lume shaders for maya 2008

david | mentalray,rendering | Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

I've noticed that Master Zap often uses the Glare shader in his renderings. This shader is part of a suite of shaders, called LumeTools, that ship with Autodesk 3ds Max.

About 3 years ago the Lume shaders were ported to maya by Jan Sandstrom (pixero) with some help from Francesca from Ctrl.Studios. I had read about stability problems when using them in maya, so I never really made any effort to try them.

Ok, fast forward to now. The lume shaders are included with Max 2008. The old maya port still works and I have had no stability problems so far.

Here's how to get the current LumeTools Collection up and running in maya 2008.

First you need the latest lume.dll file (I'm assuming windows here). Apparantly the Glare shader was updated by Zap in April 2007. I dont know if anything else has been changed though.

Autodesk have made a trial version of Max 2008 available for download and it contains the Lume shaders. I had to download the whole 580MB file just to get the tiny 196KB lume.dll file, so if you have trouble getting this, let me know and I'll send you a copy.

Next you need all the lume support files which you can download from Jan Sandstrom's site. This includes the hypershader icons, the AE_Template scripts and the very important .mi file.

lume.dll goes in your mentalray custom lib folder. lume.mi goes in the include folder. The icons go in your icons folder and the AE files in your scripts folder.

What you should know is that to get the Lume shaders to work in maya required that most of them had to be "phenomenised" to work around the problem of spaces in the original attribute names. For example the Lume shader called Glare has been phenomenised and named Glare_LUME. The same naming system has been used for each shader. So in the hypershader you must ignore Glare and use Glare_LUME instead.

My small addition to the configuration was to hide the original shaders from the hypershader menu to avoid confusion. To do this you need to add some lines to mentalrayCustomNodeClass.mel (which can be found in D:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2008\scripts\others).

Copy the file to your local scripts folder and edit the copy. Add the following block of code

if( $nodeType == "Adjustments" ||
$nodeType == "BumpCapture" ||
$nodeType == "Glare" ||
$nodeType == "Distortion" ||
$nodeType == "Mist" ||
$nodeType == "Submerge" ||
$nodeType == "Landscape" ||
$nodeType == "EdgeShadow" ||
$nodeType == "WaterSurfaceShadow" ||
$nodeType == "Facade" ||
$nodeType == "Glass" ||
$nodeType == "Glow" ||
$nodeType == "Edge" ||
$nodeType == "Metal" ||
$nodeType == "Translucency" ||
$nodeType == "WaterSurface" ||
$nodeType == "Illumination" ||
$nodeType == "Ocean" )
return "rendernode/mentalray/internal";

This should be inserted before the 2nd last line, which is

return "";

When you restart maya you should find the Lume shaders available in the hypershader create menu. All the problem shaders have been hidden.

You can read about the shaders at the LumeTools web site where they have an online manual. It is not written for maya but is still useful.

So far I have only really played with Glare and Landscape and I think they will both be quite useful.

The Glare effect could be done in post, but when done in the render it works on the high dynamic range data before being clamped to 8 bit.

The Landscape shader is an interesting proceedural shader that shades based on curvature and height of the geometry and can be used for much more than just landscapes.

Many of the others seem a bit redundant given the mia_material and the mip shaders. Time will tell.

Update 25 March 2008: A few people requested an example of how to hook up the glare shader, so here is a very simple one. The glare node is connected to the camera's output shader slot. It looks like this when rendered.

glareSimple_testRender.jpg

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