Hi. I’ve just uploaded a new lighting rig/script I wrote called Illuminati… It is much like Emmanuel Campin’s GI Joe from back in the day, however, a bit more robust.

          I don't tend to use GI/IBL when lighting.. I found this setup to work pretty well especially with the Front End for it... Hope you guys enjoy!  Let me know, if you download it, what your thoughts are.. Improvements... Is it a waste of time?  .. Etc. Thanks.
          You can also download via here ... [Illuminati](
        Oh yeah... To use it, just unzip this file to your Scripts directory, preferably using 8.x - 2008 ...
       [b]Do not move the scripts from their unzipped location to the below folder or it will not work.[/b]

[li]C:\Documents and Settings<user>\My Documents\maya\2008\scripts[/li][/ul]Inside here you’ll find a new subfolder called [b]\seths\illuminati[/b] … Just source illuminati.mel and it will auto-execute. When the rig is built, run illuminati.mel again and it will bring up the front end.

Illuminati v1.7 has been left up for download for those who do not want to upgrade to v1.9 … If you upgrade to v1.9, any existing rigs (like usual) will need to be blown away and rebuilt in order to work.


[li]5/29/08 - v1.9[/li][li]Fixed a bug in the editor that would automatically turn your shadows off upon load.[/li][/ul]
[li]5/27/08 - v1.8[/li][li]Fixed a bug with the intensity multiplier blowing lights out when turned on.[/li][li]Overhauled the Environment Dome and Editor UI in the Dome tab.[/li][list]
[li]Dome is now 2 pieces of geometry, split into Sky and Ground. I found that I didn’t usually need to render the ground, although I did want the sky. Breaking the 2 apart without hurting the rig wasn’t working too well so I rebuilt the Dome and lights to utilize a single hemisphere for the sky and ground.[/li][li]This opened up individualized controls for the Sky and the Ground whereas the Editor is concerned. The editor under the Dome tab now seems to make a bit more sense (I think, let me know otherwise?)[/li][/ul]
[li]Added a visual indicator of the global Sky/Ground intensity via an intensity average. This really helped me get a better idea of global intensity of all lights together as more of a specific “Maya Units” value. The current intensity is roped through some multiply/divide nodes which allows you to use a more physical intensity value (instead of extremely small floats) to tame the brightness.[/li][li]Thinking of adding an average color to give an overall idea of what the majority sky/ground colors are when using a texture (however this feature has NOT been implemented).[/li][/list]

[li]5/22/08 - v1.7[/li][li]Added ability to cast Mental Ray Shadow Maps on all light regions (sun/sky/ground)[/li][li]Muted ‘Delete Rig’ button so it isn’t so bright.[/li][li]Added confirmation box to kill the rig via ‘Delete Rig’ button in case you hit it by accident and do not want to delete the actual rig from the scene.[/li][li]Fixed a few small bugs[/li][/ul]
[li]5/20/08 - v1.6[/li][li]Fixed scaling in Editor, you can now scale as large as you want.[/li][li]Unlocked scaling from the channelbox so you can use the scale tool to resize the rig arbitrarily.[/li][/ul]
[li]5/13/08 - v1.5[/li][li]Added optional creation of Spot Lights or Directional Lights. You can choose each Lighting Set individually ie, Sun/Sky/Ground. Using Spot’s may give interesting results given that you can use the color slot to now get more of a Gobo like effect.[/li][/ul]
[li]05/13/08 - v1.4[/li][li]Added a multiply/divide node in the Intensity network for the lighting. Allows for more realistic values for tweaking the light dome. Also, upon creation with the values that are currently there, you should now be able to get lighting that is not blown out upon first creation.[/li][/ul]
[li]05/12/08 - v1.3[/li][li]This version is incompatible with previous version(s) of the illuminati rig. You will need to create a new one from scratch if you’re using an older build. [/li]

[li]Lots of bug fixes![/li][li]Ability to manually pick sky/ground dome lights and move them around the sphere freely for precise placement. If you move them, there is a button in the frontend to restore the lights back to their default positions on the dome.[/li][li]Ability to manually pick sunlight and move it around dome freely as well as rotationally via the frontend.[/li][li]Override Modes now available for the sky/ground lights. This means you can select a few or all lights in the sky/ground sets and break the intensity, color and diffuse/specular attributes from the global rig. This allows you to manually control specific lights if that control is needed.[/li][li]Several other modifications here and there.[/li][/ul]


hey Seth,
looks interesting! might end up using this in an animation render if flckers don’t go away. thanks for sharing!


Awesome! Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts. I’d love to improve upon the foundation of whats there…


Awesome job, Seth.

I just implemented this in a project where I’ve got millions of polys (a super complex CAD model of a printer). finalRender was taking way too long on a bunch of the nurbs elements and plopped your rig in, matched the GI lighting to the finalRender GI that I’m using for the exterior skin components and voila… perfect!

thanks a ton for this great tool!

i’ll make sure to let you know if I have any specific feedback.


I’d love to see some beauty renders when they’re ready!

Please do, I’ve been working on this tool for only a little bit, here and there… over the last 2 years when I have the time… Finally got the chance to finish it and I’ve really only been the one testing it. Hopefully you might be able to give me suggestions on how to expand upon it…


Hi azshall

i have downloaded the script and am able to generate a light rig, but not sure how to set it up so it configures the light colour values to match my ibl. Is that possible?

