The goal of this quick start article is to provide the three most relevant topics for getting started quickly in Octane for Maya. This includes the use of progressive rendering, illumination basics, and material design. For more detailed information, please reference the online documentation.
Choosing the Octane Render Engine
Octane can be selected as the current render engine from the Maya Render Settings window (Figure 01).
Figure 01: Selecting Octane as the render engine in the Render Settings window
Octane is tightly integrated into Maya. Once the Octane plugin is loaded, much of Octane's functionality can be found in the Octane menu or Octane Shelf (Figure 02).
Figure 02: Octane functionality and tools can be found in the Octane menu and shelf
Rendering with Octane
Once Octane is selected as the render engine, rendering with Octane is done using the Interactive Photorealistic Renderer (IPR). By default, there is a sphere-like ambient light illuminating the scene (Figure 03).
Figure 03: A sphere and plane primitive illuminated by default lighting
The IPR should be used to render while working on a scene. Scene elements such as materials, lights, and cameras will update in real-time inside the IPR window. The Render Current Frame window does not allow for real-time updates. It will continue to render until it reaches the Max Samples specified in the Kernel settings (Figure 04). The Render Current Frame window is typically used to execute a final rendering while the IPR is used during the scene editing process.
Figure 04: Octane will continue to render until the Max Samples value is reached
Lighting in Octane
By default, there is an omnipresent ambient light in the scene. This illumination does not provide any attributes for control, therefore, an Octane environment light should be added to a scene. Octane lights are found in the Octane menu (Figure 05a) and on the Octane Shelf (Figure 05b).
Figure 05a: Octane lights in the Octane menu
Figure 05b: Octane lights in the Octane Shelf
There are two types of environment lights in Octane, the Octane HDRI and the Octane Daylight. These light types will create identical objects in a scene (Figure 06).
Figure 06: The Octane Environment Light in the Outliner
The difference is the Type attribute. An Octane HDRI light's Type attribute is set to Texture Environment. This light type can be used to control the overall intensity of ambient light in a scene and it can also accept an HDRI image (Figure 07).
Figure 07: An Octane HDRI light with it's Power attribute set to .1
An Octane Daylight light's Type is set to Day Light Environment. In addition to providing ambient light in the form of a sky, this light type also provides a directional light source in the form of the sun (Figure 08).
Figure 08: An Octane Daylight provides a sun and sky as sources of illumination
The third type of light Octane provides is an Octane Light. This light type functions as a finite light source. It can be either spherical or rectangular in shape (Figure 09).
Figure 09: An Octane Light with it's Geometry type set to Plane
Materials in Octane
Octane materials and textures can be access via the Hypershade window. There are five material types available in Octane for Maya (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Five material types available in Octane
- Diffuse: used for dull, non-reflecting materials or light emitting surfaces
- Glossy: used for shiny materials such as plastics or metals
- Mix: used to mix any two material types
- Portal: a special type of material that assists with bouncing exterior illumination into an enclosed space
- Specular: used for transparent materials such as glass and water
Octane also provides an online database with pre-made materials. The LiveDB can be access via the Octane menu (Figure 11a) or on the Octane Shelf (Figure 11b).
Figure 11a: Octane LiveDB access from the Menu bar
Figure 11b: Octane LiveDB access via the Octane Shelf
Octane will only render its native material types. However, Maya materials can be converted to Octane Glossy materials using the material convert tools. The Convert All and Convert Selection tools are found in Octane menu (Figure 12a) or on the Octane Shelf (Figure 12b).
Figure 12a: Access to the material conversion tools via the Menu bar
Figure 12b: Access to the material conversion tools in the Octane Shelf
Additional Online Resources
- Online Documentation