Portrait Production - Creating a Realistic Portrait in Maya

In this DVD, Instructor Tony Reynolds takes you through the process of creating and rendering out a portrait using Mental Ray in Maya 2011. Tony starts off by taking a previously sculpted head from ZBrush and shows you how to prepare and export the model for Maya. From there he goes into great detail on all the Maya setup and settings, lighting with Mental Ray, simple and advanced skin shader setup, skin textures, rendering eyes, rendering teeth, rendering a tongue, creating hair for the face and head, using render layers, and compositing the render layers in Photoshop.

About the Instructor:
Tony Reynolds has been training in the visual arts from a young age, and started his video game career in 2005. He has worked at Electronic Arts and Sony Online Entertainment, Austin, where he is currently the Lead Senior Character and Technical Artist.
Apps Used: Maya 2011, ZBrush, Photoshop
Duration: 5 Hours
Instructor: Tony Reynolds
DL Filesize: 907 MB
Project Files: Included are the Maya files, ZBrush files, .obj files, renders, textures, and final .psd as shown in the DVD.

User Comments

sajjad hadipour (not verified)

June 17, 2013 - 9:13pm

in 04_mentalray_lighting , how do you fix the background ?
please Help Guys

Leonardo (not verified)

April 5, 2013 - 9:58am

While following the video, I tryed to render with mental ray And I keep getting a black canvas, like there is no light. I have follow EVERY step of the dvd (video 4) and still I am having peoblem with the mental ray render. Please Help!!!!

sabe quien (not verified)

February 13, 2013 - 11:42am

woo this is real modeling

Raghavendra temker (not verified)

November 20, 2012 - 9:04am

I love the way of production is created in the maya. but the problem is how to create epidemic and subdermal texture of a character in zbrush. please help me with creation. In a complete easiest way of teaching it's too complicated to hear.

Anonymous (not verified)

November 4, 2012 - 10:37pm

me gustan estos trabajos pero me encantaria que tanbien estubiera doblados al español
I like these but I would love to work was also dubbed into Spanish

Sam123 (not verified)

August 7, 2012 - 12:27pm

Why set mod, intensity and display on if this is works only in zbrush's viewport? It doesn't make sense.

eat3d lover (not verified)

February 4, 2012 - 1:28am

guys,it's a superb edition i ever seen in my entire carrier.go on and always make contents like this one. My best wishes with you.


October 7, 2011 - 1:13pm

This tutorial is very good, there are somethings that could have made it superb:
-timelapse sculpt ( no more than 20 minutes) or at least showing stages of progression
-During some key framebuffer renders store and compare an image, because although I really believe that mr reynolds is telling me the truth, I find it really better if someone moves the slider and I actually see what a particular setting has done, this is ( at least for me) the biggest issue when I do my own work and that is that I get pinned down and don't see how crappy I have made it ( through subtle changes) and when I go back to the first image , it "refreshes"and I see it clear again.

But that being said nothing is perfect and it is a damned good tutorial.


September 21, 2011 - 4:03pm

Hey Eat3D Guys,
Can you make a tutorial just like this, but use 3Ds Max, and Vray 2??
I am dying to learn this stuff, but there are no tutorials and such.
Please help,


July 28, 2011 - 4:30pm

Well, I bought this tutorial and I think is one of the best I ever seen on SSS in Maya mr ...
Looking forward to buying more tutorials advanced as this one is, made by you master(Shading nodes and lightning in mr would be an amazing achievement for me)!

Thanks for these excellent lessons !

Anonymous (not verified)

July 16, 2011 - 1:32pm

High brilliant tutorial to advanced for me as I'm new but to watch an artist at work facinates me. Is there any chance of doing a proper photoshop maps tutorial covering how you did the roughness etc and painting cos I can't seem to find anything that is just for photoshop maps. I find loads on manipulating photos etc but none that go well with uv's. I may be a bit simple and possibly it may be really easy to do as I have requested but once I just ain't that good at painting in photoshop on uv maps but yet on paper I can recreate works by constable.

sikorumbe (not verified)

June 30, 2011 - 7:39pm

I still having the same error
// Error: (Mayatomr.Custom) : mia_physicalsky1: couldn't find light node sunDirection, ignored
i couldn't get rid of it no matter what I do.
Can somebody please help me ?

manvredo (not verified)

June 20, 2011 - 4:19pm

realy nice tutorial but You don`t need a roughness map... You have black in the color of the mia material x...
but You need a little of an color influence... so Your roughness value have no effect!!

