View Full Version : Rendering Light's Interplay With Crystalline Structures

08 August 2012, 05:47 AM

I'm working on a research project for University focusing on how CGI represents light's interaction with various materials, starting with crystals. I will primarily be working with Maya, Mental Ray and After Effects as these are the programs with which I have some experience.

I would find it extremely helpful if some more experienced CG artists could point me in the right direction on the industry practice side of things. Relevant online tutorials or guides would be fantastic.

Luckily, quite a bit has been done around Diamonds so I don't anticipate having any difficulty replicating light's dispersion effects. I have found these tutorials and they both appear excellent (although they seem to overlook Diamond's inherent fluorescence ;) ):

I've also found some great work on reproducing Interference effects, but the remainder of light's dance might get tricky. While I have found some research articles outlining how these effects have been replicated on the screen, practical "this is how you pull it off in Maya" is really what I'm looking for.

Thank Betsy polarization and birefringence are subtle enough to not be noticed on the screen - however rendering objects which display Plechorism and/or Chatoyancy/Asterism could prove difficult. (This'll be "fun" -


All relevant hints, tips, "look over there's" or "you missed this one's" will be greatly appreciated!!


//PS - I've been told of an AE plugin which measures the brightness of an object and then introduces an optical effect (i.e. lens flare) when it goes above a certain threshold? Can't seem to find anything tho...

08 August 2012, 11:49 PM
detailed notes here:

09 September 2012, 02:12 AM
* * * tumbleweeds *

09 September 2012, 05:46 PM
Zap's tutorial should really be all you "need", but to simulate a diamond's inherent fluorescence simply use the "Additional Color" slot in your mia_mat_x, Advanced section. This slot works for all kinds of stuff, and should be sufficient to get what you need. You could simply adjust the level with the color-picker, or alternatively link in a "LightSurface" node here for greater interaction with your lights themselves.

Keep in mind that no matter what, CG light will always be a simulation. Scientists haven't even proven photons even exist yet, so it's all just observational really! And I've not seen any software that takes into account the electrical interactions at all yet, as even Maxwell knew there was a lot more to it than his math could account for.

CGTalk Moderation
09 September 2012, 05:46 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.