To create an ambient occlusion map using the Transfer Map Tool’s default settings

  1. Load your source and target meshes into a new Maya scene.
    • You can use display layers or quick select sets to separate and keep track of your source and target meshes.
    • You can use file referencing to bring high resolution geometry into your scene to be used as source meshes.
  2. Make sure that your source and target meshes are concentric. Position them on top of each other in the scene view, making sure that their centers are aligned.
  3. Select your target mesh in the scene view.
  4. Select Lighting/Shading > Transfer Maps.

    The mesh you selected is automatically loaded as a Target and all other meshes in your scene are loaded as Sources.


    By default, all meshes in your scene that are not selected as target meshes are loaded as source meshes. Hide an unused mesh to prevent it from being included as a source mesh.

  5. Click on the Ambient icon in the Output Maps section to add an ambient occlusion map.
  6. The Ambient occlusion map section appears. In the Ambient occlusion map field, enter the file name for the map (that is, the name of the texture map file as well as the location on disk where the map will be saved).
  7. Check the Use mental ray common settings option to create an ambient occlusion map using the default settings. Scroll down to the mental ray Common Output section of the Transfer Map tool. Expand the section and change the following attributes:
    • Fill texture seams.

    It is recommended that this attribute be set to a non-zero value, for example, 1 or 2. 

  8. You can also modify the following options in the Ambient occlusion map section to optimize performance and quality:
    • Occlusion Rays

    Tweak this value to improve the quality of your results. Increasing the number of occlusion rays improves quality, but reduces performance speed.

    • Occlusion Max Distance

    This option determines the maximum length of an occlusion ray. Rays longer than this value are not considered for occlusion. This option optimizes performance and is off by default.

  9. Scroll to the Connect Output Maps section to specify how the texture map you are going to create will be linked to the target mesh. To view the results of the texture map within Maya, select Connect maps to: New shader / Connect maps to: Assigned shader.
  10. Click the Bake button to bake ambient occlusion map to a low resolution object.

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