glow and mia material


hey guys,
i have been trying to get some glow on to a mia material, i have looked in the usual places but theres just no clear and concise instructions on how to do it. layered shaders etc…
anyone have a completely CLEAR method on this ? many thanks


Add a mia_light_material in the advanced color. If you’re talking about like glowing fog I’d just do it in post because that’s what Maya does anyway.


thanks i will try that way. i have been trying with just adding a lambert into the additional colour slot with the transparencey on full and adjust the glow in that material but it really doesnt work very well aswell as putting a sampler info / ramp into ambient colour to get a “contour” effect around my objects to create a light source for the glow.

i really do prefer to do my glows/fogs/smoke in 3d and then comp them later… :arteest:

i will try the mib_colour mix to see if that works any better…

on the subject of atmo/fogs etc , heres a network i have been trying and i was wondering if someone had a better way to get this effect(like a misty graveyard)


When using the mia_material_x, you can’t link in native Maya shaders like that. You can link in nodes such as file textures or fractals for color, but not entire shaders.

Anything you link to this slot that provides an out color should render fine.


Actually I believe you can hook the output up to the additional color of the mia material and it will add the results together. It works with textures too. I haven’t used it much with the standard Maya materials like blinns, but it should still work. I know its common to hook up fast_sss material results without any reflection into an mia material to get the nice mia material reflections, then just turn the weight of the mia material diffuse channel to 0 so you get the diffuse and scattering from the sss but the reflections from the mia material.


Perhaps, but attaching a Maya-native shader is superflous, wasteful, and pointless if you’re only going to connect its color output to the Additional Color slot. It’s a bad habit to add extra, unnecessary nodes. It confuses and clutters your scene for no reason!


so… i am still back to my orginal question on how to add glow to a mia mat? also any ambient/incadesance without adding another material on top…

i also tried the mib_mix colour node but when you try to connect a mia mat the connection editor comes up and i have no idea which one is the correct connection., i tried “result” i think but thats just black. i tell you everyone on here tells me to use only mia mats in my renders “that they are the best” blah blah. but as far as my experiance goes you just cant do anything with them.
i do alot of “alien” type of worlds in which i use alot of incad/ambient type glows etc which seems to be completely unexceptable when using any mental ray materials.


For glow and “incandescence”, use the Additional Color slot of your mia_mat_x. If you want light to emit from your object, attach a Light_Surface node to this slot. Some examples for you…

Here’s a simple scene, Blinn shaders, with an area light in the doorway (off-camera):

Same scene, but with a mia_mat_x overriding the Blinn, and pure white with a value of 1 in the Additional Color slot:

And the same scene as above, only with a Light_Surface node linked to the Additional Color slot. Settings are 5, 5, 1 on the Light_Surface:

You can also control the Light_Surface with a texture node in its color slot:

And another example:

Note that these renders are quick and dirty. You’ll need to play with Final Gather and depending on your scene, attach an actual Light to the connector in the Light_Surface node. Give it a shot!

As for using the mia_mat_x, yes, you should be using this shader for just about everything in mental ray renderings. It’s not the shader’s fault, you just need to learn how to use it! There are many reasons to use it over other shaders and certainly don’t use native Maya shaders. The mia_mat_x is energy conserving, can render faster, and has far more control than old legacy shaders. It’s got cutoff thresholds for reflections and refractions. It has shader-level Ambient Occlusion. It has true translucency and also Cutout Opacity for when you need it. And it has the afore-mentioned Additional Color slot too!

Don’t blame the shader. Keep an open mind and spend the time learning how to use it.


That looks sweet, how did you get the sphere to project the light like that?


Again, this is the Light_Surface node plugged into the Additional Color and Cutout Opacity slots, and attached to a light inside the sphere. Detaching the shader from the light and CO has a more “glowing” effect, and emits FG-type light only. Sometimes you’ll need a real light, sometimes you won’t. Glowing buttons on a console for example wont. Glowing fluorescent tubes in a hallway might.

Here you can see a higher-quality render, and the nice shadows from some other occluding spheres.


fantastic stuff…!

is that a bulge 3d texture in the colour slot of mia_light_surface?

and you have to put it in to the cutout opacity aswell?

i was trying with these b4 and putting the transparencey on full to get the shader to overlay the mia mat, but the post “glow” wasnt working.


Yep, just a simple bulge. You reverse it and then link it to the CutoutOpacity if you want your light (actual light) to shine through and make those nice clean shadows. Again, you don’t NEED an actual light, but in some cases you’ll want that flexibility.

I haven’t touched the Transparency on any of the shaders presented here, actually. All you see is either CutoutOpacity or full opacity.

Here’s the same scene without any actual lights (an no CutoutOpacity either):

It’s not perfect but with some tweaking of the Light_Surface shader and/or your FG settings, you could smooth it out pretty easily. This one renders in less than 50 seconds, so if quality needs to go up, plenty of room to breath on rendertime for this shader.

And here’s both shaders, the central sphere is connected to the pointLight with CutoutOpacity, and the smaller ones are simply the Light_Surface shader with no lights attached directly, and no Cutout:


this is whats happening in my scene , first picture: mia_material water preset with mib_ilm_lambert into additional color.

second picture is your suggestion with the illum_surface.
what i am searching for is the third picture. however this is just a transparent blinn, i have slightly overamped the glow to show you what i am looking for . But i want a mia mat not a blinn


Post-processing glow should be done in post. That is, Photoshop or Nuke or After Effects. You’ll have infinitely more control over it there, and in real-time with no more test-renders to see if it’s right. And what if you have too much glow, doing it inside Maya, and your boss asks you to tone it down a bit? You’ve gotta re-render the whole scene, doing it inside Maya like that. In post, you just tweak a slider and it’s done, instantly and right before your eyes.

Again, there’s no reason to use any of those other shaders with your mia_mat_x. The Additional Color slot alone will handle all glow internally, and if you need the object to emit light use the Light_Surface shader as I’ve shown above. You don’t need/want to mix any legacy shaders (not even the mental ray Blinns and Lamberts) with the mia_mat_x, because they are superfluous, redundant, and will simply add to render time with no actual results. And less control. Keep it simple! The Additional Color slot is looking simply for a color and its magnitude; all the other controls of the shaders you’re trying just confuse the issue and add needless complexity.

But for a hazy glow outside your objects, just do it in Photoshop and save yourself tons of time!

Example, using the exact same render as above, and doing the glow inside Photoshop:

Edit: I should add…

The Blinn Maya-native glow you see in your third render there Groove looks good, but as you can see it’s a post-effect. It happens after the render is finished. While this may be acceptable to you, such glow does not interact with the environment and surrounding objects. It also cannot show up in reflections or refractions. It is, just as if you’d done it in Photoshop, a “post effect”.

I think using a combination of the Light_Surface shader and then a post-effect, you can achieve both ends. The Light_Surface will add the color and reflections/highlights, and the post-effect glow will add that haze you’re looking for, outside the glowing object itself? Just some ideas for you!


many thanks for your inputs…!:bowdown:

i think i will also try a parti_volume with mia lights to get a smokey haze on the outside


hey hey,

i am just working on something similiar to this and was wondering how to emit light from an invisable object. i tried turning of primary visability in the render stats but that turns off the light shader, i tried just a lambert with transparencey on full with incadesance on full but that doesnt really work either.Pluging in that light surface gives me more control over the intensity which is much better.

thanks guys


also does anyone know if its possiable to either colorise a solid fractal 3d or convert it to a file texture?


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