Adding Mental Ray Textures
Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Add Mental Ray Texture to an Object in Maya
If you plan to render your scene with Mental Ray, the texture options can seem endless. In addition to the standard textures (i.e., Lambert, Blinn, Phong, etc.), there are several additional textures that only work with Mental Ray.
The Mental Ray texture names start with dgs_, dielectric_, mi_, mia_, mib_ and misss_. There are over 25 Mental Ray textures to choose from.
If you plan on using Mental Ray Render Passes it is best to choose a texture that ends with the word passes.
In this example we will add a texture called mia_material_x_passes. The mia_material_x_passes includes several presets that allow you to quickly add several eye catching textures.
Add a sphere to the workspace by choosing Create > NURBS Primitives > Sphere.
Add a floor to the workspace by choosing Create > NURBS Primitives > Plane. Use the Scale tool (r key) or Channel Box to make the plane several times larger than the sphere.
Use the Move tool (w key)to move the sphere above the floor.
Add an area light to the scene by choosing Create > Lights > Area Light.
With the light selected, open the Attribute Editor, Mental Ray section, Area Light sub-section and check the Use Light Shape checkbox.
With the light selected, choose the Move tool (w key) and press the t key to access the light manipulator. Reposition the manipulator and light with the Move tool so the light illuminates the sphere.
Open the Render Settings panel and select Mental Ray from the Render Using pull-down menu.
In the Render Settings panel, click the Quality tab and choose Quality Presets: Production.
Select the sphere, then right-click the sphere and choose Assign New Material > mia_material_x_passes from the Mental Ray Materials section.
Select the floor, then right-click the floor and choose Assign New Material > Blinn.
In the Attribute Editor, Blinn options change the floor Color to red.
Click the perspective window and render your scene by clicking the Render Current Frame icon. Don't be alarmed if the lighting is too dark.
If the sphere is under lit or over lit, select the light, then adjust the Intensity slider in the Attribute Editor. You may need to perform several test renders to fine tune the light. Our numbers may be a bit larger than yours since the light's Decay Rate is set to Quadratic.
Select the sphere, open the Attribute Editor, mia_material_x_passes tab and click and hold the Presets button to see the presets for the mia_material_x_passes. Scroll down and choose GlossyPlastic > Replace.
In the Attribute Editor, mia_material_x_passes tab set the sphere Color to white.
Render your image to view your scene. If you wish to render your scene with Final Gathering, see topic, Final Gathering.
Try Other Presets
In this example we used the GlossyPlastic preset. Try some of the other presets to create other materials for your object.
Cranking Up the Quality
The easiest way to improve the quality of a Mental Ray rendering is to increase the Max Sample Level in the Raytrace/Scanline Quality section in the Mental Ray Quality tab. One is the default value. Change the value to two or three and notice the difference. Unfortunately, the higher the number, the longer the render time.
Often times presets give you a starting point for a texture. By changing the color and other parameters you can quickly morph your texture to match your object.
Can't Find Mental Ray?
If Mental Ray doesn't appear in the Render Settings, Render Using: menu, choose Window > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager. Make sure Mayatomr.bundle is loaded.