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Als
06-25-2007, 12:41 AM
Well, yes you will say what a great renderer.
Well, indeed it's really powerfull and all, but I have to say this implementation in maya is really - rubish.
Yes, it's much better then it was, but that doesn't help.
On the current project, I was staying nights trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Same setup doesn't work in different scenes, there are misterious nodes everywhere, so many errors reported, with no explanation anywhere what the error is all about.
Many respectfull people around are discusing how the hell bump works with mia shader?
Well it doesn't. Using same shader on two different object produces different results.
Huh?
Then stabillity.
Mental ray was crashing whenever he felt like it and on fresh loaded scenes it would crash or render, or crash, whatever the mood it was in.
Or lightmaps?
What the hell is that about. You need to connect the light map in order for shader to work and connect something to something but then that is still reporting error whatever you do and doing strange things. It turns from white to black to purple to cream and back.
And yes one setup just doesn't transfer from scene to scene, and the fact that rendering setup is changing by itself like some ghost is not helping either.
And what the "mi_matrix_solve: A is singular" is all about?
This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to complicated for no reason what so ever, with so many little traps on every step of the way that I just found it - useless. I guess I will need to go back to drawing board, back to high school for MR, but I have to say that they could make all of this so much easier.
Luck of information is not helping either. Why I can't figure out how to make polka dot texture work? Why I can't get checker to make any bump? And so on and so on...
Well, yeh, some people make amazing stuff with mental ray, but at waaaaaaaaaay to big cost of having no life really...
And without installing any of those great shaders people gracefully share, it would be even worse.
So please autodesk, we really need MUCH better MANUALS, MORE EXAMPLES, HOW TO's and some logic in how I suppose to build the shaders in hypershade...
And thanks to all you lovely people who share, because without you I would be not sleaping for days...
Oh, I forgot to mention sattellite engine which I need to change by typing in text file and close maya every time I need to render on different machine, and which crashes maya if "render slave dies". Horible...
This all really needs lot's of fixing. Possabilities are incredible, but oh, my, so much rubish on the way there...

End of Rant.

Thanks for listening


Als

djx
06-25-2007, 03:22 AM
Im interested to know for what reasons you have stayed using MR when it is obviously the source of much frustration. Couldnt you use a different renderer?

-- David

coccosoids
06-25-2007, 05:33 AM
Oh... I really enjoyed reading all that frustration oozing out of someone.
You are right in many ways in what you say. And I agree - mentalRay is a total creativity
killer. It's bad when you have beautiful renders coming from mentalRay only from scientists
but you have outstanding renders coming out of ordinary people done in their personal
bedroom. It's a thing of scale. Like with maya, you have so little features. It will forever
remain only a foundation for big studios to implement their proprietary tools. And I feel
pretty much that is the case with mentalRay.

lazzhar
06-25-2007, 06:49 AM
Im interested to know for what reasons you have stayed using MR when it is obviously the source of much frustration. Couldnt you use a different renderer?

-- David

Because it's free and comes installed with Maya everybody starts looking after it. It was among the first engines that have been availble for Maya as well.
Not to mention the numbers of schools and educational ressources availble that keep bullying newbies with how great and easy mental ray is http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif

Saturn
06-25-2007, 08:04 AM
Well, yes you will say what a great renderer.
Well, indeed it's really powerfull and all, but I have to say this implementation in maya is really - rubish.
Yes, it's much better then it was, but that doesn't help.
On the current project, I was staying nights trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Same setup doesn't work in different scenes, there are misterious nodes everywhere, so many errors reported, with no explanation anywhere what the error is all about.
Many respectfull people around are discusing how the hell bump works with mia shader?
Well it doesn't. Using same shader on two different object produces different results.
Huh?
Then stabillity.
Mental ray was crashing whenever he felt like it and on fresh loaded scenes it would crash or render, or crash, whatever the mood it was in.
Or lightmaps?
What the hell is that about. You need to connect the light map in order for shader to work and connect something to something but then that is still reporting error whatever you do and doing strange things. It turns from white to black to purple to cream and back.
And yes one setup just doesn't transfer from scene to scene, and the fact that rendering setup is changing by itself like some ghost is not helping either.
And what the "mi_matrix_solve: A is singular" is all about?
This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to complicated for no reason what so ever, with so many little traps on every step of the way that I just found it - useless. I guess I will need to go back to drawing board, back to high school for MR, but I have to say that they could make all of this so much easier.
Luck of information is not helping either. Why I can't figure out how to make polka dot texture work? Why I can't get checker to make any bump? And so on and so on...
Well, yeh, some people make amazing stuff with mental ray, but at waaaaaaaaaay to big cost of having no life really...
And without installing any of those great shaders people gracefully share, it would be even worse.
So please autodesk, we really need MUCH better MANUALS, MORE EXAMPLES, HOW TO's and some logic in how I suppose to build the shaders in hypershade...
And thanks to all you lovely people who share, because without you I would be not sleaping for days...
Oh, I forgot to mention sattellite engine which I need to change by typing in text file and close maya every time I need to render on different machine, and which crashes maya if "render slave dies". Horible...
This all really needs lot's of fixing. Possabilities are incredible, but oh, my, so much rubish on the way there...

End of Rant.

Thanks for listening


Als

I agree with you. The implementation of MR in maya is just rubbish.
You got a lot of frustration specially if you come from Max or even more if you come from XSI.

The fault is not MR itself it's maya. I never saw a software so complicated to do simple
thing. I mean we are in 2007 not in 1996 and you have to act like 10 years ago.

The best advice I can give is to switch to Max or XSi ( if you ask me I will switch to XSI ) and you will just start to love MR.

djx
06-25-2007, 11:43 AM
Because it's free and comes installed with Maya...
I can see how this might be a reason why someone would start looking at MR, but Als appears to be a professional artist working for a production company. I was just interesetd to know if reasons other than money were making them choose to use a renderer that they were finding to be difficult. (If its just the money - fair enough though).

Dont misunderstand me. I'm quite a fan of MR, but since I have not used anything else in recent years, I was just interested in why other people choose or dont choose it.

-- David

cpan
06-25-2007, 12:18 PM
you're overreacting for sure.
there are many maya/mentalray tutorials available today
digitaltutors - for begginer level, gnomon - a bit more advanced, etc
free online tutorials everywhere

just open your eyes, you will never learn by bitching
(with more or less arguable complains) the software :p


I never saw a software so complicated to do simple things
the simple things being...? :curious:
indentify them and they will surely be fixed in later versions.

Saturn
06-25-2007, 01:15 PM
the simple things being...? :curious:
indentify them and they will be changed in later versions.

Moving vertex/edges/polygons for instances.
Changing the same parameter value on multiple object.

GUI issues mainly. You can always do it most of time by scripting.

Myliobatidae
06-25-2007, 01:32 PM
I hear FinalRender is much easier to use...

cpan
06-25-2007, 01:59 PM
Moving vertex/edges/polygons for instances.
Changing the same parameter value on multiple object.

GUI issues mainly. You can always do it most of time by scripting.

oh, i though we were talking about mentalray...

btw use attribute spread sheet for b)

republicavfx
06-25-2007, 03:58 PM
i get frustrated with mental ray too. and this thread has made me decide to start testing out final render which ive thought about for a while.

i agree the autodesk training materials for mental ray suck. ive seen the gnomon and digital tutors materials and they are helpful but by no means comprehensive. but on the other hand the new MIA shaders and physical sky have been nice. but i find it always very slow. maybe i just need to throw more hardware at it. but one of the things looking nice about final render is how easy distributed rendering is -- wow

ive spent a lot of time learning mental ray and im not scared of code but u know its the developers responsibilty to make all the features easily accessible and well documented for the average user -- and by average user i mean - artist.

Als
06-25-2007, 08:25 PM
you're overreacting for sure.
there are many maya/mentalray tutorials available today
digitaltutors - for begginer level, gnomon - a bit more advanced, etc
free online tutorials everywhere

just open your eyes, you will never learn by bitching
(with more or less arguable complains) the software :p

the simple things being...? :curious:
indentify them and they will surely be fixed in later versions.



Well, I'm not really overreacting.

This is due that I couldn't go home to sleep because MR is doing weird stuff with render setups and becuse it was crashing for no reason.
Also because I couldn't make bump map to look any good, and because filtering texture files doesn't work in maya at any exceptable level.
I was just trying to use bump on missfastskin and mia materials, and I had to go through like 20 pages of various forums to understand what the hell is going on.
It's only bump, not astrophysics.
I'm complaining because there are other ways of doing things, and innovation and improving is something I'm expected to do on daily basis, so I expect the same from software I use, and their makers.
I don't expect maya to crash because render slave died? (and why it died at the first place)
I don't expect to stop working in maya, close the maya, type small text files in order to tell software which machines to use to render, and then reopen it. This is what I was doing 20 years ago, I hope there should be easier way of doing things. Imagine what waste of time this is if you scene takes 20 minutes to load in, etc.

I'm not new to mental ray either.
But for example the results on many of those tutorials have quite simple results, which are not really up to scratch to today demand for photorealistic images.

I'm not against learning. But I really feel stupid learning something which doesn't have any logic to it, but it's result of doing manually something which should be provided by software.

For example why I can't render particle points in software render? There is no really logic behind it, it's just luck of implementation.
Why I can't connect materials in the same way I did with maya software renderer?
No real reason, just luck of implementation.
Or why I need to define how many polygons I need to have in nurbs surface in order to look smooth. I just need it to look the same as it looks in the view window.

Also I'm talking about a bit effort needs to be put toward the user friendliness of the software, and with maya MR needs a LOT of effort to be put in there.

Good example is mia material which clearly made a mark as a great tool and many people want to use it, since it's promissing quick result with less hasle.

But why you need to create 6 nodes and spend 10 minutes connecting them in order to get bump with mia material?

Or how I need to connect polka dots as a texture? Where I'm suposed to find this out?
This should be really simple, but clearly it's not.

And what is that singular error, still no one replied to it?

Or why they didn't provide the library of those materials which are in the documentation for mia material, even better scenes which are in the examples...

I just need good tree material, which I can quickly use. I doubt that my client will care less if I understand physics behind brdf or anything like that, he just needs me to spend least time on obvious and put more time in creative stuff.

I'm frustrated not by learning but of luck of information on autodesk part. I think they can do so much better job on that, which they clearly can do, just need to continue in this direction.

Or can you shad the light how to use any of the geometry shaders. I couldn't find anything about it in manuals/documentation, and very very little on internet. I want to learn about it, but I would assume that some knowledge needs to be available.
This was always part of maya. It's easy to do complicated things and very complicated to do simple things...
Yeah, bitching didn't help anyone, but I hope this thread might, by discusing those stupid issues which stops us from doing great stuff.


Als

coccosoids
06-25-2007, 09:00 PM
Yeah!! You are really MAD about making a change, eh? :)

Autodesk should do one thing, and one thing only - they should kidnap two or three people
like us, and record every little aspect of frustration generated during maya(MR) sessions...
And then they should compile all the data and remodel the maya interface and rendering
workflow to better suit us. :)

For example, if you take a look at the Vray like Render with MR you shall see how I get all kinds
of small artefacts in my renders which I have really no clue on how to fix. Now, I need to
clear up 2 or three hours of my schedjule tomorrow and investigate every little thing that
bears the slightest suspicion in regard to those notorious artefacts... How's that for
user friendlyness?

jaygarrison3d
06-25-2007, 09:07 PM
Well, I'm not really overreacting.

This was always part of maya. It's easy to do complicated things and very complicated to do simple things...

Als

I love it that you just said this. That's how i've always explained my love hate experience to people about Maya.

While we're griping :)...

I originally came from Cinema4D, and don't get me wrong, Maya/MentalRay is a much more powerful program. But a little less so with every C4D release. The irony is that I mentioned a few things about C4D to our other animators and now THEY ARE ALL MOVING TO IT. Not that they think it's better either, but it's fast, reliable, predictable, and fairly feature complete.

As of now there is no EASY way to set up render passes in MentalRay other than Normals and Z-pass. There are things I like about the render layers in Maya now. Great for some work. But If you just want elements of your image saved off in passes without having to setup another layer or scene or reshade, you're out of luck. Cinema4D, Renderman, even CARRARA! let's you just hit a ceck box and bam you have a new pass, no rendertime overhead or setup time.


http://homepage.mac.com/jaygarrison/images/c4d_passes.jpg

I'm always being told that you CAN do this in maya, but for the life of me can't figure out how :-/

royter
06-25-2007, 09:10 PM
Aleksandar,

i totaly agree with everything you say.
frustration, lowering productivity, useless workarounds are indeed the terms that define the MR implemntation in Maya; especially after the useless autodesk updates that just compicated thins.


i have been a maya-MR user for 5 years now, and i totaly understand your feeling.
i am still learning MR, but i can assure you taht if i could turn back time, i would chose V-ray.I just don't want to throw away 5 years of experience in MR.


I dont think that youre are over reacting at all.
i noted a series of frustraying elements in the implementation:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=87&t=498604

adding bump to the mia materials takes more than 2 min when it takes a click (2, 3 seconds in ANY other renderer)
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=87&t=506064
i think it's Autodesk responsibility becose it's there software after all that is the Host for the plugin.

i just can wait the day V-ray will be available for Maya.
until then, we must keep learining how to achieve simple things by leranong super-galactik-look-up-and-down-mega-filtering-complicated-fatal-singular workarounds.

cheers

coccosoids
06-25-2007, 09:15 PM
super-galactik-look-up-and-down-mega-filtering-complicated-fatal-singular workarounds.
cheers

Beatiful! :)

Htogrom
06-25-2007, 09:49 PM
I had bad experience too. Displacement rendering takes forever, and it you want to preserve all details from Zbrush, render will take more than forever.

It's worst example of brute force rendering without any optimizations.
Look at the Vray. It's very fast, very straight forward. I don't understand why is so bad to have simple solution. Why do I need to connect four nodes to get bump? Wouldn't be much simpler to use same hypershade nodes, with addition of MR specialized nodes?

I think new release of Renderman for Maya will totally beat MR. Does anyone remebers that new MR was two times faster then previus? Didn't happened. New renderman has six times faster raytracing!!! I remeber MR folks saying that MR has better raytracing engine than renderman. I used Renderman Pro server for a while, and I can say it is 100 times better than MR.

Blur1
06-25-2007, 11:23 PM
How I learned to enjoy using Maya and actually produce anything worthwhile:

1. I dumped mentalray
2. I installed 3Delight for Maya.

3Delight is extremely fast and high quality compared to mentalray in Maya. Perhaps not as fast at raytracing but once you add motion blur, forget it. It translates most things in the hypershade, and of course is able to use Renderman shaders. If you want to do AO, SSS, and other non-standard maya hypershade nodes then you have to use a Renderman shader that is completely separate from the hypershade, or insert some Renderman SL code into the hypershade tree, in a special node, and this will all get translated at render time. This is powerful but it takes a bit of time to learn the basics of Renderman SL. I was going to give up on it actually, then it started to make sense, and is, gasp, sort of fun now.
So now I have written useful little atomic-level Renderman shaders for most things I would want to do, at this early stage anyway. I'm no TD, in fact I'm more of a compositor if anything. But the time you could spend banging your head against the wall with Maya/MR could be productively used learning some basic SL.

Just to mention, although the 3Delight forums are great, I paid for support on my free license because I was having some problems getting it going, as well as having ongoing questions. The programmers are very helpful so I think that this is something even a semi-serious user should consider.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the full-blown V-Ray implementation in Maya....

