View Full Version : Getting decent Maya 5.0 renders

08 August 2003, 12:06 AM
After exhaustive tweaking, I have come to the conclusion that maya 4.5 renderings blow goats.

Having recently upgraded to Maya 5.0 at my training establishment, here in New Zealand :thumbsup: we have realised the power of mental ray is locked into this release. However then we tried it out and did a GI and some other tests. Seems like maya's renderer still sucks.

Any tips or tutorial links that could help me out here?

(I used to get great result from 3dMax in a few minutes, dammit.)


Ian Jones
08 August 2003, 09:15 AM
I don't know squat about Maya, but I would suggest that its probably you... seriously.

08 August 2003, 10:41 PM
Probably dude.:D
However that is kind of why I ask. There must be a step i'm missing in the process, and people tell me its a great renderer so my question is this:

How do you get decent renders from maya 5.0?

I'm looking for a tutorial that takes you from modelling, texturing to rendering...

Darkman. :shrug:

08 August 2003, 12:44 AM
The Maya renderer is actually quite a decent renderer - in fact, most of the renderers out there are. The trick is not to use the in-built renderer as the "be all and end all" -- most of the final "look" of the image will happen in post (compositing or photoshop).

I had a lengthy conversation with Sam Chen who did the SIGGRAPH-winning short "Eternal Gaze" and he said that most of the final image was tweaked to kingdom come in After Effects as the Maya render came out far to "harsh" in look.

While there are technical limitations and issues (when you get into the truly gargantuan renders), for the most part the default Maya renderer is good. You might also like to try the rendering DVD's from Gnomon



08 August 2003, 08:39 AM
How often I've heard that the Maya renderer sucks.....Oh man!
Dont get me wrong it doesnt make me mad when people say it, but if I could have everyones attention for a moment?!!!!!
No Mayas renderer doenst suck, but it is a beast that must be tamed with patience.

There are specifics to get desired looks and effects. It is fast and it does do a great job. Relative factors are the scenes scale, and the intesity of the lighting with just a couple of other specifics.

Now since Gnomon was plugged (great resource BTW) I'll plug my own work as a reference as well. If there arent any objections.

I'm the Co-Author of Maya 5 Fundamentals, Garry Lewis. I'm writing the lighting chapter right now in fact. (As you can see I took a break to look through the forum and see where troubles lye. ) Start with the tutorial dvds then buy the book in a couple of months.
If there are those of you who just cant wait for the tutorials in the book write back on here and maybe we can come up with a scene everyone would find usefull. And I could show and example or two. I dont have much time, but I would be happy to help if needed.
This particular one was done in maya 4 with the default maya renderer. This test shot was compositing using seperate rendered layers.

08 August 2003, 10:33 PM
It really depends on what you make of it. What makes good images is mostly not the renderer but your material and lighting. If you place your lights well, using fill lights and properly placed shadows, you're halfway there. Then add some good textures and pay attention to specular highlights and bumps - voila. Wether the renderer does GI, subsurface scattering or raytracing is not that important.

08 August 2003, 09:57 PM
Maya has a good renderer, and many small studios are using it in production. The only things i dont like in maya default renderer is its post-process DOF and displacement.

08 August 2003, 10:11 PM
PM me if you are looking for specifics, but otherwise Jeremy Birns book is a good source for lighting.

So true! Its all the time you spend with it. If you know how to set up lights in one package the correct way (or moreso I mean the rules and properties of lighting) Then doing it default render in maya is no problem. No need for the "Make pretty button" or the GI.
I do use GI on occasion, but I set up the lights and begin with a 3 point setup every time. Its a fundamental. And GI although it looks good in many cases. Its easy to see when attention has been paid to the placement and properties of the light setup. Gi is only and added function for lighting. Not "the" lighting setup.

lazzhar, That stinks about the DOF doesn't it. I have to admit I like the little preview DOF window in max too.

