In this series of lessons, we will learn various methods for simulating realistic brushed metal surfaces within Maya. This course will explore the various attributes found in the mental ray architectural material which can simulate brushed metal surfaces, as well as exploring alternative methods using the Maya materials. Software required: Maya 2010 or higher.
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.
Introduction and Project Overview [Autogenerated] in the series of lessons will explore a couple different ways in which we can make the appearance of brush metal surfaces within Maya. All right, so one of the really strong defining characteristics that we a lot of time see when using any kind of brush metal are trying to re create any kind of a brush metal surface is the fact that we have these really, really long speculum highlights. You can see they're not round like normal speculum. Highlights would be. That is what we would call an Ennis, a tropic highlight. And basically it means that the highlight or the reflection has some kind of directionality to it, which is really what we see here now, in the case of a brush metal surface, this actually has the metal that's been brushed in a certain direction. It has grain that runs in a certain direction, maybe a little bit difficult to see in this image. But if you're very, very closely, you'll actually see colorations and striations that run really horizontally across the surface. Now it's interesting to note that even though the grain is running horizontally, you'll notice that the highlights run vertically, so that's one thing to always keep in mind. Whatever trying to recreate a brush metal surface is that the highlights always run opposite of the grain or any striations within Maya. There's a couple different ways that we can actually go about recreating these anise, a tropic highlights. That's not really the difficult part. What's tricky is that within any of the Maya shooters, we actually don't have the ability to do use any Anisotropy reflections, and that's going to be the key thing that we want to try to recreate. But there are a couple of different ways in which we could get around that. So let's jump over to Maya, and we're gonna be working on this simple paint can examples. So this is what we're gonna be working with. So the first thing that we need to do is actually start to work on the Tropic Reflections now. Like I said, there are certain my materials, like the anise, a tropic material that do give us the ability to have an ihsa Tropic highlights. But they still don't give us the true anisotropy reflections that have any kind of directionality to them. What we can do is very simply, we can use some of the metal ray nodes, and probably the quickest and easiest way to recreate a brush metal surface is to just use the architectural material or the M I A material. In my case, I'm gonna use the M I A Material X, So what we'll do is look at a couple of different examples through these next couple of lessons. One is going to be the easy and direct way using this architectural material and then, in the next lesson, will explore some additional, more complicated ways in which we could build this ourselves basically from scratch. So let's take this architectural material just middle quick, drop it onto our surface. And if we were to render this out, you can see that what we get is a little bit more of an isotopic material. In other words, the reflections and the highlights are even from all directions, and that's really not what we want. So let's take a look at this architectural material. Let's start by addressing the actual reflections cause you'll notice right now. Uh, the actual reflections of this material really don't give the appearance of a metal type surface so Let's start by increasing the reflectivity just a little bit more. And the real key to re creating any kind of a metallic material with the architectural is to look at the B R D F. Now, this is really controlling how reflective material resurfaces, depending on how indirectly or directly you view it. So typically in reality, the more directly you view a surface, the less reflective it is, whereas these outer portions, the least directly viewed areas, are going to be the most reflective. That's the case for most materials, but with the case of metal and real shiny surfaces like chrome or a mirror, it's going to be almost evenly reflective. So what we need to do is take the zero degree reflection and bring this up either all the way to one or maybe just below one, and we're going. You can see that's now much more reflective of this middle piece here. While it may not appear to be reflective, it actually is. That just happens to be reflecting this floor area, so we don't see a tremendous amount of detail here. But we do see plenty of nice, reflective detail in this area, so Now let's start to focus on the Anisette. Tropic highlights in the anise, a Tropic Reflections. So what we need to do is take a look just a little bit higher just above this b r d f. And we have the attributes for Anna Satrapi. So the anise entre B is really what we would use to control this by default. It's gonna be set to one which gives us an ice, a tropic highlight in other words, something that's perfectly round. So what we could do is either start increasing this Anna Satrapi value or a lot of times I actually find it's easier to start decreasing it. And by dropping this to a value lower than one, you can see how we start to get some really nice highlights in here, right? So that will actually give us some kind of an isotopic rather in. And it's a tropic highlight, which is what we can start C here in this area. So now it's actually kind of stretching and has a little bit of directionality to it. But overall, this is still very Crume like in its appearance. So if we wanted to now start to introduce some ice, a tropic or some rather anisotropy reflections. Well, we can now start to do is take a look inside this reflectivity tab, and in the reflection, you'll see the glossy Nissa set toe won by default, which gives us a completely smooth, mirrored surface. But if we start to take this glossy nous down to a value lower than one, we can now start to see this reflection. Previews start to spread out, and now it will start to get his appearance of some nice and it's a tropic reflections. So if I save this for comparison and rear ender, you can now start to see that effect happening. So, computer, what we had before and we have now. You can now start to see a little bit more blurriness and some definite strengthening and the direction of these highlights right now. At the moment, it's actually sort of difficult to see the result you can definitely see some blurring is happening, but overall it's starting to kind of become a lot less detailed and a lot more grainy in its appearance. So anytime we're gonna use any kind of blurred reflections using this architectural material as we start to lower. This glossy nous value will probably have to commit and start to increase this glossy samples. Now, depending on how far you're gonna actually blur your material really depends on how many samples you're going to wind up putting in here. I find that a lot of times a good starting point is something like 30. You couldn't we start to go up from there if you need to. Right, There we go. Now, you can see a little bit smoother transition in here as far as the actual great Asian is concerned. Now what we can start to do is if we want to be able to change the direction of this, we can just change this and a Satrapi rotation and just swing this around. And while we're at it, we could probably stand to ah, bring down this glossy nous value a little bit more that we would get a little bit softer Highlight. We could also stand to maybe take this reflection down a little bit, really. Just sort of depends on what type of the brush metal surface you're trying to recreate. So as we start to bring this glossy nous down we should start to get some much smoother and much more blurred reflections can you can see that's really exactly what we're starting to get now. So again, depending on the actual surface you're trying to recreate, really would kind of dictate just how strong you would need these reflections and highlights to be as well as just how blurry you would want your final result to be, you can see really, without just a tremendous amount of effort, we can actually get some results that are pretty acceptable as far as any kind of a nice brush metal surface is concerned now. Like I said, this is a really quick and easy way to do this. But the only drawback is that, well, it doesn't make this process very easy. It also doesn't give us just a tremendous amount of controller. At least I like to have just a little bit more control over the final result than what I'm getting with all of these premade attributes. So what we'll do in the next lesson is look at an alternative way of making some kind of a brush metal surface by actually constructing our own shading network right, so we'll explore that additional process in our next lesson.