Maya to a Looking Glass

Maya SDK

This thread will document my dev notes and discussion about our Maya to Looking Glass pipeline.

Have a look at this flashy T-Rex rendered this morning using the Maya native renderer and running in the Looking Glass:


Some important features and considerations have been built into this tool kit, including setting up the cameras in a way that ensures the main focal plane of the scene is perfectly controllable and predictable. We’re also including features that assist with depth-of-field effects to give another level of control to the artist, specifically around elements in the scene in the background and foreground.

Post processing effects will also be possible to add to renders made with Maya and other content creation software thanks to external pipeline tools that are also in the works. As far as workflow, each of the views of the supersterosopic scene needed for the Looking Glass will be treated as a separate sequence, which can be post processed and then reassembled as desired to be displayed, for instance, as a superstereoscopic group-viewable 3D movie in the Looking Glass!

Using custom renderers is also already possible, due to a customizable render command line. Here’s a piece by Ash, a 3D artist who we recently were lucky enough to cross paths with, using the Looking Glass tools together with Arnold renderer:


Coming up next: a realtime viewport working in the Looking Glass! Completing this means you could preview an animation you are working on directly in the Looking Glass as you work on it! We’ll post more about the live viewport from Maya once it is fully operational.


Public download link coming soon :slight_smile:

Hello, I can’t find any ways to play static images or videos like the renders you show. Can you advise on any opportunity I can have to pre-render material for my Looking Glass ?

Thanks !

Matt Hermans
Electric Lens Co.

Hi @Renbry!

Yes, I happen to be working on both these things. Neither the viewer or the Maya SDK is in a 100% finished state but both are useable.

Both are at the moment, still unreleased.

We are currently working on legal/licensing issues on them before releasing them. It appears some changes need to be made to the softwares before they are legally compliant and we can release them.
Please stay tuned.

Hi Dez, thanks for the reply!

It looks like I can bypass the Unity Capture code and feed it a pre-rendered texture via avpro video. Have you got any experience with that ?


Matt Hermans

Yes, but you still need the video in ‘quilt’ format, which is all the views together like this:

The tools I am working on should help a lot with that.
issues that the tools help you overcome are:

  1. setting up the cameras correctly so with all the views you still have control of what is in the main focal plane (the plane where all the camera views cross).
  2. Proper ‘film offset’ on the camers: The cameras all must be parallel.
  3. The tools manage all the rendered views from all the frames and can be used to create the quilts for you.

There are ways to do this yourself, of course. It’s just a bit of work, is all.


Hi Dez,
Yep I found that out.

Do you know if it wants a Parallel Rig or Converged type Camera rig ?
I’m synthesising the views (in Houdini/3D rendering) but I can build a horizontal array or converged type.

I’ll give them a go now.

The cameras must be parallel.
Use the horizontal film offset to create the different views.

Hmm, AVPro only seems to write into Material and we need direct access to a Texture so I’ll have to figure out the code to hack this in.

Got it working with a custom script to link the secret AVPro video into HoloPlay Capture. Works great ! Except the video is upside down; but that’s not a big deal now that I have video play back!


If you have time would you PM me the snippet you used to link the quilt movie to AVPro, that is actually on my task list for later!

FYI the Maya SDK is in a useable state, and will be released soon.
A wiki entry has been started:

This is good news to me. I can play video with quilts!
We called this format “View-Tile” in old time.
Let me check the format first from your picture.

2048x2048 for 32-Tile
512x256 for one view

Is this picture in real resolution without any scale?
How about 45-Tile? Is it the same resolution with 32-Tile?
What is the format for film? What is the film compression I should have?

It is scaled.
If you want optimum results, this would require taking into account the resolution of the Looking Glass you are using, and also each view should use the aspect ratio of that looking glass, which depending on the number of views could mean using non-square pixels.
In my opinion, the difference in quality/loss of optimization is not worth the effort to make content in this way.
It is better to just give it a little bit extra resolution, use square pixels and call it a day.

As for the settings, they can be what you want. Do you want higher quality views, or more views? Overkill everything? It is totally up to you. More views gives smoother parallax and personally would not recommend less than about 32 views.
Higher resolution views, obviously gives better results, but possibly slower performance, depending on what you are trying to do.

Based on the way the display divides up the physical pixels into views, the display itself does not have an integral number of views. The views contributed to by each row are different. There is some Gaussian-shaped softness to each view emitted, so this sets an upper limit on the perceivable view count; I submit that anything above 60 views are indistinguishable (at least on mine). So 45 view content seems pretty reasonable. Getting down to 32 views some visible artifacts emerge. In terms of the resolution of each view, again, it’s (literally) a little fuzzy. If you get too high the optical subsampling will introduce aliasing (although it’s somewhat hidden by other factors). If you get too low, the image is fuzzy. I haven’t compared enough samples to get a feeling for a sweet spot in-between those.

Are you working with Autodesk to support the Looking Glass viewport for Maya LT? As Maya LT only has limited plugin support.

We reached out to team members at Autodesk in early 2018, but ultimately they did not get involved.

If our plugin doesn’t work for your version of Maya, I can get the headers for the version of Maya you want (they are included in your installation, and I can show you how to send them to me), and with those I can support your Maya SKU. I do not plan to support older than 2011, though, just for simplicity and sanity.

Too bad Autodesk didn’t get involved. Maya LT is the “lite” version of Maya more aimed at game development as opposed to visual effects. One of the features the LT version doesn’t has compared to the standard version is 3rd party plugin support. Unless the developer has partnered with Autodesk, their plugin won’t work as far as I understand it. So I’m afraid sending headers over wouldn’t make a difference. That’s a shame because I imagine this hardware would be valuable in the modeling and animation workflow.

@roelkok Very interesting. I didn’t know plugin support was limited for Maya LT.
According to this link, you are correct:

You can load and unload only the default plug-ins in Maya LT; you cannot create or add specialty plug-ins.

Made a post on their idea forum. Hopefully it gets their attention.