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Over the course of this extensive 7 day series. Shray Khanna will guide you through the entire process of creating a next-gen, low poly vehicle using Maya and Photoshop. Throughout the series, Shray covers the complete next-gen pipeline in detail. In day 7 we'll complete the "Next_Gen Armored Car" project, by setting up the shader, lighting the scene and rendering using Metalray in Maya.
Also available in this series:
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 1
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 2
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 3
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 4
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 5
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 6
- "Next-Gen Armored Car" Day 7
To Start, combine the lower body of the car into a single mesh. Then combine the entire turret section into another mesh, and rotate it for our test renders.
Now select both of the front wheels and rotate them to the right a little, to add some motion to the render.
Now open up the "Plug-in Manager" (Window>Settings/Preferences>Plug-in Manager.)
In the "Plug-in Manager" window, click on the "Mayatomr.mll" Loaded and Auto Load options. And it will load the Mental Ray renderer, which we'll be using for our renders.
Now select the "Render Settings" icon (shown below) and open the respective window. In the window change the Renderer from "Maya Software" to "Mental Ray".
Now scroll down in the window and under the "Image Size" tab, change the "Presets" to 640x480 , this will be our render size. You can increase the render size anytime once you have the final result, but using a smaller size now will save us time while working towards the final result.
Now go into the "Features" tab, and under "Rendering Features" tick on the "Final Gathering" and "Ambient Occlusion" options. Final Gatheringis a technique used for estimating Global Illumination overall in the scene, and Ambient Occlusion is the calculated self shadows on the surface.
Now move to the "Quality" tab and increase the "Max Sample Level" to 4. Under "Multi-Pixel Filtering" change the "Filter" to "Mitchell".
Next move into the "Indirect Lighting" tab, and under "Environment", set the "Image Based Lighting" to "Create". Image based lighting does exactly what it's name implies, we can setup an HDRI image to light our scene. All the lighting information stored within the HDRI is captured, and then projected back into the scene at render time.
Now go to View>Camera Settings>Resolution Gate. This will show you the resolution in a clipped window, so that you can have only as much of the car as you need.
Now in the "Attribute Editor", under "Image Based Lighting Attributes", browse to an HDRI image. I have a few collections of free images which I have collected from different sites online. If you do not have an HDRI image, you can easily find lots of good ones by searching online, and use then quite easily.
Now you can see the image applied to the dome around the armored vehicle.
Now in the "Attribute Editor" under "Image Based Lighting Attributes", scroll down to "Render Stats" and uncheck "Primary Visibility". Now the dome won't appear in the render, only the lighting information.
Now set the Camera angle to what we need for our render, and select the "Render View" window.
Now in the "Render View Window", click on the "Render Icon" and it will render the current viewport with present lighting applied.
Now we need some shadows under the Armored Car, so create a "Polygon Plane" and position it underneath. We also need to apply a shader to it, so open "Hypershade" and under the "Surface" tab, create a "Use background" shader and apply it to the ground plane.
Now double click on the material in the Hypershade window, this will open it's properties in the"Attribute Editor". Now reduce the "Specular Color" to a dark grey by moving the slider to the left, also change the "Reflectivity" to 0.
Now this "Use background" material takes the environment color and applies it to the surface. This way our simple plane will blend in with the environment well. Now hit "Render" again and you'll notice the shadows on the ground.
Go to Create>Lights>Spot Light, and create a spot light in the scene. Now a Spot light does what it's name suggests, you can place it facing the asset and it will light the particular spot only.
Now move and place the Spot Light as shown, and scale it up so that you an view it properly.
Now in the "Attribute Editor" under "SpotLightShape1", change the "Cone Angle" to 75 , the "Penumbra Angle" to -10 and the "Dropoff" to 10.536.
Now select the "Color" box (1), (it will open the color chooser at the same instance), change the color to "Cyan" (a very light blue color) (2).
Now scroll down in the "Attribute Editor" and under "Raytrace Shadow Attributes", check the "Use Ray Trace Shadows" option , and match the values as shown.
Now every time we tweak settings, we need to see if it's coming out properly in the render. But rendering the scene each and every time will cost us a lot of time. So open the render window, drag and select any particular area you want, and then "Right Click" and go to Render>Render Region. This will render only the selected region and not the complete scene, this will save us a lot of time and you'll notice the results as well.
Now this one is a "Region Render" of the lower part of the car, you'll notice the prominent shadow on the ground.
Now Duplicate the Spotlight and place it on the other side as shown.
Change the color of this new spotlight to "White".Change the "Intensity" to 0.2 (1) , the "Penumbra Angle" to -3.388 (2) , and finally turn "Off" the "Use Ray Trace Shadows" option (3).
Now again go to Create>Lights>Point Light, this will create a Point Light in the scene. A "Point light" is just a spherical light that emits light in all directions, and is very subtle.
Now by using the "Move Tool", place the Point Light at the back of the vehicle to give it some back light.
Keep the color a default "White" only, and set it's "Intensity" to 0.3.
Now duplicate the same light and place it on the other side of the back (1). Change it's color to a "Light Yellow" (2).
Now hit "Render" and you'll get to see the final output with all the lights applied.
Now "Right Click" on the render and go to File>Save Image.
Browse to the directory and save the file with any name you like (save it as a Targa).
Now open the file in Photoshop, and go to the "Channels" tab. Using the "Alpha" channel, make a selection by Ctrl+Clicking on the alpha channel.
Now invert the selection using Ctrl+Shift+I, select the main layer and press "Backspace", and it will delete the rest of the selection.
Now create a "New" layer under the original and fill it with "White" color. This is our final result, so you can now save this as a .jpeg image for the final output.
You can set a final dynamic pose by rotating the wheels and turret in Maya.
And here is our 3 final renders, done with the same procedures.