If not what is the best way to achieve it.



Hi Seth,

thx for this tool, would really like to try it but I only get this error message when sourcing illuminati.mel: // Warning: ILL ::> Fatal Error! ill_generator.mel script is missing! //

Do you have any idea how to solve this! Working on a vista64 bit machine here with Maya 2008 ext2.

Thx for any help! Looking forward to testing your tool!


Hey Visor, i had a similar problem initially and believe it was because i had unzipped the folder into the wrong script directory.

I put them in the script directory in the installation folder however they should go into the script folder in your documents and settings folder and in maya2008 then scripts.

That solved the problem for me.


hm well thanks, but I set up a custom scripts folder and customized my maya.env appropriately, so this should normaly work! Well, I will try it anyway.


The reason why this won’t work is because the script is using the internalVar -usd; command to keep tabs on the current script folder. This flag only returns the scripts directory that is embedded with Maya via your current login.
[li]C:\Documents and Settings<user>\My Documents\maya\2008\scripts[/li][/ul]

If you have a spherical texture, what you can do is go into the front end of the script (the GUI to customize the rig once its been made) in the ‘Dome’ tab and supply a file texture to the Sky and Ground color. If the map is spherical, it should properly setup on the Dome so it is essentially a spherical environment. When you do this, the directional lights (excluding the sun) will sample the nearest color/pixel of the dome and pick that up as the color.

So if you have a rainbow of colors on your dome you should notice that if you pick every light individually and look at their colors in the Attribute Editor, they should vary from light to light.

Once you have the dome created, map set, shadows on (I prefer DMap shadows) you can then push it a bit further by turning on the ‘Luminance Multiplier’ for the Sky/Ground lightsets. What this will do is then take the Luminance of the pixel it is using for color and multiply that into the intensity. This will help differentiate the lights a bit further than just color so that now you’ll have hotter bright spots and cooler dark spots.

I am currently in the process of writing up some Docs on how to get a decent outdoor lighting setup pretty quickly with this rig.

Let me know if this helps. I’ll let you know when the docs are up.


Thanks for the support azshall. Just about to leave work, so might test it when i get home or when i get back into work tomorrow. Looking forward to testing it.

Thanks again


No problem!

One thing to remember, … This is not a replacement on how to light. It is merely a tool to hopefully get you there faster and easier. There is 1000 ways to do the same thing, especially in Maya. Hopefully though :slight_smile: … This will prove to be useful.

I know using GI Joe back in the day helped me quite a bit. However I immediately noticed small holes that could have made it more functional. So this is definitely stemming from Emmanuel Campin’s original GI Joe tool.


Yeah, i see it as a possibility to use in quite heavy dense scenes when render times are sky high with final gather.


Btw, … I would like to note that if you want to force Illuminati to that path. You could actually just go in and change line 13 in illuminati.mel to force it to a new path.

Right now it reads.

$ill_scriptPath = (`internalVar -usd` + "/seths/illuminati/");

You could pretty much put anything, … such as …

$ill_scriptPath = "c:/run/from/this/path/");

As long as it is a real directory with the files obviously.


Script updated to v1.3

Lots of changes, read about that in the first post. Download link updated as well to the latest version. This version is also incompatible with previous versions due to new attributes, changes to expressions and connections.


thanks for the tips azshall, works like a charm now!

Very usefull script! Thanks a lot!


Has anyone been able to use this with mac OSX?



I’ve not been able to test it. I will see what I can do about verifying that it works properly tonight, perhaps…


Hi mate

Trying to use your script but somehow it seems to burn out all my scene
If i put a simple sphere with a lambert material and assign the illuminati rig and do a render i get a black and white picture … tried to change some settings but no better results

using maya 2008 on xp 64 bit



Try putting an image in the Sky/Ground texture under the ‘Dome’ tab. Try this image, can’t say this is the most IDEAL, but searching on google images popped up a few resources.

You can then go to your Sky/Ground tabs and now drop the intensity to say .3 for each, play with it a bit. Do some low quality renders (for speed purposes) to see what the results are.

Set the lights to cast shadows, preferably DMap (raytracing is sluggish) with say no larger than 512 (try 256 first) in size and set the filter to AT LEAST 10.

For the sunlight, use DMap shadows but set the size to at least 1024 and maybe a filter of like 8 or 9. Adjust the color and intensity if need be.

If you have a ground plane in the scene, make sure it is set to cast shadows (it should be by default).

Try the render again… With a little bit of playing, it shouldn’t take long to get decent results. As of now, I’m trying to complete a bulk of the features and fix bugs before I set it up with ideal parameters upon creation.

The rig isn’t a 1 click solution and you’re done. You definitely need to tweak the sliders and play with it. Your shaders will also play a big role in the outcome of the lighting. If you have a lot of diffuse then they’re going to pickup a lot more light. If your sky (which by default is very bright) is really hot, … it directly affects the lights intensity. Try settings that are either very dark or very small in numbers.

The next big feature that I’m currently working on is giving the option to create the rig with Spot Lights or Directional Lights…

Hopefully this clarifies some usage, … The best way to figure out anything is to drastically change values and just click render to see what you get.