Michael

ahmedtharik
06-26-2007, 08:13 AM
Wow! This thread is so much reassuring to my experiences with the mighty maya.



I came from Max and now work in Maya and MR. Yea! Maya is all powerful. But how many production houses in the world are involved in Super Photo Realistic Rendering with 3d animators qualified as half scientists? Come on, everything comes down Optimized time and simpler approaches to quality images. We do episodes for TV, Dvd movies and stories, not still renders that shows what Maya can do.

Hope Autodesk listens! OPTIMIZATION please! :scream:

doms
06-26-2007, 09:53 AM
WOW, fair play for having the guts to kick off this thread. Its like pointing out the king isn't wearing any clothes!

What would impress me even more would be if someone from Mental Ray actually read and replied to some of these posts, but as is obvious from the softwear there is no link between the programmers and the users. The only reason i use MR is because i've invested so many years in it and because there is nothing better (for Maya) that i can afford, hardly a good recommendation or a good sign for the future of Mental Images.

I'm sick of feeling like an idiot on the lamrug forums and grovelling to techies for basic info (assuming you can find it at all), i've been using Maya for 6 years and there is something fundimentally wrong if i still have loads of problems producing a decent image.

PS just lost another nights rendering thanks to Optimize Scene Size having bugs with MR materials, that just about sums up the crappyness of MR (or its implementation).

avinashlobo
06-26-2007, 12:04 PM
I've been fiddling around with mental ray since v4.5 of Maya when it was released as a separately downloadable plugin (amidst much fanfare). Those were heady days of wild-eyed fantasies brought on by a rush of new buzz-words - GI, caustics, photons, etc... All very exciting. I saw the sample renders and knew that I wanted those results! So I ploughed into the documentation (whatever there was), forums and lengthy sessions of trial and error.

Five years on, nothing much has changed, unfortunately, except for even more buzz words like SSS and Physical Sky. I'm still regularly ploughing into the documentation and forums and lengthy sessions of trial and error.

Frustrating? Like you wouldn't believe! But still we must. If you want the results, you're gonna have to grind it out. The consumer hardware is not yet at ultra-realism in real time and the software is furiously catching up with whatever there is. Of course it's primitive now. Probably gonna be for a long time to come.

Stick around though. The CG Holy Grail is gotta be here somewhere.

I detest having to delve so deeply into the technical aspects of mr, but if I want those results, I better get back to some mind-numbing reading...

Sigh.

Saturn
06-26-2007, 12:16 PM
That's again a Maya problem. a GUI issue in maya.
Maya make it difficult to use MR.

Why it's so easy to use MR in max or xsi ?

You want bump ? just click you got it.
You want elliptical filtering ? just click you got it.
You want different frame buffer ? just click you got it.
You want to render hundred millions poly ? just click you go it.


A guy from autodesk should answer more than a guy from MI.

Htogrom
06-26-2007, 01:33 PM
That's why most of digital artists choose to use Max and Vray instead of Maya/MR. It's cheap, it's fast and it's easy.
If Alias thinks to ignore that part of the market, they will loose everyhing. I don't want to work in software where I always need to worry about isues. Artists like to have the tool in their blood streams, so they don't have to think about the tool. That's impossible with MR.

jude3d
06-26-2007, 01:46 PM
maya is pretty special node based core so it's not really easy to deal with other programs and especially renderers, like VRAY, MR, renderman, look at the time they need to create maya version plugins for a renderer. But mental ray is a old school kind of engine. at the time when I started to work on cgi there was no raytracing at all, no GI, etc... mental ray came and involved through the time but it's a kind of render for artist and technical director, it's not a easy to use renderer but this is also a powerfull one. the more control you have on parameters on the core itself and shaders the more you could achieve exactly what you expected.
Mental ray is like renderman, a very hard to use render when you want to enter into things, but offer the best control and result for many situation in production.
Everybody dream of a one button render but this kind of things is possible only with physical render like in real life, we don't need to think of all the phenomena happend in real life but to recreate artificial world it need.
I really like mental ray and in maya it's pretty good, of course it's better in xsi than a native render engine but it need a lot of work to undesrtand the phylosophie of the engine itself and how it's works. I know it's pretty kind of scientific or technical things but render is not only an artistic thing but also technical and could be frustrating.
I don't find MR is particulary rubish on maya, I worked a lot with on many things in production and it was really cool, the connection between maya and mel and mR allows many things.
I like the way final render or vray comes with easier way to set up rendering but those renderer are really limited when ou want very specific controls on each aspect of our rendering or if you want specific shader many times you couldn't get the right result. This is why big studio work with renderman or mental ray.

Many people speak about renderman as a killer for mental ray in maya but renderman is not really well implemented yet and need a lot more work for many things. For sure now renderman is really great in raytracing and really fast but need a lot of technical and coding knowledge to get the right result. Rfm 2.0 will be better than 1 but it's more difficult for untechnical artist to get same possibility wich are available in maya 8.5 with mental ray ( utility, shaders and tool are really complete). sure mental ray could be slow but there are many way to fix that with controls, For me the only limitation of MR come with hig rez textures, samples, high polygon and some crashing in big scene.

to conclude give it a try to get deeply into rendering if you want to use well mental ray or renderman kind of render, or If you want a good rendering without effort try more Vray, FR or maxwell but the rendering possibilities are quickly limited. But those render engine cover most of what a basic cgi artist need. And don't forget cgi is all about learning all the time, so don't be afraid to learn, at the time I begand cg it was any tutorial to help us to learn, we needed to learn on the fly and believe me it was a lot more frutrasting. Now the tool allow us many things.

coccosoids
06-26-2007, 01:49 PM
First of all Alias is no more... ;)
Now max and maya are developed by the same company: Autodesk...
So it's a win/win situation...
Maya has been relying on the animation/proprietary tools implementation sector... So I don't
really think it has a real competitor on those segments... However, these days I hear more
and more about people switching to packages like XSI for example, which tends to issue
quite a fight when it comes to animation... So, if XSI and alike keep on innovating then
autodesk will begin to lose market share. Let's wait and see if Maya 9 brings along the
promise of a bright future - if not, you may all begin to download trial versions of .... :)

And one last mention: True professionals don't (won't ever) complain about this or that
feature poorly implemented because they have their OWN software/tools that work in
conjuction and improve on the whole maya experience. And believe it or not, this tools
work as expected because they're written inhouse for them - by them.

Als
06-26-2007, 02:43 PM
Well,
I have a new one for today.
I've made nice fur on a sphere, customised it and all. Then import this into main scene, and it doesn't render. Well, there must be something I'm doing wrong there, but what is it?
Why it's so strange that I expect this to work straight away?
Anyway I'd be glad if someone can shad a ligth on this...

Thanks


Als

Htogrom
06-26-2007, 04:24 PM
I know Alias is no more. I'm using Maya from version 5 and in MR very few things changed, so I didn't want someone to think I'm blaming just Autodesk.

inguatu
06-26-2007, 04:33 PM
I know Alias is no more. I'm using Maya from version 5 and in MR very few things changed, so I didn't want someone to think I'm blaming just Autodesk.

quite a bit has changed from version 5 and 8.5 with regards to MR. You may want to try reading up... also try looking at the wealth of shaders people have been providing free of charge on the interweb

inguatu
06-26-2007, 04:38 PM
That's why most of digital artists choose to use Max and Vray instead of Maya/MR. It's cheap, it's fast and it's easy.
If Alias thinks to ignore that part of the market, they will loose everyhing. I don't want to work in software where I always need to worry about isues. Artists like to have the tool in their blood streams, so they don't have to think about the tool. That's impossible with MR.

Do you have hard facts, percentages or demigraphics on all digital artists around the world? How did you come up with "MOST digital artists choose to use Max and Vray..."? Please don't skew this thread to suit your argument. Based on your responses, it seems aparent you hate Mental Ray so you'll come up with anything to solidify your argument.

Also, please don't speak for all artists who woudl supposidly like to have tools implanted in them. These are all just tools. Use what works for the job. Never let one app blind you into not realizing there are other ones out there just as capable if you put some time into learning how to use them. There are a lot of people using Mental Ray and Maya, whether they be in large studios with the support of TDs and programmers helping them, smaller boutiques or even freelancers.

Als
06-26-2007, 06:55 PM
to conclude give it a try to get deeply into rendering if you want to use well mental ray or renderman kind of render, or If you want a good rendering without effort try more Vray, FR or maxwell but the rendering possibilities are quickly limited. But those render engine cover most of what a basic cgi artist need. And don't forget cgi is all about learning all the time, so don't be afraid to learn, at the time I begand cg it was any tutorial to help us to learn, we needed to learn on the fly and believe me it was a lot more frutrasting. Now the tool allow us many things.

I think I will probably go for Vray at some point. When it gets available that is. And for very little testing I've done on it, it is one button rendering. I might be wrong, but I guess I wouldn't know until I try to work with it in production.
But I'm not against learning. I have to learn ALL the time anyway, because I was one man band most of the time anyway, and I have to, and it is sort of learning on the fly.
I agree that mental ray is amazing and very powerfull renderer.
But my point is that they should really take seriously the complaints about essential simple basic things, and act on it, so that I don't need phd degree in monte carlo raytracing etc.
when all I wanted to do is to use bump map with mia material and miss fast skin. That's really all. And the fact is that maya has the worst file filtering I've ever seen. And it's just switching from mipmap to quadratic and so on, but none of this work good at all. And yeah, I might be stupid, since I missing something, but my point is that for such a BASIC thing I want to be stupid. I don't want to spend hours trying to figure out which filtering to use in order to get decent quality. If I need extra amazing quality - yeah, that's ok.
But just for basic one, please, it should work by DEFAULT.
And secondly this bug of MR not saving your setup is QUITE SERIOUS BUG, and for the life of me, I can't understand how they could realease it without noticing it, or finding a little bit important to fix it before release.


Als

Als
06-26-2007, 08:44 PM
Well here it goes.
Anyone who doesn't agree please solve this one:
PHEN 0.3 warn 052017: mi_matrix_solve: A is singular
PHEN 2.1 fatal 051500: interrupted by exception code 0xc000000000000000005 (access violation)
PAR 0.0 fatal 021512: SLAVE 2 DIED


Well, that's it...


Als

jaygarrison3d
06-26-2007, 10:53 PM
Well,
I have a new one for today.
I've made nice fur on a sphere, customised it and all. Then import this into main scene, and it doesn't render. Well, there must be something I'm doing wrong there, but what is it?
Why it's so strange that I expect this to work straight away?
Anyway I'd be glad if someone can shad a ligth on this...

Thanks
Als

I think I can help. I just went through this. Check the render stats on your fur. I was working on a character and for somereason when I imported the character it would sometimes toggle off "primary visibility" in the fur descriptions for no reason :(

floze
06-27-2007, 01:49 PM
I found it funny how everyone's bitching about their tools. If you cant get on with it, stop the hell using it and switch to whatever suits your requirements.

@Als: the bump issue has been addressed several times in this forums. I proclaim it the No.3 most frequently asked question here. The texture filtering works pretty decent since maya 7.0, dont know what you're missing.
The render settings bug can be fixed either manually (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=87&t=464238) or by installing the latest maya service pack.

Also, if you read the output messages carefully:


PHEN 0.3 warn 052017: mi_matrix_solve: A is singular
PHEN 2.1 fatal 051500: interrupted by exception code 0xc000000000000000005 (access violation)
PAR 0.0 fatal 021512: SLAVE 2 DIED

..you'll notice it's a warning, not an error. The access violation might be caused by something completely different. I just rendered out thousands of frames with the misss on tens of thousands of geometry instances, without any major problems.

@Saturn: It's a piece of cake to put elliptical filtering into a phenomenon and have it 'one click' ready. Also, there's tons of frame buffer solutions, check the beta shader section on lamrug and have a peak on what's going to be released soon. These are even open source; besides there is puppet's and ctrl_studio's stuff. If you want it the simple way: why dont you stick with the original maya material shaders, they always had support for render passes.

@royterr: Same goes for you. In your 'Dear Autodesk' thread you're mostly complaining about stuff that has not been developed by Autodesk itself, instead it's 3rd party or community tools - why should and how could Autodesk ever care about that. And: noone needs to use mib_texture_vector, mib_texture_remap or whatsoever, why do you think its 'the right way' to use it, instead of the native maya nodes?

@doms: The 'Optimize Scene Size' tool has to be used with care any time. Every animator would surely confirm that. And that's why a warning pops up each time you use it.

@Spellbound and everyone else: Artists like to have the tool in their blood streams, so they don't have to think about the tool. That's impossible with MR.
The opposite is true. Once you have an understanding of how mental ray actually works, you do have it in your veins. With the little side effect that you can use and port this knowledge to any other renderer.

Stop blaming others if you cant get decent images out of your renderer. Some guys want to paint in oil but dont know hell about how it's done, so the best thing that comes to their mind is to blame the brush and the canvas manufacturer. Hell I'm pissed by this attitude. Dont get me wrong, I ain't one of the grail keepers and I dont say mental ray or maya is the nonplusultra. And of course I do want critics to be spoken out. But sometimes I just cant stand it anymore. Rant over.

Saturn
06-27-2007, 02:52 PM
@Saturn: It's a piece of cake to put elliptical filtering into a phenomenon and have it 'one click' ready. Also, there's tons of frame buffer solutions, check the beta shader section on lamrug and have a peak on what's going to be released soon. These are even open source; besides there is puppet's and ctrl_studio's stuff. If you want it the simple way: why dont you stick with the original maya material shaders, they always had support for render passes.



That what I said it's GUI issues. Theses thing should defacto be in standard.
I can do it with no problem but that's not the case of every one working with me. I am writting shaders myself but nothing stop me to make something easy to use. You have to realise that in a team unfortunetly nobody got the same level of expertise. You have to deal with that to keep consistency between shots.

Plus when you leave a company, you have to start again to rebuild phenomenon because by contract you can't keep what you did.

I am following with interest what's going on in lamrug beta section. To test theses shaders I had to make all spdl for Xsi. That's something I accept to do when you are in a beta stage but not when the product is supposed to be finish. MR for maya should add Beta in his name.

royter
06-27-2007, 03:58 PM
@royterr: Same goes for you. In your 'Dear Autodesk' thread you're mostly complaining about stuff that has not been developed by Autodesk itself, instead it's 3rd party or community tools - why should and how could Autodesk ever care about that. And: noone needs to use mib_texture_vector, mib_texture_remap or whatsoever, why do you think its 'the right way' to use it, instead of the native maya nodes?



i'll give a very simple exemple of why Autodesk should worry about SOME 3rd party tools:
1-in MR it is impossible to use uv linking with a layered shader
2-since the maya layered shader doesn't work properly with Mr, most artists i know work with th mix8layer shader provided by a 3rd party. But guess what? uv linking doesn't work with the mix8layer.

bump map should be available in a single button, not only for the mia_material but for all Mr.shaders, end of story!

Believe it or not, MR does lower your productivity when compared to other render engines.
the implementation of MR should be improved once and for all. Instead of introducing uncessary updates, autodesk should concentrate on the existing problems.There is something called "ergonomics" when it comes to software engeneering:

Autodesk should maximize the efficiency,productivity and quality of their uers'work by reducing user fatigue and discomfort. They should think twice before coming with new updates by thinking about how they are going to react with already existing features and consider revisiting the whole architecture of the MR implementation in Maya.

