DVD review: Mental Ray Studio Car Rendering
This DVD starts with an overview of the chapters to come and a section on MAXScript and customising the UI, which will be familiar to anyone who’s watched Joe Gunn’s other tutorials.
The Environment chapter moves on to the actual creation of the basic studio set, covering some basic spline extrusion options before settling on an inverted chamfered box to achieve the smooth, surrounding curved wall, seen in most car studio photoshoots.
Leaving the studio there, Gunn moves on to talk about lighting, using a skylight, some Global Illumination and a Sky Portal to achieve a soft-shadowed look. He also plays with the Exposure controls a little here, which is a bit of a precursor to a later chapter.
The chapter on Shaders introduces a decent library of pre-made Mental Ray Arch & Design materials which are included in the download. Gunn shows how to create a variety of material types for the scene including rubber, chrome and the all important sparkly car paint.
Test renders throughout the tutorial show the car taking shape and with the materials all assigned to the TurboSquid car model Gunn moves back to the lighting or rather reflections, setting up the Bounce cards that create all those nice white highlights across the cars bodywork.
With the scene set, the chapter on mental ray Settings and Exposure takes the user through the cranking up of the various render options to achieve a beauty shot, with comments on achieving better glass effects, shadows and avoiding nasty aliasing all without impacting too much on render time.
A return to the Exposure control panel and the introduction of the Vignette feature brings the main part of this Tutorial to a close and the final production shot of the car that won Joe a place in print.
As with his other DVDs, Gunn throws in one final bonus chapter, this time on using HDRI textures to apply some extra highlights and sparkle to the car.
This is a very weak training DVD offering information on a single type of render.
The majority of chapters felt like fillers, taking ages to get to something that could have been achieved in seconds.
It is difficult to understand who it is aimed at, at one point taking five minutes to explain extruding and lathing a spline and the next juggling IOR controls and choosing the right render filter.
The whole studio set up could easily have been done in one 10-minute chapter, with a second on the Mental Ray options.
For £40 there are far more informative options on beauty rendering than this.
Intermediate level DVD training
Runtime: 2 hours 47 minutes
Price: $59.95 / €44 / £39
Customizing UI/Maxscript resources
Basic Shader Tool Kit
MR Settings and Exposure Control
Bonus chapter – Adding HDRI
Author – Joe Gunn
on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 at 9:00 am under Reviews, Training.
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Tags: mental ray, rendering, review, Training