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Plug this map into the AO Ambient map of one of your materials (in the Material Editor, not the utility yet). To start, set up your map as shown in Fig.05.

Fig. 05

Then open the utility and press the Load Ambient Map button in the AO section to load an instance of that map (you can find it if you click on Browse From: Scene). Press Update Map to populate this map in your entire scene (Fig.06).

Fig. 06

U Offset

As you can see from the AO map, it suggests the location of the sun in your sky. So this setting should be adjusted to match the location of your actual sun. In my opinion, the best way to do that is to switch to Top view and do test renders of a sphere.

The left sphere was rendered with the actual Sun light only. The two spheres at the center are with the AO map only (with the respective setting of U offset) and the last one shows the combination. (Fig.07).


Now make sure you turn off Final Gather and render (Fig.08).


At this point you might want to switch between the two solutions for quality and accuracy comparisons (AO > FG). To do this quickly you can turn on FG, and in the utility switch to Global Ambient and force it. This will make use of the color swatch in your environment - just make sure it's black.

I hope you found this tutorial useful!

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Bob on Sun, 15 July 2012 1:38pm
Cool, that is a really interesting approach on how to get faster rendering FG-like animation without flicker. Unfortunately it takes away the shadow detail, so it is probably not suitable for every occasion. I have a suggestion for the workflow: Would it not be easier to directly use the actual Physical Sky Map through an Environment Blur Map instead of pre-rendering, blurring and adjusting it? Thanks, Bob
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