Creating image plane for environment: June 14 / 17

I revisited the photographs I took in Rotorua for creating the environment for my character. I thought maybe I could use one of the overall scene shots to form the background in my Maya scene. I watched a useful little tutorial on Youtube:

Cushny, M. (2014, September 15). How To Create a Camera Image Plane in Maya [Video]. YouTube.

Arnold, S. J. (2020). Rotorua hot pool [Photograph]. New Zealand.
Arnold, S. J. (2020). Rotorua mud pool [Photograph]. New Zealand.
Arnold, S.J (2020, June 14). Creating image plane background. Screenshot by author

The tutorial explained how to set your image plane size to the output you are wanting when you render in Maya, in this case 16 x 9. I created the image in that size in photoshop then imported it into my environment scene in Maya and it looked good. I named this camera so I would recognise it later. Between the image plane and the texture of the mud pools on the plane it was starting to come together. I hit a real road block though when I opened the scene on the school PC. The image was missing off the image plane altogether. I assumed I hadn’t saved the scene properly or something, first of all I went into ‘show’ and made sure that I had ‘image planes’ checked, yep; I checked I had the camera, yep; so imported the photoshop image again. That little dilemma sorted I created a light and thought let’s see how it’s looking in the render view.

Arnold, S.J (2020, June 17). Image plane won’t render. Screenshot by author
Arnold, S.J (2020, June 17). Image plane won’t render. Screenshot by author

Problem number 2 presented itself. No image plane background in the render. What the heck. I tried checking everything was set to show, tried some different lights and no luck. Then Dave suggested we add some roughness to the image plane, because apparently it won’t reflect light otherwise. Voila the image plane rendered this time. The next problem I had though was that there was a smoke like film across the top half of the scene. While trying to figure this out with Klaas’s help I forgot to take any screenshots of it. One of my other class mates came to the rescue and I deleted the image plane background completely. Following her advice, I created another plane, placed the background image on it and rotated it into position. This came out way better. Now I could play around with the brushes in Maya to create some tufts of grass to place on the ground.

Arnold, S.J (2020, June 17). Using a plane shape with texture added for background. Screenshot by author

I don’t know that I will bother with the image plane background again. I think I will look for a good HDRI to put as the background instead.