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V-Ray 2.0 for Maya Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Generating caustic effects


From:

V-Ray 2.0 for Maya Essential Training

with Brian Bradley

Video: Generating caustic effects

For objects rendered in a 3D application to take on a genuine level of believability in the viewer's mind, they need to interact correctly with the environments around them. Adding real-world lighting effects such as caustics can oftentimes make all the difference in the world when it comes to creating a believable shot. That's why in this video we are going to look at using photon mapping to generate caustic effects in our Maya and V-Ray scenes. Now first of all, we want to make certain that we have viewing our scene through the correct camera, we have a Caustics Camera already set up, so if we just go and choose that from our menu system.
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  1. 4m 28s
    1. Welcome
      59s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      51s
    3. Exercise files
      40s
    4. Workflow recommendation
      1m 58s
  2. 11m 32s
    1. Installing V-Ray
      4m 25s
    2. Setting up V-Ray
      3m 14s
    3. Locating V-Ray's tools and features
      3m 53s
  3. 24m 41s
    1. Image sampling explained
      3m 19s
    2. Understanding subdivs
      3m 49s
    3. Using the DMC Sampler
      6m 54s
    4. Overview of color mapping
      4m 45s
    5. Understanding the color-mapping modes
      5m 54s
  4. 27m 55s
    1. Dealing with lighting problems
      9m 26s
    2. Adding a spherical fill light
      8m 50s
    3. Creating a mesh light
      2m 43s
    4. Creating a skylight effect
      3m 18s
    5. Working with the dome light
      3m 38s
  5. 44m 25s
    1. Global illumination (GI) explained
      3m 55s
    2. Understanding primary and secondary bounces
      3m 34s
    3. How irradiance mapping works
      5m 30s
    4. Using irradiance mapping, part 1
      4m 35s
    5. Using irradiance mapping, part 2
      5m 44s
    6. How light cache works
      3m 48s
    7. Using light cache
      7m 58s
    8. Understanding brute force GI
      2m 18s
    9. Using brute force GI
      7m 3s
  6. 40m 3s
    1. Introduction to V-Ray-specific materials
      2m 22s
    2. Creating diffuse color
      8m 31s
    3. Making reflective materials
      5m 40s
    4. Blurring reflections
      8m 31s
    5. Making clear and colored glass
      8m 49s
    6. Creating a translucency effect
      6m 10s
  7. 24m 15s
    1. Introduction to image sampling
      2m 56s
    2. Using the Fixed-Rate sampler
      5m 57s
    3. How to use the Adaptive DMC sampler
      5m 21s
    4. Working with the Adaptive Subdivision sampler
      7m 7s
    5. Comparing image-sampling renders
      2m 54s
  8. 17m 23s
    1. The physical workflow explained
      2m 37s
    2. Working with VRaySun and VRaySky
      7m 39s
    3. Controlling the VRayPhysicalCamera
      7m 7s
  9. 45m 0s
    1. Depth of field: VRayPhysicalCamera
      5m 45s
    2. Depth of field: perspective viewport
      5m 49s
    3. Creating a motion blur effect
      9m 30s
    4. Generating caustic effects
      7m 51s
    5. Using VRayFur
      6m 2s
    6. Setting up render-time displacement effects
      10m 3s
  10. 34m 17s
    1. Render elements workflow
      6m 47s
    2. Preparing to composite
      2m 22s
    3. Compositing V-Ray elements
      7m 8s
    4. Putting extra elements to work
      6m 20s
    5. Post-lighting a scene
      11m 40s
  11. 11m 47s
    1. Overview of V-Ray RT
      5m 27s
    2. Demonstrating the RT workflow
      6m 20s
  12. 1m 8s
    1. What's next?
      1m 8s

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V-Ray 2.0 for Maya Essential Training
4h 46m Beginner Mar 08, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Installing and setting up V-Ray
  • Using the DMC Sampler
  • Understanding color mapping modes
  • Adding a spherical fill light
  • Working with the V-Ray Dome Light
  • Using irradiance mapping and the Light cache
  • Creating diffuse color
  • Making reflective materials
  • Creating translucency
  • Ensuring quality with image sampling
  • Controlling the V-Ray physical camera
  • Creating a motion blur effect
  • Compositing V-Ray elements
Subjects:
3D + Animation Rendering Textures Materials Visual Effects
Software:
V-Ray
Author:
Brian Bradley

Generating caustic effects

For objects rendered in a 3D application to take on a genuine level of believability in the viewer's mind, they need to interact correctly with the environments around them. Adding real-world lighting effects such as caustics can oftentimes make all the difference in the world when it comes to creating a believable shot. That's why in this video we are going to look at using photon mapping to generate caustic effects in our Maya and V-Ray scenes. Now first of all, we want to make certain that we have viewing our scene through the correct camera, we have a Caustics Camera already set up, so if we just go and choose that from our menu system.

And of course if we just make certain that we select our camera, in case we want to do any work with it. In this particular instance that is highly unlikely as the Caustic effects are, well they really are lighting and not an in-camera effect. We now need a caustic generating material of course if we come up to the Window menu, if we come to the Rendering Editors and pull up the Hypershade window for ourselves, you can see if we just scroll down in here that we have a Glass Material already set up. Now we could use a highly reflective material such as a highly reflective metal that would give us reflective caustics in our scene.

