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This course introduces the features of the V-Ray 2.0 rendering engine and demonstrates how to extend the range of Maya with its state-of-the-art tools, such as irradiance mapping, fur and hair textures and shaders, and stereoscopic 3D rendering. The course covers critical concepts such as creating basic materials, image sampling, color mapping, subdivs, and lighting, as well as the Render Elements, RT, and physical rendering workflows in V-Ray. Exercise files are included with the course.
When rendering with V-Ray in Maya, we get essentially three different flavors off the same light type. The V-Ray light comes in rectangular, spherical, and dome options. Now, as these are probably the most versatile of all the V-Ray specific lights available to us in Maya, they are probably the ones that we are going to find ourselves using on the majority of lighting jobs. Now, to demonstrate some of the features of the rectangular and spherical lights to you, we have loaded our Chapter 03 Character Bust scene from our Exercise Files folder.
This is a pretty basic scene that has been set up, really, to familiarize us with the controls of the V-Ray rectangular and spherical lights, as well as to cause us a number of problems that we will need to fix using V-Ray's tools and controls. Now, if we just come up to our Window menu, we want to open up the Outliner for ourselves, and if I just come to the Show menu, you can see we are filtering by Lights, and Light sets, so only light types are showing up inside of here. And if we just select our V-Ray key light, you can see, we get access to all of its parameters. Of course, make certain that you have the Attribute Editor showing. You are going to need to have that in order to work with the V-Ray lights controls.
Now, at this moment in time, if I just come up to the main toolbar, and open up our Maya Render View, you can see we have a number of pre-rendered images already set up in our Render View. We just want to save a little bit of time here. We are going to walk you through these renders as we make changes to our V-Ray lights, and to the controls inside of the Maya interface. If you want to work with the same image files, if you want to check them out yourself, I will just show you where they are. Go into File > Open, and if we just come up to our Exercise Files folder, you want to come into the Assets folder, and in this instance, into the Chapter 03 folder, and they are all in there, and you can work with those if you want to.
Now as you can see, in our initial render, as we said we would, we have a number of problems that we need to give some attention to. As you can see, we have here our V-Ray light plane is actually showing up inside of our render. If we just close the Render View, you can see this is where the light is in the scene; let's just minimize Outliner as well. So that's an issue that we are going to need to take care of. We also have something unusual going on, on the far side of our character's face. We only have the one key light in the scene, and yet, this side of the face, according to he skin material, looks as though there is some kind of fill light occurring in there, and yet the eyeball geometry clearly says that this side of the face really needs to be in shadow.
So we are going to want to investigate that problem also. We have some very nasty blowout on our character's face. This is very unflattering, and oftentimes is not an end result we want when lighting a character. And we also have, as you can see here, some very nasty noise effects in our area shadows. Area shadows are the shadow type that we will get from the V-Ray Light by default, and so once we have set it up in the scene, we will find we may need to deal with these kind of issues. Okay, so let's step through dealing with these problems one at a time.
Let's deal with the simplest first: this problem of the V-Ray light is showing up in the scene. If we just scroll down in our V-Ray Light's options, in its controls, we come to this Options rollout, and in here, we have this Invisible option. Just something to be aware of; if we were working with the Double Sided option checked, in other words, if we were emitting light from both sides of our V-Ray rectangular light, then rather than a black square in the scene, in the render, we would be seeing a white one, so just in case you are working with that option. But this same action would take care of both problems.
We just check Invisible, and then if we come and have a look at the resulting render, you can see, we very nicely take care of that particular problem. Okay. What, then, about this problem with regard to the far side of our character's face? Really, we should be expecting this side of the face to be in complete shadow, and yet, that's not what we are seeing. Well, let's investigate the material for this, and if we just come up to the Window Menu, to the Rendering Editors, and let's open up Hypershade for ourselves, we'll just go and inspect the actual material applied to the character's head; it is this skin material here.
You can see this, if we just look in the Options, is a V-RayfastSSS2 material. And if we just, again, come down the parameters, you can see we have this Scatter radius option. Basically, this is a control that determines how far into the geometry the light source in the scene, or the illumination in the scene, will be allowed to penetrate. Now clearly, at this moment in time, as we can see from our renders, our light is just penetrating too far; it's making this side of the face look as though it is receiving illumination. Let's drop our Scatter radius value down. Let's go down quite a bit to a value of 0.35, and again, if we examine the resulting render from that, you can see we now have a more expected result. Not necessarily more pleasing at this moment in time, but it is how we would expect things to be with the lighting setup that we are using.
