Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Render 360-degree images in Arnold, part of Maya: Tips, Tricks & Techniques.
- [Instructor] Hi, I'm George Maestri and today we're going to take a look at how to render 360 degree images in Maya, using Arnold. Now, this is used a lot in things such as virtual reality, but you also can use it to create panoramic textures for things such as games. So, let's get started by taking a look at our scene, so I have a simple scene with a sky dome and if I hardware shade that by pressing six, you'll see that, well, I can see what's inside of it by moving my camera in and I actually created a manual sky dome just so I would have a little bit more control, but you can certainly do this using environmental sky domes such as AI sky or something like that.
So I have a very simple scene here of a temple with some columns and if we were to render this, you'll see that we have pretty good lighting, shadows, reflections and all that. But this isn't a 360 degree image, so let's go ahead and set that up. So, first thing I need to do is create a camera that we will turn into a 360 panorama camera, so I'm going to create a basic camera, so I'm going to go create cameras, camera, that should come in at the origin and if we want, we can move that up.
Now, typically, for a panorama, you want your camera somewhere around eye height but it will depend on your applications so I'm going to kind of place this somewhere around here and let's go ahead and rename this camera, I'm going to call it, cam 360, so that way we know it's the 360 degree camera. Now, I'm going to go ahead and look through this camera, and when I do, I basically just get one of the columns and some of the background.
Now, we can change this in the attribute editor. Now your first instinct maybe to go angle of view and just kind of widen that angle of view quite a bit, but that's not going to turn this into a spherical camera, it'll just turn it into a wide camera. In order to make this a spherical camera, we have to go down to the Arnold tab, so I'm going to go all the way down to Arnold and under here, we have camera type, by default, it's perspective, we're going to change this to spherical.
Now, notice we have a number of different options here, one of which is cylindrical, which is kind of of another way of doing a panorama, but we want spherical, which we'll allow us to tilt up and move around however we want. Now once we do that, we're pretty much set. So, I need to make sure I set up my render settings and one of the things is that, if we're doing spherical panorama type imagery, a lot of times we'll need a bigger aspect ratio for the image, I'm not going to go too big, I'm just going to make this a 1080p image, but your production pipeline may need more.
So just make sure you have the right aspect ratio as well as a right within height for your production and then, I'm going to make my render a little bit better and I'm going to turn up my anti-aliasing to three, I'm going to leave defuse, glossy and refraction all at two and then I'm going to close this and I'm going to do another render. And, here we have the final render. As you can see, the aspect ratio and the perspective is spherical.
Now, in order to actually see this as a VR image, we'll need to go ahead and use a VR viewer. Now, autodesk has a few but I like to use the GoPro viewer and if you want, you can find that by going into Google and just typing GoPro VR player. Doing a search and the first or second one of these should be a download for that Google VR player and they have it for all the operating systems and it's a really easy player to use.
Now, all I have to do, in order to use this is, I have to save this out as an image, so I'm going to do save image and I'm going to call it, render360.jpg and I just save it in my exercise files images folder and then I'm going to go ahead and open that GoPro player and I'm going to click and drag that file in. when I do, I get an image that I can pan around and if you have a headset, you can certainly play this back in a VR headset to get a little bit more interactivity, but as you can see, we've done a 360 render using Arnold and it's really very simple, all you have to do is change the camera to spherical.