As we have a Glass Material here, we are going to work with refractive caustics. The steps for generating them the system controlling them is exactly the same. So whichever one of those particularly options you want to work with that is absolutely fine. Of course with our material, we are going to need some objects in the scene to apply too. So let's just go and grab a couple of these pool balls, just these front two will do very nicely for us and let's right click and assign the material to the selection. So now we have our caustic generating material set up.

Now we need a photon generating light, the photons are going to be used to create our caustic effect. So if we come up to the Window menu and open up the Outliner for ourselves, just make certain that you are filtering by Lights and Light Sets, that means that only the Light types will show up in here. Now if we just like our lights, you can see we have a V-Ray Dome Light that is just applying some fill light, general fill light into the scene. We have our V-Ray OverHead Light which is a V-Ray rectangular light type. This is providing our overhead direct light source.

And we also have another V-Ray rectangular light that is designed to generate caustic photons in the scene for us. Of course it's not enabled at this moment in time, so we need to go and enable that particular option. We just want to show you how we've set it up, so that it is not adding anything to the illumination in the scene. If we come down, you can see first of all we have disabled Shadows, so there are no Shadow effects taking place. We also in its options have disabled its ability to Affect Diffuse materials in the scene, we've turned off Affect Specular and we have turned off Affect Reflections, essentially this is contributing nothing to the general lighting and shadowing setup.

There is however one option we do need to enable in here. As our two V-Ray rectangular lights are currently occupying the same point in 3D space, there is a chance that we will get some strange artifacting if we render with them both enabled. To make certain that that doesn't happen if we just with our Caustic Photon light select it, if we just make certain that that Invisible option is checked, that will very nicely take care of any potential problems for us. So we have our material set up, we've enabled our photon generating light.

We do now need to go and turn on our Caustic system. So let's come up to the Render Settings window for ourselves, we need to come into the Indirect Illumination tab. In here we have our GI and Caustic systems. Very handily V-Ray separates these two systems, so we can work with their controls independently, even though they are both lighting effects. So let's open up our Caustics rollout and if we just put a check in the On box, all of the Caustic systems are now enabled. Now we can take a render and see if we are getting Caustic effects in our scene.

And as you can see we are definitely getting some focused light Caustic effects in here. The problem is, at this moment in time they are looking quite smooth and uninteresting, oftentimes people expect quite intricate patterning in their Caustic effects and we are not really seeing that here. Well, there are a couple of parameters that we need to work with in this system in order to create that particular effect for ourselves. One of them is found in our Render Settings dialog controls, our Render Settings window controls and that is this Max photons value.

Basically, this is the number of photons that will be used to smooth or average together in order to create this particular Caustic effect, so we are now taking 30 photons and basically blurring them together inside of this effect. Of course, as we've highlighted a number of times throughout this course, any kind of blurring or averaging effect will result in a loss of detail and that is what is happening inside of our photon effect here. So first of all, let's set this value down to around about 15. Another control we want to work with is found in our lights parameters, our photon generating light.

If we come in its controls down to this Photon emission rollout, you can see there are a number of caustic options that we can work with well too, specifically. The one we are interested in is this Caustic subdivs value; this controls how intricate the paths that our photons will trace can be. So we are going to set this up to something like a value of 4500. Of course now we want to take a render, but if we just save the image that we currently have, we can compare how those two parameters will affect the Caustic effect in the scene.

And now if we just compare our two renders, you can see we've gone from fairly smooth and uninteresting Caustic effects, even though they are working, to something that just looks visually a little more interesting. You can see we have much more patterning inside of the Caustic effect itself, as we're not getting so much smoothing or averaging between photons. And we've just got some more interesting light paths being traced. You can see the photons are scattering in some interesting ways in the scene. Although, if we wanted to really brighten this Caustic effect, well there are a couple of ways that we could do that; we could first of all work with our Photon generating light's intensity value.

That multiplier will give more energy to the photons that are emitted from that light, so that's one way of doing it. We could work with this Caustics multiplier value. This would increase the Caustic effect on a per-light basis. So if we had a number of photon generating lights in the scene, we could create different Caustic multiplier values for each of them. As we are only working with the single light however, we can just work with the global control that is available inside of the Caustics rollout. I am going to just set this to a Multiplier value of 10 and we will be able to see just how much that boosts the Caustic effect in the scene.

Again, we just want to save what we have and take another render. And you can pretty plainly see how that Multiplier increased has changed the amount of energy coming from our Caustic effect. You can see we are getting much brighter refractive caustics, you can even see that the photon energy is so strong that we're getting lots of reflective caustics, a lot of bouncing between these highly reflective objects and we are even getting Caustic lighting effects over on the far side of the pool table. So you can see with just a quick tweak of our Multiplier values, we can really push the amount of energy coming from over Caustic effects.

So, as with many effects in V-Ray, creating caustics is a reasonably simple process. Once we know the steps that we need to go through in order to create it, once we know where the controls are found, we can really create some very, very interesting lighting effects indeed. What we are going to do now is move onto creating some different kinds of effects using V-Ray tools. In this instance, we are going to look at creating fur using the V-RayFur tool.

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