Lighting Challenge #10: Flying Spaghetti Monster


Very impressive, my only question is did you hand create all those layers or is there some secret that I am missing as to figure out how to do a bunch of different layers. I saw with games such as Half Life 2 they used about 13 layers on Alex alone. Granet in the end she looks amazing. Anyways, very nice job, I think it’s one of the best yet.


Yes, I’m thinking that Fex are the best. You’ve got the best idea attached with the best workshop…Only what remined us to be as close you as it is possible.


@ scizzer
creating layers or passes is quite easy (specially in xsi) the idea is changing lighting and shaders to produce only the information u need… for the reflection pass i overide the
pasta shader with a reflection-only shader (which uses a baked enviroment texture
of the lab, for faster rendering). like this


So I am not going to lie because that would be bad. Anyways, I use Autodesk Maya, not so much XSI so trying to read that I can understand some of it such as the blinn texture and the baked texture pass but to be honest I am still a little confused as to what you started with on the original texture and then if you used photoshop or some imaging program to create those other textures. For example I can see taking some image and in photoshop selecting just specular as the layer type and making that a pass, but I don’t see it reasonable to hand draw those passes. That was my main question, is specifically how do you create those passes. I am not trying to be a nucence but in my class in college with Maya our teacher never went over render layers and still to this day I regret not learning about them 'til after I was done with both classes. All the same, fantastic job and keep up the good work.


Very impressive Fex, there seems to be a few anti-aliasing/matte issues with the edges of the pasta though, but I think you’ve already mentioned this. Great work otherwise!


Lots of good stuff again in this challenge.

Ok this is my ifrst stage, need to texture a few things and then I’m set for refining the mo-blur effect, it’s scruffy right now.


jmBoekestein. Nice Start. I think you should look for a different background image though. That one doesn’t really seem to fit at all. Not to mention the proportion issues.


Hi! I’ll see if I can help you a bit. I’m not sure what you know of render passes in Maya, but I’ll go over all the basics for you just in case. :slight_smile:
It really depends on what version of Maya you are using. Autodesk changed how you access render layers when Maya 7 came out. If you are using maya 6 let me know I and I can explain that way as well.
It’s actually pretty simple how you get those individual passes in Maya. In the layers section of Maya, There are two little bubbles on in the layers box that say ‘Display’ and ‘Render’ You want the ‘Render’ bubble selected. After you select it it should hide all your current (if any) display layers. You need to go ahead and make a Render layer the same way you make a display layer. You just click the add layer button. It will make a ‘master layer’ which will keep everything in your scene in there. You can’t delete that layer. Then, there is your new layer, ‘layer 1.’ This layer is blank just like a display layer would be. You just select all the geometry and lights that you want to render in your scene and add it to that layer. If you want everything, select everything and right-click on ‘layer 1’ and click ‘add selected objects.’ You may think that you could just as well use the ‘master layer’ if you were going to render everything. But the master layer can’t give you those render passes that you want.
Once you get all the geometry that you want on a render layer, you right click on ‘layer 1’ and go to ‘presets’. This will show you all the passes that you can do on that render layer. I’ll use ‘occulsion’ as an example.
So, just right-click on 'layer 1, and go to ‘presets’ then click on ‘occulsion.’ All the geometry in your scene will go black. Sometimes they go green or red, but as long as they are all one color then you’re good.
Maya will automatically put your render in mental ray settings. That is why these are called ‘presets.’ Maya has default settings for different kinds of passes. Usually, these defaults are never what you want to use. When you use the ‘occulsion’ preset, it makes a new node in your hypershade. It makes a surface shader node. You need to show all the inputs and outputs for that node. There should be a node that is all white that is connected to the black circle that is the surface shader node. You need to open up the attributes for that node. There should be settings that say ‘max distance’ and ‘spread.’ Just fiddle with those until your scene is white and black (Start with a 'max distance of 10 then work your way up in mulitples of 10). What you generally look for with occulsion, is a nice shadow line in areas where there are obvious pits. Like, in say a robot, your initial render may not have picked up a shadow edge along a socket that you wanted. The occulsion will pick that up. You just use the ‘max distance’ and ‘spread’ to adjust the sharpness of that shadow line. You want the ‘max distance’ to get the good contrast of black and white, and the ‘spread’ to get the softness of that line.
You can’t see any of these adjustments in the perspective window. You have to render out each time you make an adjustment. I recommend just rendering a small portion of your scene because sometimes occulsion can take awhile to render.
Once you are satisfied with your occulsion, you bring your occulsion render along with your final color render into photoshop.
Put your final color render on one layer, and your occusion on another layer above it. Then you mess with the blending modes in photoshop. I usually use ‘multiply’ for my occulsion passes. If you had a good occusion render, then all the areas you wanted more shadow in will have more shadow. If some areas have too much shadow, you can just make a layer mask of your occulsion layer and just brush out the areas that have too much.