Juneauz (not verified)

June 6, 2011 - 6:27pm

Such a great tutorial, thank you very much!

by the way, I'm still getting the error
Error: (Mayatomr.Custom) : mia_physicalsky1: couldn't find light node sunDirection, ignored
could you please explain in detail how to deal with it?
I'm pretty sure all my connections and parameters are correct...

that would be of great help
thank you again!


May 31, 2011 - 8:34am

I can only get my normal map working when it's set to Bump, not Tangent Space Normals. What's the deal?


April 28, 2011 - 6:29am


iirc, storing morph targets allows you to set the level of subd where you want to generate the disp from.
So if you have 7 levels of subd and set the morph target to 5, it will draw the information for the disp from level 5

Anonymous (not verified)

April 27, 2011 - 8:56pm

Why he store morph targets in order to generate displacement? it dosen´t make sense


April 13, 2011 - 3:25pm

How the heck did you change the color of the guy to black to make a specular map. Changing the color is stupidly hard in Zbrush... I can manage to get it to black, but how you still were able to see light reflect off of it while black is beyond me. It would really help in trying to paint some of the areas white for the map.

Koonal (not verified)

April 11, 2011 - 6:06am

Sir its very nice of you to make such a great tutorial on sss.
its a very excellent tutorial but if you can tell us or make a tutorial on how to make maps u have provided in this dvd it will be very helpful for all of us.
as i dont know how to makee maps for epidermal,subdermal,roughness etc.
or if you no any tutorial or link explaning how to make such maps pls send it on



February 27, 2011 - 6:59pm

@sikorumbe: I was having the same issue with the light as you. I got an error every time I rendered that said it couldn't find the sunDirection. I went into the mia_physicalsky1 Attributes, under Shading --> Sun. I right clicked on Sun and clicked, 'break connection' from the sunDirection. This seems to have solved the error and my renders are looking correct (the area light portal is working). Not sure what I 'really' did, or what effect that will have on my end result, but it worked. (for now!)


Anonymous (not verified)

February 27, 2011 - 1:03am

I am so close to getting this...

I Horvath (not verified)

February 21, 2011 - 6:57pm

Just got this tutorial and very happy with everything.
Learned a lot from this
The hair and beard and eyelahes are done in Maya Hair.

sikorumbe (not verified)

February 9, 2011 - 7:30pm

@tonysculptor: Hi, i linked the physical sun according to the tutorial but it still gives me the same error Sad "couldn't find lightnode sunDirection". Is there anything else might causing this problem ? Thanxs


February 1, 2011 - 2:05pm

Hi Guz. The 3d model and textures have already been created. He does explain how the textures work and what you will need to keep in mind when creating them. I hope this helps!

Guz (not verified)

February 1, 2011 - 2:02pm

I'm really leaning to buy this DVD, but I have some doubts:
- Does he starts the model from scratch?
- Does he makes the textures on the go are the textures already done and he just applies it on the model?


Anonymous (not verified)

February 1, 2011 - 12:42pm

I'd love to buy a 3ds max version of this tutorial. The character looks great. if you included skin shader setup guide for 3ds max, I could buy this one too. Thanks.

Anonymous (not verified)

January 27, 2011 - 3:31am

Please, 3ds max version of this tutorial!!!!


January 26, 2011 - 4:02pm

That error occurs when a directional light is not hooked up to the physical sun and sky node. Just create a directional light and assign it to the physical sun and sky. Let me know if I need to be more explicit.

Thanks to everyone who has bought and supported this product.


January 26, 2011 - 8:15am

Yes. I get the same error. Can anyone tell me why I keep getting that error?

Vali (not verified)

January 25, 2011 - 6:26pm

Mister Tony Reynolds this is perfection to me . Outstanding stuff !
Anyway this are amazing lessons !
I wait to seee more good stuff from you sir .

I m so noob so I must ask . I have this kind of error maybe I forgot something . (// Error: (Mayatomr.Custom) : mia_physicalsky1: couldn't find light node sunDirection, ignored) .