Dome Based Lighting in Maya 8.0

Tutorial posted over 3 years ago
by aziz-khanaziz-khan

Hello everyone and welcome to my dome based lighting, in this tutorial I will show you how to light up your scene using dome based lighting with Maya 8.0. I love this technique because its very fast in rendering and you can save a lot of your time using this method.

Step 1

So, let's get started , launch Maya and or if you already running make sure you have new fresh scene.

In this case I will render my mini Fiat Punto car which you can see below. You can use any object regardless.

Step 2

Now go to top view port and created a plane with the height and width of 50 x 50 like the image below.

Step 3

While in the top view port create a sphere with the radius of 25 and subdivisions of 40 x 40 as in the image showing below.

Step 4

Turn your view port to side and then right click on the sphere then from pop up menus choose Face just like shown below.

Step 5

Select half of the faces (the ones on the bottom) and then hit delete as like the image below.

Step 6

Now set your scene and move your object where you think its looking nice and neat, you can see how i set it up in the pictures below.

Step 7

Since you have set up your view ports and now its time to bookmark our scene to move easily back and forth while working on materials, click on the view pull down menu from your active view port and then Bookmarks > Edit Bookmarks, just like you can see below.

Step 8

From the window hit New Bookmark button this will Bookmark your active view port, now whenever you like to have the same position on the view port you will just bring it up by clicking on view pull down menu and then your camera name, like in the picture below.

Step 9

Now zoom out to see the entire sphere like in the image,.then we will proceed to add material.

Step 10

Go to Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade like the picture indicating down.

Step 11

The hypershade window comes up, from the materials list click on the Lambert material this will appear on your work area inside the hypershade, first select the sphere which is representing the dome and then on the hypershade right click in Lambert material then from the pop-out menus choose Assign material to selection this will apply the material to sphere, like the image down.

Note: you can also apply your materials by middle mouse button and drag to desired objects.

Step 12

While in the hypershade window double click on Lambert Material to bring the Attributes Editor, as in the picture showing below.

Step 13

On the Attributes editor click on the small rectangular button in the front Ambient Color like in the picture.

Step 14

The render node will appear from the list choose file, like the image below.

Step 15

Now from file Attributes click on the small folder to find out your HDRI /images like he picture below.

Step 16

Find your HDRI /images from your hard drive or if you don't have the HDRI /images I suggest you to search on the web (you can find free HDRI maps here on CGTrader), in this case I have a few HDRI /images in my hard drive so I will use them.

Step 17

Your file Attributes should look like mine but the HDRI image will be different according to your HDRI image.

Step 18

Its time to go back to the original view which we have bookmarked.

Step 19

It's time to setup the render attributes to get a realistic result. Go to Window > Rendering Editors > Render Settings as the picture is illustrating below.

Step 20

From the Render Setting Dialogue box change the Render Using to Mental Ray, scroll down to bottom from Render Options uncheck Enable Default Lighting like in the image below.

Step 21

Last but not least click on mental ray tab scroll down a just bit to find Final Gather tab, expand it then use the settings I have (see them in the image below)

Note: the values you are seeing on the (Min radius) and in the (Max radius) set to (0.5) and (5.0), why I put these values? I would like to share something with you I hope will make your rendering pretty fast- always make sure you have specific dimensions of your objects, like in this case I have the plane of 50 X 50 which is repressing the ground, so I divided the value of 50 to 10 and I got the result of 5, like this (50/10=5). I put the value of on the (Max Radius) and then I again divided the value of 5 to 10 and got the result of (0.5) like this (5/10=0.5) and put it in (Min Radius) by doing this technique you can improve your rendering result plus you will reduce the rendering time pretty much.

these are the settings.

Final Render

And we are finished! Time to render our scene, this is few of my renders below.

Note: the lighting of your scene is depending on your HDRI /images, so here I rendered with different HDRI /images which had different effects on the scene lighting.

Final Render 1

Final Render 2

Final Render 3

Final Render-4

So guys, this was the conclusion of tutorial I hope you have learned something from this, there are lot of settings which I recommend you play around with on your own. Just play around with the settings I am pretty sure you will find something new that you will like or at least learn from!

Till next tutorial have a nice time and good luck!


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  • maya
  • lighting
  • dome
  • based
  • hdri
  • maps