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Case Study: Using Maya And Mental Ray For Photorealistic Interior Lighting

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovative Techniques in Graphics

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.312.1 - 11.312.17



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Paper Authors

author page

Marty Fitzgerald East Tennessee State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Case Study: Using Maya and Mental Ray for Photorealistic Interior Lighting

Introduction This paper will explore the use of the Mental Ray renderer in conjunction with Alias’ Maya to produce photorealistic interior lighting. It will present a work flow to go from a textured model, through basic traditional computer-based lighting, adding global illumination, and finally using Mental Ray’s final gather and ambient occlusion to complete the lighting scheme.

This is primarily a user’s guide, illustrated through a case study, to increase the realism of your renders, specifically in the lighting, rather than an in-depth guide to Mental Ray. We’ll be covering the techniques in conjunction with a case study that shows the application of the concepts. This paper will provide a workflow, some real numbers along with real renders to make the numbers visibly understandable, and some indication of the time costs of the various options. It should enable anyone to be able to start incorporating these lighting techniques into their workflow.

The project for this case study was modeled and textured in Maya. Both the modeling and texturing are simple and straight-forward and could be accomplished in any modeling and texturing application. This paper deals mainly with the results from the Mental Ray renderer and, as such, they are applicable to any application using this renderer.

Throughout the paper there are references to render times. Render times are an integral part of producing these images. Given an infinite amount of time your image quality would undoubtedly increase. But who has that kind of time?

The Project The case study will center on a visualization project involving a floor redesign of an educational building. To create the validity of the renders for the redesign, renders were first created of the floor as it currently exists. If these renders were convincing enough to be confused with current photos, then the visualizations of the redesign would be more credible. The models were completely textured to add detail and digital photography was added for views out of the windows for added realism. Throughout this paper we will be looking at two different views of the model to show examples of the specific lighting techniques.

Modeling This project was modeled in Maya using a combination of polygons and nurbs (Figure 1 & 2). It wasn’t modeled with an eye towards geometric detail, but rather simplicity in texturing and rendering. The idea was that we would attempt photographic quality through texturing and lighting rather than geometry. The model isn’t heavy to work with and most objects are on display layers so they can be turned off for ease of use.

Fitzgerald, M. (2006, June), Case Study: Using Maya And Mental Ray For Photorealistic Interior Lighting Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1032

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