This quarter I am taking a 3d materials course. Now, I have worked with materials before (obviously, seeing as all of my scenes aren’t clay renders) but never in as much depth as we are in this class, and not very much in Maya. I actually find it exciting to be getting a chance to broaden my skill set in this area, as materials can easily make-or-break a scene. One thing that has surprised me is how good Maya is for creating shaders. While there are still a lot of things I miss from 3ds Max, and a lot of things I don’t yet know, the workflow is quite straightforward. More so than the modeling workflow, to be sure. Also, working with Autodesk’s new slate material editor is fantastic. Many people look at my shader “web” and freak out because it seems so complicated, but in all truthfulness it makes it much easier to visualize the hierarchy of materials.
So far we have had only two main projects in this class, with the goal being to give us a basic introduction to materials (these classes are introductory; not everyone in my major already has 3 years of 3d experience). Our first project was a mad science lab, for which we were provided with an untextured scene to add shaders to. The second project was a hallway, which we had to model ourselves.
The mad science lab was used as a basic introduction to creating, modifying, and applying shaders. Ambient occlusion using the mib_amb_occlusion shader was also introduced. We were supposed to create 3 renders using 3 different color schemes, but since my renders ended up looking very similar I am only posting one.
The hallway project was the first project for this class for which we created our own models. However, the project was mainly an introduction to UV mapping, so the meshes ended up being fairly simple. This project was slightly more of a challenge to me because I have never done much in-depth UV mapping, aside from the basic UV presets (planar, box, cylinder, etc.). I’m still not super fond of setting up UV maps, but it is a useful skill and I always like making textures in Photoshop. One disappointing aspect of this project is the rendering engine. Both the drinking fountain and the whiteboard are supposed to have blurred reflections and this was the first scene for this class that used a standard Mental Ray ambient occlusion pass (instead of the shader) but at the last second the Mental Ray renderer stopped working and I was forced to render using the basic Maya Software renderer. Oh well, I tried.
Also, aren’t alliterations awesome? Already I have applied an abundant accumulation. Maybe my meticulous mobilization of matching messages is maddening to the meek, but many might marvel at my modest masterpiece.