How to model a screwdriver and render it with mental ray

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Oct 03, 2006

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Ok now let's boolean some cubes to it. Create a cube, and move it to the end at an angle, then duplicate it then select the shaft, then select a cube, then go to polygons>booleans>difference, now rotate the shaft 180 degrees and boolean again.

click for larger version

Now scale the end on it's X axis to make the edge a bit long

click for larger version

Ok, we've got the screwdriver model done, now we're going to go on to the materials, and render settings! Ok, select your shaft, and go into the rendering section, lighting/shading>assign new material>Dgs_material

Ok that's good enough for that! Now we'll make our handle a "Dieletric" material, go to lighting/shading>assign new material>Dieletric_material, give it any color you like, I chose a yellowish color by clicking the "col" white block, you can select a color for it.

Alright, now we're going to set the scene up for rendering, select your screw-driver, and move it up some, so that it's resting atop the grid, then create a polygon plane on it's Y axis, doesn't matter how many subdivisions it has, and apply a lambert material to it Lighting/shading>assign new material>lambert, and make it a tanish color

click for larger version

Now create an ambient light, with no intensity, make it cast shadows, then go to render globals Select mental ray in the drop down menu (if it's not there go to window>preferences/settings>plug-in manager, and check mayatomr) apply these settings in the render globals:
min sample level 1
max sample level 3
RAYTRACING SECTION, move all the sliders up to 10 except the shadow trace depth attribute
FINAL GATHER SECTION, check final gather, final gather rays 500
IMAGE BASED LIGHTING SECTION, click create, if you do not have an HDRI map, E-Mail me at and I will send you one, now over in your attribute editor for your HDRI map, apply these settings:

Make sure the mapping is on angular, and that you find where you saved your HDRI map

click for larger version


Optional DoF


for DoF you're going to need an extra screw-driver, a bit further away from this one. And perhaps a different color handle. I chose a blue-ish purple color

Ok, once you've duplicated your screwdriver and moved/modified it, select the screwdriver you want your camera to be focused on and go to display>heads up display>object details. Now on your new HUD, find it's distance from the camera and either write it down in note pad and copy it, or remember it. Now select the ground plane, and hit the right arrow key until you come upon the perspective camera (perspshape) scroll down to the mental ray tab on it, and click the little box by the attribute "Lens shader" scroll down and find the lenses in the pop up, and select "physical_lense" now on the attribute "plane" type the number the distance of the camera is, and put a - infront of it, (this will work in most cases, if not, put a +) now render!

click for larger version

Hope you had fun!
Some errors happend and two images wouldn't show up, I don't know if this link will work but to see the tutorial in it's origonal state go to And also visit my dA


Sep 06, 2009
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very tricky but amazing

Sep 07, 2009
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good and nice work

Dec 02, 2009
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I would have probably used NURBs for the handle. I always try to stay way from booleans with polys.

View Nessie Black's profile
Dec 03, 2009
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IT WORKED, i'm a beginner in MAYA, simple and neat work, thanks a lot, :)

View sarants sarants's profile
Jan 08, 2010
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i am like ths full view model , i am 7 year cheractor modler in chennai

Jan 21, 2010
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thanx for very nicely explained tutorial

Feb 28, 2010
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I think this tutorial is bad for several reasons. Worst of all is that it works. It teaches very bad habits to users. Especially the boolean operation on polygons is a bit misleading, i mean fine it happens to work here*. But seriously doing the exact same thing without a boolean is less work and creates a far superior model.

See its this kind of small things that can push peoples learning experiences back by months because they have now learned a approach which will come and bite their ass and they wont know until its too late.

It makes sense, it works... but doesn't really in the long run. See its a surefire way of killing the interpolation of a TON of things you will need to rely on later in the game. Once you realize this you've wasted a lot of time.

Other complaint: its mislabeled, Readership Level, should be Beginner

* the trick is knowing when the boolean works tough

View Prabha007's profile
Mar 31, 2010
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Itz Amazing...

Apr 08, 2010
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im just 12 and i am using this software for 4 months and and thanks, this tutorial really helped me

View 0ktane's profile
May 24, 2010
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Very easy and fun tutorial I thought. The revolving of the 8 extended spheres I thought would be difficult... but when u make 1, duplicate, revolve 180...grp and duplicate again, revolve 90, duplicate, then another 45...very easy when you think about it. :) Anyways, I did this, and bumped up the rendering some more, and when my friends look at the pic, they wonder where I got the purple and pink screwdrivers from. :)

View divya tanwar's profile
Aug 20, 2010
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its good work

View ShadowDatsas's profile
Sep 23, 2010
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WHY WHY WHY. I don't know how to render. Well, I have Maya 2011. The options/settings are kinda different. But: When I assign the dgs_material with your settings, the object turns black. I don't goddamnit. I just don't know how to f***ing render... I've done many different aproaches but still the objects are black, there is no lighting etc... I don't know what to do anymore. I have given up on this program twice because I couldn't render.
If anyone can help me, please contact ...

Dec 22, 2010
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suprb one

Dec 06, 2011
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i had a few issues. doesnt look like anyone is responding to these comments on here tho:
1|) when adding the 2nd screw driver I am unable to change its handle color only. changing the color changes the color of all handles. same for the shafts also.
2) is there a way to batch render to psd (photoshop) that doesnt have the white background? i can go into each file and remove the white but that seems like wasted time.
3) only a comment but seems like the run and gun sytle of this tut made it very easy but I would like to have learned about setting exact sizes and loctations.

at any rate, an amazing tutorial and I learned so much.

Feb 08, 2011
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help :'(

Mar 11, 2011
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well! amazing........

Apr 13, 2011
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hey! im a real noob in maya just got it and i dont know how to selest two lines :)

Aug 29, 2011
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dude im using maya 2012 and i cant find the dgs material. i follow the instruction but its not there. please help!

View Sldappu's profile
Sep 04, 2011
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Exactly what Joojaa said over a year ago. Its my first time on Maya, only halfway through the tutorial, and even I can tell that there are some bad habits here. It should be about design intent and accuracy.
Basic stuff that might help others:
Use the align tool to get the shaft and the handle lined up.
F8 is to select whole bodies.
F9 is to toggle node mode.
When using the 4 viewports, spacebar will maximize the view you are using, so you don't have to do keyhole surgery.

*edit Am I missing something here? "Now create an ambient light, with no intensity, make it cast shadows, then go to render globals Select mental ray in th............"

View raghu14's profile
Apr 16, 2014
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i like this, but i hv some prob regurding boolean and render globals.
i didn't get the render globals window. can anyone help me out.
i m using maya 2013.

View miladhatam 's profile
May 28, 2014
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@raghu14 : run below line code ( in blank below left of the time slider )to see MR render global in Attribute Editor :

select -r mentalrayGlobals ;

BTW this tutorial is for Maya 6.0 and you can see you render global easily by clicking on Render Settings icon or run this code :


I remember when i was a noob i read this and enjoyed a lot that moment .

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