Rendering Engines for Architectural visualization, Maya

For my group research project, I participated in the group assigned to research the different types of available modeling and rendering software used to render materials and objects for our architectural projects.  I was assigned to the Maya 3d modeling program and had to present how to set-up and render a model that included how to create different shapes, lighting and materials.

The first part of my presentation include a quick overview of how to set up a scene by creating different object shapes, insert a light source, and set up a camera.  For our group, we each generated a scene within each program that had a similar setup that included a plane, cube, sphere, point light, and a placed camera in perspective.  I quickly went over the create object tools found in the polygon tab of the Maya program, and showed how to create a surface, sphere and cube within Maya.  Next I briefly went over how to create a light source and then insert a camera, both tools were found in the rendering tab.

After setting up the scene, it was time to adjust the light and introduce the camera attributes.  In the lighting adjustments, Maya can change and edit the light intensity and color.  Using the various camera options, I presented the class with how to adjust the camera’s focus, aperture, depth, and photorealistic camera modifications like altering the camera’s F-stop.  I also showed how to use the camera option for inserting a backdrop to the scene, which could either be a picture or solid color.

After the lighting and camera adjusting, it was time to add material to the scene.  As agreed upon within the group, we decide to make the materials of the two shape objects a wooden texture for the cube and a metallic texture for the sphere.  For the cube, I showed how to manipulate the texture that was already assigned to the object by the Maya software.  Because Maya is a “nodes” material creator it does not have material pre-loaded but relies on the user to define the material attributes.  In order to produce a wood texture, I had to show how to create it myself.  I proceeded to show how to load a picture of a wooden material from file that generated a wooden look to any surface that it applied to.  I also showed how to adjust that material to give the applied look more realistic proportions.  Next, I showed how to set up a material attributes for the sphere that would give it a metallic look when rending the scene in Maya using mental ray.  To do this, I had to assign and create a new material that was different than the applied wooden material of the cube.  I choose the material option that I needed, and then showed how to add addition material features within the material options to give it a metallic look in mental ray.

After applying the material attributes, it was time to show the types of render options in Maya, and the option that each render type had.  I first started out how to render in mental ray since the object sphere was already setup for that rendering process.  I showed how to open the render option, pick the quality, show the shadow, and then what to click to generate the render.  I then showed the final rendered scene as it looked using Maya mental ray.

Next I had to show the other 2 types of renders within Maya, Maya software render, and Maya hardware render.  Before I could render the scene I had to readjust the material attributes for the metallic sphere since the material attributes I had assign to it would only render using mental ray.  I showed how to reapply the material to the sphere and this time set up the attributes so that it could render in both Software and Hardware renders.  Next, I went through the different options for both renders and showed how to adjust the quality.  I then rendered for both Software and Hardware and showed the final scenes.

The Maya 3d modeler is a good way to customize your materials pallet, and usually generates faster renders than some other 3d modelers.  I would still recommend further post-production rendering using photoshop or other photo manipulating software, but May offers a good start for scene setup, lighting and materials.

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