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Lighting La Ruelle - Chapter 1: Fog/Mist (Damp) at Nighttime

By Joseph Harford
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Date Added: 26th April 2013
Software used:
Maya, mental ray

On some occasions Mental Ray might not even appear here, but no fear, simply go to the Menu and select Window > Settings/Preferences/Plug-in Manager and from the resulting dialog scroll down and find MayatoMR. Make sure Loaded and Auto-load is set to On (or ticked). You should now be able to select Mental Ray from Render Using list (Fig.08).

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Fig.08

In future parts of this tutorial set I will explain the render settings in more depth, but this tutorial is designed to quickly produce a good looking image. The important things to look at in the render settings are the Image Format where we can set the file extension, and the Image Size. Set the image size to 2500x1874 if you want to render exactly as the final image. Here you can also set up the resolution, if rendering for web or print.

Check that the Renderable Cameras is set to Camera01 so our main scene camera is rendered and not the perspective view.

There are a couple more settings to alter still, so switch the tab to Quality and notice the Quality Presets dropdown near the top. These quality presets alter many render settings at once.

We can select Draft from the list to very quickly render our scene, mainly to check things like the balance of lighting, the colors, or the amount of fog we have.

Preview we can use to fine tune shadow shapes, shadows, light bouncing and specularity on objects.

We can switch to Production once we need to render our final image, and also to fine tune close up bump maps which demand a crisp render to see how they really look (Fig.09).

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Fig.09


Now let's switch to the Indirect Lighting tab (Fig.10). Without altering any settings simply check on Final Gathering and Ambient Occlusion. These two features will be further explained later, but basically they increase the realism of our scene, lighting it up more evenly and producing soft shadows in corners and cracks (See Fig.06)

1707_tid_fig10_25.jpg
Fig.10

It's simple now to just click on each object in turn (using viewport selection or through the outliner), and turn the ambient color value down to a pure black (Fig.11).

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Fig.11





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