Koogle
06-27-2007, 04:22 PM
Why is Mental ray so rubish?

yes... and why is MR <=> Maya intergration rubbish aswel.. and its not like its impossible(perhaps too much to ask for), but we can easily see it done better in areas with both XSI and 3DSmax

Als
06-27-2007, 06:12 PM
I think I can help. I just went through this. Check the render stats on your fur. I was working on a character and for somereason when I imported the character it would sometimes toggle off "primary visibility" in the fur descriptions for no reason :(


Thanks. I checked this, it's not that, but also when I just try to render it, it just hangs maya for ever...
I will look into this and come to the bottom of it, but the problem is that this SHOULD work.
It makes no sense that it doesn't.


Als

Als
06-27-2007, 06:44 PM
I found it funny how everyone's bitching about their tools. If you cant get on with it, stop the hell using it and switch to whatever suits your requirements.


Florian,
it's your fault that I want to learn mental ray.
And it's not the point about me not wanting to learn MR, or anything like that.
It's the way the GUI is build inside maya to use MR. I think it could be sooooooo much easier. And I think that it should be easy to use simple stuff. So basic things SHOULD work out of the box. Once you step into the complicated demanding stuff and high end result it's fine to have problems and that it takes more effort, but before that, it should really be simple to do basic stuff.
Also I don't have much of choice really. I already spent a bit of time learning MR, so I don't want to though that away, and I'm really happy with the quality MR can produce.
Also I asked to be able to render sprite particles in software render since maya v1.0 and this is still not possible. Why? At least point particles, or something...
I honestly see no excuse for this and similar issues like that.
(This is why we had to buy RFM)



@Als: the bump issue has been addressed several times in this forums. I proclaim it the No.3 most frequently asked question here. The texture filtering works pretty decent since maya 7.0, dont know what you're missing.


Well, this is just proving my point. This SHOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE at all.
I still don't see this issue resolved at all, please point me to the thread were it is.
Well, I still have equaly tons of artifacts in filtering, so clearly I'm missing something.
As I said I don't know what I'm missing...



The render settings bug can be fixed either manually (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=87&t=464238) or by installing the latest maya service pack.


Installing new service pack is something very difficult to do during the project I was working on. But most certainly I will do as soon as I can.





Also, if you read the output messages carefully:

..you'll notice it's a warning, not an error. The access violation might be caused by something completely different. I just rendered out thousands of frames with the misss on tens of thousands of geometry instances, without any major problems.


It is a warning only, but it slows renderer time so badly...
And yes, this is because you are the master, and I'm not. But I wouldn't mind not being able to do that, and this is not why I'm complaining. I'm complaining that I can't render fur after I import it into another scene. And it's basic, not moving, created on basic nurbs sphere. But still doesn't work!


And: noone needs to use mib_texture_vector, mib_texture_remap or whatsoever, why do you think its 'the right way' to use it, instead of the native maya nodes?


Because this is what we see other people use. So there must be a reason for it. If layer shader doesn't work, clearly I have to look for the alternative. My point is that layer shader MUST WORK. If it did I would not complain.



Stop blaming others if you cant get decent images out of your renderer.


I agree about this. But I'm not complaining about result nor blaming MR for being bad renderer. I'm complaining about user interface and making thigs way complicated when they shouldn't be. Simple things should be simple to do.
Other software provides this, so why not Maya as well. I work on maya since before it existed, so I don't feel too great about switching to something else, because problem is not there. Problem is that maya renderer is lacking the features other renderers have, and it's really now seriously behind anything out there. MR is the only alternative which comes with maya, because it comes with extra free licenses.
I would gladly buy 20 licenses of renderman or something else, but my boss will not.
I was saying praises for mental ray since version 5, but I was saying that the only problem is WORKFLOW, and that it takes too long time to do simple things. I don't think that this is still not the case, and this is reason for my frustration.


Some guys want to paint in oil but dont know hell about how it's done, so the best thing that comes to their mind is to blame the brush and the canvas manufacturer. Hell I'm pissed by this attitude. Dont get me wrong, I ain't one of the grail keepers and I dont say mental ray or maya is the nonplusultra. And of course I do want critics to be spoken out. But sometimes I just cant stand it anymore. Rant over.

I work in the industry since 91 and I'm not really pissed of with the brush. But then again if you try to paint and all the hair from the brush falls off, you not gonna paint much, would you?

BTW I like you work so much man! :thumbsup:


Als

dagon1978
06-27-2007, 06:50 PM
Believe it or not, MR does lower your productivity when compared to other render engines.
the implementation of MR should be improved once and for all. Instead of introducing uncessary updates, autodesk should concentrate on the existing problems.There is something called "ergonomics" when it comes to software engeneering:

Autodesk should maximize the efficiency,productivity and quality of their uers'work by reducing user fatigue and discomfort. They should think twice before coming with new updates by thinking about how they are going to react with already existing features and consider revisiting the whole architecture of the MR implementation in Maya.



STOP USING IT!
please man, S T O P USING IT!!

my god how many stupid words in a single thread

royter
06-27-2007, 07:10 PM
Stop using what?

if u define "constructive critic" as "stupid words" then you'r not smart enough to value user feedback and certainly not qualified to reply to my comments.


Saying that "MR is so awsome and great and users criticising it are just stupid" you sound like an autodesk employee from the marketing department.


pointing out a certain list of problems and "wish list" is the only way to improve the software and to compete with others.

dagon1978
06-27-2007, 07:22 PM
Stop using what?

if u define "constructive critic" as "stupid words" then you'r not smart enough to value user feedback and certainly not qualified to reply to my comments.


Saying that "MR is so awsome and great and users criticising it are just stupid" you sound like an autodesk employee from the marketing department.


pointing out a certain list of problems and "wish list" is the only way to improve the software and to compete with others.

what i dont like is not the criticism, but the sense of self-destruction

if you are frustrated by your software, why do you still use it?? use another one! there are plenty of 3D packages right now and plenty of renderers (for maya and not)
i can't really understand your problem

there are many different way to give feedback, this thread is not a feedback thread, is a whining

royter
06-27-2007, 07:35 PM
it's not about self destruction at all.
it's about self-criticism and it's the only way to evolve.I already posted my comments to autodesk, but no reply.


i don't consider at all people in this thread whining. I can really identify to users like Als, we all want a better workflow. What's so satanic about a single click bump activation, is it a sin?

I am considering switching to other renderers, but i am waiting for V-ray for Maya. But even if switch, i really want to continue learning Mr, i don't want to throw away years of experience, and i do believe that autodesk can do way better than that.

dagon1978
06-27-2007, 07:44 PM
it's not about self destruction at all.
it's about self-criticism and it's the only way to evolve.I already posted my comments to autodesk, but no reply.


i don't consider at all people in this thread whining. I can really identify to users like Als, we all want a better workflow. What's so satanic about a single click bump activation, is it a sin?

I am considering switching to other renderers, but i am waiting for V-ray for Maya. But even if switch, i really want to continue learning Mr, i don't want to throw away years of experience, and i do believe that autodesk can do way better than that.

vray for maya now works well, i'm using it you can switch without problem

what's satanic about single click bump? nothing, but you can get it in mray4maya, use the maya shaders!! you dont like to use maya shader? learn how to make phenomana! you dont like to script? make a bump shader 1 TIME and then import it to your scene how many time you want! and the bump in the mia_material is a matter of 2 clicks (oh my god how many clicks!) really i can't understand 95% of the criticisms in this thread

royter
06-27-2007, 08:12 PM
it's about making things simpler and more FLUID that's all.
the question is not if tou can do it yes or not?
the question is : at what expense did you achieve it?

the bump issue was just one of may exemples.

dagon1978
06-27-2007, 08:19 PM
it's about making things simpler and more FLUID that's all.
the question is not if tou can do it yes or not?
the question is : at what expense did you achieve it?

the bump issue was just one of may exemples.

compile a list of examples like this and send it to autodesk, or just open a thread in the Area forum with a list of this kind of problems, this is what i could think as a good feedback

we can also start here to list these problems and then send it together, this is constructive for my point of view

royter
06-27-2007, 08:24 PM
i'm in to it.
i will start gathering my notes.

Als
06-27-2007, 09:22 PM
To Dagon:
So if MR is so great, why use Vray yourself? :)
By same logic, if this thread upsets you so much, read another thread... :rolleyes:
I never wanted to use MR, but after your vray vs mray thread, I had to learn it... :scream: :)
Secondly I'm using maya since version 1 and until today I still haven't seen implemented so many things, even though I requested them OVER AND OVER AGAIN...
I do apologize for my harsh words, but I think that we needed a thread like this in order to stop people feeling stupid because they dont know how to do things and feel guilty when they ask obvious questions, which shouldn't be issues at all.

Also this kind of claims how very easy is to write phenomena etc. is a bit ignorant.
Your images on the vray vs mray are superb, and not everyone is great and talented as much, which is fair enough.
Even more so, I don't want to use maya shader if there is so much better result I could achive with mia material.
Read your own threads, which is example for many people including me, so why is to crazy that we want to follow someone who is doing great?
I used T2 with maya 5, and l-Glass, and those shaders are amazing. In order to compete I have to use the best I can, and learn as much as I can. But there is little point on spending time trying to learn something which will be obsolete very soon.

I work in broadcast, so I have really tight deadlines, not much time to write shaders...

I had similar reactions when I opened some issues and questions about other renderer.

You know everything about MR, and you are perfectly happy with it, so why you read this forums at all?

Well, is there any other great MR user who I didn't manage to make my enemy in this thread? :shrug:

Please try to understand frustration of pure mortals like me. I want to learn MR as much as I can. But they should try to make our life easier, as they already did in new version of maya, but I'm just frustrated that such a silly things are pulling the breaks on my use of MR.




Als

dagon1978
06-27-2007, 11:09 PM
To Dagon:
So if MR is so great, why use Vray yourself? :)
By same logic, if this thread upsets you so much, read another thread... :rolleyes:
I never wanted to use MR, but after your vray vs mray thread, I had to learn it... :scream: :)
Secondly I'm using maya since version 1 and until today I still haven't seen implemented so many things, even though I requested them OVER AND OVER AGAIN...
I do apologize for my harsh words, but I think that we needed a thread like this in order to stop people feeling stupid because they dont know how to do things and feel guilty when they ask obvious questions, which shouldn't be issues at all.

Also this kind of claims how very easy is to write phenomena etc. is a bit ignorant.
Your images on the vray vs mray are superb, and not everyone is great and talented as much, which is fair enough.
Even more so, I don't want to use maya shader if there is so much better result I could achive with mia material.
Read your own threads, which is example for many people including me, so why is to crazy that we want to follow someone who is doing great?
I used T2 with maya 5, and l-Glass, and those shaders are amazing. In order to compete I have to use the best I can, and learn as much as I can. But there is little point on spending time trying to learn something which will be obsolete very soon.

I work in broadcast, so I have really tight deadlines, not much time to write shaders...

I had similar reactions when I opened some issues and questions about other renderer.

You know everything about MR, and you are perfectly happy with it, so why you read this forums at all?

Well, is there any other great MR user who I didn't manage to make my enemy in this thread? :shrug:

Please try to understand frustration of pure mortals like me. I want to learn MR as much as I can. But they should try to make our life easier, as they already did in new version of maya, but I'm just frustrated that such a silly things are pulling the breaks on my use of MR.




Als

ok, maybe i was a bit too hard, but it's the start point i dont like in this thread
we have to be constructive to grow up
if you start a thread asking a better support for mray4maya, a better UI, more powerful and useful features, an easier workflow for some of the features, specifying problems and possible solutions i'm with you, really!

if you start with "mray is lowering your productivity" or something like this i couldn't agree
because if i was thinking this i'll never use mray, anymore!
instead i think that mray it's improving my productivity in many fields, and where i think i could use something better, i use it! (this is your vray example ;) but it's not the only one)

keep in mind we are talking about tools, use what you (you, not others) think it's the best for your needs

with mray you are a bit forced to understand what you're doing to make it work well, yeah it's hard, but, for my point of view, it's also much more satisfactory then just do some random click and then render (copying a setup from a russian user, for example)

ciau ;)

mat

Emil3d
06-27-2007, 11:27 PM
I found it funny how everyone's bitching about their tools. I think it is OK for people to bitch about their tools. It simply shows how those people feel about (in this case) using Mental Ray in Maya. I found this informative. As a user Iím interested to hear how others feel about a common tool. Also if I were a company releasing a commercial product I would care a lot how people feel about using my product and will take great efforts to measure the user experience and deliver the demand.

I know it is nice and beautiful to be polite and with good manners, and I would highly recommend that this is how everybody should start reporting their requests to Autodesk (I have used Report a Problem and Suggest a Feature menus from the Mayaís Help menu a lot and while a lot of things have been improved over the time, overall the current state with Mental Ray experience in Maya is way below my expectations. I donít think people expressing themselves in a stronger way in forums like this can hurt; in fact I believe this is helpful in rallying user demand. This might be a better user action than patiently and politely waiting for the day when you can feel that your tool is the best possible solution for your needs.

And regarding whatís funny, in these forums, I find funny things like this scenerio: a growing group of poor souls who canít solve a Mental Ray problem in Maya, after sharing their desperate attempts in a several pages thread, start to spill over their frustration cursing Mental ray until a hero user with a great power and capability steps in and shows to the mortal crowd that the problem can be actually solved and thus proving beyond doubt how powerful and capable Mental Ray is. It is great that we are fortunate to have such heroes here like you Floze helping others to make it and Iím very grateful for this, but what I find funny is when sometimes threads like this end with the finger pointing conclusion or question ďSo, was it Mental Ray or the user?Ē suggesting that incapable Mental Ray users should blame themselves for their failure.

Iím using this example as an opportunity to say that Mental Ray by itself as any other software solutions canít do anything. It is just a bunch of dumb magnetic particles on the hard drive and in order to do anything smarter than that it needs a user. This means that its true capability and usefulness should be measured and are equal not to what 1, 2, or a bunch of users can do with it but what its user base as a whole is capable of doing with it.

I understand that historically Mental Ray was geared towards narrow specialists and with such base it was very good rendering solution used in larger studios where it probably still is, but its integrations in various 3D packages shows the need for it from a larger and ever changing user base which also changes the dynamics of its intended market and this should be addressed properly. A typical Mental Ray user now does much more than spending all of his/her time with Mental Ray.

Iím writing this message because I want better Mental Ray in Maya. Better means more users should be able to get to its power without the negative feelings. I think these feelings are caused by the realization that the extra time spend is not because Mental Ray is more complex and capable solution but because it is poorly implemented. I also believe that MR is perfectly position to satisfy these needs provided they seriously address these issues. It is much harder to make a simple to use renderer more capable than the other way around and this doesnít need to come at the expense of sacrificing functionality.

Htogrom
06-27-2007, 11:50 PM
Maybe users are frustrated because Mental Ray documentation sucks. It really sucks!

jude3d
06-27-2007, 11:52 PM
CGI is definetly a frustrating job, sometime you don't have the deadline to achieve the result you want, sometimes it's about the software and so on...every part of cg could be frustrating because of the hard work they need. when I'm look at the pixar animation for exemple, I'm frustrated a lot because I can't do so beautyfull things myself in animation, I'm good in rendering and not as good as I want in other part, so it's a little bit frustrating to me. But in those job you have to choose your way, you couldn't be the master in each of them. So try to focus first your learning on one tool and not much. Now I see people who know many things about 10 different rendering engine, or cg package, compositing tools, I think it's more important to learn about the logic and not especially the tool itself. So focus your learning on mental ray if you want to achieve a good result, or choose another great renderer but focus yourself, and after a lot of time of practice you should be able ti be a killer with the tool you use, and get your own tricks and method to achieve the result you need. Tools are toolseverypeople drream about the perfect tool, with custom function, but it's only possible when you could devellop your own tool by yourself, sometime I would add a lot of function inside of maya but I can't call alias and ask them the one I need, we have to deal with the software and find a way to get the best of it.

