Course info
May 1, 2008
2h 10m

Learn production-applicable solutions for final gathering and time-saving rendering techniques that can be used in a multitude of scenarios. Contains project-based training for artists attaining convincing soft shadows and diffused lighting. Perfect for experienced artists. Popular highlights include: Final Gather Overview; Scene Management; Controlling Number of FG Points; Controlling Number of Rays Cast by FG Points; Controlling Final Gather Intensity; Altering Final Gather Falloff Rates; Final Gather Diagnostics; Map Visualizer to View FG Points in Viewport; Storing and Re-using Final Gather Point Data; Final Gather Filter Size; Adding Secondary Diffuse Bounces; FG Trace Depth with Transparent Surfaces; Final Gather Overrides on Objects; Controlling Material Interaction with Final Gather; Practical Lighting Exercises. Software required: Maya 8 and up (Maya 2008 required for project files).

About the author
About the author

Kyle was one of the first authors for Digital-Tutors (now a Pluralsight company) and has been a part of the team for over 10 years. Kyle began his career in computer graphics education as a college instructor and worked as a Digital-Tutors rendering tutor and curriculum manager since 2002.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
Hello and welcome to this series of mental ray Workflows in Maya: Final Gather, presented by Digital-Tutors, an Autodesk Authorized Publisher. My name is Kyle and I'll be your instructor guiding you through the process of using Final Gather in mental ray to add a greater sense of realism to your rendered environments. Now in the world around us, a large part of the light that we perceive, is a result of indirect illumination, or light that bounces off other surfaces to illuminate our surroundings. Now in mental ray, one method that we have of simulating this indirect illumination comes from a feature called Final Gather and mastering this feature is an essential step toward creating a highly realistic renders that very closely mimic the way that light interacts with objects in the real world. So we're going to begin our training by exploring exactly how Final Gather simulates the effect of indirect lighting within mental ray. From there we're going to take a look at the attributes that are used to control exactly how these Final Gather rays interact with various objects and materials in your scene, and we'll go ahead and take a look at some features to optimize your rendering times as well as some practical lighting examples that are specifically designed to give you a stronger understanding of Final Gather in mental ray. So let's go ahead and get started with our first lesson where we're going to discuss the process by which Final Gather is able to simulate indirect illumination. All right, so that's really going to be the main focus of this particular lesson where we take just a minute to step back and really kind of explore what Final Gather is doing behind the scenes in order to calculate this indirect lighting. All right, now, if you've ever used Global Illumination in mental ray, you'll know that that is one method that mental ray has of calculating Indirect Lighting. And the way that Global Illumination works is that it is able to cast these photons from a light source, out into the scene, they bounce around and return color information back to the renderer, which is then shown as Indirect Illumination. Now, Final Gather is able to, again, simulate this Indirect Illumination, but the way it does it is very, very different from Global Illumination. Now, what Final Gather will do is, it will first rate for the rendering inch, and to calculate, or rather, cast the direct light rays from your light source out into the scene. Now once that happens, Final Gather will derive these small points that are going to be scattered randomly throughout your scene. Now, those individual points are going to sample the environment around them, and it's going to do that with these rays. So these rays are going to be cast from this point, and they're going to be cast out in random directions; you can control exactly how many rays are going to come out from that point. Now what's going to happen is these rays are going to come in and sample the color and the Indirect Illumination, or the indirect lighting contribution of the surrounding environment. Now once that's been done, these rays will basically return that color information back to the original point. Now, once the point has all that illumination information from the environment, it will store that, and then compare that information to the point next to it, which is casting out rays of its own, which is in turn comparing to the point next to it, and so on and so forth for your entire scene. And that is basically how Final Gather is able to calculate this sort of Indirect Illumination. Now what this means is that what we have is basically an approximation of the Indirect Light contribution of our surroundings. So, as a result, most of the time, Final Gather is not going to be as physically accurate as something like Global Illumination. But the tradeoff is, that while it may not be as physically accurate, a lot of times, your results, your render results will come back faster. And Final Gather can actually be used in conjunction with Global Illumination to kind of help get the best of both worlds. You'll get a rendered result that is going to be a bit more physically accurate, but because the Final Gather rays are going to help take some of the strain off the photons, you can often get a rendered result that's going to be much quicker than if you tried to use photons alone. All right, so now that we have an idea of exactly how Final Gather works, what we'll start to do in our next lessons is begin exploring some of the different attributes that we're going to need to be aware of whenever activating this Final Gather feature.