The purpose of these standalone lessons is not to learn how to use any specific software, but rather to focus on learning fundamental terminology. It is recommended that you are familiar with all of the terminology that is discussed throughout these lessons before starting to follow along with any rendering tutorials.
Introduction and Project Overview <<MUSIC PLAYING>> In this lesson, we will learn about rendering. Rendering allows us to convert our 3D scenes into a 2D image. Much like a traditional artist paints color and shading on a sketch, rendering allows a 3D artist to add shading and lighting in order to create a finished piece. It is used in almost all 3D fields such as product visualization, architectural design, and film. When setting up a render, we usually start with a scene that's only modeled and animated. We may also have textures for our models, but not always. In order to render a scene, we will need to add materials to shade our models, add lights, set up an environment, and tweak our render settings in order to increase quality or to use features like raytracing or Final Gather. When we hit Render, the application looks at our scene through the camera and then translates all of the 3D data into 2D pixel data. Depending on your scene and render settings, rendering can take a long time. Rendering at film size and quality can sometimes take hours or days per frame. All of these steps may be done by a single render artist or may be divided into separate jobs such as one person lighting the scene, while someone else is making the shaders. However, each step needs to be complete before we hit the Render button. Rendering is one of the final steps in the production pipeline and it is responsible for converting our 3D scenes into a finished looking 2D image. <<MUSIC PLAYING>>
Cg101: Rendering In this lesson, we will learn about Final Gather. Final Gather is the method that we can use within Mental Ray to simulate indirect illumination, which gives us soft shadows, color balance, and a higher quality render. The entire process happens in several phases, beginning with the calculation of the direct light contribution in the scene. From there, final gather points are cast onto any surface that are currently visible to the camera. These points then send out final gather rays that sample the brightness and color information of any geometry they encounter, returning this information back to the original point. And this process happens for every final gather point in the scene. Finally, each point takes the color information returned to it and blends it with the information from neighboring points, providing a smooth indirect illumination result. Final Gather can either be used on its own or can be used in tandem with other indirect lighting methods, such as global illumination. Final Gather does add extra calculations, which will add time to your render. However, the increase in quality makes this extra time worth spending. <<MUSIC PLAYING>>