This is usually the process for all those passes. You can mess around with all the other presets in maya. They usually have the same process. It’s really just messing with settings within certain nodes then bringing the file into photoshop and taking out of the render what you need to make a nicer image.

I hope this helped you. If you have any other problems or I was unclear with something just let me know. :slight_smile:


Wow Gattaca13. In reply to your post all I can say is thanks for putting into lame man terms so I could understand. The only thing I want Maya to do now is have the capabilities of photoshop. In other words, when you make render layers then you should be able to choose to render all of them at once together and it does the math as it does in Photoshop. Who knows maybe someday we will get that perk in Maya but for now I will just use PS. The nice thing is I have been using it for about 6 or 7 years now, all the way back to PS 6.0. So again, I thank you so much for making it easy for me and anyone else to understand. Very good post! :applause:


I started the gallery for this challenge:

If anyone has any corrections to their names, etc. please PM me about it.

Thanks and congrats!



is this means that the chalange has ended?


Nope, post away!

Also, even for the challenges whose initial threads are locked, all of these challenges continue in the consolidated “on-going challenge” thread.



just trying to light here and in maya 8.5 there used to be a tab under mental under the light to set it to area light. I bring it up cause i read in your book any light can be made into an area light.

where in maya 8.5 is it? its just buggin me and i MUST know this! damn maya moving everything. grrr


It’s still there, it’s on spot lights, make sure you have mental ray loaded as a plug-in.



When does the new challenge get posted up? Im really anxious.


Kind of variations on a theme: Flying Spaghetti Monster at night and just catching the morning sun.

Pardon the truly horrific rocks. I don’t do textures. Click for large pictures. You probably will need to zoom in because the browser will do bad things when it scales images down. No geometry was changed aside from scaling up the FSM and moving it slightly, and lots of trees and unseen land were nuked. Lit in Lightwave + FPrime.


railsplitter -

Welcome! Those are both nice images. I think the composition looks a little cropped with him facing off towards the edge of frame, maybe you could turn him so he’s looking more at us and towards the center of frame? It would be nice to see some more reflections or highlights to define the water, too.



I just found there’s a new challenge going already!
Can’t wait to try, but let me put my latest work here.

Since I add so many plants to the background,
camera angle could be changed for better composition, I guess.
Any comments are welcome. Thank you.


CGmm -

The background plants are nice. The composition is OK, maybe turn the front monster’s eyes down so they are looking at us, it looks very stiff staring straight off into space. The monsters really need more shading and shadows, right now there is no self-shadowing on them and they appear very evenly lit. Also, some shadows from the environment, such as the one on the left near the cliff getting into a cliff shadow, would add a lot.



This is an old challenge now, this thread is archived. If you scroll down to the Challenge #10 section of the downloads page, you’ll see that the models can still be downloaded for your tests, and also that a gallery has been made of top entries. Feel free to browse this thread to see what others have posted, even though you can no longer post here.