Maya's Physical Sun and Sky with Portal Light

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

Hey guys welcome to another tutorial of mine, this tutorial is about Maya's "Physical Sun & Sky", using a "Portal Light shader" to light up the scene in a realistic way, as well as dealing with reduced rendering time. This tutorial is useful for indoor scenes, because portal lights work best with indoor scenes. I'm providing the scene I'll be using in this tut if you want to follow along, or you can use your own scene to work with.

Step 1

You can download the starting scene here
open up the scene I provided you or your own one using Maya.

Step 2

first thing first go to Windows > Rendering Editor > Render Settings

Step 3

from the rendering settings from dropdown menu, choose Mental ray

Step 4

now in the Indirect Lighting tab click on the button for Physical Sun and Sky. This will create the physical sun and sky for us.

Step 5

also make sure that the default light is turned off, because this will interfere with other lights in the scene which we don't want.

Step 6

now move the sun light somewhere that would be visible. Scale and position won't affect the overall light, only rotation does.

Step 7

One thing I want to point out when you create physical sun and sky; Maya enables the final gathering option automatically, so you should keep that in mind.

Step 8

with all the settings we have done, now hit Render. You should see a very blotchy image, which we are going to improve as we move forward.

Step 9

it's time to create other portal using Area Light to do so, go to Create>>Lights>>Area Light.

Step 10

now set the light on the roof by Rotating, Scaling and Move tool underneath the windows. See in the image below.

Step 11

with the light selected open up the Attribute Editor, scroll down to bottom find out the Area Light rollout and then check Use Light Shape; leave the other settings as is.

Step 12

still with the Area Light selected, scroll a bit down to the bottom and find Custom Shaders rollout; click on the checkered button and then do the rest as the image shows below.

Step 13

from light shader box, copy and paste the portal light, the one we've just created right above "Photon Emitter", as seen in image indicated below.

Step 14

with all that settings done, hit Render and now you can see a lot of improvement in the scene. Still we've got the blockiness, which we will fix in the next few steps.

Step 15

it's time to fix our render quality. To do so, I will enable Global Illumination with accuracy of something around 1000 and accuracy for the Final Gathering at around 600. You can go with any number according to your need. Keep in mind though they are all render expensive, so if you add them unnecessarily to your scene, you will end up with extra rendering time.

Step 16

let's fine tune the overall render quality, in the render settings on the Quality tab.

Increase the Max Sample Level to something around 4, don't bump it too much since it's also very render expensive and will wash out the details in your scene. Also check Jitter - this will help you to remove any jittering the final render.

Step 17

one thing I forgot to point out; if you are not happy with the overall brightness of your final render, you can always increase the intensity of the portal light.

This is my final render without any post-production. You can always play with the settings if you are not happy with your final render image.

We are finished here! I hope this was useful and helpful, if you have any comments or questions regarding this tutorial or any of my tutorials, please feel free to shoot me a message.


lisarobertson wrote
Thanks, I wish I would have seen this 3 weeks ago!
aziz-khan wrote
glad it could be a help :)
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  • Maya
  • lighting
  • light
  • Sky