Easy Mental Ray Setup

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Easy Mental Ray Setup

Post by Andrew Conroy on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:33 pm

Hey Ya'll,
If your looking for a simple and good looking Mental Ray Setup, here ya go!

Mental Ray Rendering with Global Illumination and Final Gather

Mental Ray is fairly easy to use and will give the best results for displaying your work on
a reel or portfolio. In this tutorial I will do a quick run through on a workflow I use often
to get the results I like in a time frame I can live with. Of course, you can do many things
with Mental Ray and you shouldn’t think that this is the only way to work but, it will give
you something nice rather quickly.

Here we GO!
1) We need to set our render settings.
Open the render Globals window > Set it to Mental Ray (if you don’t have mental ray as
an option look below)

1b) Window > Settings and Preferences > Plugin Manager > Mayatomr.mml -
Loaded+Auto load.

2) Go to the Indirect Lighting tab. Check Global Illumination and Final Gather. The
default setting will work.
Fun Fact - These options tell Maya to fire Photons out of the lights. This will make it so
that lights bounce off a red object and onto a grey object will carry some of that red onto
the grey object.

3) Go the the Quality tab. Check to make sure we are rendering at a low quality for
quick renders. We will come back to this when we are ready to make our production
renders. Make sure Max Samples is at 0. We will come back to this later.

4) Go to your camera window and click View > Select Camera. In the Attribute Editor
under perspShape look for environment. Change the Background Color to a medium
grey. This will act as an ambient light in our scene.
Fun Fact - Because Indirect lighting uses the space around a shape to color it, you can
chance a lighting setup by changing the environment color of the camera. The Photons
fired out by the lights will bounce off the Environment color and bring it back to your
model.
___________________________________________________________
Lighting the Scene
5) We will be using a 3 point lighting setup in this instance. I use Area Lights. They will
take more time to render but it’s worth it in this case.
Create an Area Light - This will be your Key Light. Place it where you like and then set
up your settings.

6) Settings - Change your decay rate to Linear > Change intensity to 10.

7) Shadows - Check Use depth Map Shadows and change the Res to 1024.

8 ) Duplicate your light and place it behind your object. This will act as a rim light so
it should be opposite of your Key. We want this light to shine a bright line along the
contour of our object.

9) Change rim light intensity to 20.

10) Duplicate your original light one more time and place it where it will shine on the
darkest parts of the object. (for me that is the bottom)

11) Change the intensity of the light to .8

12) Render!
This setup is designed to showcase a free floating object in space. If you have a ground
plane you will have to do a little light linking to deal with the shadows.
You will have to play around with the lights a little more to get the effects you want. I
encourage you to change the colors, try different angles and work with it a bit to make
your work really look awesome!
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Andrew Conroy
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Join date : 2013-03-04
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