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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 it comes to creating an environment that appears to be lit by natural sun and skylight, V-Ray for Maya offers an excellent high-quality set of tools that can really help us accomplish just that goal. The V-Ray Sun and V-Ray Sky are perhaps obviously enough developed to work together to recreate the real life sun and sky environment of planet earth. They are coded, so that scene lighting changes its appearance according to the direction and elevation of the V-Ray Sun object in the scene. To create these objects to create these light types in the scene, we want to come up to our Main toolbar, let's click on the Display Render Settings window icon.
We want to come to the V-Ray tab and if we close the Image sampler rollout and come all the way down to the bottom, you can see we have these V-Ray Sun and Sky rollout. Creating these light types, adding them to the scene is as simple as clicking on the Create Sun button and the Create Sky button and now we have those options set up, ready to use. If we ever need to access them, you can see we have these node controls here and let's just move across so that we can see our Attribute Editor. And if we just select a piece of geometry in the scene, so that we have nothing to do with our V-Ray Sun and Sky inside of the Attribute Editor, you can see that we can quickly use these node options to select first of all the V-RaySun and if we just pull down, now you can see all of the V-RaySun's controls and parameters.
And we can select the V-RaySky, which seems to have only an Intensity multiplier associated with it. Except, if we come up to this V- RayGeoSun node and click on that, you can see how we have a whole extra set of controls. Now by default, the option is set up to use manual positioning in the scene for the V-Ray Sun, but if we uncheck it, you can see we have an entire daylight system that we can work with, we can set our positioning, our light positioning by Latitude and Longitude. We can set the Time off Year or we can set the Year, we can set Month, we can set Time of day, all sorts of options that can allow us to place lighting in the scene.
For now though, we are just going to work with Manual positioning, so let's just pull our Render Settings window back across here. Now, in this particular video, we are going to be for sake of speed, we are going to be working with some pre- rendered images just to show you how the changes that we are making will affect what we have going on in the scene. So if I just click on the Render View icon to pull that out, you can see here we have Render of the default settings in the scene, these are just Maya's default lines that have rendered the scene for us. So we can see that there are no extra lights added into the mix.
With the V-Ray Sun and Sky added however, as we have just walked you through that particular process and if we were to take a render, we would see that we would make this change to our scene, which clearly is not really a desirable end-result. You can see we have way too much illumination going on in here which is probably not surprising. As we have mentioned, the V-Ray Sun and Sky are designed to mimic the illumination levels of the real-world sun and sky. Something else we have to be aware of here is that we are actually only getting half of our scene lighting.
At this moment in time we don't have any GI systems enabled, so we are actually only getting lighting from our V-Ray Sun object. To make certain that we are seeing illumination from the sky as well because that is a GI effect, we need to come to our Indirect Illumination tab, we need to turn our GI systems on. Now with that change made, you can see that we would go from this to this, which is actually making things worse in terms of the exposure level in the scene. But now we actually have the full range of lighting, we have a completely physical real-world lighting setup in our scene with which to work.
Now at this point, one thing that we may try to do to try and bring our blowout under control, would be to use the V-Ray's Color mapping tools. Well, let's go into the V-Ray tab and try that. So if we come to our Color mapping rollout, you can see we are working with Linear multiply. Let's set our options here to HSV exponential and what we would get would be a change from this to this, which although very interesting from a stylized rendering point of view, still isn't really giving us anything that we would call a photographic look to our lighting and scene rendering.
To do that, we would need to work with exposure controls. Well, that's what we are going to be doing in our very next video. We are going to show you how to work with the V-Ray Physical camera. But at this moment in time, we just want to show you how the actual sun and sky system works inside of our scene. So what we are going to do is we are going to set our Color mapping back to Linear multiply and we are going to take a non-physical approach at this moment in time, we definitely would not recommend this as a way of controlling light levels in the scene. We are just going to show you that it can be done, so that we can demonstrate the workings of the V-Ray Sun and Sky to you.
So, let's go and grab our Render Settings window again. Let's come down to the V-Ray Sun and Sky rollout and let's click on our Sun node so we can select that. And what we want to do is set our Intensity multiplier down to a value, a very low value of .03, because of the intensity of light levels in the scene we really do have to drop this down quite a bit. And you can see in our Sample slot here, in our Sample swatch we actually have some coloration that we can see. We also want to select our sky, come to the V-RaySky node and we want to set that to the same value of .03.
And now if we just dismiss our Render Settings window, we would go from this to this particular look in our render, which gives us a fairly decent level of exposure in the scene. We can see the coloration, the gradation in the sky. We can see the coloration in the lighting and the shadows as well. Now one of the brilliant things about the V-Ray Sun and Sky system is that they can automatically simulate atmospheric changes. As the sun rises in the sky, we get bluer whiter light, as the sun lowers towards the horizon, we get orangey reds in our lighting.
Well, the V-Ray Sun and Sky can mimic that functionality. So let's just close up our Render View and we are just going to make a change in our viewport, let's come to a Front viewport. Again, actually what we wanted to was make certain that we had selected our Sun node, so we want that selected in the scene. Let's go and select our Move tool, and I am just going to use the A keyboard shortcut and then F to just frame up on the V-Ray Sun and we can see that we've got the object selected. Now all I want to do is just drop this particular object down.
I am just going to drop it well down below the horizon. This is this point here where the target of our V-Ray Sun is. It represents the horizon point. Once we drop the sun down in the sky, once we low it its elevation, let's just pull Render View back, not the Render Settings window, we want Render View. You can see what we'd go from is this to this. Very quickly, very easily we can completely change the mood, the feel of the lighting in our scene. So, the V-Ray Sun and Sky are fantastic tools for recreating the realistic day-lighting in our scene.
But we have really used a little bit of a hack to get usable lighting levels in here. We have lowered the values of our V-Ray Sun and Sky. In the real-world photographers who really cannot simply dial down the level of illumination coming from those light sources, they need to use exposure to create images that are not only technically correct, but also able to evoke a response in that audience. Well, as the V-Ray Physical camera has been designed to mimic the kinds of controls and effects available to real- world photographers and camera operators, including its exposure settings, it seems sensible that we're going to move on to looking at the V-Ray Physical camera in our very next video.
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