publisher: FXphd | instructor: Zap Andersson (MasterZap)
MRY201 – Production Rendering Techniques with Mental Ray
This course will teach techniques and concepts for rendering realistic, physically based CG elements in a visual effects context (i.e. for integration into live action shots). As it is a hands-on course in using Mental Ray to do these things, it will start with a fundamental treatment of everything from light and pixels through to cameras, response curves and compositing, as well as “learning to see”. The course will be performed using the 3ds Max application, but most things apply to Maya and Softimage as well.
Professor Hakan ‘Zap’ Andersson has been working as “Shader Wizard” at mental images since 2004 and is the author of numerous mental ray shaders, such as the subsurface/skin shaders, the car paint shader, as well as the architectural and production shader libraries. Originally educated as an Engineer in Electronics, Zap’s passion for computer graphics caused his graduation year “special project” to be an actual hand-built and hand-wired graphics card, for which he wrote his first ray tracer. Today Zap spends his days (and nights) writing shaders, documentation and tutorials for mental ray, and sometimes makes presentations at user events and conventions, as well as maintains a mental ray tips blog mentalraytips.blogspot.com.
Class 1: Pixels vs. Light – What is a pixel? The units of light, and how they map to the RGB values we encounter every day. Shows how the math we apply to pixels can break, and how, if we are not careful, two plus two can end up ten.
Class 2: Lighting – Understanding the quality and quantity of light. Understanding how real-world lights map to computer graphics lights. Understanding how light gathers and reflects off a surface.
Class 3: Cameras – Understanding how a real world cameras function map to their computer graphics counterparts. Understanding what film and digital cameras do to the image before you even see it.
Class 4: Materials I – Using the physically based Arch&Design material to simulate real world surfaces. Learning to see the world, so that one can translate it to CG.
Class 5: Materials II – More about materials. Using the mental ray skin shader for realistic characters.
Class 6: Interaction between CG and the Real World – Using the production library shaders to seamlessly integrate CG objects in real-world background plates with reflections, bounce light, shadows, etc.
Class 7: Interaction between CG and the Real World part II + “What Not To Do”. Advanced interaction topics like smoothing out glossy reflections of HDRI environments and masking. Also discusses things you should avoid; Walks through the topics of previous classes and deals out some “no-no’s”.
Class 8: Compositing – How stuff that comes out of the renderer goes together, and what can (and should) and can’t (and shouldn’t) be delegated to compositing.
Class 9: Pixels, Samples and Filtering. Discusses anti-aliasing methods, and the different primary ray acceleration techniques, and demystifies the various mental ray methods for motion blur.
Class 10: Indirect illumination in animation. Avoiding flickering in Final Gathering in animated scenes. Also does a final course wrapup.