08 August 2003, 10:14 PM
Oh I'm sorry I meant to add this for you Darkman. A link to tons of good tuts to start.

In the maya forum theres tons of links to tuts as well.

08 August 2003, 12:00 AM
Hello ME3D !

Your artwork is really fantastic. And of course, we are very interested in the scene setup - how did you get such a good photoreal cell phone ?

In your tutorial you write, that you fake GI with a lightdoom of spotlights as usual many users try. But how is the rest of the light setup ? Which settings do you use for ?

And of course we are very interested in the mental ray settings and also the shader settings. To get such a good result, we do need a lot of informations I think. hmm, yeah, there are a lots of informations we would need to learn.

My english is not the best, and itīs not always very easy for me to follow some tutorials on the internet. I can say, that I learn very good, if I can see a full scene file, and playing arround with it, testing, and testing.

So, you wrote:
"....write back on here and maybe we can come up with a scene everyone would find usefull. And I could show and example or two. I dont have much time, but I would be happy to help if needed."

Okay, I think that there are many users out there, who wantīs to know how itīs possible to get a photorealistic mental ray render image. And I think it would be absolut amazing, great, fantastic, awesome and much more, if we could get one detailed scene file, where we can see all the secret.

The Light-Setup, the settings from the shader, and of course all the very important settings from Mental Ray.

By the way: High Dynamic Range based image lightning is very popular now - and it would be great to get also to it further informations for phtoreal images.

Garry, it would be so fantastic, if you could support us - you prepare thereby a large joy for us.

Sorry for my bad english and special greetings,

08 August 2003, 04:22 AM
Hi Bernhard,

Thanks for the kind words, Unnecessary, but I appreciate them none the less.
I began writing an explanation for the first light setup the dome and its become a tutorial of sorts. This happened when I began to feel a few visuals would be helpful. So gimme some time and I'll post it here when I finish.

Also you mentioned the cell phone. I built about 30 of them for Spring while I was working at Fearless Eye Animation.

I'll talk about the other methods like mental ray, and HDRI, after were past this one. All the setups are really easy to setup a base then using the same methods you can tweek the setups for their particular scene.


08 August 2003, 03:00 PM
Hello Garry !

First let me thank for your reply. And second - juhuuuu, we look forward already much to your Tutorial (hmm, hope that is in english okay).

yeah, so what I want to say is, that Iīm very, very happy to see a detailed tutorial from you, explaining all the things we talked about, to get a really photorealistic rendered image with mental ray.

I know, that for a maya & mental ray master like you it is more easy as for some people like Iīm. But Iīm very curious about your scene setup, and handling from mental ray, light setup, shaders, etc.

Canīt really tell you as I am pleased about it to read your comming tutorial, and to see some scene files explaining the detailed and important things to get such really good results with mental ray. :thumbsup:

Garry, thank you soo much for your help, we all expect it with large tension.

okay, so bye for now and thank you soooo much,
bernhard :wavey:

08 August 2003, 09:27 AM
Sorry for the delay the book takes more time than you might think. So anyways I whipped this together this evening and there ya have it.Lighting in maya 1 (

For the mental ray lighting I may write something after the books done, but I'll be covering rendering in Mental ray in the book so its probably best to pick it up near the end of the year.
-Maya 5 Fundamentals

For now I really recommend the database at

There are tons of great tuts on here.
Any specific tuts or questions please ask me I need more topics for tuts, but I dont want to rehash whats already written.

08 August 2003, 03:31 AM
I would just like to say one thing. I know nothing about Maya yet but I can tell you that if you want a bad rendering modeler, choose Rhino. No offense to Rhino, I love it for modeling, but since it is (I guess) mostly used for cad purposes, its rendering software was kind of left off for other capabilities. I export and then import into 3DS Max for rendering now.


Oh and hi, I am just getting into lighting and rendering since I just got 3DS Max! lol

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