Point Lights and Mental Ray

Point Lights and Mental Ray

Maya 2012 Tutorial


How to Add Maya Mental Ray Point Lights



Point lights project in every direction. In other words, whenever you add a point light, the light travels to the front, back, left side, right side, top and bottom. To create shadow maps for a point light, Maya needs to build six shadow maps if Depth Map Shadows is selected.

If the light is needed in only one direction, you are better off to pick another kind of light.


Step One

Add a polygon cylinder to the stage by choosing Create > Polygon Primitives > Cylinder.

Step Two

Add a floor object to the stage by choosing Create > Polygon Primitives > Plane.

Step Three

Using the Scale tool (e key), enlarge the plane so it is at least four times the size of the cylinder.

Step Four

In the front view, use the the Move tool (w key) to place the cylinder on the plane.

Step Five

Click the Render Settings icon to open the Render Settings panel. Choose Render Using: Mental Ray.

Step Six

Click the Quality tab and choose Quality Presets: Production.

Step Seven

Add a point light to the scene by choosing Create > Lights > Point Light.

Step Eight

With the Move tool (w key) position the light above and to the side of the cylinder.

Step Nine

Select the light, open the Attribute Editor and open the Shadows section, Raytrace Shadow Attributes sub-section.

Step Ten

Click the Use Raytrace Shadows checkbox.

Step Eleven

Increase the Light Radius to 3 and the Shadow Rays to 30. Increasing the Light Radius softens the shadow edges.

Step Twelve

Click the perspective view and render your image by clicking the Render Current Frame icon. If the image is too dark or over-exposed, select the light and change the Intensity value in the Attribute Editor.

Is Light Decay Important?

You can control the light's Decay Rate in the Attribute Editor. Conventional light loses energy as it travels away from the light source. In the Decay Rate options you can choose between No Decay, Linear, Quadratic and Cubic. Quadratic is similar to conventional light. In other words, if the light traveled ten feet it would be 1/4 the intensity of the same light at five feet from the light source.

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.


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