Gnomon has a series of tutorials by Frederic Durand that go into Maya lighting with Mentalray, starting with Light and Shadow: Lighting and Rendering Series Vol 1. The quality achievable through it really surprised me— I previously thought I’d have to get VRay, apparently the de facto renderer by film CG VFX artists, to achieve this level of render. This can really help increase the realism with the virtual set for VFM02. So today, between things happening at GDC 2015, I thought I’d put myself through these lighting tutorials to really maximize the power I’ve had sitting in my iMac with Maya all along.
After watching a few other tutorials, I had also recently completed the course Hard Surface Texture Painting to see the full pipeline of setting new UVs and creating textures as I worked on this for the first production model of VFM02’s virtual set. It essentially verified the process I had already used with an added step of using an intermediary program to paint scratches and details across the UVs by painting directly on the model– something I believe I might be able to do in Mudbox.
So anyway, as I work on other stuff, I’m going to put Frederic’s lighting tutorials on and see what I can pick up over the next couple of days.