This is my first model I’ve created in Maya, a rifle scope (As seen in this! vimeo.com/93603788).
I originally wanted to model a Sten, but wasn’t able to get my hands on my Sten model at the time, so I did this scope instead. At some point in the future I hope to do the Sten.
This project is the final stage of our CGI Module of third year. For this, we had to create a photorealistic inorganic model using Maya 2015, create UV Maps for diffuse, bump maps, and specular shading, make it appear as if it was in an industrial area in a post apocalypse (Scratched and dirty) setting, and finally, match it into a real scene, using Look Development techniques. My chosen object was a Swiss Arms scope, which I chose, because I felt it fitted the setting of the project fairly well, and would be a good way to learn the entire process. This project, in its entirety took place over approximately 10 weeks, with the last 2 or 3 focus solely on the lighting and matching to a scene.
Taking the video.
As I would not be back home for a couple of weeks, I took my video reference for the project early on, in my back garden. It was a cloudy, rainy day, so I took notes on this, to take into account later on. I first placed the scope into place and took a reference video of this, to match the lighting with later on in Maya. After this, I took the scope out and filmed the backplate I was going to use in Maya. I used my brothers camera at home to shoot the videos, which films at 25 FPS, unlike the 24 FPS cameras used in the college, so I included this in my notes. Unfortunately, as I discovered during the college week, away from home, my footage was slightly out of focus, and I would not be able to retake it. This is something I should have checked at the time, but I overlooked it, a mistake I’ll learn for next time.
Setting up the Maya Process
For the sake of the oncoming deadline of the project, I decided to use the footage anyways, as the main aim of the project was to match the lighting of the setting to the model. I reopened my textured model, saved it, and checked my settings. I had to change a lot of them to match the brief, as they seemed to be set at complete odds with what it required, initially.
I set it from “Render Using” Maya Software to Mental Ray, and changed the file format to .tiff (Which supports the alpha channel, which was, however, a future problem I encountered). I also set it so that the “Frame/Animation ext:” was name.#.ext, so it would not batch render a single frame. Finally, on the common tab, I changed the frame size to be HD 1080, rather than the tiny 320 x 240 it was going for.
I also changed settings on the “Passes” tab, to include passes for Ambient Occlusion, diffuse, matte, reflection, refraction, shadow, and specular passes. I also tweaked some settings on the quality tab to get a better quality image in the overall.
I also consulted the notes I took when shooting, and remembered to reset my Maya preferences to being 25, rather than 24, frames per second. I knew that it would be best to fix these settings at the start of the process, rather than render things out, and wonder why certain things weren’t showing up, changing settings on the model, and ending up with time wasted, and further confusion at the mess of a scene I’d have created. At this point, I did a test render, and all seemed well, except for the glass. The glass lenses of the scope were not showing up at all. Luckily, we had finished a class on using “Mia_material_x” to create glass materials prior to this problem, so I simply changed the lens’ material to this, and set it to being the “glass thick” preset. The lenses of the scope are also a slight blue colour, so I set the glass’s colour to be this. The result was acceptable, so I went about to create some lights.
Setting up the Lights
After all the initial set ups were done, and everything was working okay, I imported the backplate into the scene and locked my camera, when the scope matched the angle of the scene. I created another perspective camera, to use as a navigator. After this, I set up the time range on my time slider to being 150 frames long, and created a keyframe on the first frame at “0”, and a keyframe at the end for “360”, so the model turned a full circle. I scrubbed through the time slider to make sure everything looked okay, and then I pressed onto the lights. As it was diffuse, cloudy lighting conditions, I knew that I would not need to use spotlight or directional lighting in the scene. I used an area light, to simulate the sun coming through clouds, and an area light, for bounce l