Tutorial lessons

Balloon 1

  • Create passive collider for floor
  • Create nCloth on balloon
  • Play to when balloon is flat
  • Select balloon go into nSolve go to initial state and set from current
  • Go to ground and put friction to 1
  • Go to balloon and go to stickiness 0 and friction to 0.5
  • Go to pressure and set key to 0 on frame 30
  • Set pressure to 1 on frame 50
  • Set pressure to 3 on frame 70
  • Select balloon and go to nDynamics and field to create air
  • Set air speed to 2 and magnitude to 0
  • Set key frame magnitude to 80 on frame 0
  • Set key frame magnitude to 100 on frame 10
  • Set key frame magnitude to 140 on frame 50
  • Set max distance to 40
  • Create pyramid
  • Create plane with lots of divides from pyramid to balloon
  • Create ncloth on plane
  • Create ncloth on pyramid
  • Line pyramid end to plane end
  • select both and vertex’s and create component to component constraints
  • Select plane and balloon and connect two vertex’s with component to component constraints.
  • Go to pyramid ncloth and presets and concrete


Tare the rope

  • Select vertices that are to be torn
  • nConstraints and tear able surface
  • Set glue strength to 1 at point you want it to stay together and 0 at point you want it to break

Final outcome in play blast

Balloon 2

  • In air field press wind in predefined
  • go to volume control and volume shape to Cylinder
  • Resize to the place the balloon floats
  • Create vortex field
  • go to volume control and volume shape to Cylinder
  • Resize vortex to just bigger than air field
  • Turn vortex magnitude up

Outdoor day scene


  • First of all find reference and decide on the look that you want
  • Remember to add in small details that will make the scene more believable
  • Set up the camera angles so you can get the right lighting
  • No render will be perfect it will need a little work in another software like Photoshop or after effects.


Basic lighting

  • Set up the sun in mental ray and then get the direction of the sun right.
  • Add light bouncing in final gathering
  • Put the final gather filter quality up to get a smoother render.


Color management

  • Enable color management and set input to linear sRGB and output to sRGB
  • Lower physical sky multiplier to compensate for loose of expose lower to around 0.2

Texture basic materials like walls

  • Use mental ray colors like MiaX instead of Maya textures
  • Name the materials
  • Add texture file to color
  • To stop a repeating pattern rotate slightly
  • Lower reflection to appropriate value
  • To compensate exposure, go to file texture and set color profile to sRGB
  • Add bump map and set it to same 2D file control and then standard bump on the materials
  • Change bump depth

Single color

  • MiaX set color
  • Create gamma correction node (In Utilities)
  • Set gamma correction color to same as MiaX color
  • Set the Gamma values to 0.45


  • Add MiaX
  • Create grid node to diffuse
  • Change width and set texture size
  • Change color in grid node
  • Assign gamma correction
  • Bulge map for bump map


  • Add MiaX material
  • color and weight both to 0
  • reflectivity to somewhere between 0.8 and 0.9
  • In refraction put transparency up to 1
  • If you want coloured glass change refraction color and give that normal gamma correction node
  • Go to BRDF and turn that on
  • Add ocean as bump map and change the setting


  • Add leaf texture to MiaX diffuse
  • Add leaf texture to MiaX other
  • Out alpha to cut out opacity of MiaX material
  • set reflectivity to 0
  • Go into utilities and add a remap HSV node
  • Connect texture to remap HSV color and then remap to MiaX diffuse
  • Adjust remap HSV to set color that is wanted
  • Go into MiaX and turn on ambient occlusion
  • Put distance up to get more detail

Better render settings

  • in quality put max sample up for more detail (2)

Lighting Sky

  • Hypershade
  • Mia physical sky
  • use background and go to lens and add Mib look up background
  • Go into Mib look up and add texture
  • Add haze in physical light
  • Red blue shift in physical light + numbers go to red and – numbers go to blue
  • Ground color dark but slightly shaded for realistic effect
  • Horizon usually is to high so put it to -1

Quality settings

  • Ray tracing
  • Reflections and refractions higher the more reflections or refractions there are
  • Max trace depth value is always equal to refractions plus reflections
  • Indirect lighting final gathering tracing.
  • Bump up reflection and refractions and Max trace depth = refraction value+ reflection value

Contact shadows

  • Turn on ambient occlusion for better contact shadows
  • Ambient occlusion distance based on scale of scene and detail needed
  • Anti aliasing contrast turned down for sharper more contrast images
  • Texture filter type is default as Quadratic which blurs for still objects turn filter off
  • Render as HDR
  • Quality frame buffer data type must be changed from RGBA (Byte) 4*8 bit to RGBA (float) 4*32 bit
  • Change output profile to linear sRGB

