materials, lights & render

What is this module about?

Material and light interactions, the realistic and artistic usage of shadow and colour, and rendering techniques that help artists create photorealistic imagery. We will be also learning basic compositing and post production in Photoshop.

What are the requirements for this module?

A decent Windows 10 Pro-based PC with a strong video card, or a Mac with a strong AMD card, at least 16 Mb RAM, a HD or UHD monitor, a Maya , and Photoshop license.

Whom is it recommended for?

Visualisers, texture artists, lighting specialists, and render artists. And anyone who wishes to showcase their work at the next level. This is also the last module in the masterclass, so it is highly recommended for completionists.

Software we use


Lighting Basics

Light types in Maya. Intensity and decay. Raytrace and depth map shadows. Arnold-specific light features. Light linking.

Interactive Production Rendering (IPR)

Running and stopping IPR in the viewport. Update full scene. IPR in the RenderView. Refresh render and Hold scene update. Shape picking.

Environmental Lighting

Ray depth and global illumination. Skydome light and image-based lighting. Physical sky. Colour temperature and white balance with aiBlackBody. Saving rendertime using Light portals. Self-illumination.

Arnold Materials

The aiStandardSurface shader. Base colour and Specular Roughness. Using file textures. Metallic surfaces. Transparency and refraction. aiAmbientOcclusion, aiStandardHair, aiCarPaint, aiFlat, and aiTwoSided. Switches and utilities.

Volumetrics and Effects

Arnold Volume. The aiStandardVolume shader. Shading fluids. Voxels. Rendering nParticles and BiFrost. Rendering displacement.

Camera Stuff

Camera setup. Depth of field. Motion blur.

Arbitrary Output Variables (AOV) & Light Groups

Render passes. Data, driver, and filter. Light group contribution.


Analysing metadata. Camera match. Sphere diffuse. The light rig. Rendering AOV’s. Compositing in Photoshop.


project “still life”

Setup, light and render a still life scene in Arnold.

project “odd couple: still images”

Setup, light and render a few stills from the animation “Odd Couple”.

project “reptilian: lookdev”

Setup, light and render “Reptilian”, and match the character perfectly to a photo background in scale, perspective, colour, and lighting.


The module ideally takes 24 lessons to finish.

A lesson is 90 minutes long.

It is recommended to take 1 lesson a week.




(paid in 6 installments)

£ 276 ×6 (£ 1656)

FOR duos:

(paid in 6 installments)

£ 138 ×6 (£ 828) /student