Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video mental ray's unique use of shaders, part of Learning mental ray in 3ds Max.
One thing that it can be useful to grasp when starting to work with the Mental Ray engine in any digital content creation application, would be the important role that Shaders play when it comes to providing features and functionality in the renderer. In fact, understanding Shaders is in many ways is the key to understanding Mental Ray itself. This means that one thing we straight away need to be careful of, is the way in which we use or think of the word Shader, as we may have a preconceived notion in our minds that doesn't fully fit the genuine definition of just what a Shader is.
Typically in the world of computer graphics, artists will use the term Shader in connection with material types or surface properties that are applied to geometric objects in a scene in order to give them a certain look or set of characteristics, such as glass, metal, wood and so on. Now answer is nothing wrong with using the term Shader, in such a way, indeed it is perfectly applicable. The problem comes in that through common usage, many users new to 3D applications can be lead to believe that a Shader is only a material also if your shading algorithm, which of course is not the case, indeed Mental Ray's use of Shaders is much, much broader than that.
A definition given in layman's terms could say that a Shader is a program that tells a computer how to draw something in a specific and unique way, which of course would include material types in a render engine, but that could also include drawing displacement effects, camera and lens effects, exposure effects, and many others besides. The simple truth is that, Mental Ray uses Shaders and the term Shaders to describe every aspect, every part of the rendering process carried out by the engine.
These code blocks, as we can think of them, when combined together in certain configurations, are responsible for the renders and render effects that we are well aware Mental Ray is capable of producing. Now one extremely useful aspect of Mental Ray's usage of Shaders is the fact that besides the wealth of functionality added to Mental Ray by means of the Shaders written by the NVIDIA team themselves. Third party developers can also add needed features functionality to the renderer, providing of course they have the programming skills required.
In this instance, the ability to use either the C or C++ languages. This kind of low level access can, of course, mean that even when Mental Ray doesn't currently support or maybe even have a particular feature available, one that may be extremely useful or even extremely necessary for our current project. We may well be able to go ahead and develop that tool for ourselves. To recap then, Shaders are the code blocks that Mental Ray uses in order to produce all aspects of the rendering process.
- Setting mental ray as the render engine
- Working with ActiveShade mode
- Using Nvidia's imf_display tool
- Creating a daylight system
- Controlling the mental ray sun and sky
- Using Final Gather and photons, both individually and together
- Working with diffuse, reflective, translucent, and other materials
- Controlling render quality with image sampling
- Working with displacement mapping
- Using proxies
Skill Level Intermediate
Learning CAT Rigging Tools in 3ds Maxwith Joel Bradley2h 33m Intermediate
3ds Max 2015 Essential Trainingwith Aaron F. Ross10h 43m Beginner
1. mental ray Workflow
2. Lighting Tools
3. Global Illumination (GI)
4. mental ray Materials
5. Quality Control with Image Sampling
6. Render FX Tools
What's next?2m 5s
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