bumpCombiner template modification

david | dj mod,mel script,mentalray,rendering | Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

hyperSwatch.jpgWhen I render from Maya I usually use Mentalray. It's a powerful renderer out of the box, but I have become reliant on some custom shaders written by francescaluce for Ctrl-studio. One of them is the bumpCombiner. It's primary function is to enable several bump textures to be combined in vector space. It's like a layered texture for bumps.

Layering bump textures can be done using the in built maya bump nodes by "daisy-chaining" them together. You connect the outNormal of one to the normalCamera of the next, and the last one to the shader's bump slot. But some mentalray shaders don't have a bump slot.

What the bumpCombiner gives you is a way to add bumps to shaders without a bump slot and a much better work flow for managing the bump layers. No more daisy-chains. There is a global bump control and you can modify the relative strengths of each bump layer as well as being able to mask each layer with another texture. You can even disable the bump for FG/GI rays, and for reflect/refract rays.

The shader can be found at highend3d.com or mymentalray.com.

One thing that I always missed was the ability to add a name to the bump layers in the bumpCombiner's attribute editor page. This would sometimes lead to confusion as I tried to remember which parameters were related to which bump node. So today I finally got around to fixing the template to allow a label to be entered for each layer. It's just a simple addition to two text files. You can get them here. Just replace the originals (after making a backup).


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