Continu to learn mental ray or switch to Rfm 2.0 wich is a great render for example, or another one, because mental ray will never be an easy to use renderer inside maya.

cpan
06-28-2007, 04:14 AM
Also I asked to be able to render sprite particles in software render since maya v1.0 and this is still not possible. Why? At least point particles, or something...
I honestly see no excuse for this and similar issues like that.
(This is why we had to buy RFM)

what's the logic making it render a lot slower (with any software renderer) when the
HW renderer can render a whole particle animation in realtime (+composition)?

if you start a thread asking a better support for mray4maya, a better UI, more powerful and useful features, an easier workflow for some of the features, specifying problems and possible solutions i'm with you, really!

+1 hehe:D
instead bitching we should make a compilation of problems (REAL problems) and
improvement suggestions, with the help of all the users here, to point the mi/ad
programmers in the right direction. That and only that will speed up the maya/mentalray
integration process in the way users (artists/technical guys) want it.

AtrusDni
06-28-2007, 04:31 AM
Mental Ray seems complicated and confusing at first, until you understand what is going on. I would highly recommend picking up "Rendering with Mental Ray". Its a book written by the Mental Ray software project leader:

http://www.amazon.com/Rendering-mental-ray%C2%AE-Handbooks/dp/3211228756/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/002-8103862-6288069?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183004692&sr=8-3

And it goes very in depth into whats going on behind the scenes.

One of the things that I experienced was all the random crap that it would spit out into the outliner window, and not knowing what it means. Actually Mental Ray is very good at reporting whats going on, you just have to know what it is telling you.

I admit that things seem very complicated, but in all honesty, the "simpler" you make things, the less control you give to the artist. This isnt to say that I haven't had the long frustrating nights of "OMG WHY DOESNT THIS CRAP WORK?". Believe me, I have, and I feel your pain. Seriously, pick up the book.

Mental Ray, along with Renderman, are some of the most powerfull renderers out there. There is a reason why this is. The more control you take out of them, the less features you'll have.

I admit though, the interface with Maya could be drastically improved. I just wish that they would scrap the maya renderer and fully integrate it into the program like XSI. Ahhhh dreams . . .

lazzhar
06-28-2007, 07:17 AM
what's the logic making it render a lot slower (with any software renderer) when the
HW renderer can render a whole particle animation in realtime (+composition)?

...

Common mate !! You know that you can't do raytracing things in hardware render. And an another time this is something that people were bitching about for years. Why we always have to render some in hardware and some in soft? It's ok if it was an option but forcing you to work this way is giving you less control on what youa re doing.

In regards to the topic, as people have already pointed out in this thread, those simple things needing an extra clicks and contecting in/out to be done. This seems costing only extra seconds or minutes but it could turn into a nightmare and cost you a huge effort and hours or days to solve it if you are debugging a rendering with a lot of other stuff you should think about. Why we have to go always through something called "Custom Entitie" (which I really have no clue what the hell it means and probably I will never want to understand why it's there) to check a "Pass Custom Alpha" so if I use a miss_fast_thingy I won't have a hole in my render when I import it in Photoshop?!

I' m sorry guys but what I find it funny is to ask someone to switch to another package when he comes complaining. This would be ok to new starter but for people who spent years in learning it wouldn't make sense. Even in case of newbies who say I will switch you's see a lot of people standing up screaming in one voice to them: It's you not the tool !
I really feel frustated when I see questions that some here like to call "most frequently asked question " still asked even if you don't hang around here for a while.

Cartesius
06-28-2007, 08:18 AM
Everything Emil3d said was pretty much right on target.

/Anders

floze
06-28-2007, 11:27 AM
[...] but what I find funny is when sometimes threads like this end with the finger pointing conclusion or question ďSo, was it Mental Ray or the user?Ē suggesting that incapable Mental Ray users should blame themselves for their failure. [...]
I know it was kind of harsh, but here we have a word that says something like: the forest resounds the same that you yell into it. Of course it's too easy to say that 'the problem sits between chair and keyboard' (and other than that it's way too nerdish imho). But sometimes it adds up to a point where you just cant take it anymore.

I understand most of the critics here, some more some less - after all I'm using this software every day and night, so much that I start thinking in nodes and attributes. The point is that most users here dont seem to know that they basically work on a level that's not per se intended by the manufacturer of the maya to mr translator. It all works very well on a basic level, but as soon as people start using custom written tools, or tools outside the box, they fall into the 'development gap' that cannot easily be covered, neither by the software provider nor by the user. It's a matter of how things work behind the curtain. Other packages might provide better or more easily accessible functionality ex factory, but they will have the same problems as soon as they give freedom to the user. Please consider this when posting in threads titled like 'mental ray is rubbish'. By ignoring this however, you're throwing way too much ignorance towards people like MasterZap, who do think outside the box and who really do not deserve this.

Offending each other in here wont help. All you can do about your frustration is hammering Autodesk to implement certain features that you're missing or that might work better in a different way. Write them emails, use the feedback forms, call them, organize demonstrations in front of their office, perform (inoffensive) guerilla missions, drag them over to our forums, sign petitions.

yann22
06-28-2007, 12:30 PM
Everything Emil3d said was pretty much right on target.

I agree :thumbsup:.

Als
06-28-2007, 01:10 PM
what's the logic making it render a lot slower (with any software renderer) when the
HW renderer can render a whole particle animation in realtime (+composition)?


Well, alpha channel for starters, then motion blur. Then, I can't have shadows on other objects, reflection from the particles in other objects, etc.
RFM does this without problems, why can't maya on it's own?
I know that Double Negative, Secret Lab, Dreamworks, etc. all have their own rendering engines for particles. Guess why is that?
Worst of all is I can't get decent alpha channel. I don't mind openning new thread about this. And sprites in general can't interact with the rest of the scene.
Compositing is more time consuming solution, because it's more complicated and takes more of my time, instead of machine time.
It also assumes that I have compositing software to do this with, which doesn't come with maya, etc.


Als

Als
06-28-2007, 01:35 PM
Other packages might provide better or more easily accessible functionality ex factory, but they will have the same problems as soon as they give freedom to the user. Please consider this when posting in threads titled like 'mental ray is rubbish'.

I do apologize for my tittle, it's not fair, and it's clearly result of frustration because of the rendering bugs, mental ray sattellites crashes, etc.
This is luck of documentation, wrong default setups (like the one with alpha channel on by default) and I don't have the alternative at the moment.

This comment from me was harsh, and a bit pointless, and not helping me really,since it might not change anything, but trust me that I asked so many things the most polite way and it was very much ignored.
I'm just frustrated by the lack of information and way how it's overly complicated to do simple things. I think GUI can help much more.
I read mental ray book, but this doesn't explain why filters don't work, why alpha channel is not on by default, etc.
I just think that software should be usable out of the box. Vray is, and that's why people make great stuff with it.
I doubt that clients appreciate how difficult was to achive your render. Most of them expect it is just button push. And I'm making pictures for clients, not for other 3D people... They don't really care how far you had to push to achive the result, they just care about what you give them on the end.
I also feel really gratefull to all the people who share their knowledge, so I again apologize if I hurt anyones feelings.


Al

adisan
06-28-2007, 03:00 PM
i hope autodesk people read this thread cause it depicts the frustration of many users.

i'm working in this field since 1992 and i've been using all the renderers alias, TDI, wavefront, autodesk had on the side of alias|wavefront products. i've started with advanced visualizer, then jumped on explore, power animator, and finally maya software. then mental ray jumped on the market and boy everybody was happy. everybody was feeling that they have xsi rendering inside maya. unfortunatelly it was not so.

i really think mental ray it's a great render engine but what puzzles me is the maya integration. sometimes i feel like it's ment to be this bad so you get a bit addicted with rendering using mental ray then they try to hook you up with the standalone version which is expensive.

however THERE IS NO PERFECT RENDER ENGINE, you have to balance the good and the bad in a render engine and decide HOW to use it. i'm doing advertising and film work on a daily basis. i know what it means to not have the time to develop shaders for a project and to have to rely on the default ones. speed and flexibility is the essence in advertising.

we rely on 3 render engines: maya software, mental ray(maya and xsi) and renderman here. each one has it's ups and downs and we've learned which one is better for a task than the other. i'm not afraid of scripting (despite the fact that in advertising if you don't have a pipeline set up properly you can easily go into a lot of problems) and i'm aware of the fact that mental ray it's not perfect. maybe that is the main reason for reading the release notes before installing a new version.

i just expect that a tool to work the same way in all the situations. it's completely stupid to have a scene that renders every now and then. i can understand that there's an issue with a scene that does not render at all but the same scene now it renders not it does not.

unfortunatelly 90% of my rendering with mental ray time is lost on fixing bugs and going around maya's poor implementation of mental ray. maya is full of bugs but mental ray implementation beats them all. i can understand this rant however this is not something that appeared overnight, it commes from years of frustration.

i never understood IPR's implementation in maya. i've used IPR in explore and it was raytracing with no problem (and that was before maya). they have'nt fixed it even after 10 years. i don't understand the ego of alias wavefront of making something completely useless as the mental ray integration in IPR, instead having the decency of making something similar with the advanced visalizer on screen rendering (not to mention XSI's render region). try using IPR with mental ray shaders and you're screwed.

it puzzles me that fact that autodesk is advertising the mental ray implementation as a high end feature when it does not work right. i believe that people from mental ray did a great job with mental ray and it's pretty hard to even guess who's the fault for this crappy implementation.

i would gladly PAY 25% MORE of the maya's license for a GOOD & STABLE mental ray implementation. i really like the renderer but the stability is killing me.

then let's say you get the standalone version. oups, you run into another issues. the mi export it's not a good one, you have to sped a lot of time in going around mi export issues. you end up re-writing the parts of the scene in notepad or vi. then you have to hire a programmer to do just that, checking mi exports and ensurring things go smoothly or writing your own export tool. and we're back to square one, cause you can't afford that.

there's one thing that people can't buy and that is TIME. why should we spend time working around maya's implementation of mental ray when everithing should go smoothly. give me a list of don't do this and that and i'm happy. but don't tell me that this feature works when it randomly does. i don't care that instead of 2 seconds it takes me 2 minutes to get the bump map working, i can script that but the "now it renders not it's not" it's simply killing me.

more that that having a support contract with autodesk dows not insure anything. i've just got tired of asking for a solution from suppport when there is none. or logging bugs that will never be solved in their database. there are even bugs that autodesk stated whey are not interested in solving.

we keep paying for updates and new gadgets for every version but i would gladly pay a bit more for a stable version. i just can't spend my time asking myself why "now it renders now it's not"! and time is something that i don't have.

dagon1978
06-28-2007, 03:07 PM
In regards to the topic, as people have already pointed out in this thread, those simple things needing an extra clicks and contecting in/out to be done. This seems costing only extra seconds or minutes but it could turn into a nightmare and cost you a huge effort and hours or days to solve it if you are debugging a rendering with a lot of other stuff you should think about. Why we have to go always through something called "Custom Entitie" (which I really have no clue what the hell it means and probably I will never want to understand why it's there) to check a "Pass Custom Alpha" so if I use a miss_fast_thingy I won't have a hole in my render when I import it in Photoshop?!


reading through the lines it seems the problem here is maya, in all its parts
read the "maya X.X wishlist" and you'll find many of these kind of questions, "why i need an extra click to do something?", "why we need an extra mel?", "why we need an extra tool?"
but, ehy, are you sure you need it?
create your personal preset (yeah, with "pass custom alpha" checked) and you never need an extra click for this
this is the cost if you wanna use something called "custom", customize it!
this is the way maya works, you can use standard easy tools (shaders) or you can customize your own tools



I' m sorry guys but what I find it funny is to ask someone to switch to another package when he comes complaining. This would be ok to new starter but for people who spent years in learning it wouldn't make sense. Even in case of newbies who say I will switch you's see a lot of people standing up screaming in one voice to them: It's you not the tool !
I really feel frustated when I see questions that some here like to call "most frequently asked question " still asked even if you don't hang around here for a while.

but why do you wanna still use a tool that doesn't cover your needs? i can't understand this
it's masochistic for my point of view

thehive
06-28-2007, 04:01 PM
jus throwin this out there, is it no way to build a 3rd party app that uses MR as a base make a UI that make sense so u can export your scenes to this "MR system" like Maxwell

lazzhar
06-28-2007, 04:06 PM
@Dagon: the way that Maya works would fit to someone who wants full control on his work with all kinds of customized things. Someone who is used to do everything on his own way, yeah this is great. But not everybody is like that. Maya is supposed to be used by people called "artists" that they don't need to care much about what's going on deep inside the engine. I personally have the habit to use Maya GUI default installation and don't save presets or preferences, I don't leave myself get used custom shortcuts or mel or whatever so I won't setup everthing again after a new fresh installation of my system.
What you have mentioned as things that people are asking wish lists are actually bugs that have been kept for no reason. This thread is just proving that a lot of old Maya users are frustrated because of those bugs, and this is not going -btw- to push them to throw years of experience in the air to start up from the scratch with another package. Most of us are generalists and we should have an average knowledge about each aspect of the program. We can't afford switching so please stop repeating this. Even if one considers switching we would face issues in every other tool we might chose. So I say we are happy with what Mental Ray is doing but we want more. I think it's fair as demand otherwise alias/autodesk should only plan making Maya useful for big companies and their specialits :)

MaNdRaK18
06-28-2007, 06:20 PM
I think whole this thread should be posted to Autodesk, hahahahhh

Myliobatidae
06-28-2007, 07:37 PM
I think everyone's complaints are valid, but I think unless they are working for a company that is forcing them to use Mray, they should simply switch to something else, there are lots of choices now, unlike before when there were none, now there is FR2, Vray, Turtle, Maxwell and RMFM, trust me cut your losses and switch, I've never looked back...

Als
06-29-2007, 12:06 AM
I think everyone's complaints are valid, but I think unless they are working for a company that is forcing them to use Mray, they should simply switch to something else, there are lots of choices now, unlike before when there were none, now there is FR2, Vray, Turtle, Maxwell and RMFM, trust me cut your losses and switch, I've never looked back...

Well,
just wondering what you switched to?
But no, it's not easy to get extra renderer.
1. Why maya doesn't have included rendering solution? It's one of the best 3D tools on the market, and the question is why it doesn't have a good renderer? All other 3D packages have native good solid renderer. Maya native renderer is old and I hope no one will raise that issue. When MR was introduced in 4.5 as included solution, I was jumping like this :bounce:

But since then, there was progress made, but sort of not really wholehartedly...
If someone who is so amazing in MR, had to use VRAY as well, that certainly is not a good sign, and there is something they have to change!
And certainly there is something they are doing right since there is so many good looking renderings out there, which we need to compete with.
Problem is I guess that all the big studios use RAT, or something else.
But I think it's fair to ask to have decent working solutions and I'm quite tired of all the limitations which were there for years. You can render this with that, but not with this etc.
It's not helpfull at all.
Is any of those alternative renderers rendering everything: paint effects, particles, fluids, etc. ?
Why is so strange to ask to have decent implementation of MR inside maya? I already see improvements in rendering fluids with MR, I see amazing shaders and great quality in render. Why is so strange to ask to be able to use it with less pain and suffering?
I also want decent system for rendering, and I don't want to buy 3rd party solution for sending rendering across the network, since those are extra expensive solution wand have various limitations. I'd like to have a choice.
There is were simple way ahead, and other companies are already delivering.

