EleMentalRay’s David Hackett poses the question, “Why would you use an area light?” in this look at Area Lights in the Mental Ray Rendering Process in Maya with his post Area Lights 101. One interesting note David stresses that using other lights in Maya and “turning” them into area lights is actually a deprecated process, and is no longer necessary.
Check out the article for using areal lights in Maya Mental Ray Area Lights 101 here.
David Hackett writes: This tutorial will go over the basics of the mental ray area light settings inside Maya. We’ll look at how to control the quality of the light and settings that work well for Brute Force Unified Sampling rendering seen in several places on the blog, starting here: Unified Sampling: Visually for the Artist