This semester we involved four different 3D based subjects, Rigging, Animation, Texturing and Rendering. Rigging and Animation kind of stand alone where as Texturing and Rendering can often go hand in hand. For Texturing class we started off by going back to basics, observing real world textures and how to bring the to life in a traditional was as well as digital. We were also reintroduced to Adobe Photoshop and shown new techniques and tools that may be used to recreate a real world texture. We also had a very interesting class with Barry Dean, an ex Disney artist. He showed us how amazing good textures can be and how to create basic textures such a rust in Photoshop. The Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011 Guide book explains the use and importance of texturing, “The use of two-dimensional images to add color and detail to three-dimensional objects has been a big part of computer modeling and animation from the very start. This is known as texture mapping, and it is practically an art of its own.”
The first term of Rendering class Vince showed us a new world of Mia materials, Mental Ray and all its sampling wonders! Mia materials puts away most of the Blins and Lamberts Maya has to offer. We were shown how simple it could be to create a simple glass bottle or object or even make the same object have a flawless chrome look. Love the mis materials! Also with Mental Ray being explained so we can understand how The Global Illumination, Final Gather and Costics work so we can then put them into practice and bring our renders to life. The importance of Mental Ray is covered in a whole chapter in the . The introduction to the chapter reads “To achieve professional-quality, realistic renders in Maya, you need to master the mental ray render plug-in that comes with maya. Mental ray is a complex rendering system that is incorporated through the maya interface. Learing how to use it properly and efficiently takes time, study and practice.”
The second half of the texturing class was all about 3D, 3D painting, sculpting and UV mapping. UV Layout was used for making the UV maps insted of Maya and we were shown how in Mudbox to paint and sculpt objects directly onto a 3D surface. This was very use full and a massive time saver. We also covered pipelines back into Maya from both Mudbox and UV Layout but also into Photoshop if there were any touch ups or changes to be made. UV Layout was something of a surprise for me, where maya is an amazing program that makes sence and does seem user-friendly considering how complicated it is, UV Layout come out and makes things a little easier, isn’t that nice! A bit of an idea of UV Layout from www.uvlayout.com “UVLayout is a stand-alone application for the creation and editing of UV coordinates for 3D polymeshes and subdivision surfaces. Used by professionals in the games and visual effects industries, by hobbyists of all types and by students, UVLayout’s unique approach gives texture artists the tools they need to produce high quality low distortion UVs in significantly less time than they would by traditional methods.”
Lighting systems and making this looks amazing was all what the second term of the Render studio 1 was about. physical suns, portal lights, soft shadows were things that could make a simple scene look real if done correctly. We were shown many different examples of lighting systems and ways to make a scene look real. Mental ray isn’t just about high samples in GI or Final Gathering. With more amazing materials like miss_fast_skin_maya1 with is subsurface scattering layers or things like the bokeh lens to give a depth of field with real ease. The MIA materials were something I loved, The Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011 Guide explains “The MIA material is the Swiss Arm knife of the mental ray shaders. It is a monolithic material, meaning that it has all the functionality needed for creating a variety of materials built into a single interface. You don’t need to connect additional shader nodes into a specific network to create glossy reflections, transparency, and the like.” Maya and Mental ray were made for each other and I look forward to better getting to know the couple.
In both out 3D texturing class and Render Studio 1 we were given the combined assessment task of texturing and rendering a photo real fruit bowl. The models were already created for us, a basic bowl, two apples, bananas, an orange, pears and grapes. All sitting on a kitchen looking bench top with tiles behind. Through out the semester we would be learning different tools, programs and techniques to help us creat our fruity images. Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Auto Desk Mudbox would be used for texturing the fruits and bowl while NVIDIA Mental Ray plugged into Auto Desk Maya would handle the rendering and lighting. The task was simple enough with making to different lighting set ups and having two different shots from each set up. The hard part would be of course making realistic textures from scratch and lighting system to simulate a photo real image of a fruit bowl.
The end result of my fruit bowl was something I was very pleased with. Even though I know it’s not perfect or the best in the glass it was something I didn’t think I would have been able to creat at the beginning of the year. Not even close!! The shadows need work as im still getting my head around Mental Ray and some of my textures do look painted, except my bananas, very happy there! The texturing, lighting and rendering (except the long render times) were fun for me, I really enjoyed the challenge even if it stressed me out at times. I’m looking forward to applying the knowledge from the fruit bowl to my own original scenes!
headus (metamorphosis) Pty Ltd, accessed 21/06/2012 at http://http://www.uvlayout.com/
Eric Keller, 2011, p527, p557, p573, Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011, Autodesy Official Training Guide.