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Want to learn how to create the same effect with Maya? Check out Creating Product Shots in Maya.
- Importing solid models as 3ds Max body objects
- Working with the scene layout, hierarchy, and display layers
- Building Arch & Design materials
- Creating area and photometric lights
- Setting exposure control
- Optimizing indirect illumination with Final Gather
- Image-based lighting with high dynamic range files
- Lighting with self-illuminated geometry
- Rendering to high dynamic range
- Saving render passes with Render Elements
- Adding ambient occlusion
- Layering and color correction in After Effects
Skill Level Intermediate
Our final task in the lighting setup is to adjust the final gather settings. Final gather is a method of calculating bounce light or indirect illumination. Currently, we have it turned off. We disabled it previously in order to get faster test renders. And let's see once again, what it looks like with final gather disabled. Here it is with no final gather. We'll clone that rendered frame window so we'll have something to compare it to. Okay, so here's our cloned rendered frame window.
And let's go into the final gather settings. That'll be in the Render setup dialog. Let's go to the Global Illumination tab, and turn on Final Gather. Enable Final Gather. And here you have some presets, and the default is the Draft preset. And that's going to give us a very rough approximation of the final gather. But I want to set these to actually optimal production parameters. If I move this slider around, you'll see all these values down here change. And if we bring this up to a high production preset, we get these high numbers here.
The first number is the initial sampling, or point density. The second number is how many rays bounce off of that particular surface and go out in all directions. And the third number is how much blending there is between those rays. Over the years, I've played with this a lot and I've found we can get very good results by using different numbers than we see here. I'm going to set the number of Initial Final Gather Points down to just one. And the number of Rays, I'll bring down to 100.
But I'm going to increase the Interpolation or the blending to 100 as well. And then finally down here we have the Diffuse Bounces. This parameter determines how many times a ray of light is permitted to bounce off of a surface, but it's a bit misleading because we always get one diffuse bounce for free. And this value of zero is not really quite accurate because in fact, with the value set to zero, we are getting one diffuse bounce.
In other words, a ray of light is permitted to bounce off of a surface to illuminate another surface. And that's the default, we're getting one diffuse bounce always. If we bring this value up, what we're doing is we're saying we want an additional diffuse bounce beyond the first one. So, in fact with a value of one, we're going to get two bounces. A light ray will hit a surface, bounce off that surface, hit another surface, and then bounce again. And this is really the optimal value here. Any more than this and it'll take longer to render, but we won't really see any difference on the screen.
Alright. So these are pretty optimal values here. Go ahead and close that dialog and do a test rendering. As you can see, it takes a little bit longer to render. There's a two pass rendering algorithm. The first pass is the final gather, which has this kind of interesting blocky mosaic effect, and then the second pass is the actual rendering. And we can see the difference between final gather enabled on the left here, and disabled on the right. And it's most dramatic in the shadow areas. Final gather is filling in the dark shadows. We can see it over here in the watch band.
It's kind of light over here. And in the version with no final gather, it's a bit darker. We can zoom in on that a little bit with the mouse wheel. So we can see once we zoomed in here, it's a bit easier to see, that we've got more illumination with final gather because light is allowed to bounce off of surfaces. Cool, so we set up our lighting, and now we're ready to move on to materials.
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