Better skin with the mia_material
By combining the blurry reflections and built-in ambient occlusion of the mia_material with the layered subsurface scattering of the misss_fast_skin shader you can get great looking skin while maintaining artistic control.
If you want to archive this, begin by setting the specular weight of your misss_fast_skin-node to 0. Also set your diffuse weight on your mia_material to 0. Then connect your misss_fast_skin-node to the Additional Color-input on your mia_material. This way you have all your diffuse component coming from the misss_fast_skin-node and all of the specular component of the mia_material.
What you then want to do is to connect the misss_fast_lmap to the Light Map Shader slot of the mia_material’s Shading Group. Simply drag and drop the misss_fast_lmap into the slot (with the middle mouse button). Your shading network should look like below.
example: Connecting the lightmap-shader to the mia_material’s Shading Group.
Don’t forget you still have to feed a writable 32bit mentalrayTexture to the misss_fast_lmap and connect that texture to the lightmap input on the misss_fast_skin-node.
Using normal and bump maps with the mia_material
Sadly, in maya 8.5, assigning a bump map to the mia_material can be quite troublesome, the documentation suggests a lenghty arrangement of nodes that I at first could make no sense of.
However I found a quick (and dirty) solution which involves borrowing the misss_set_normal-node from the misss-shaders. Just connect a misss_set_normal-node to the bump-slot of the mia_material and then connect a bump2d-node to the normal-input on the misss_set_normal-node. This way you can easily connect a file texture to your bump2d-node. A greyscale bump-map or even a tangentspace normal map will both work fine this way.
example: normal-map connected to mia_material through bump2d and misss_set_normal node.
In later articles I will discuss:
Making more use of the mia_material
Getting into the nitty gritty of metal IOR’s, colored reflections and reflection curves. And much more
Using the mr physical sun & sky
How to light your scene with a full dynamic range and render to an High Dynamic Range (HDR) Image and how to avoid common problems, such as using textures with a low dynamic range in your scene.