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dagrimripper
06-22-2009, 09:50 PM
Hello everyone

I'm totally new to this forum, and basically a total noob to Maya, but i have an assignment from work to do 3d scene, and i need to recreate the gloss effect found in the logo at this website (the red infinite sign)
http://www.virtualmissfriday.co.uk/VMF/Home

I have absolutely no experience with creating materials, setting up lights in the scene, or other stuff like that, basically it's a one time only thing that i need to do, so if you have any ideas i would be forever grateful if you could explain to me step by step how i can achieve the effect.

Thank you for your help

InfernalDarkness
06-23-2009, 07:18 AM
I think you'll struggle more with mental ray here than anything.

That infinite symbol has a lot of specular reflections. Meaning it appear that there are large, long tube lights above it. You can mimic this in Maya by making one or more large, long rectangles that glow and show up in the reflections of your main object.

As for glossiness or "shine", start with the mia_x_material and pick a glass or glossy plastic preset. Change the transparency and reflections until you're satisfied. Keep in mind that your object will need something to reflect for it to appear shiny, so you may end up creating a bunch of stuff to reflect in your main object. You can set those objects to not be visible in the render by unchecking "Primary Visiblity" but leaving the reflections/refractions on for them. Hope this helps.

dagrimripper
06-23-2009, 03:25 PM
Hi and thanks for the quick reply

I used the mia_material_x and selected "glossy" from the list of textures, and indeed when i render with mental ray i get a sharper reflection

I also created a long polygonal object to mimic the lighting, but i can't get it to be reflected on my surface. What kind of material/attributes should i give to it ?

I'm supposed to create a "ribbon" that floats around the scene like that gymnastics event, except the ribbon must look like the infinity sign i referred to earlier.

should i add lights to my scene ? right now i think the renderer is using a default light or something. http://www.scoala195.org/render_1.png [it's just a test site, because i can't attach files to my posts yet]

thanks

InfernalDarkness
06-23-2009, 05:25 PM
...but two or three may be better. If you're animating the object, link the lights to it so they move with it, or at least stay pointed in the right place. Disable the default light.

To make objects reflect they must also be lit. The fastest way to do this is to give the reflector objects a new material and crank up the ambient and incandescent channels so the object "glows". It won't emit light in this fashion, but will be very bright for reflections.

Also, make sure your raytrace settings are set up for at least 2 reflection bounces, as well as your mia_material. Hope this helps.

dagrimripper
06-24-2009, 01:06 AM
Hi again

i think i've achieved the desired reflection effect, but how do i get the reflected cubes not to show up in the render ? (i only need their reflections to show).

also, although i've managed to create my ribbon, it's not smooth enough - how do i smooth it out a bit ? I tried mesh smooth, but it doesnt work, since i dont think the loft is made of polygons. what else can i try ?

to create the ribbon, i made a small curve with the EP curve tool, moved it around and set keyframes on the way, and then created an animated sweep from the original curve's keyframed animation.

This resulted in a loft, on which i applied my glossy material, but, as i said, it's not very smooth.

Here are some more screenshots:
http://www.scoala195.org/render_3.jpg
http://www.scoala195.org/render_4.jpg

Thank you again for your patience, i couldn't have got this far without your help!

InfernalDarkness
06-24-2009, 03:43 AM
The reflections are looking great, in my opinion.

You've made your object with NURBS (non-rational B-splines), but to smooth it you either need to add more points to your initial curve or convert to polys and then poly smooth. I would probably try the second, unless it's easy for you to adjust your first curve and keep all your animations. If the curves damage your animations when adjusting them, a convert to poly situation may help.

The key is that your poly converted mesh needs to retain its history to the NURBS input data. I could be wrong; but I think if you were to convert frame 1 to polys and then delete history, you'd have your frame 1 ribbon stuck in frame 1's deformation, and it wouldn't deform throughout the timeline. So make sure not to delete history and please save a secondary file as well. "RibbonPolytest" or something.

But take your object and open the Modify -> Convert -> Convert NURBS to Polys dialogue and give it a shot. Once you get a successful, acceptable conversion that looks higher-resolution than your initial frame 1 ribbon, play test it. If the play test works, Poly Smooth the ribbon and try both linear and exponential to see which works best. If you can smooth it, then try play testing it again and see if your mesh remains smooth throughout.

Just some ideas. Hope this helps. I think you're getting really close here.

dagrimripper
06-26-2009, 01:16 AM
Got it !

I created a path (initially i tried extruding my generator curve on this path, but it didnt respect the normals like i wanted to).

I made my generator (the one initially used for animation sweep) - animate to the path, and the result was a much smoother animation than the one i had created manually.
I turned off the "Follow" option because it resulted in ugly twists on my path.

Once the generator was animated, i used animation sweep again to create my loft. It was far from perfect, since the ribbon was always facing one direction, but because the generator was not constrained on RotateX,Y,Z (the path only constrained the Translate params), i could manually add key frames for the rotate parameters and make the loft twist like i wanted to.

so i got the hang of it.

Attached thumbnails.

Also, i'd appreciate it if you had some more advice on how to obtain a better reflection effect on the left side of the "heart" shape (you can see it in ribbon-final-test6.jpg).

I can't tell you how much i appreciate your help and tips! You've been invaluable !

Thanks again

InfernalDarkness
06-26-2009, 05:33 AM
The only thing I could add about reflections would be to take time and care making three or four light panels to create them. These could be simple geometry planes rotated and translated off-scene and set to Primary Visibility = Off. Even spheres and strange shapes could help; remember, every reflection you've ever seen in a photograph had a real-world counterpart.

Another idea would be to make a black and white image with big, thick white lines going off at odd angles. Map this image to a sphere in Maya, both diffuse and ambient, and also incandescent if you're using Final Gather. Scale the sphere up to enclose your scene without interfering with the camera, turn off Primary Visiblity, and also change the matte opacity to zero so you can still work with alphas of your ribbon, if you need to. If you can't see the lines in your reflections initially, turn up the "Scale" factor on your Final Gather, in the Render Options. Default is 1. Depending on your scene scale, you may need it at 4 or 16 or so. Don't e afraid to experiment. But this method would be if you needed more FG light hitting your ribbon, and would only affect reflections as a secondary effect.

Hope this helps, but I think your ribbon's looking much better for certain!

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