1. Library of shaders.
(look vray and modo)
Some of them are there, but please you can do even better.
One shiped with maya are really bad joke. They are materials made with explore, and they are at least 16 years old. I used those materials with TDI explore in 1991. There is so many efforts being made in this direction like maxaya, and so on, it will be about time to have one installed in maya.

2. Rendering across the network. No third party programs if I don't have to. Answering to this that many companies have one already is not really helping either.
I don't want anymore to read that "Slave died", it crashes maya and really upsets me.
Please improve that MR sattellite, since it lucks lot's of support.
BTW MR sattellite is not working on fresh install of windows, because of missing library?

3. Working IPR.
This is what we demanded since explore switch to maya, and it should be about time that we had that back...

4. All particles software render.
It would be good to have maybe some extra types as well.

5. Make renderer SOLID. Don't mind errors, but render, don't crash.

6. Automatic textures conversion. PSD images as textures?

I'm sure many already don't have this problems by switching to different solutions.
Please let me know what they are...
Since I spend only 16 years working with maya and it's predecesors, certainly it makes sense to switch...


Thanks


Als

Als
06-29-2007, 12:48 AM
reading through the lines it seems the problem here is maya, in all its parts
read the "maya X.X wishlist" and you'll find many of these kind of questions, "why i need an extra click to do something?", "why we need an extra mel?", "why we need an extra tool?"
but, ehy, are you sure you need it?
create your personal preset (yeah, with "pass custom alpha" checked) and you never need an extra click for this
this is the cost if you wanna use something called "custom", customize it!
this is the way maya works, you can use standard easy tools (shaders) or you can customize your own tools

but why do you wanna still use a tool that doesn't cover your needs? i can't understand this
it's masochistic for my point of view

When maya crashes, all the defult plugin list goes. Also most of the preferences, unless you saved them moment ago... Why I can't set all the defaults through GUI, but have to chase it through texture files?


Als

jude3d
06-29-2007, 02:51 AM
you are rigth about one point the maya native renderer is awefull and really old kind of enginebut it's why maya involved into MR few years ago. sure maya material are simple, but you have to think those people working on MR or maya or other working on old based core. Vray, modo, final render are pretty new engine they are pure raytracer it's not really easy to add new feature to an old engine than to create a engine based on new features. it was the same problem with renderman few years ago when pixar started to add a raytracing engine in parralelle of a scanlinethey need 5 version of renderman and 5 years to get a really nice and fast raytrace, and some of the basic shader of renderman came from 1989. You need to understand than materials are faked or physicaly based, the faked are always the same since 1982 torrence research about illuminance model. Those years manay physical material came to add realism, all of these materials are available for free in only one render, mental ray. So If you want to use mental ray in maya you have to create a good shader library , make a lot of test to get the best result possible, simply practice on rendering and use only the good mental ray shader you could find inside maya or on the web for free. Mental ray is a really solid render to use in maya 8.5 I don't really understand what is the main problem about it and you could have a pretty nice result with it and it's not really hard to learn. I prefer much more mental ray than final render or Vray in maya, both are really limited in material editing.
So now with the big amount of material ressource , help, forum, website about mental ray and the great tutorial how could you ask an easier way to learn mental ray in maya. Mental ray is and will be always MR, a really powerfull rendering for production with some limitations but that's the same for all renderer available on the market. Look at people who works great with and try to copy themselves. It's all about your work man, and your artistic vision, not the tool itself, I know people who became MR killer in few month of practicing. So you could do it.
If you still have a problem try to isolate the real cause and don't give up...;-) good luck

Myliobatidae
06-29-2007, 03:21 AM
Well,
just wondering what you switched to?
But no, it's not easy to get extra renderer.
1. Why maya doesn't have included rendering solution? It's one of the best 3D tools on the market, and the question is why it doesn't have a good renderer? All other 3D packages have native good solid renderer. Maya native renderer is old and I hope no one will raise that issue. When MR was introduced in 4.5 as included solution, I was jumping like this :bounce:


Well I use Max, and when Mray started comming with Max in version 6, I gave it a try, and another try...and another try, and never could get my head around it, thank god there were other choices, I tried them all Brazil, FinalRender and Vray, I liked Vray the most and stuck with that, and never looked back, now however I have started playing with the NEW Mray, which has finally come to be a usable peice of software, but it took too long, and as far as Maya, maybe it will never be so, its strange comming from Max where every renderer renders everything, I've used Maya, and its funny, none of the renderers render EVERYTHING, it must be the way it was written, but now I'm off the subject, so what you're telling me is you spent $7,000 on maya, but don't want to spend $1,000 to be happy ???

And as far as all other packages comming with great renderers, that's not true, like I said it took till version 9 of max to get a decent Mray implementation, I know XSI users are dying to at least have a choice, and C4D's AR leaves a lot to be desired, Modo seems to have quite a nice renderer, haven't heard any complaints yet...

Airflow
06-29-2007, 04:15 AM
Ill always put vray way ahead of mray in terms of a single user, I dont have the needed 2 weeks to learn how to optomise mray to get a render I can get out of vray in 2hrs tweaking... I have worked at companies where we have mental ray give black spits on somthing trivial. Thats the only real problem with mray in max, that and being slow. Im sure I could learn how to enhance mentalray skills. But its extra work I am not getting paid for or dont have time to do, the gf likes to see me every now and then.... :P

Ive recently worked on a visualisation in mray and vray. I spent a whole day searching forums and found quite a bit of information with which I managed to tweak mray down to a decent 2hrs 40 mins per frame. Then the next day on a whim, I rendered in vray on the same machine and got a render time of 17 mins... (with the mray vesrion I had to hide the glass to save time during the calc....) Thats my point.. for Tv you should consider frender or vray for maya, as its way too much to ask somone to jump though hurdles to get a substandard result from mentalray, especially since there is only one person working on a project, You. There is no time to study and test out scripts and work arounds, or e-mail people and get responces, or buy books, dvd's and other learning material...
You should be able to switch to your renderer and set up within 30 minutes and then get on with the rest of your project. I do this in vray every day without having had to read any books or watch dvds, other than the help which came with vray....
Dont ask me to go work as a td in vray as Id have no clue, but then If I spent xmas learning mentalray it can only help strengthen me as an artist.... Nah Id prefer to eat and get drunk... :)

Emil3d
06-29-2007, 04:32 AM
...but why do you wanna still use a tool that doesn't cover your needs? i can't understand this it's masochistic for my point of view Hi Dagon, Iím a big fan of your impressive mental ray skills and in my opinion you one of the best Mental Ray user around here who has demonstrated on many occasions unbelievable level of control using Mental Ray that a lot of people can only dream about.

But it is also amazing how your recommend to unsatisfied people to switch renderers as if this simple as switching TV channels. And Iím inclined to think that for you may be thatís what it feels like when you jump from one renderer to another. Well this only tells me that we as people and users are very very different. And probably thatís why it is difficult to understand each other.

I canít speak for all, but for me switching a renderer is more like switching the house of my dreams that Iíve been building. Iím happy and overall very satisfied with the work the builders are doing, In the building contract I have signed for the coolest glossy and mat paints and surfaces (called Mental Ray engine) that will be used to paint and decorate my house, but to my great disappointment here comes the painting crew (called Mental Ray implementation in Maya) and start f***ing up with my house and expectations, screwing everything with their miserable job. Then after I start yelling, you come and tell me ďwhy you are whining man, just get another houseĒ.
LOL, Sorry for the silly story but it is a very true analogy of how I feel when I hear suggestions like ďdonít use it if you are not satisfiedĒ
I will not give up easily like that, I will fight with all I can to preserve my investment and see my expectations realized. And if I ever get defeated and decided to switch renderers, like in a divorce it will be really ugly. I definitely will feel hurt and will try to hurt too. Iíll call Autodesk and tell them that I want Mental Ray out for my next upgrade bundle with a reduced price. I know that one call wonít make a major change in their marketing plans but Iím sure that is will at least make a small dent in their corporate hierarchy and if other users follow the dents may cause a serious crack that may put some people on the run.
LOL. God forbid such ugly scenario and I really donít want this to happen.

So as you see changing renderers to me means a lot more than a simple switch.

Myliobatidae
06-29-2007, 04:55 AM
Hi Dagon, Iím a big fan of your impressive mental ray skills and in my opinion you one of the best Mental Ray user around here who has demonstrated on many occasions unbelievable level of control using Mental Ray that a lot of people can only dream about.

But it is also amazing how your recommend to unsatisfied people to switch renderers as if this simple as switching TV channels. And Iím inclined to think that for you may be thatís what it feels like when you jump from one renderer to another. Well this only tells me that we as people and users are very very different. And probably thatís why it is difficult to understand each other.

I canít speak for all, but for me switching a renderer is more like switching the house of my dreams that Iíve been building. Iím happy and overall very satisfied with the work the builders are doing, In the building contract I have signed for the coolest glossy and mat paints and surfaces (called Mental Ray engine) that will be used to paint and decorate my house, but to my great disappointment here comes the painting crew (called Mental Ray implementation in Maya) and start f***ing up with my house and expectations, screwing everything with their miserable job. Then after I start yelling, you come and tell me ďwhy you are whining man, just get another houseĒ.
LOL, Sorry for the silly story but it is a very true analogy of how I feel when I hear suggestions like ďdonít use it if you are not satisfiedĒ
I will not give up easily like that, I will fight with all I can to preserve my investment and see my expectations realized. And if I ever get defeated and decided to switch renderers, like in a divorce it will be really ugly. I definitely will feel hurt and will try to hurt too. Iíll call Autodesk and tell them that I want Mental Ray out for my next upgrade bundle with a reduced price. I know that one call wonít make a major change in their marketing plans but Iím sure that is will at least make a small dent in their corporate hierarchy and if other users follow the dents may cause a serious crack that may put some people on the run.
LOL. God forbid such ugly scenario and I really donít want this to happen.

So as you see changing renderers to me means a lot more than a simple switch.

You really shouldn't become so personally involved with your rendering software...kidding

But seriously you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, have you tried any of the other renderers ?? if not you should, and no its not adultery, your allowed, you may just see things in a new light...

Emil3d
06-29-2007, 05:06 AM
...have you tried any of the other renderers ?? ...I have and I wasnít really impressed. I want at least equivalent MR experience in Maya as in XSI. I canít afford to change my 3D platform just for the renderer so I have no choice but to demand improvement in Maya.

Myliobatidae
06-29-2007, 05:55 AM
Well good luck to you...frankly I think the only way you are going to have a good Mray experience is if you are using the stand alone version, and become really good at shader writing...

Emil3d
06-29-2007, 11:04 AM
Well good luck to you...frankly I think the only way you are going to have a good Mray experience is if you are using the stand alone version, ...Iím afraid so. The fact that in order to use MR in Maya efficiently requires from a user involvement and knowledge that makes him/her fully capable of using MR stand alone proves that the whole point of integrating MR was a total failure.

lazzhar
06-29-2007, 11:34 AM
Iím afraid so. The fact that in order to use MR in Maya efficiently requires from a user involvement and knowledge that makes him/her fully capable of using MR stand alone proves that the whole point of integrating MR was a total failure.

Well said Emil !

On the other hand , guys let me ask this innocent question : why the VRay-like interior renders with mental ray??? thread is still active until this moment?

slipknot66
06-29-2007, 12:07 PM
Well said Emil !

On the other hand , guys let me ask this innocent question : why the VRay-like interior renders with mental ray??? thread is still active until this moment?

Because some ppl keep asking the same questions over and over and dont use the search button :)

Ironhalo
06-29-2007, 03:12 PM
ive been following this thread since it started, and i really cant understand the majority of the complaints. i began teaching myself mental ray 9 months ago, i had no one to guide me or answer questions. i'd go home at night, spend an hour or so in maya testing stuff, searching tutorials and seeing what i could come up with. at this point, i feel very confident in mental ray and i'm wanting to begin writing my own shaders.

i cant deny that it took effort to wrap my head around mental ray, but there's tones of resources out there. reading posts in this forum, following the work and input from people like dagon, floze, zap, jozvex and franchesca basically got me to where i am now. yes, the integration to maya needs work. mental images knows this, and it has gotten better. the mia shader is fantastic, it's all i use now. shortly after it was released, i noticed someone posted a very easy to set up bump network. people shouldnt feel ashamed to ask beginner questions, and i never was. its how we learn. but, i did make sure i searched before i asked. i found that far more useful.

as for dagon saying just switch, in a way i agree. if youve spent a lot of time and still dont like mental ray, look at other options. learning a new package can only improve your skill set.

adisan
06-29-2007, 04:45 PM
mental ray supports most of maya effects, which other renders do not. for me the main issues are stability and bugs. it takes a while to get along with mray. that is just fine for me. but stability is a major drawback. you have to balance each render engine pros and cons and decide what to do. i have to admit that apparently mray has the biggest feature support for maya nodes and maybe it's the main reason people are using it (apprt the fact that is free). on the other hand autodesk is advertising maya with mental ray as a main render engine not maya software which might be a pitfall since the integration is so bad. you can get along with shading network complexity but you can't get along with stability. we all expect a
render engine to render not to crash randomly.

coccosoids
06-29-2007, 05:26 PM
If anyone is still compileing a list of bugs please make sure to include
the weird behaviour of batch render+render layers... :(

Als
06-29-2007, 08:50 PM
ive been following this thread since it started, and i really cant understand the majority of the complaints.

Well, please read the thread again.

1. I need to use bump with my renders. Is that too much to ask?
While people here claiming that this is no problem, other threads are swamped with questions about it. So what's the problem. Problem is that I was not aware that this is a trap, so you have to know which secret button to press in order to get bump to work.

2. I'm using miss fast skin shader, which worked fine, until the point which started giving me tons of lines of errors, sorry warning, which slowed the rendering down. Still NOBODY gave me an answer what's that about, or how to avoid it.

3. When I installed mental ray sattelite on other machines none of them work. I found the error, but this is not thanks to support.

4. Maya constantly crashes with no reason.
On of the more disturbing reports is "Slave died". No clue what's that about yet, neither I found more about it. I realised that if some of your mental sattelite machines switches of, or logs off, they crash your maya. But this crash also happens all the time for no reason.

5. The rendering setup is randomly changing. The setup you save is maybe maybe not saved. Again, I can't understand why this version can come out with such an obvious and serious error. Also people claim this can be avoided, but again it's only partially true.

6. Defaults are wrong all over the place. Like why mia material is without alpha channel by default, and so on...


Als

Visor66
06-29-2007, 09:07 PM
1. I need to use bump with my renders. Is that too much to ask?
While people here claiming that this is no problem, other threads are swamped with questions about it. So what's the problem. Problem is that I was not aware that this is a trap, so you have to know which secret button to press in order to get bump to work.

If you dont know it already, you should use BumpCombiner from ctrl.studios! Thats the easiest I would say!

And for the alpha: Rendersetings -> Custom Entities -> Pass Custom Alpha Channel

Thats the same with all Mental Ray Shaders as far as I know!

I hope thats at least something!

Greetz

Pascal

Hans-CC
06-29-2007, 10:04 PM
Well, please read the thread again.

1. I need to use bump with my renders...

Als

I agree with you on many things !! just looking for an external solution to make something like a bump while even the most basic 3d program can doit with one click is simple ridiculous!!
if you want to send all of this complaints to autodesk count on me !! ill sing it ,also i think most people here will. i think it could be more usefull that simple complaining here.


