Displacement Shading Network in Software

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Displacement Shading Network
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In order to use the displacement maps, we must connect them to a shading network using a Displacement Shader Every material has an output connection to a node called a shading group It is on this node that you connect a Displacement Shader by clicking the button next to the Displacement Mat attribute, as shown here:
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The Complete Reference
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This creates a Displacement Shader that you may then connect a file texture node to and import your displacement map Figure 21-26 shows the complete shading network to handle a displacement map Depending on the software used to generate the displacement map, you may need to adjust the Color Balance attributes on the file texture node to control the amount of displacement Most applications will suggest some starting points A decent starting point for displacement maps created in ZBrush is an Alpha Gain of 2 and an Alpha Offset of 1
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FIGURE 21-26
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A shading network for a displacement map
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The Approximation Editor
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Mental Ray s Approximation Editor allows you to create approximation nodes for different types of geometry When rendering NURBS surfaces in Mental Ray, you may use the Approximation Editor to approximate, or tessellate, the NURBS surfaces to an optimal resolution When dealing with polygonal meshes, the Approximation Editor can be used to connect a subdivision approximation node to the geometry This will allow the model to be subdivided when rendered, based on conditions specified on this node This is much more efficient than smoothing the geometry using the Smooth command that we used in 4 To create a subdivision approximation node, you need to select all of the geometry you wish to approximate and choose Window | Rendering Editors | Mental Ray | Approximation Editor In this example, we are using a polygonal mesh, so we click the Create button in the Subdivision
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21
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Rendering
Approx field, shown here This will create a subdivision approximation node and connect it to the selected geometry
To edit the Approximation attributes, click the Edit button in the Approximation Editor and the subdivision approximation node will load in the Attribute Editor Figure 21-27 shows the subdivision approximation node s attributes The Approx Method setting determines what conditions will be used to subdivide the model
FIGURE 21-27
The subdivision approximation node s attributes
In this example, the Spatial method is used, which lets us subdivide the geometry based on the maximum length of a polygonal edge In this case, if the edge exceeds a length of 001, Mental Ray will subdivide the geometry Mental Ray will continue subdividing the geometry until it reaches the Max Subdivisions value In order to see the detail in a displacement map, you will often need to increase the value for the Min Subdivisions attribute When you are ready to see the results of your displacement map, render the image Be patient! Rendering displacement in Mental Ray can take a long time Figure 21-28 shows the geometry before and after adding the displacement maps As you can see, a lot of fine detail is added this way
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FIGURE 21-28 A character is rendered without displacement (left) and with displacement (right) (Image courtesy of Roger Ridley)
Summary
This chapter provided an overview of the major rendering features and workflows available to you in Maya Raytracing, Global Illumination, and Final Gather can help you produce realistic imagery when needed As you ve seen here, most of these options can be enabled and controlled in the Render Settings window And using Mental Ray s Approximation Editor, you can also render using displacement maps While the software-based renderers have been covered here, s 22 and 23 will make use of the Maya hardware renderer to render particles
Particles, Emitters, and Fields
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Particles and Fields
Particles are points that can be
displayed or rendered as dots, spheres, clouds, blobs, fog, smoke, and a whole lot more Once the particles have been created in a scene, their behavior and appearance can be controlled through the use of fields, ramps, goals, and expressions An infinite number of effects can be created in this way, ranging from running water to fire and explosions
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