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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.
Mental ray is probably the most popular renderer within Maya, and that's because it has a lot more features than the Maya Software Renderer. Now mental ray has its own suite of materials that you can use. They don't work in the Maya Software Renderer. So let's take a look at some of these. Let's give ourselves a surface to work with. I'm going to go ahead and just create a simple sphere and shade that and turn off my grid here, and let's go ahead and assign a new material. Now when I assign a new material, you'll notice that we have Maya specific materials and we also have a mental ray specific materials.
So these ones work with the Maya Software Renderer. A lot of these actually will work with mental ray, such Anistrophic, Blinn, Phong and so on. The mental ray ones will only work with mental ray, so let's take a look at some of these. Probably one of my favorites is what's called the dgs_material. Now what this does is it actually creates a very shiny surface. You can actually create almost like a glass-like effect. Go ahead and give this some color here. Let's go ahead and dig a quick render of this, and when I do you'll notice nothing shows up.
That's because I've set my renderer to this Maya Software Renderer. This will only work if I use mental ray so either I can change it here in the Renderer View menu, or go to my Render Settings menu and make sure that I have Render using mental ray. And once I do, you can hit Render and you can see how this shows up,and you can see I have a very specific highlight or specularity on this. And this actually is really good for stuff like glass, that sort of thing, because when you go to this dgs_ material you have a very nice index of refraction and transparency that can give you highly realistic effects.
I am going to go ahead and keep this selected, and let's go to Assign New Material and go down to some other ones. Another really nice one is called Metallic Paint. Now what this does is gives you a very almost like metal type of paint. So, for example, if I were to do kind of like a gold type of color, you could actually have a Base Color and what's called a Lit Color. So that's almost like two different colors on this surface itself, so this can give you a very nice result here and kind of looks very kind of metallically. Almost like a gold spray paint type of material.
Maya actually does have its own Blinn and Lambert and Phong materials. It also has some additional ones. One here is called cooktor, which actually is kind of a nice surface similar to a Phong, but it actually gives you a different index of refractions, which is really nice for simulating glass. You could actually simulate different index of refractions for different colors, which is kind of nice. Another really handy one is the Skin surface, so if I go into fast_skin.
Now what this does is it actually asks me for light maps. I'm just going to go ahead and just do Create New, and that will automatically give it to me, and I just select this object again and you go into fast_skin. Now the reason it asks for a light map is because what this does is it does what's called sub-surface scattering. So it actually calculates how much light penetrates into the surface of the object. So if I do a quick render of this you can see how it gives me a very nice skin texture, because this is great for if you're animating characters and you need some skin that looks highly realistic, you can use this.
This is also actually pretty good for stuff like marble, which has kind of that semi-luminescent material. An actual real-world application is the Car Paint material, but we're going to ahead and open a scene here. We're going to actually open a scene called Scooter_15, and this is our scooter. So let's go ahead and start adding some materials to it. I'm going to go ahead and add one to this engine compartment here underneath the seat, so let's go ahead and select this and go into Lighting/Shading and go Assign New Material.
In this case I'm going to make sure I have mental ray selected and we're actually going to do mi_car_paint_phen, which actually stands for phenomena. And this actually gives you a very nice sparkle metal flake paint job, so let's go ahead and just do a quick render and see what this looks like, and you can see it gives a very nice reflective car paint phenomena and you can see the flakes in here and you'll notice that the flakes are actually a little big, so what we can do is we can start playing with the parameters here. We can change the color. Let's say I don't want it quiet so red.
Let's say I kind of want it more of a darker red. We can also change what's called the Lit Color, which is kind of almost like the over spray, the over painting of it. So when you actually do really good car paint job, you paint a base coat and then you paint kind of a semi- transparent coat over that and that's what this is, so we can actually make that maybe even a little bit more orange-y, maybe even a little bit more saturated if we want. We can also create Bias so that one is more predominate over the other. We can also create what are called flakes.
So if I wanted to, I can make my flakes a little bit more yellow. I can also create the size of my flake, which is called the Flake Scale. So let's say I wanted to make my flakes a little bit smaller. Let's go ahead and make them .05 and let's go ahead and take another quick render of this and see what this looks like. So now my flakes are actually a little bit scaled, a little bit down, and I think they actually look a little bit better than they did before. Now that we have this material, let's go ahead rename it. I'm going to call it Scooter_Color, and once I do, I've got this in my Hypershade window.
It didn't show up, but I can actually-- let's go ahead and rename that one more time. There we go. So now I have my Scooter_ Color here, and let's go ahead and start applying this to the rest of my scooter. So if I want I can go through and say well, I definitely want the fender. Let me go ahead and scroll down here. So I'm going to select my Scooter_Color. I'm going to select my fender, right- click over this Assign, and I can actually just do a multiple select here, and I can assign those, and so on.
So what you can do is you can actually work your way through the scooter and actually assign this material to every part of it and this is really how we will start texturing this. Now the one problem is with this handle bar, because all we've got here is we've got this handle bar as part of the hierarchy, so when I select this, I'm actually selecting the wheel and everything else. So what I need to do is actually go into my Outliner, find that Scooter group here, and find that handle bar, and actually deselect everything else.
There we go. The handle bar shape is what I want and then I'm going to assign my material to the shape, not the whole hierarchy. So there we go. So now I've got at least this color of the car paint on my scooter. As you can see, this is a really good start for shading my scooter.
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