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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.
Now that we have hopefully demonstrated both the power and flexibility of the Render Elements Workflow, we are going to spend a little bit of time demonstrating to you the power of a new to V-Ray 2.0 Render Element called V-Ray Light Select. This particular element can add a lot of flexibility to the lighting of a shot without the need for any re- rendering from our 3D application. Again, we need to come into our Render Settings window, so let's use the icon on the Main toolbar. We, of course, want to come into our Render Elements tab.
You can see we still have all of the elements from our previous exercise, so we just need to clear this out, so I am going to left mouse click and select the first one, hold down my Shift key and then double-click the final element, and you can see all of those disappear nicely. Now we need to add our Light Select element into our column, so let's just go and scroll down to the bottom. You can see we have our Light Select element, so I am just going to double-click once, twice, three times to add three instances off that particular element. At this point, a good workflow would be to just make certain that we rename our Light Select elements, we are going to be connecting them to lights in our scene.
So if we just pull up our Outliner window for ourselves, you can see we have our light names; Right, Left, and Key. Making certain that our Light Select elements correspond in terms of the naming to these, it's just going to help us in a little while. So with our first Light Select element selected, let's open our Extra V-Ray Attributes. I am just going to abbreviate things here, so we will use VLS for V-Ray Light Select, _Key (VLS_Key). Select our second name, VLS_Left, and then VLS_Right.
Okay, with that done, we now need to make certain that our Light Select show up inside of the Outliner window. You can see we have a light showing at this moment in time. So if we just make certain, again, to come to the Show menu, make certain that our options for Lights or Lights and Lights Sets checked, and you can see all of our lights also pop into view in the window as well. Now as we are going to be connecting these lights and light elements together, we just want to rename these inside of the Outliner window also. So if I just select my first one and then double-click and rename this, VLS_Key.
I am just going to walk through this, so this one is our Left Light, so that would receive the same name, and finally, our Right Light Select element. And now we're good to go. What we need to do now is connect our lights and Light Select elements together. So first of all, let's middle mouse select our Right_V-RayLight and drag it on to our Right Light Select element, release, and those two are now connected. I am going to do the same with our Left, middle mouse select, connect, and the Key Light, middle mouse select, drag, release and they are connected.
Now the V-Ray lights in our scene will correspond to the V-Ray Light Select elements that we will be working with inside of our compositing application. All we need to do now is, as with our previous exercise, render out to a multichannel EXR file and we are good to go. Now we have already taken this step, you have already have the rendered file provided for you, so you don't need to take the rendering step if you don't want to. So what we are going to do now is jump into Maya Composite and see how we can use these Light Select Elements with our existing composition.
So as we have a blank composite scene at this moment in time, we want to go and open the file that we have already provided for you, so we can demonstrate where that is. So I am going to go to File>Open, we of course, need to find our Exercise Files folder, so we, in this instance, need to come to the Desktop. Inside our Exercise Files, we will find a compositefiles folder, and in here, we will find a Ch09_Elements_ReLight composition. So let's double-click that to open it and you can see we have our composition set up and ready to work with.
Well, this is a little bit different than where we left off in our previous exercise. You can see we have unhooked a number of elements, specifically the Ambient Occlusion, the Multi Matte and the ZDepth. We have also unhooked our lighting passes, of course, we are going to be replacing these or replacing this with our Light Select elements. We also have unhooked our GI at this moment in time, but we are going to be adding that back into the mix. So I am just going to hold on the Spacebar and pan across just to give ourselves a little bit of room to work with here.
Now of course, we need to import the file with our embedded Light Select elements. So if we come to File>Import, we are now again inside of our compositefiles folder inside the Exercise Files and we just want to select this Elements_Light_Select.exr file. Click on the Import button, you can see that pops into view, and now we can dismiss our image browser. Of course, now we are looking at the RGB view of our render, which as you can see if we compare to our previous controlled image, we have no changes at all at this moment in time, of course, that's because we have not accessed our Light Select elements at this moment.
So with this particular File node in place, I am just going to come to the Options tab, we need to come to our Channel Views, left mouse click, and I am going to set this to be my Key Light. Of course, with this selected, now I can just right-click, Copy this image node, right-click in an empty area of the workspace and paste once, paste twice and now we have our three image node ready to be set up with our Light Select elements. So we have our Key Light and let's come to this particular node to the Options and let's set this to be our Left light and the third one, of course, is to be set to be the Right Light.
