View Full Version : Cubic Map Creation: Shader, Script, Workflow

09 September 2008, 05:12 AM
My lead and I have been struggling with this for a few days now. We've been tasked with creating a QTVR-like (note, NOT QTVR) 360 panorama for a client. The intended target is for interweb use via a flash tool that simply requires 6 images, I'm learning, commonly referred to as Renderman or Cross-cubemap images.

Two Mental Ray lens shaders that I've located both do the job wonderfully: Mentalray Lens Library ( and Lightengine3D Aperture (, but I have two 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' problems.

Both shaders are strictly 32 bit Maya compatible only and I don't have the knowledge, nor the access to source files in order to recompile either for 64-bit processing, which our primary render machine runs - 64bit Vista with Maya 2008 64bit. Despite attempts to install .net framework, etc.. etc.. I continually get errors upon render.

Secondly, we have a secondary 32 bit render machine with 32 bit Maya 2008 that has no issues with the plug-ins, but the meshes we're using are high-poly count files that cause Maya to simply run out of memory on Windows XP (32 bit), halting our process entirely once more.

I'm stumped. I really LOVE the idea of a one-touch cubemap render to get the source images for our pano's, but aside from manually placing camera rotations at 6 keyframes and making the attempt to stitch, tweak and blend the images so that seams aren't formed, I'm not sure where to turn.

Open to any and all help. Thanks!

09 September 2008, 01:38 PM
not aware of other cube map shaders right now, but you could try to email
Mark @lightengine or the guys @atomlabs and ask for a 64bit compile.
i'm sure they'll be kind and give you the 64b version

best wishes

09 September 2008, 03:45 PM
if you want to create just a 360 panoramic image of your scene you can use a lens shader that is 64bit compatible called Wrap Around. It is part of the Lume shader set that can be installed for maya via these instructions thanks to DJX.

Lume shader manual -

09 September 2008, 04:46 PM

I'll shoot an email off to the devs of the shaders myself, but I had read on other forums that other users had also sent requests but heard nothing back from them. Considering the shaders are several years old, that doesn't much surprise me. I'll try at any rate.

The pano I'm trying to output is a full 360 degress, not a single band that WrapAround produces. To clarify, have a look at the atom labs user manual: .

In the cubemap tools, you'll see what I'm trying to output. 6 distinct images that represent front, right, left, up, down and back. If mapped onto a cube from the inside (which is essentially what the flash element I spoke of earlier does) it gives the effect of being inside an environment and the camera can be rotated in any direction seamlessly as if you were sitting in the environment and twisting your head in whatever direction.

09 September 2008, 05:03 PM
ok I understand. Can you not map images onto a sphere from within Flash then, just a cube. Cos you can map the 360 image you get from the wrap around shader onto a sphere and that gives you the perfect environment, looking left right up down etc.

09 September 2008, 09:12 PM
I have created cubic environment maps with a spinning camera. Set your viewing angle on your camera to 90 degrees and spin your camera to the six different angles on the first six frames. You can even batch render the six of them. I have been able to use HDRI shop to convert them to all kinds of formats. Environment ball, lat long, cross, etc.

All in all you should be able to do all this in half an hour or less with no special shaders or anything. Using a lens shader to get an environment map seems a bit silly.

09 September 2008, 10:37 PM
I don't have the six individual images I rendered for this, but was a 4k by 2k and it was generated in hdri shop from 1k 8bit tiffs (6 of them). This was from a short I was working on. And yes, the room is spherical, hence there are none of the corners you would expect. Even the book shelves are curved.

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09 September 2008, 10:37 PM
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