Adding Mental Ray Textures

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.


Step One

Add a sphere to the workspace by choosing Create > NURBS Primitives > Sphere.

Step Two

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.

Step Three

Use the Move tool (w key)to move the sphere above the floor.

Step Four

Add an area light to the scene by choosing Create > Lights > Area Light.

Step Five

With the light selected, open the Attribute Editor, Mental Ray section, Area Light sub-section and check the Use Light Shape checkbox.

Step Six

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.

Step Seven

Open the Render Settings panel and select Mental Ray from the Render Using pull-down menu.

Step Eight

In the Render Settings panel, click the Quality tab and choose Quality Presets: Production.

Step Nine

Select the sphere, then right-click the sphere and choose Assign New Material > mia_material_x_passes from the Mental Ray Materials section.

Step Ten

Select the floor, then right-click the floor and choose Assign New Material > Blinn.

Step Eleven

In the Attribute Editor, Blinn options change the floor Color to red.

Step Twelve

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.

Step Thirteen

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.

Step Fourteen

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.

Step Fifteen

In the Attribute Editor, mia_material_x_passes tab set the sphere Color to white.

Step Sixteen

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.

Texture Presets

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.