Now as we click through each of these image nodes, you can see we have an image that corresponds to the separated V-Ray lights in the scene and now we can use all of composite tools and controls to work with these lighting elements. Perhaps, first though, the best thing would be to composite these back together. So we need to use our Blend & Comp Tool, so we will middle mouse click in the work area, I am just going to swipe, come to the Composition Tools, grab my Blend & Comp tool and just drag that out into the work area.
Again, these are lighting elements, so it doesn't matter which order we add them together in, it's absolutely fine, so I am just going to set my Key Light node into the front input and then I can grab my Left Light and place that in the back input. Again, we need to make certain that we are using the Additive Blending Mode, as these are lighting process, so let's grab the Blending Modes and set that to Additive. Now we need to grab our next lighting element, give myself a little bit of space to add the new Blend & Comp Tool, so middle mouse click, swipe, grab that from the list.
Let's take our existing lighting elements, pipe those into the Front input, and grab our Right Light and place that in the back. Select Blend & Comp Tool, and again, we want to set this to be Additive. Now if we just compare the illumination levels to our previous lighting passes, you will see that the level of illumination corresponds exactly. Now what we need to do is add our GI Tools back into the mix, our GI elements, so I can pipe that into the Front input of our existing Bend & Comp, take out chain, pipe that into the back, and now as we come to the end of the chain, you will see that we have something that should correspond to our control image.
But if we click, you can see that there is a subtle shift, there is a subtle difference in the way that these two are looking now. Now this, if you have been paying attention, is because of the way the Light Select elements are working. If we take a look at each of them, you will notice that specularity is actually built into these elements along with the illumination levels, which makes sense, because if we are changing our lights contribution to the scene, if we are increasing or decreasing it, then we are going to want to increase or decrease the specularity contribution as well.
As our Light Select elements then have specularity built in, we don't need this standalone specularity element to be piped into our composition anymore. So just hovering my mouse over a blank space in the work area, I am going to hold down the Ctrl key, left mouse click and then drag across this connection just to disconnect our specularity element. We can place that over here with the unused ones. Now if we just compare it our controlled image, you can see we have an exact match. This means now we are ready to do some work with our lighting elements.
We can actually change them, we can alter the contribution of the lights, we can alter the color of the lights as much as we like. To do that, I am just going to again, middle mouse click and swipe. This time we want to come into Color Correction Tools and I am just going to grab Color Correct Basics Tool and drop them in between each connection for our Light Select elements. So again, we have another CC Basics, drop that in there, middle mouse click, swipe, and drop the third one and we will drop that on our Key Lights connection.
Now we can, for instance, color correct each of the lights that we have in our 3D scene that are now present inside of our composition. So with our Key Light selected, let's come first of all to the Temperature option here. So if I just dial this down, we are coming down the Kelvin Temperature Scale and you can see we actually are warming up our Key Light. Let's select this one and we will just use the same temperature option to just make this little bit cooler. And we will do something similar to our Right light.
And you can see, as we come to the end of our composition that we actually now have a shift in the color of the lighting in the scene. Of course, we've made that a little bit subtle, so let's make it very, very obvious what is going on. And you can see, colored lighting added into our final image without any 3D re-rendering at all. We can also increase or decrease the contribution of the lights in our image also. So let's grab our Key Light.
Let's suppose I want to use the Gain value here to just drop down its contribution to the lighting in the scene, and let's suppose I just want to increase the Gain of the other two. So again, we are using this particular control just to push that value up a little bit, and just add a little bit of extra back lighting, again just using the Gain control. And if we come and compare our final composite, you can see we have not only different colors to our lights but we have a different light setup essentially as we now have a much stronger back light than from the key light.
So as you can see combining V-Ray Render Elements with the compositing pipeline, especially when the use this new V-Ray Light Select element, well that adds a tremendous amount of flexibility to the relighting of a 3D scene after it has been rendered out. With just a little bit of preplanning, we can make certain that all of the elements we are using have received sufficient sampling quality. That means we can push and pull the lighting in our scene as much as we like and give ourselves tons of flexibility when it comes to using these Light Select elements in a compositing pipeline.
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