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Streamliner Toy Car

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Date Added: 13th July 2010
Software used:
Make sure you disable Maya's Enable Default Light and enable Use Selected Lights. Make sure you create one light at a time; it helps you see what is going on in the scene. Use the spotlights (SL) in a three-point lighting arrangement and disable Emit Specularon all three lights. Place the area light and point light where you want the highlights to be focused, making sure that theEmitDiffuse is disabled on both light sources.

The light settings are as follows:

Front SL:
  • Intensity: 80
  • Decay Rate: Quadric
  • Cone Angle: 130
  • Penumbra angle: 10
  • Dropoff: 2

Right SL:
  • Intensity: 140
  • Decay Rate: Quadric
  • Cone Angle: 65
  • Penumbra Angle: 40
  • Dropoff: 1

Left SL:
  • Intensity: 50
  • Decay Rate: Quadric
  • Cone Angle: 65
  • Penumbra Angle: 30
  • Dropoff: 1

Point/Area L:
  • Intensity: 10
  • Decay Rate: Quadric


Let's begin with the shading for the different parts of the car. We will be using MayaMaterialsand RenderPasses.

The most important thing is that we achieve the characteristic reflection that cars have, by which I mean that when viewed from different angles the reflection is greater or less. We achieve that effect by using the sampler info node. The sampler info is outputting Facial Ratio information by receiving input information of the UVcoordinates of the mesh. The chassis has a ramp connected to the specular (ramp1) and the reflectivity (ramp2) nodes.

The cab-top and the wheels have almost the same material settings; you can go ahead and duplicate when ready with one shader and make slight change in the diffuse and color nodes. Adjust to your liking and do not forget to choose a Maya granite 3D texture with a negative low bump value between 0.004-0.010 to create some unevenness in the surface - it is very subtle but it makes all the difference (Fig.10 - 11)!

Fig: 10

Fig: 11

Now for the pinhead and wheelhub shaders. Notice that we are using a Mental Ray DGS material for the wheel hubs to achieve the chrome look we are looking for. Duplicate the pinhead shader and change the color to red to create the second pinhead in our scene (Fig.12 - 13).

We have all the shaders in place! Make sure you have a couple of objects in the surrounding area to be reflected in the wheel hubs and the chassis. Be sure that CastShadows, Receive Shadows and Primary Visibility are turned off so that they do not render or give shadows in our scene.

And now we can move on to the final stage!

Fig: 12

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