The possibilities of projective rendering(TM) are virtually endless for both real-time 3d graphics and motion-picture output. With MicroWave you can project millions of polygons onto simple bounding geometry, bake multi-bounce indirect lighting, project volumetric environments, generate illumination maps, geometry-based normal maps, or render perfect brick-wall textures full of cracks and detailed bumps.
Once you understand the main idea behind MicroWave, the work-flow becomes very simple, with no extra skills required. Usually, you start creating a scene, modeling objects, designing shaders and setting up lights - everything you have done many times before. When your scene is finished, instead of rendering through common camera, you model and UV map your custom polygonal projector and render through it.
The projector defines the way your scene will be rendered. A variety of custom lenses - orthographic, perspective, panoramic, fisheye can be simulated this way. However, a projector can be anything: a sphere, a car, a teapot, just anything you'll need. Probably the most obvious benefit you'll experience, is rendering a complex scene onto a similar looking - heavily simplified projector object. The complex scene gets literally projected onto the simple object which, as a results, looks similarly complex. The look of the scene is transferred to the projector in form of bitmap textures - an input that every CG application supports.
The following example demonstrates how a full-blown, 11 million polygon scene, can be projected onto a simplified object. Obviously, such an output - mere 3200 textured polygons can be visualized realtime.
1. The original high-detail scene ~ 11 million polys.
2. The simplified version with an UV-map ~ 3200 polys.
3. Rendered through MicroWave, with GI and shadows.
4. The MW output, illumination with projected grass.
5. Projected textures colorized in Photoshop.
6. The final output in Maya, 3200 textured polygons.
Speed & Accuracy: whether you render an image in mental ray or a texture of the same resolution in MicroWave, both the output and the rendertime will match.
Implementation: MicroWave is a mental ray standard lens shader designed for Maya and MR standalone environment, supporting all native features, including interactive rendering.
With MicroWave one can apply all his 3D know-how, into the texture-creation process. The difference between traditional texture painting and MicroWave, means exactly the same as between 2D and 3D graphics. Here is a list of MicroWave's unique texture-creation capabilities:
Maya 6.0, 6.5
WinNT, Win2000, WinXP
Mental Ray Standalone 3.3, 3.4
WinNT, Win2000, WinXP