Photoshop adding dirt and small details

  • Image renders darker than normal increase the gamma
  • Use new layers for dirt and grass
  • For dirt change brush type to chalk
  • Change brush spacing and scattering and then change brush flow
  • For grass have a more solid brush and change pixel size
  • Don’t go too far in editing the image

Photoshop enhancements

  • Make duplicates of all layers and merge the duplicate layers
  • Filter new layer with Gaussian blur
  • Set layer to add and lower the opacity
  • Exposure brighten darker
  • Offset controls scene blacks
  • Gamma correction overall control
  • Paint black to lighten exposure on shot
  • Ctrl backspace to reverse and use white to paint exposure on
  • Warm/ Cool scene with photo filter
  • Change image type with Image, mode, 8 bit image, set drop down menu to exposure and gamma
  • Lens correction add chromatic aberration to add light fringes
  • Add vignette to darken edges





Cinematic rendering in Maya


Setting up scenes with lights

  • Ambient occlusion
  • Spot light threw window
  • Glow material from behind the window to create glow
  • Directional light from window (fill light)
  • Directional light from table as a bounce
  • Directional light from light on ceiling
  • Directional light from floor
  • Directional light table onto wall




Light fog/ Underwater lighting


  • Only works in Maya Software not Mental ray
  • Only works with spot light or point light
  • Enable depth map shadows
  • Create light fog
  • Light fog only renders in blue cone
  • Enable decay regions
  • Region 3 extends cone out
  • Disable decay regions
  • Change decay rate to linear to have weaker light the further it travels
  • Fog spread effects the hardness of the side of the fog
  • Fog intensity effects how dense the fog is
  • Add cloud texture to light fog density




Subsurface skin


  • Apply miss fast skin Maya
  • Go to menu and open up Algorithm control
  • Go to scale conversion for more scattering increase for less decrease (increase for more shadow) Start searching around 180 for a realistic person and 60 for a cartoony character
  • To warm the skin go to subsurface scattering layer and go to sub dermal scatter color and change from orange to red for warmer skin tone
  • Epidermal scatter color is where you might paint freckles and spots but you have to paint them very intense.
  • Sub dermal scatter color is where you would put veins and blushes in cheeks and nose also anything not above the skin.
  • Diffuse layer in overall color is anything on top of the skin so make up or face paint.




Depth Map


  • Select scene and go to channel box
  • Create new layer and go to attributes
  • Presents and luminance depth
  • Go into out colour and break connections in old min and old max
  • Change old max value the higher the value the more depth it will capture




Render Passes


  • Go to render setting and passes
  • Select passes the basics are
  1. Beauty, Coverage
  2. Diffuse
  3. Ambient occlusion
  4. Camera depth
  5. Direct radiance
  6. Matte
  7. Normal world material
  8. Reflection
  9. Refraction
  10. Shadow
  • Associate these passes
  • Turn on ambient occlusion in indirect lighting



After Effects


Using Depth Maps


  • Load scene in
  • Load in depth map
  • Depth map goes above main scene
  • To create slow fade click toggle switches/ Mode
  • Change to Luma Matte
  • To create blur go to Layer, New and adjustment layer
  • Go to effect lens blur
  • Select to depth map layer
  • Add main layer below it all and turn down opacity to about 10%
  • Add dust layer above everything
  • Right click dust layer go to transform and fit width
  • Put depth map on top of the dust shot
  • Go to dust layer track matte and change to Luma




Compositing render passes


  • Diffuse layer (Just Texture) right click and go to interpret footage and set to pre multiplied
  • Specular and reflection is the same
  • Go on specular and change menu to add
  • To add ambient occlusion render set to multiply and then invert it in effects and channel
  • You can use transparency and other effects to change the passes
  • To change atmosphere of a pass go to effects and Hue saturation will change the color.
  • Render lights individually and focus on color and light intensity in after effects.




Creating fog with depth maps


  • Import depth map
  • Create new adjustment layer and go to blur and lens blur.
  • Set to depth map
  • Change focus distance
  • Iris radius change amount of blur
  • Create a solid and make it a light grey to make fog
  • Place solid layer under depth map
  • Set track matte to luma inverted on solid layer
  • Transparency to change level of fog



Metal materials

  • Metals have long specular highlights
  • Highlights always run opposite to grain
  • Use MIA material x
  • Increase reflectivity to around 0.66
  • on BRDF increase 0 degree reflection to around 0.95 so there is an even reflection no matter how you look at it.
  • Go to anisotropy and change it from 1 to a minus number so it stretches
  • In reflection decrease glossiness and increase glossy samples, Good number is 0.4 for glossiness and 50 for glossy samples.
  • To change direction of highlights go to anisotropy and change the rotation value.




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