Rendering Ambient Occlusion Passes in Maya
Almost all renders include an ambient occlusion (AO) pass that's composited with the beauty pass. The AO pass creates the deep shadows you find between cracks and seams and helps to create a more realistic render. However, there are also times when having just an ambient occlusion render for your scene is a great way to showcase your model, whether for your demo reel or just for fun. If you want to learn more about Ambient Occlusion and how it works be sure to check out Understanding Ambient Occlusion. This article will walk you through the process of properly setting up an ambient occlusion render for your model or scene in Maya, as well as cover some time saving techniques that will have you creating great looking AO renders in a short amount of time. So why would you want an ambient occlusion render for your demo reel or anything else for that matter? Well, there are a few benefits to it and a couple reasons why you should see the AO render as more than just a type of shadow pass for your final render. Ambient occlusion is a great way to showcase a model that doesn't have any textures created for it. If you're a modeler that just focuses on modeling or you have a few pieces that didn't get the texture treatment yet then AO can add that nice touch to your model to increase appeal. It's also a great thing to incorporate to a wireframe render because it helps the model stand out while still keeping the focus on the topology and not the textures. Whatever the case may be, whether you want to include an AO pass for your render or you want the AO to stand on its own, these methods will help get the job done.