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The Mental Ray Camera Tag

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To enhance your Mental Ray rendering skills, it's not only important to learn how to set Final Gather and illumination, but also knowing how to set up the camera.

If you understand the basics in Maya you'll understand that most of the time you're just connecting nodes. We're going to connect specific Mental Ray nodes with a camera that has a slot designated for it; a Mental Ray tag. To see it on your view port menu, go to view>select camera. Now open the attributes editor by going to window>attributes editor. Roll down the camera attributes until you find the tag Mental Ray. Unroll it. You'll see three slots; environment shader, volume shader, and lens shader. Through this 3-part series you'll learn how to use each attribute. This tutorial's aim is not to show you all the attributes of each lens. I will show you how to use lenses .

Mental Ray Lenses

In Mental Ray you can use lenses connected to a camera to improve your renderings. In this tutorial I'll explain how to use one of the lenses in Mental Ray.

How Lenses Can Help

These are not lenses to make a fish-eyed camera. These lenses allow you to adjust exposer and sampling and others. These can help you improve the final Mental Ray rendering.


Step one - Download the scene dark.mb.

Step two - Render the scene and you'll see that it was purposely set up to be too dark.

Step three - Open the attributes editor by going to window>attributes editor.

Step four - Open the outliner by going to window>outliner.

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Step five - Select persp in the outliner. This is the camera that we are looking through by default.

Step six - In the attributes editor, roll down until you find the tab Mental Ray.

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Applying The Lens

Step one - Select the checkered icon beside the field lens shader.

Step two - This will open the create render node window.

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Step three - Click on the Mental Ray tab Mental Ray and find the tag lenses. The lens we're going to be using is Mia_exposure_simple. This will make our dark room look lighter. Set the gain to 1.3. Render it.

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If you noticed, the room looks much nicer. But of course you could have done it in post production. If you're familiar with post production, you'll recognize a lot of the attributes names. Whenever I use this in a scene, I normally only need to set the gain and the gamma.

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