Join Andy Beane for an in-depth discussion in this video Define the problem: Dirty gazing ball, part of Advanced Materials in Maya.
- In this chapter, we're going to explore how to create a gazing ball like the one you might see in a garden. The very first step is to study some reference examples of what makes chrome and metal look like chrome and metal, and consider how we might make them more realistic by scuffing up the surface of it, making it look like it's been exposed to the outdoor elements and dirty. The primary attribute of chrome, and most metal, is its reflectivity. New chrome would be reflective like a mirror, like my gazing ball here at my home.
This gazing ball has been outside for about a month, and you can see a little bit of dust on the surface, and other than that, it's pretty clean. But let's now look at some examples of chrome and metal that have been exposed to the elements for a bit longer. Here is a firehose hookup in downtown Columbus, Ohio. You can see the perfect mirror reflections are now almost all gone. And almost all of the reflections are blurry and fuzzy. There is also a layer of dirt and grime in this image that is covering up the reflectivity as well.
In this image, we can see there are no perfect reflections to be seen, and parts of the metal are not even reflective at all. These next two images are of glass, and I am showing them because they have been outside and not touched for some time. You can say they have a dirt and grime layer that we may want to mimic. These two images are showing the reflectivity of metals in two ways. One, completely blurry reflections, and the other, a mix between blurry and perfect reflections. These glass bottles are good examples of reflective materials with dirt and grime really caked on.
These last two images are showing gazing balls in two different environments, just for examples. Throughout this chapter, we are going to take a look at how to build an advanced material using two different techniques. First, we will build each aspect of the material perfectly with its own basic shader for mirror reflections, blurry reflections, and dust and grime. We will then composite these images back together in After Effects, controlling how each of these layers will blend on top of one another. Second, we will put all these materials back together in Maya in a single shader for a single render.
Now that we know what we're up to, let's jump in and make it happen.
Andy Beane includes two methods for creating advanced Maya materials. He starts with smaller, easier materials that can be composited together. He then shows how to combine these same materials in an all-in-one-method for rendering, and evaluate the pros and cons of both techniques. Chapter 3 demonstrates the subsurface scattering (SSS) material in mental ray, which will strengthen your material toolbox, and shows how to composite the results in After Effects.
- Collecting and creating reference material
- Using simple materials vs. a large complex shader network
- Setting up the scene
- Creating alpha materials
- Compositing individual materials
- Putting it all together in one material
- Subsurface scattering with mental ray materials