Hans.

Ironhalo
06-29-2007, 10:19 PM
...if you want to send all of this complaints to autodesk count on me !! ill sing it ,also i think most people here will. i think it could be more usefull that simple complaining here.


Hans.

while i respectfully disagree with some of the comments here, i fully agree with this one. i'm all for a better integration. maybe the max guys at work will stop harassing me then :rolleyes:

MaNdRaK18
06-30-2007, 05:30 PM
I was actually serious, when I wrote that this WHOLE THREAD should be posted to Autodesk AS IS.
And I also agree that it's nice to have hacks from advanced people which are willing to share their shaders and knowledge, but it's UTTERLY RIDICULOUS that some of the features which became industry standard over years have to be hacked in Maya that way.
Statement that Maya is flexible and easy-to-script 3D solution is just a poor excuse for lack of useful presets for daily production. It's like getting Your toolbox in pieces, and what is even worst, with missing parts.
Anyway, if any wishlist is to be presented here, I'll sign it.

PhuongDPh
06-30-2007, 05:41 PM
interesting thread
I'm very excited
because mental ray is my fav renderer http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif

jude3d
07-01-2007, 02:46 AM
I think it's really different for each people and way to work. If you have some problems with mental ray integration men don't come to renderman or you would becoming crazy. why presets are a problem, click on a button take one second to do, while now people are so hurry in the work. I see modelers driving crazy if they spend more than 3 hours on a modeling because with zbrush, everything it become fast and easy, now everybody could be a killer in modeling, and with all those fast renderer setup like maxwell people just wait for a rendering to have a photorealistic rendering without an effort...
Now the technology is fast , tools are fast, each step become faster and faster, even the animation with new mocap, texture, uv...
Cgi is all about tweak and long working timeand personnaly I love to tweak things, I love the hand crafted animation, I love this artist way to just use the tool. software are just the tool of the artist, and in this case the same tool for many artist, so not the best for each one of course, but you have to find your way to use the tool as you own. I've never find mental ray for maya badly integrated, I love to use it and it's a great workflow with maya, of course, it's not the same as in 3dsmax, or xsi but it's a maya one and it's pretty efficent. Maybe a lot of people try to use too much software and compare each others, but each software has his own workflow and you have to deal with and understand it well. Maya is not the easier software to learn, it's probably the worst with houdini, but how powerfull are those both is the answer. So I don't think autodesk and alias take care about those things, they create a standard solid workflow for production and after it's free to customize it as you wish.
maybe they have to devellop a nucleus mental ray ! ;p

republicavfx
07-01-2007, 03:54 PM
ive been playing around with final render at work and i got to say its eliminated all my mental ray problems. its easy to use and intuitive and super fast. so whoever was saying if u dont like MR then switch was right about that. im actually being creative again rather than trying to figure out how to make basic things happen.

so id say if u dont like MR try fR. its awesome.

dagon1978
07-01-2007, 07:51 PM
Hi Dagon, I’m a big fan of your impressive mental ray skills and in my opinion you one of the best Mental Ray user around here who has demonstrated on many occasions unbelievable level of control using Mental Ray that a lot of people can only dream about.

But it is also amazing how your recommend to unsatisfied people to switch renderers as if this simple as switching TV channels. And I’m inclined to think that for you may be that’s what it feels like when you jump from one renderer to another. Well this only tells me that we as people and users are very very different. And probably that’s why it is difficult to understand each other.

I can’t speak for all, but for me switching a renderer is more like switching the house of my dreams that I’ve been building. I’m happy and overall very satisfied with the work the builders are doing, In the building contract I have signed for the coolest glossy and mat paints and surfaces (called Mental Ray engine) that will be used to paint and decorate my house, but to my great disappointment here comes the painting crew (called Mental Ray implementation in Maya) and start f***ing up with my house and expectations, screwing everything with their miserable job. Then after I start yelling, you come and tell me “why you are whining man, just get another house”.
LOL, Sorry for the silly story but it is a very true analogy of how I feel when I hear suggestions like “don’t use it if you are not satisfied”
I will not give up easily like that, I will fight with all I can to preserve my investment and see my expectations realized. And if I ever get defeated and decided to switch renderers, like in a divorce it will be really ugly. I definitely will feel hurt and will try to hurt too. I’ll call Autodesk and tell them that I want Mental Ray out for my next upgrade bundle with a reduced price. I know that one call won’t make a major change in their marketing plans but I’m sure that is will at least make a small dent in their corporate hierarchy and if other users follow the dents may cause a serious crack that may put some people on the run.
LOL. God forbid such ugly scenario and I really don’t want this to happen.

So as you see changing renderers to me means a lot more than a simple switch.

i understand what you mean, but i'm advising you, dont rely too much on tools! it's a rule when you work on this field
a software house can crack exactly as an house... so, just keep the principles of what you doing an take it with you
it's not a problem for me to switch renderers, it's not like switching channels on a TV, but if you got the bases you can do it without problem... i'm not a monster, i'm sure you can do exactly what i can do

and my advise is not just to switch, but also to try (if you can) other softwares, try vray, try fR, try maxwell, try turtle to understand wich is the best for you
also if you are "investing" in this software many years, the best thing is to try the others, this is surely useful for you job, and it's not surely a loss of time

I have and I wasn’t really impressed. I want at least equivalent MR experience in Maya as in XSI. I can’t afford to change my 3D platform just for the renderer so I have no choice but to demand improvement in Maya.

i can understand this, but mr4xsi is the main renderer
BTW this is my wish too... but i think it doesn't happens very soon


Well said Emil !

On the other hand , guys let me ask this innocent question : why the VRay-like interior renders with mental ray??? thread is still active until this moment?

why not?
why a vray achviz tutorial? or a vray archmodels dvd? ...


it's not the same as in 3dsmax
well, max integration... this is really incredible for me too know how people love mr4max
for me (even in max 9) it's still a little bit under mr4maya

thematt
07-01-2007, 09:58 PM
Ok I've read that thread from the beginning and totally agree with what most people complain about, I also totally understand dragon POv and actually use exactly what he say in production.
First let me tell you something We were in the production of a video clip was on a very tight schedule I was very worry on the quality of the rendering that he client wanted and i had to be in charge of absolutly everyhtng from modeling to directing to rendering..it was tough and i had NO time to stuggle to find buggy render or long render, I needed few basic thing that would work good and work fast.I've call a so call "mental ray expert" to set the rendering 'cause i didn't think I could do it myself considering the too tight schedule we had, I've let him set everyhting up for 3 days (I agree it was short) but for what we need he couldn't set the render to run under 20mn by frame..and we had not enough power for rendering it, so I was so worry, time to find a new alternative.

I took the scene try to optimize texture and so on, but run into multiple issue mostly due to motion blur and displacement sending my render to the roof..damn I lost 2 more days.
Like Dragon said when something don't work like you need just use something else, what we did was simple we bought renderman for maya after I tested the eval version...
I've never looked back, everything from pass to speed to Gi to displacement worked a treat it was such a relief form me, i could had displacement to character and floor, use beautyfull motion blur that render fast and have all my pass setup on a click pf a button.
I simply concentrate on bringing nice image and the client was very happy, this is in majority what simple user expect from the renderer they use.
MY point is sometime you're udner pressure and you have no time to learn all of the subtilities yourself I can't spend 1 or 2 hours every night tryng to figures out how to optimize my BSp to the max or install every shader on earth to be able to add a simple bump to my shaders or do pass corectly.Those thing I agree should be simple,mental ray was made by programer and it shows it's a powerfull piece of software but it is everything but user friendly, mostly i beleive the integration sucks but no one is arguing against its power.
I beleive today people need something that have a big turn around because quality has increased a lot and deadline have shorten a lot.Mental ray in maya need to be able to get things done much easier, 99% of the user will never do big ray marcher through volumertic I mean it's nice it's there but we all mostly need to be able to do basic everyday stuff without harssle and with speed, and that's the simple truth of all that.
Now big thanks to guy like dragon, pixero, fransesca,mrZap and all the big contributor to the mental ray community without them imagine how we would be us simple user.
Now i use mental ray for other stuff and it has improved a lot, the MIA is damn nice I agree but still, you have to agree it's still too complex, yes you can setup bump but com'on is it really necesary every time something new comes up I have to dig the forums to find the way to do it thanks to awesome guys heres, man it's bothering everybody, so uatodesk for once, listen to your user and do soemthing about it.

So like most people here say, my point is if mental ray is bugging you try alternative they exist and there is one that will feed your need would that be baking in turtle or motion blur in renderman, mental ray can do it all it's true but the harssle to learn it is too time consuming mostly for generalist user as myself, so I agree with everybody that want a better intergration, it is a must do for future version of MR for maya.

Once again thanks to all the people of this forums that help other and myself to get better at rendering in general (technically), without them we'd be lost, all I want is continuing bringing the best picture to my clients in the deadline that I have.
If mental ray can't do that too bad, but you should never have feeling switching to something that will, and to that I think we'll all agree.

cheers

doms
10-08-2007, 11:26 PM
Nice to hear some one talking about production and the 'real world'. Yea it must be great to do nothing but tinker with MR and get some CG megacorp to pay your salery, but i get paid by a client to produce results and MR just isn't easily useable enough to cost effective.

I would really be interested to know what % of maya users are actually working on projects that require feature film quality renders. I recon that most users would be better off with some basic e.g Turtle being bundled with Maya.

Gabba
10-09-2007, 07:48 AM
What I'm going to say is OT and provocative but don't read any attack from me!!! It's only what I think ;) ok?
themat you wrote (what you say is tremendously true =):
"I beleive today people need something that have a big turn around because quality has increased a lot and deadline have shorten a lot."
So most people want the "magic button" (and not only in cg), and all done by the machine (renderer in this case). Beacuse people that pay, want what they pay for in short time! For the producer, minor the time to set up or understand = more money... I know I know, if we don't work we don't have money and no money = no food and so on... but I think that this "runnig for money" is going to "kills us"...
Next limit? Near the "render button" the "idea button"??? Just kidding ;)
Cheers!!!

AtrusDni
10-09-2007, 07:21 PM
I have been using mental ray for a little over 5 years now. Theres some things it does well and others it fails it. Motion Blur = suck. Heavy Displacements / High Polycounts = suck. Final Gather = kinda sucky. And any combination of the 3 will result in a headache, "most" of the time.

Dont get me wrong, i was able to crank out a 130 million polygon scene, but at the cost of 35 hours a frame. Thats pretty rediculous when you compare it to something like Vue where i rendered out a 12 billion poly scene in about 20 min with full Radiosity and Motion blur. I agree that mental ray was deffinately designed by programmers, which is not a good idea at all. Notice i said "designed", not programmed. Theres a difference. Leave the programming to the programmers but the design and interface to someone else because a lot of Mental Ray's features are not very intuitive, and not user friendly. Thats not to say that you can't learn all its features and really get "under the hood", but it takes a lot longer scowering the internet and forums trying to find the information you need.

I think the integration could be a lot better, and I think some of the most basic features should be more easily available and user friendly. But thats just my opinion. (note - im talking about mental ray for maya, not the standalone. The standalone has more features that arent even integrated into the maya plug in that would make it much more powerfull. Argh, im done typing now)

Buexe
10-09-2007, 11:41 PM
Nice thread, the best post was from emil3d with his "hero user jumping in" post. That one made me laugh and reminded me of a lot of other threads where people dared to say something controversial. Another typical reflex is this one: "If it doesn`t suit you, don`t use it". You can read this one in any controversial thread. While this is certainly true, the bad thing is that an individual has to spend a lot of time until it can come to this conclusion. It took me actually about 3 years of frustration and headaches and sleepless nights. While there certainly can be no argumentation about whether mr is capable or not, mr`s usability in production houses that do not have unlimited resources is questionable. Some people say it`s not mr but the implementation etc and Maya in general is not intuitive etc. But the overall sum for me is,

mr takes ages to render (unless you have a reality server of course) if it does not hang due to memory crap and if you want to render an animation GOOD LUCK!

I would like to contribute specific points but I don`t know where to start : )
After using mr for a while I really started to like that fcheck reads the images so slow ( sorry, my raid only does 260 Mb/sec, not enpugh for SD?) because than I could sit in the morning with a cup of tea for half an hour and check for all the artifacts that were rendered.
Take any two nice features and put them together in a scene that that has more than a sphere in it and watch the render time climb through the roof. Occlusion with motion blur, Displacement and reflection for example, or did you ever try a camera animation with DOF in a volume?
I switched to Renderman, because I have deadlines and demanding clients. It`s not perfect and not intuitive and yes you have to read stuff, but it get`s the job done for me in a quality and time that is acceptable.

yenvalmar
12-15-2007, 01:53 AM
i use it frequently on productions in very small no big tech support jobs, with great results, and rendering just on my home PCs. so i would saay if you learn how to use it, it gets the job done well, certainly much better than the maya software render for any sort of realistic renders.

i do agree the maya implementation is way more crappy than it has to be for what it does.

the big breakthrough to me using Mr was realizing you shouldnt try to do too much in one render. if you break everything to the smallest pass possible, the renders still add up to much faster than a big crunchy render, and individually dont usually take very long.

also you can always bake lighting ambocc and so on into the textures if you really want fast renders, i do this all the time when i can get away with it, i.e. static sets. again other programs do the same thig better than mental ray (vray, turtle), so i have that frustration, but ultimately it is a production tool that i use frequently.

as far as preset, check out the render layer over rides, thats as friendly as maya gets :)

Buexe
12-17-2007, 01:08 AM
Breaking stuff down into passes is surely a good strategy. One thing that I never could do well with this method was getting DOF AND MotionBlur with nice results either in post or with accepatble render times directly from mr. If you have a solution to that with mr I`d be interested to hear it.

Aikiman
12-17-2007, 05:49 AM
I cant see how MR is any different from anything else in Maya to be honest with you all. We all know from experience that maya is NOT a 'one button solve all' piece of software. Hell Als you know better than I do coming from a dynamics POV that you have to create your effects from mel and not by the push of a button (except the clip effects that very few of us use anyways). I guess you may have moaned about it in the beginning but now you have a grasp of it I bet you feel pretty darn happy about it all. If it was too easy everybody would be doing it! Just think of the pain a renderer or animator has to go through just to create a puff of smoke from scratch if that is what they decide to do! Easy for you and me, but for them a possible nightmare in the making. Dont get me wrong, I feel your pain and luckily for me I have a job outside of 3D so I can still learn without the pressures of deadlines, but as I see it, there are people out there like yourself who have invested time and effort into learning Maya and with MR have broken through to the other side. No doubt they are relieved having done so and have a decent pay packet to show for it. Why should MR be easy to learn for some people who dont have the time to learn it? Why cant rendering be as in depth as writing particle expressions? Well, I guess it is.
Let those people who want to push a button and create an effect do just that, while the rest of us discover what is actually happening under hood.

seandunderdale
12-17-2007, 10:15 AM
final render from cebas is better than MR in the areas that I use it for. We switched at work about 6 months ago and have never looked back. Sure it has its bugs, but it outclasses MR in render in GI, render sizes, texture size capability, render speed, render passes, instancing and poly count capabilites. I have used MR for a few years now and have had some success with it, but whatever anyone says, I very rarely see a MR render match up to a first class Vray or FR render, or maxwell for that matter.

slipknot66
12-17-2007, 11:15 AM
Funny, i could say the same about mental ray, ive tested final render, maxwell and v-ray and i think mental ray its better in the area i use it for.I tested all those softwares . and i didnd like it at all, and decided to saty with mental ray, and never had to look back.
The areas you mentioned , render size, instance, texture size, i had problems with all those other softwares, just as with mental ray.
Also i think things are much better now, the integration is better, the speed is better etc in mental ray, and im sure things will get even better, now that mental ray is under Nvidia roof.

floze
12-17-2007, 11:41 AM
[...] I very rarely see a MR render match up to a first class Vray or FR render, or maxwell for that matter.
I cant stand it anymore. Its the never ending story. Comparing apples and cones. :surprised

seandunderdale
12-17-2007, 01:13 PM
"Comparing apples and cones."

