Welcome back everyone!! I hope you all had a cracking weekend. Right now we are going to pick up where we left off on Friday with FG Maps.
So let’s get started making our map. Change the Rebuild option from On to Off. Now Maya will automatically name your FG map 'default.fgmap' but feel free to rename it to whatever you like. Naming it is useful if you want to create more than one map. (This file is saved into the 'Render Data' folder of your project, in a folder named 'Mental Ray')
I'm going to tell you what I think is the easiest and fastest way to create a FG map; with a batch render. Firstly, make sure in the 'Common' tab that you have selected 'name.#.ext' from the 'Frame/animation ext' menu, and you've selected the right camera, which you should have done anyway. You must also bake your FG map in the same resolution that you will render your final scenes in.
If you navigate to the Features tab of your Render Settings, you'll see a drop-down menu named 'Render Mode'. In here, you will find the option 'Final Gathering Only'. Once this is selected, you can select 'Render > Batch Render' and Maya will wander through your scene frame by frame, blasting it full of FG points and writing them all into a file. Once it's finished you can see the points on Maya has created by ticking the 'Enable Map Visualizer' box.
Now here are the important things to remember; once you've created your map, you must change the 'Render mode' back from 'Final Gathering Only' to 'Normal', for obvious reasons. Then, you must navigate to the Final Gathering Map settings again and change 'Rebuild' from Off to Freeze. Freeze means it will use the FG map named in the Primary FG File box (the one you've just made).
It sounds complicated when its explained in these terms, but I'm trying to give you as much info as it’s possible to squeeze into a blog post, so you understand what's going on. The steps are actually very easy;
1) Turn Rebuild to 'Off' and give FG map a name,
2) Change Render Mode to Final Gather Only,
3) Batch Render,
4) Turn Rebuild to 'Freeze'.
I'm sure once you've given it a go you'll see it’s not only really easy, but really useful as well. If you bake a FG map and you get a lot less flicker but it's still present, you'll need to whack your FG settings right up and bake another map. Please note that creating a FG map doesn't mean you can skimp on your FG settings; they still need to be nice and high to begin with.