Of course, we also have this blowout problem that we need to deal with; this burnout on our character's face. As we say, very unflattering at this moment in time. There are a couple of options for dealing with this; a couple of ways that we could tackle this problem in V-Ray. Now, I am just going to pull up my Outliner window again. I just want to select our V-Ray light, so we are working with its options. We could, of course, come and turn down the Intensity multiplier. That would drop the level of illumination down, and so we would decrease the burnout on our character's face. With the V-Ray light set in its default Units mode, we could also change the size; the scale of our light. Because there is a relationship between size and scale with the V-Ray light, we would then also drop down the amount of illumination, and so drop down the level of burnout that the character's face is receiving.
Instead, though, we are going to use some already familiar tools. If we just come up to our toolbar, click on the Render Settings icon, and open the Render Settings dialog for ourselves. I am just going to come in to the V-Ray tab, and I want to work, in this instance, with our Color mapping tools, where we can very quickly and very easily deal with this problem by switching over to the Intensity exponential type. Having done that, if we take a render, we would see that we very quickly, and very easily deal with that particular problem. Of course, the Intensity exponential mode is able to handle this problem very easily and very quickly, because rather than multiplying brightness values, it is only really affecting the intensity of the colors themselves, so everything is just nicely balanced out for us.
So, the final problem we want to deal with at this moment in time, of course: this nasty looking set of area shadows that we have going down at this moment in time. Again, there are a couple of ways we could handle this particular problem. With our V-Ray light controls selected, you can see, we could come down to our Sampling options, and work with our subdivisions value. Increasing this would definitely increase the quality of our shadows. In fact, let's do that. So let's go from a subdivision value of 8, which essentially is giving us 64 samples per pixel to create our soft shadow effect.
Let's increase that. Let's go quite drastic, and set this to a value of 64, now giving us just over 4000 samples, or rays per pixel to smooth out our area shadows, and we would go from this, to this. Now, while this is obviously a more desirable end result, with regard to our shadows, you can see we have drastically increased our render time. So we have gone from just 36 seconds, all the way up to 11 and a quarter minute. And really, the only aspect of our scene that we have improved are these area shadows. The rest of the scene has received no extra attention at all, well, because we've only been working with our shadow subdivisions.
Now, oftentimes just working with one single option in the scene is not necessarily the best way to tackle the problems that we are encountering. Instead, we are going to show you just a slightly different approach that we could take. It is entirely up to you which way you do this. So let's just reset our subdivisions down to a value of 8, and we are going to come, instead, back to our Render Settings window, and we are going to work with our Image Sampler, and DMC Sampler controls to just demonstrate to you a different approach to dealing with this problem. So, if we come into our Image sampler controls, we just want to make a change to our minimum and maximum subdivisions.
So we are going to set our minimum subdivs to a value of 3, and let's, again, really set a high value in our maximum option here, and we are going to put 64 samples in there, or 64 subdivisions, rather I should say. Now we want to come to our Settings tab, because we want to just tweak our DMC Sampler controls. We are going to make these very, very sensitive to the noise levels found in the scene. I am going to set this to a value of 0.002. With those changes made, again, let's examine the resulting render that we would get, and we would go from this, to this, which as you can see, gives us a very, very comparable result with regard to our soft shadows.
Again, if I just go backward and forward between those, you can see maybe just a tiny little bit more grain in this version. But you will notice that we have completely smoothed out our character's head. This very noisy area of the scene has received a lot of attention, and looks a lot smoother; a lot nicer. We have increased our tender times again, just a little bit. We have added a couple of minutes on to the render time, but in this instance, we have affected the quality of the entire render; not just the shadows in the scene. So that may be an approach that you wish to take.
So, up to this point, we have improved things a little bit, but obviously we still need to run through creating V-Ray lights for ourselves. We need to understand how we add those to the scene. We do need to add some fill light for our character. At this moment in time, we've got some very contrasting lighting going on. And well, let's move on to doing just those things in our very next video.
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