In what way exaclty. Im comparing renderers, and the output of those renderers. Im not talking about being able to write all sorts of custom shaders etc. Im talking simple artistic output of a set of passes (ie. diffuse,refraction,reflection,GI,shadow etc).

Perhaps for a large studio that can write what they need for MR its more customisable, but for a solution to drop into a pipeline for a smaller studio, or for a freelance artist, there are much better options IMO.

floze
12-17-2007, 02:01 PM
"Comparing apples and cones."

In what way exaclty. Im comparing renderers, and the output of those renderers. Im not talking about being able to write all sorts of custom shaders etc. Im talking simple artistic output of a set of passes (ie. diffuse,refraction,reflection,GI,shadow etc).
In that sense even VUE is better than [renderer-of-your-choice]. ;)

Olegr
12-17-2007, 03:21 PM
In my opinion mental ray has been improved immensely the last few versions. mr in maya 7/8 is a whole different thing than mr in 2008. Both the looks with no more "dirty" fg and the ease of use with mia-material and mip-shaders have improved a lot. Right now I am very, very happy with both mr and the job mental images has done improving it. When I look at v-ray in the same period of time the changes have been very small (and the maya port is taking ages).

The looks of the images produced by the different renderengines are more up to the artist than the product, in my opinion.

mustique
12-17-2007, 03:56 PM
Breaking stuff down into passes is surely a good strategy. One thing that I never could do well with this method was getting DOF AND MotionBlur with nice results either in post or with accepatble render times directly from mr. If you have a solution to that with mr I`d be interested to hear it.

DOF & motionblur are a joke in MR especially with animations.
But there are some workarounds that can make life easier.

> For DOF use a luminance pass in your render layers. (A preset with the default maya renderer) and tweak DOF in AfterEffects

> Similarly there are motion vector passes you can extract with the default maya renderer (iff. format) A post tool called DoBlur can add some basic Motionblur afterwards. (it's not perfect but can look ok when tweaked)

BTW I read the whole thread and think that it should it should be a sticky.
There are valid points on both camps and someone at Autodesk and Mental images should really analyze this. Problem is, most resources at AD and MI might be used for a nextgen tool. Or lets say this is what I hope for.

Aikiman
12-17-2007, 07:15 PM
Just adding to my rant above...Alias used to boast about the open source feature of Maya which set it apart from most animation packages at the time, giving the user more control and flexibility. As for MR ,although I like putting my shaders together with different nodes, it does seem to make it more cumbersome and render slow instead of more streamlined and intergrated with Maya, wtf!

Buexe
12-17-2007, 08:58 PM
DOF & motionblur are a joke in MR especially with animations.
But there are some workarounds that can make life easier.

> For DOF use a luminance pass in your render layers. (A preset with the default maya renderer) and tweak DOF in AfterEffects

> Similarly there are motion vector passes you can extract with the default maya renderer (iff. format) A post tool called DoBlur can add some basic Motionblur afterwards. (it's not perfect but can look ok when tweaked)

BTW I read the whole thread and think that it should it should be a sticky.
There are valid points on both camps and someone at Autodesk and Mental images should really analyze this. Problem is, most resources at AD and MI might be used for a nextgen tool. Or lets say this is what I hope for.
Thanks for pointing out alternatives to me. I have spend quite some time to check those as you can see here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=7&t=423872&page=1&pp=15
The problem with this post stuff is when you want to have BOTH AT THE SAME TIME but your scene does not allow it to be split the way it would be needed to get nice results. And some things are not to be done in compositing that easily. Say you want reflections on your displacement maps in mr and your render may not take 24 hours for a single frame? Is this supposed to be a productive tool, where you need some workaround for almost every real life "production challenge"? I`m surely not that kind of person who expects to have stuff work with the touch of a button. I bet I spend more time creating custom solutions via API and MEL than most 3d artists ever will and I love it. The Maya developers have done a great job to give Maya this incredible flexibility. And if I hadn`t tried Renderman for Maya I would probably still think that it`s the way to be and fiddle around on BSPs and whatnot just to get some render out of mr. For my application ( and those of a few people I know that went the same route) mr looks now not so good in comparison. Using RfM I can focus on being creative and rendering only the most necessary layers in a reasonable amount of time with DOF, motionBlur, gigabytes of nice (!!!) displacement maps ( yes, on a 32bit OS) etc.. Users who create great stuff with mr please don`t be offended it is not my intention to bash mr. I just want to state my opinion based on the experiences I made and hopefully people can understand and respect that in a constructive and professional manner.
Cheers

thematt
12-17-2007, 09:10 PM
one of the major problem with mental ray in maya is that most node are not documented or if they are it's pretty useless.Today what's need is production exemple of what's a node is doing and how to use it connect it, best would be with video.
A chance as i said before great guys and gals here on this forums are doing everything to overcome those problem.
But Buexe is right some easy and fast thing are much easier done in other package such as Rfm and that's so true.You can't even compare speed but yes Rfm is all cheat but it get the job done and fast.
Simply give me a simple solution inside MfM to output pass correctly and I'd be a happy man (not to mention motion vector).

I do wish I had acess to Rfm right now.;oh well.

cheers

dagon1978
12-18-2007, 12:02 AM
i can't understand how this thread could be constructive, repeating the same things over and over again... and over... and over...

MaNdRaK18
12-18-2007, 12:33 AM
i can't understand how this thread could be constructive, repeating the same things over and over again... and over... and over...

Maybe people involved in it hope to melt frozen hearts of Ice Queens in Castles of Autodesk/MI by constant whining with equal intensity?
Theirs is to try :D

Buexe
12-18-2007, 02:00 AM
Haha, very funny:) . They do listen (although I imagine them wearing tight pink latex suits), remember how Final Gather suddenly got an animation option? But dagon is right I`m repeating myself and for me the case is decided. May this thread RIP

Als
12-18-2007, 02:17 AM
Well, I guess it's my fault that I opened this thread.
I realise that it's horible thing to say that some software is rubish, and I do apologize to the programers and brilliant genius behind MR, but this was result of many sleapless nights, frustration due to the luck of documentation and countless unaexplainable crashes while working with MRfM.
I would really like to change this thread to something really constructive.
But why no one replied on my simple question:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=87&t=565219

If I'm that stupid and it's that simple to figure it out, please feel free and tell me so.
When I open aproximation editor, I feel it's really WRONG way of spending my time.
To me this is great example where MRfM is getting it wrong.
I just wanted to render my nurbs, as good as they are. It must be great tool when you render 300 shots of huge model in film resolution and you want to optimize it to bits.
But at times it MUST be more user friendly without loosing all the power under the hood.
I'm constantly blown away by the quality and power of mental ray, and I haven't given up of learning it, but many of my questions (see above) were not answered.

I'm very gratefull to Dagon, Master Zap, Floze and all the great artists who help us mortals to learn and create better images, without them I would have given up a long time ago.
They show the way autodesk should follow, which is by giving us more examples.
Please, give us library of scenes and shaders for mia material mentioned in documentation!
How to use geometry shaders, etc.

Autodesk is still shipping with maya "shader library" which is just translated library from TDI Explore from about 15 years ago!

Main bottle neck in production with maya is renderer, and the fact that I need to use at least 3 different renderers to render some scene, is quite frustrating at times.
As a result, you can see so more/better works in 3d max community, for example with people who use vray, which spend very little time on fighting with the software, and have more time to just work on their models and textures.
To prove that just look at the LOOOOOOOONG thread MR vs Vray.
And even I feel that MRfM is going to that direction, it still has some workflow issues which should just not be there.
Maya renderer networks were/are so powerfull and I always expected they would be implemented in mental ray fully, so that one can make almost seamless transition from one to the other.
None of this is simple task, but I don't feel leadership from autodesk in offering us other solution.

yann22
12-18-2007, 08:40 AM
i can't understand how this thread could be constructive, repeating the same things over and over again... and over... and over...

Well, most companies would give their right arm to get such precise and elaborate feedback on their products and services by their customers. That's why they employ whole departments solely dedicated to finding out what their customers want and how they can improve their products. All these surveys you come across online and offline are part of this huge effort. We're providing this service for free here, so I think Autodesk and Mental Images should actually be happy about threads like this.

dagon1978
12-18-2007, 12:29 PM
We're providing this service for free here, so I think Autodesk and Mental Images should actually be happy about threads like this.

really?
just use the "bug" report on the Autodesk site, OR report a specific problem (as Als do), this is much more constructive
and again, if your tool dont fit your needs, switch to another one, this is much constructive (for you) then crying for the moon

floze
12-18-2007, 12:31 PM
Well, most companies would give their right arm to get such precise and elaborate feedback on their products and services by their customers. That's why they employ whole departments solely dedicated to finding out what their customers want and how they can improve their products. All these surveys you come across online and offline are part of this huge effort. We're providing this service for free here, so I think Autodesk and Mental Images should actually be happy about threads like this.
I do think the devs and producers are aware of this issues. I suppose the major problem rather lies in prioritizing those 'wishes', and I dont think posting rants in this forums has too much impact on these priorities. Unless you are ILM or whatever big studio, all you can do is logging the bug or suggestion to Autodesk.

seandunderdale
12-18-2007, 04:02 PM
Unless you are ILM or whatever big studio, all you can do is logging the bug or suggestion to Autodesk.

which is what has made using Final Render such a joy to use. If we have a problem (and we are small studio), we can get direct contact with the programmers on the forum and have feedback, at times within 24hours, for a workaround.

I do rate MR as a renderer. I have just found another renderer suits my needs and the way I work.

Als
12-19-2007, 02:21 AM
really?
just use the "bug" report on the Autodesk site, OR report a specific problem (as Als do), this is much more constructive
and again, if your tool dont fit your needs, switch to another one, this is much constructive (for you) then crying for the moon

This I actually see as a main problem is that not one renderer of all available is solving all the problems in rendering. I hoped this would be mental ray, but it's still not.
Also switching to another one demands A LOT of learning, and developing tools, shaders, and a workflow, plus demands extra money, render licenses etc. which is hard to explain to budget savvy people (bosses), and the classic question "Why package which costs so much money and we have to buy and extra renderer?"
For small shop it's really difficult to compete anyways, but rendering is still main bottleneck for me.
So to which one to switch, when you still can't render all maya technologies in none of those?
(fluids, toon, subd, particles, nurbs, paintFX )
Maya render is only one which can, but has so much limitations in basic quality, just simple texture file filters quality is horible, displacement, MB, etc.
Mental ray comes second, but then it can't render particles (unless they are all same color).

I would really like if we could make a table of what to render with which renderer since this still seems to be gray area, and hard to compare between renderers, and since I'm not using all of them, would require input from other people too.
I'm also quite impressed with final render on size of texture maps it can render, mental ray look and amazing shaders genius people shared with us, on renderman motion blur, displacement, and rendering nurbs, 3Delight on one free license, and also incredible speed on rendering nurbs, etc.
On mental ray, even there is a full website dedicated to issues, and separate forum which is running there, I feel all this knowledge is spread everywhere and it should really be more focused, in a sense that some conclusions of this thread should be summerized and available with examples.
I really feel that autodesk should provide this or help more in organizing this.
As I mentioned, the shader/material library would really be needed as well.
If people are happy to share their shaders, why not include this as a full library which could be shiped with maya, or at least downloaded from somewhere as a whole, as a installation package? Or same shaders with same parameters available for both maya and max, so that we can render same scene in both packages?
As I said, I really feel that there should be more leadership from autodesk in offering rendering solution for maya diverse technologies.

I would feel it would be more fair if they offered customer to choose which renderer they want included with maya, then it would be fair to say you can freely choose.

Thanks for reading, I'm really gratefull for you guys listening


Als

Kel Solaar
12-20-2007, 12:12 PM
I'm also quite impressed with final render on size of texture maps it can render

Mental Ray : imf_copy ?

Als
12-20-2007, 04:00 PM
Mental Ray : imf_copy ?

Thanks. I think that's the point. imf_copy, and then which options?
Again workflow wise, not user friendly. Again, very powerfull, if you know it under the hood.
Which options would you use for such a big map,
http://cebasserver.de/products/feature.php?UD=10-7888-35-788&PID=52&FID=472
and would you use different options/file format output for different maps (bump, displacement, etc.) ?
And while you are testing, you need to go back and forth the prompt to redo the options and wait for result to finish to rerender?

Thanks


Als

Kel Solaar
12-20-2007, 04:48 PM
imf_copy.exe -r -p C:\YourImage.tif C:\YourImage.tif.map

and you should be able to render with a shitload of maps :) (We had a production this summer with a lot of boats, each one using a set of 2K textures, there was around 1300 maps, i will let you calculate the size on disk, of course Mental Ray wasn't able to render the scene with the original files. Renderman can't too but if you use the proprietary render engine format there is no more problems. Renderman one is .Tex, MR is .map =)

I didnt had time to try, but Maya 2008 should be able to do the .map itself (I think i have see something related to this in the "what's new" section of the docs)

Als
12-20-2007, 06:16 PM
Thanks a lot.
If you need to use using big hdri images, which output format you use? Or map format preserves the value?
I didn't have time to use/check more on 2008, but on master zap website there are great example MR files, which give me hope that things are changing to better.

Thanks again


Als

inguatu
12-20-2007, 06:44 PM
I would feel it would be more fair if they offered customer to choose which renderer they want included with maya, then it would be fair to say you can freely choose.

Thanks for reading, I'm really gratefull for you guys listening


Als

they do.. hardware/software/vector/mental ray. as for 3rd party renderers, Autodesk has given a lot of support to developers to develop their own, as they have with Max. It's not Autodesk's responsibility to include or integrate finalRender, Vray, Turtle, etc into Maya as it's not their product.

Kel Solaar
12-20-2007, 08:04 PM
Thanks a lot.
If you need to use using big hdri images, which output format you use? Or map format preserves the value?
I didn't have time to use/check more on 2008, but on master zap website there are great example MR files, which give me hope that things are changing to better.

Thanks again


Als

.map will be fine for HDRI too :) (preserve all the 32 bit information)

Als
12-20-2007, 10:13 PM
they do.. hardware/software/vector/mental ray. as for 3rd party renderers, Autodesk has given a lot of support to developers to develop their own, as they have with Max. It's not Autodesk's responsibility to include or integrate finalRender, Vray, Turtle, etc into Maya as it's not their product.

Mental ray is not their product either, but mental images...
Maybe it's not possible and would be way to optimistic to expect it, :wise:
but other companies would certainly have interest in it.
Vector render is not their product either, it's licensed from electric rain, but it's included.
http://www.erain.com/company/technology/
Even if the mental ray was clearly best, still not necesserely every company would choose it.
THEN it would be fair to say that you have really free choice between renderers.

Remember case of browser included with the software versus others US vs MS case?


Als

leif3d
03-20-2008, 03:48 AM
I came across this thread looking for something else in the search.

