How to Create Stunning Exterior Renderings with Mental Ray and Maya
If you want to create realistic and eye-catching exterior renderings for your architectural or design projects, you need to master the tools and techniques of Mental Ray and Maya. Mental Ray is a powerful and versatile rendering engine that can produce photorealistic images with global illumination, depth of field, motion blur, and more. Maya is a 3D modeling and animation software that allows you to create complex scenes with detailed geometry, materials, lighting, and cameras.
In this article, we will show you how to use Mental Ray and Maya to create stunning exterior renderings that will impress your clients and viewers. We will cover the following topics:
How to set up your scene with proper scale, units, and orientation
How to model and texture your buildings, landscape, and environment
How to use sun and sky systems, physical sun and sky, and image-based lighting for realistic outdoor illumination
How to optimize your render settings for quality and speed
How to add post-processing effects such as color correction, bloom, glare, and lens flare
By following these steps, you will be able to create exterior renderings that look like this:
Ready to get started Let's dive in!How to set up your scene with proper scale, units, and orientation
Before you start modeling and rendering your exterior scene, you need to make sure that your scene is set up with the correct scale, units, and orientation. This will ensure that your scene matches the real world dimensions and proportions, and that your lighting and camera settings are consistent and realistic.
To set up your scene scale and units in Maya, go to Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Settings. Here you can choose the linear units (such as centimeters, meters, inches, feet, etc.) and the angular units (such as degrees, radians, etc.) for your scene. You can also change the time unit (such as frames per second) and the working units for animation curves.
For exterior rendering, it is recommended to use meters as the linear unit, since most buildings and landscapes are measured in meters. You can also use centimeters if you prefer, but make sure to adjust your grid size accordingly. To change the grid size, go to Display > Grid > Options. Here you can change the length and width of the grid, and the number of grid lines. For example, if you use meters as the linear unit, you can set the grid size to 1200 x 1200 meters, and the grid lines every 500 meters[^1^]. If you use centimeters as the linear unit, you can set the grid size to 120 x 120 centimeters, and the grid lines every 5 centimeters.
To set up your scene orientation in Maya, you need to decide which axis will represent the up direction (usually Y or Z) and which axis will represent the front direction (usually X or -Z). This will affect how your models are oriented in the scene, and how your cameras are aligned. You can change the up axis in Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Settings, under World Coordinate System. You can also change the front axis in Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > ViewCube, under Front Axis.
For exterior rendering, it is recommended to use Y as the up axis and -Z as the front axis. This will make your scene compatible with most external applications and formats, such as PFTrack[^2^], Mental Ray[^3^], etc. It will also make your scene aligned with the default sun and sky systems in Maya. ec8f644aee