Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an environment material, part of Creating Product Shots in Maya.
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Before creating a chrome material for the watch. We should have an environment for it to reflect. Previously we created an environment sphere, and now it's time to build a self illuminated material on that sphere. It's currently hidden, I can go to the environment layer and toggle the visibility, now that sphere is visible and I'll select it. Right click on that layer and choose select objects, with that sphere selected we can assign a new material to it.
Right click in the shaded view and choose assign new material. And once again it's going to be mia material. Mental ray materials mia material x passes. And let's rename it call it environment mia. And press enter, once again we'll start from the map preset, go to presets matte finish replace. And we can assign a bitmap to the color here. But that's only going be for our convenience in the view. We aren't actually going to render this sphere.
BUt it's going to appear in the reflections of the watch. However, it makes it a lot for us if we can see the texture on the surface of that sphere. So that's why we're going to add a diffuse color. Click to create a render node. The create render node dialog comes up. It's a 2D file texture. Click on file. In the attribute editor we now have a file node. Let's rename that file node, we'll call it environment or just env texture file one.
We need to browse for that image. We're taken to our current project source images. And we've got a file here, Montauk, hemisphere, HDR.EXR. Click open. We'll learn more about high dynamic range images in the next chapter. You don't have to use an HDR, or high dynamic range image for the environment map here, it will just look better if it is because the, highlights on the reflective surface will be hotter. Okay, so that's been applied.
We won't be able to see it in the view port, unless we enable, display in the view port. So we can click in that view. And press the five key, and then, the six key. Then, we dolly back a little bit; we can see it, it's there, but it looks pretty dim. Let's go back and select the environment again. Environment layer, right click, select objects. And we want to go to that material node, environmia. And then go into that color map. Click to go to the input node. And to see it better in the viewport we can scroll down under High Dynamic Range Image Preview Options.
This is only for HDR high dynamic range images. If it's a standard low dynamic range image then it won't. Be necessary to do this but open this up and you'll see float to fix point. That means how is it going to convert the floating point data or the high dynamic point date to something we can see better on the screen. The option that we want to choose her is exponential. And then once we deselect the sphere we can see the material applied much better than before. Ok cool.
We have done a bunch here we've applied the material but we also want to tile that material. I have provided a file that is only hemisphere and we're stretching it across an entire sphere so we want to tile it twice across that sphere surface. Go back to the environment layer, select the object, go back into that color. And we want to go into the place 2D texture node. Select that. And it's the repeat UVs that we want to change here. And it's just in U actually. We want to set repeat U to a value of two.
Alright, and then deselect it. And we can see now that that file is being applied twice across the surface of this sphere. And again this is a much better way of doing this than through the hypershade. Having an actual piece of scene geometry as our reflection map makes it a lot easier for us to see. And move and rotate the environment to fit our needs. So we just applied the map to the diffuse channel of that material, but we also want to apply it to the self illumination. And self illumination is not called self illumination in the case.
Oddly. So let's go back into that object. Re-select. The object. And back in the environment mia material, scroll down to a section labeled Advanced and open that up, and you'll see some very important things in here. Additional color, that's the self illumination. It's not called self illumination. And if you put something in here, or even just turn this up. Then the object will actually glow in a rendering if it's visible. And it will actually project light into the scene as well if you have final gathering enabled.
So this is a very important attribute right here. We've already got a file node that's set up the way we want it. And we just want to plug that into this additional color slot. Let's do that from the hypershade. Go to Window, Rendering Editors, Hypershade. Here's the environment material. Right click on that and graph the network, and now the network's visible in the work area here. And we can dolly back a little bit with the wheel. Just navigate and move things a little bit.
Maya nowadays combines connections into single wires. But I prefer to see the wires separately. And so I recommend you that you actually turn this feature off because it kind of. Obscures the reality of what's going on in your shading network. Go into options and turn off the merge connections option, and now we can see there's actually 2 connections here. There is a connection to the diffuse, and there's also a connection to the diffuse alpha. And that alpha connections not really necessary because we're not actually dealing with transparency here.
So, if you want, you can click on that one and highlight it and then just press delete. The only think we care about is the diffuse color. There is an alpha channel in here but it doesn't really effect the rendering, Just to stream line the view here we can make this a little bit simpler. Okay, now we're ready to assign that texture to the additional color attribute of the mia material. We can do that through the attribute editor, that's an easy way. We just want to have the mia material attributes loaded in the attribute editor so click on environment mia.
And now we've got those attributes visible and then middle mouse drag the texture file on to the additional color name. Not the slider but the name depending upon what operating system you're on this might not work unless you drag it directly onto the name of the attribute. That makes the connection. And if we hover the mouse over here, we will see we've got a connection to defuse, we've got a connection to additional color. And also a connection to additional color, alpha. And once again we don't really need that.
So if we want, we can select that alpha connection, and press delete. 'Kay. Now we've got that applied. We won't really see anything if we render this currently because we need to have a reflective material on that surface, in order to see the environment.
Want to learn how to create the same effect with 3ds Max? Check out Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max.
- Understanding the scene layout, hierarchy, and display layers
- Working with mia_material_x
- Creating and optimizing mental ray area lights
- Generating reflections with self-illuminated white cards
- Providing indirect illumination with Final Gathering
- Image-based lighting with high dynamic range files
- Rendering to a 32-bit file format
- Saving material and lighting components to render passes
- Adding ambient occlusion
- Layering and color correction in After Effects