This month I was given a Maya scene with objects included. My task was to create Mental Ray lights and materials for the scene rather than with the mia materials I learned about in my previous lighting and rendering class. I found the process to be much more efficient this time around, and I can say that I would prefer the Mental Ray materials.
I expected the lighting setup to be fairly simple since I had little trouble working with them in previous classes, but I had a really hard time matching my area light to the reference image I was given. I eventually got close but not as much as I’d have liked. Another issue I ran into was my environment light cast by an exr. At some point it wasn’t working, and I didn’t know how or why until my instructor pointed it out. After fixing it, I had to redo all the lighting over again to match the reference image.
I really liked the indirect diffuse settings set to on even though it causes the renders to take much longer. It really tied in everything well in the final result and made the scene feel more realistic.
Before diving into the mila materials, I had to create image based textures in Photoshop for the scraper and pulley by utilizing the UV maps I made for each of those objects. The shelf and book image textures were provided for us.
Working with the layering aspect of mila materials was so much more enjoyable. I liked having everything compartmentalized because I feel I have more control that way. The need to work in the hypershade window was a bit daunting at first, but by the end of the month, I felt much more comfortable with it. I can see that it is so important to have a grasp on, and I’ll have to have more practice with it more in the future in order to retain the knowledge I’ve gained in navigating around what it can do. As for the look I could achieve with the mila materials, I was very pleased. The metal and glass was much easier to understand and tweak than the mia method, and the layering process I went through for the wall was very enlightening.
This class was a challenge on my time management skills, but I enjoyed the content. I learned so many things that I was I had known in my previous classes because they explained many of the questions I had lurking about in my mind. I’m very grateful to my instructor who was very clear with everything and patient when I needed to seek out his help with technical problems.