Maya Day 1 – lighting basics

Today I mostly went over the lighting portion of this wonderful YouTube tutorial. This covered the types of lights and I learned some tricks for getting a cool atmosphere.

I learned:

For point lights, activate the decay rate (set to quadratic) for more realistic falloff. For sky dome lights (essentially the world color in Blender terms), one can set the HDRi just like a texture, and make sure to have your file in the ‘source images’ folder in the Maya project for ease of access. For area lights, to get a cool godly effect, reduce the spread to 0 and raise the exposure and intensity a lot. This turned out really neat in my scene:

To add an atmosphere, go to render settings > Arnold renderer > environment > add AI Atmosphere Volume. Then increase the density (very slightly) in the settings)

To more easily see your lighting changes, enable interactive photorealistic rendering.

To create a candle flame texture (essentially an emission texture), make it a ‘mesh light’. Select the object > Arnold > lights > mesh light. Check ‘show original mesh’ and ‘light visible’ to help visibility as well. One thing about this that tripped me up at first, was if you accidentally click away from the settings and can’t find them again, you can go to the outliner and select the mesh light underneath the object you put it on.

I am still confused on:

When changing the lighting values, what is the difference between exposure and intensity? Also, is a mesh light synonymous with an emission texture? I saw there’s also an option for emission in normal texture settings. How would that be different?

Anywho, thank you for tuning into the very first real blog for learning Maya! This was fun to make I hope to keep it up. I also wonder if my friend named Maya will ever see this… hmm a problem for another day.

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