surface, and it gives a much more character to the surface. And if you want you can go really extreme and say you can go from green to blue or something like that. Now we can also use the same sort of options for any number of parameters. Incandescence, Specularity, Reflectivity. A nice one that I like to use is for Transparency because you can use this ramp to create classy effects without going through all the problems of ray tracing. Let's go ahead and click in here and make the color kind of a light gray here.
So what that means is that the stuff that's facing us is transparent, but as you get towards the edges, as the surface starts to face away, it actually gets less transparent. This is also great for doing things like x-ray or electro-luminescent type effects as well. These are just some of that ways that you can use the Ramp shader to create some very interesting effects.
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