I completely agree with what Als and other users are saying about Maya and MR. I'm not going to elaborate on the frustrations that MR can cause on the user, because almost every single one that I have run into is already posted. Allthough, I am going to have to emphasize the lack of implementation and ease of use when it comes down to mundane tasks, specially when other softwares can handle the same ones in seconds.

To me the biggest surprise are the opinions in this thread.

I think that saying ...if it doesn't suit you, use something that does, is a little unfair, specially when you are paying for the most widely used 3D package in the world.

I also think that these forums provide others with information a lot more acurately than an official autodesk forum, because they not only provide information on problems happening to the advanced user in a studio, but also to the average user or student who is battling with the software a lot more than he/she has to, and we all know that the official autodesk help is not free, defeating the purpose of wide spread problem solving in the first place. I've only used the autodesk suport in cases where I cannot find a solution here (very rarely) and when I have used it, it took them 2 weeks of generic problem solving to tell me in the end that "this issue has officially been categorized as a bug and we hope to fix it in the next version" or something to that effect.

So in the end, I don't think criticizing is "crying" and I don't think that using these forums is any less "constructive" than the autodesk support, I actually think the opposite, and I think that the couple of guys from Autodesk that regulary visit these forums would somewhat agree to that as well, or they wouldn't be around to hear the opinions and problems of their users.

Please guys, lets differentiate constructive from destructive criticism, I'm sure that even though Als' words may have been a little tough towards Maya and MR, we can all see that his intentions are that of someone who is trying to get his voice heard so that we can all benefit from a bit of a change in maya's workflow and ease of use...you know...so that maybe...just maybe...we can get away from problem solving mundane tasks, and back to doing what we like the most: Art.

-Leif

floze
03-20-2008, 12:59 PM
[...]I think that saying ...if it doesn't suit you, use something that does, is a little unfair, specially when you are paying for the most widely used 3D package in the world.[...]

-Leif
I totally agree with you. In my opinion the thread title tells it all though, if you scream out loud things like 'Why is Mental ray so rubish?' (sic), the phrase 'dont use it if you dont like it' is what comes back after all, of course. That's what people scares off a) to actually investigate a problem instead of complaining, and b) to actually help those guys, because sometimes it simply gets too blatant. You guys all have the heart in the right place, but mostly the constructive intentions drown in the noise of bashing and frustration - and apparently thats what annoys everyone. All I can say is lets get back to the (learning-) business, because the other way doesnt lead anywhere.

Als
03-22-2008, 06:38 PM
Well, it is frustration that caused me to write this and I had to shout since no one was listening.
It came after many sleepless nights trying to resolve basic issues.
I can bet that many people still have those problems and issues, including me.
I'm trying to render 3 glasses for a month now, and I still can't find solution to this problem.
I've run through many pages of forums in search for answers, and I still do.
MR for maya is changing in every version of maya as well so some of the forum anwers are not valid any more.
I still haven't found answers to basic questions, for example how to install mental ray satellite shader libraries, so that I don't have to copy whole library to every machine in order for it to work.
This continues to be the case, maybe more so, because people don't want to reply to my questions because of this thread.
Most of those questions were basic questions, like how to make bump mapping.
I finally found the book which I recommend to any mental ray user:
Mental ray for maya, 3ds max, and xsi by Boaz Livny.

So I hope I will find more answers.

Bashing came as a result of despair to find answers to simple questions which were not answered, and arogance which awaited my questions, how I dare to ask at the first place.

Don't use it if you don't like it, would be fine if we had that choice.
If autodesk offered us to use something else for example (vray, or final render or Rfm, 3Delight), instead of mental ray, then it would be far to say that I can choose, but this is not the case.

If mental ray is replacement for maya renderer, why is this still not the case?

I am trying to learn the best I can, but in the meantime I need to produce as well.
The reason why I had problems is not because I don't want to learn, it's more because you need to know MR inside out in order to use it at all, which is not really helpful.
Also I don't see how can I learn, when my questions are not welcomed, when they remain unanswered, and if I need to feel ashamed that I actually asked, or how "little" I know.
I'm grateful to all the people who actually really want to help, and who don't judge me.
I also feel I'm not the only one who is frustrated by the lack of answers.

For example it took me 3 weeks to find out that the reason why some of the old MR shaders didn't work with maya 8.5 is because they have too many digits in their id number?!?!?!?
How stupid of me not figuring that one out, when it's so obvious!

Thank you for listening.

leif3d
03-24-2008, 06:19 PM
Trust me...I know how you feel...Last friday I set a render for 4 render Layers, came back today...only 1 rendered...nice huh? I set it to render again and now it renders all 4 fine...I love the randomness...it really helps production.:rolleyes:

BTW, I don't know the answer to your MR satellite question regarding shader libraries. I've never actually used MR satellite.

I hope someone else in this thread can help you out.

Buexe
03-24-2008, 09:50 PM
My tests with mr Satellite showed that there are cases where it is useless and a set-up of five machines (all cpus on 100%) will render something in nearly the same time as one machine. But I won`t go into the details since some people might complain that I`m complaining : )
@als: I also don`t have a clue how to get your shaders to use one dir for shaders, I`ll ask someone who knows mr a little bit better, but Iīm also surprised that it is hard to find an answer for this rather common question. But if on all those machines there is a directory where you are allowed to write and that will recognize those mr shaders, it should be really easy to write a MEL/Python whatever script to copy your shaders automagically into your target machines. I bet there are helpful souls around here that can help out if your scripting skills are limited.
Cheers : )

foggyball
03-25-2008, 03:38 PM
Hi Buexe,

I'm intrigued by your comment about mr Satellite and that;
"there are cases where it is useless and a set-up of five machines (all cpus on 100%) will render something in nearly the same time as one machine."

We have suffered the exact same problem here but have never really found a conclusive reason despite emails to Autodesk and Lamrug.org. Have you found any specific reason for this problem?

Cheers.

DuttyFoot
03-26-2008, 02:48 AM
hey als i saw that same book at borders and i am thkinking of picking it up this weekend. finally a book about mental ray that supporst maya and not just max. there are quite a few mental ray books out there for max already.

Koogle
03-27-2008, 04:35 PM
there are cases where it is useless and a set-up of five machines (all cpus on 100%) will render something in nearly the same time as one machine.



maya mr satellite performance has been shit ever since it was released for maya 6.5 I think it was back in 2005.. yup thats how long its been and its and still shit in performance even though mr has actually been upgraded somewhat since then. Have to wonder why they even bother shipping it its such rubbish.

Willing to bet you'd probably see better sattelite performance out of other 3rd party rendering engines like fR, vray, maxwell etc hell perhaps 3dsmax mr sattelite is better aswel? Or what about maya disastrously ugly UI dialogs and the improvements that could have been done there, I mean example mr sat. management(notepad,mel)?- gah pathetic

yenvalmar
03-28-2008, 01:29 AM
its just so.. true..

Buexe
03-30-2008, 09:00 PM
We have suffered the exact same problem here but have never really found a conclusive reason despite emails to Autodesk and Lamrug.org. Have you found any specific reason for this problem?
I`m afraid I can not give you reasons as to when it`s working and when not. I only got considerable speed boosts with simple test scenes. On more complex scenes ( FG, lots of displacements and reflections) all I can say is:
1. It had an effect, even though a small one ( a 45 min frame render on 1 computer took ~43 min with 5 computer ) LOL
2. I can rule out that other network traffic was disturbing it, since mr satellite was the only app running on a gigabit net
3. All cpus were on ~100% and had no other apps running
So it was running under pretty nice conditions but the outcome was rather sheeedy.
That`s my observation from ~4 days trying to get that stuff up and running, but after those bad results we got repeatedly on different but somewhat similar scenes, we never bothered to use it again.

CKPinson
03-31-2008, 02:34 AM
I like using Mental Ray- It hates my graphic card so I have to screw with it quiet a bit but I've learned a lot from using it- must'n't be too bad if all of the major 3D packages are picking it up (Maya, 3DS, Soft- granted maya and 3ds are the same company). The only other render engines I've had the luxery of using are PRenderman and 3Delight. PRMAN is probably the best iMO but MR comes with my Maya and 3Delight is free for a reason (per single node). I suppose that if you dislike MR sooooo terribly much then perhaps it is time for you to move along and let those that prefer it to continue without feeling outcasted.

CKPinson
03-31-2008, 02:39 AM
Don't use it if you don't like it, would be fine if we had that choice.
If autodesk offered us to use something else for example (vray, or final render or Rfm, 3Delight), instead of mental ray, then it would be far to say that I can choose, but this is not the case.

ALS- check 3Delight website- I've downloaded the Maya plug for free (per single node per single user)- it takes time to get used to and you'll probably go back to MR.

I too have had render layer issues but have narrowed it down to my Vid card (Geforce). I've used MR on my pc at work and the layers worked fine with the workstation. I'm no IT or programer though.

jsahn
04-15-2008, 08:33 PM
mental ray is powerful, but it's so *&%#ing complicated. i used it for 3 years. it doesn't even have a simple way to render out the motion vector pass. i hate it with passion now. :banghead:

however, my mr satellite reduced my render time significantly. i used 4 dual core G5's.

leif3d
04-16-2008, 02:23 PM
mental ray is powerful, but it's so *&%#ing complicated. i used it for 3 years. it doesn't even have a simple way to render out the motion vector pass. i hate it with passion now. :banghead:

We can only hope Autodesk implements Zap's production shaders into Maya 2009 in a friendly (or at least documented and supported) way. In there you should find some great solutions for Motion vector passes.

I mean...you can use them now, but you have to go through a mission...trust me, I've tried.

jsahn
04-16-2008, 04:37 PM
leif, thanks for mentioning the Zap shader thing. i'm looking forward to upgrading maya to 2008.

Als
04-17-2008, 05:01 AM
Well, another one to lose my hair.
For no particular reason, zDepthDOF shader stopped working on my renderfarm machine.
Same happened with dirtmap shader. Any clues to this mystery?
Does MR requires graphic card in renderfarm machine in order to render ?
It's really strange, and yes I really wish there is some solution about setting up old shaders etc.
Finally I found some program I could sync my shader directories, but it will take some time to setup...

Again same question as before, is it possible to use new production shaders with maya 8.5?
We will probably skip upgrading until maya 2009, and other reason is that there is just lot's of good plugins for maya 8.5.

The book I mentioned before is starting to work, but still I wish there was clean and easy way to install shaders on the network machines...

Also I realised that some of the solutions I found for problems with MR are soooo time consuming, unless you have someone to mel script it for you for the next time...

I also hope they will finally resolve MR friendliness in maya 2009. I also have a feeling that max users are speedily advancing in MR area comparing with maya users, judging by amount of excellent work I'm noticing in galleries and also amount of books for max and MR!

MR here to stay!

Thanks


Als

cgtadpole
04-19-2008, 10:31 PM
Why do I have to jump through hoops to create mental ray shaders :-( Shouldn't things be getting technically easier rather than more complicated? I know it has definitely more to do with me (user error/technical ignorance) but.....
Anyway I know it's a Maya forum and I am a Maya user but does XSI/Max have the similar jumping throughs hoops situation with MR shaders or is it more easy like it is with traditional maya shaders? Will shaders get easier to create in the fuure or keep getting more difficult? :banghead:

Ognyan
04-29-2008, 07:02 PM
I am also not pleased with mental ray and consider trying Finalrender and Vray which will soon be available for Maya. Lot's of errors and not very userfriendly when it comes to shaders. I won't go into details because it's all been said alredy.

faultymoose
04-29-2008, 07:43 PM
I just wanted to add something to this discussion from a production point of view:

It's not always as easy as just changing the tools if they present problems.

In the preproduction phase, there'll be a lot of consideration of potential issues with software when choosing the right software for the job. But not all problems will be apparent at this point.

When an issue arises mid-production, it can be impossible to effectively roll out a new software solution within budget and schedule, fitting that new software within a maturing pipeline, and then maintaining consistency with completely different tools. Like building half a skyscraper out of steel and then deciding to use concrete instead.

It would be wonderful if we could anticipate all problems ahead of production, but that's never going to happen.

I was on a project that was forced to change renderers from Mental Ray to a third party package due to an overwhelming tidal wave of unanticipated issues, and that rollover pushed us into crunch time months early while we tried to reroute the pipeline, force the new software into our toolset, and recreate many existing assets to work within the new pipeline. It was a nightmare.

In the end, the third party software proved to be the perfect choice, and as part of our license we were able to request changes and bug fixes which were usually provided within days or weeks, instead of 'possibly next year'.

Which leads me to a couple of thoughts:

1. Mental Ray needs some serious work in order to be as production viable as many alternative rendering solutions, when working directly from within Maya.

2. Why would Autodesk bother? They don't charge extra for Mental Ray, and I'm sure that many other production houses have come across similar problems to those I've mentioned and have moved onto third party or inhouse solutions themselves, especially since many of those solutions offer very fast production support.

While it sounds like a harsh judgement, when research and development funds are limited, my guess is that Autodesk treats Mental Ray for Maya as a 'toy' - an optional component that is not worthy of true investment. It's terrible, because Mental Ray itself is a highly capable renderer that is simply suffering from at best lacklustre integration within Maya.

Therefore, I'm fully in support of this thread, even given its angry and accusatory tone, because if Mental Ray hasn't been fixed yet (how many versions of Maya have featured MR with only minor integration updates?) then the bigger production houses aren't putting the pressure on Autodesk (and previously Alias) to justify it. So my hopes are that the community can raise enough volume to do just that.

3delight
05-03-2008, 11:13 PM
Hello,

I think that your post summerizes quite well why, for a medium/large studio, dealing with a third party for a specific solution* is a A Good Thing: there is no way the third party can afford to tell a client to wait one year, that is simply not viable as a business model. Given that the third party knows how to deal with support of course...

-- aghiles

* And not only for rendering. Although rendering is a very good example case.

I just wanted to add something to this discussion from a production point of view:

It's not always as easy as just changing the tools if they present problems.

In the preproduction phase, there'll be a lot of consideration of potential issues with software when choosing the right software for the job. But not all problems will be apparent at this point.

When an issue arises mid-production, it can be impossible to effectively roll out a new software solution within budget and schedule, fitting that new software within a maturing pipeline, and then maintaining consistency with completely different tools. Like building half a skyscraper out of steel and then deciding to use concrete instead.

It would be wonderful if we could anticipate all problems ahead of production, but that's never going to happen.

I was on a project that was forced to change renderers from Mental Ray to a third party package due to an overwhelming tidal wave of unanticipated issues, and that rollover pushed us into crunch time months early while we tried to reroute the pipeline, force the new software into our toolset, and recreate many existing assets to work within the new pipeline. It was a nightmare.

In the end, the third party software proved to be the perfect choice, and as part of our license we were able to request changes and bug fixes which were usually provided within days or weeks, instead of 'possibly next year'.

Which leads me to a couple of thoughts:

1. Mental Ray needs some serious work in order to be as production viable as many alternative rendering solutions, when working directly from within Maya.

2. Why would Autodesk bother? They don't charge extra for Mental Ray, and I'm sure that many other production houses have come across similar problems to those I've mentioned and have moved onto third party or inhouse solutions themselves, especially since many of those solutions offer very fast production support.

While it sounds like a harsh judgement, when research and development funds are limited, my guess is that Autodesk treats Mental Ray for Maya as a 'toy' - an optional component that is not worthy of true investment. It's terrible, because Mental Ray itself is a highly capable renderer that is simply suffering from at best lacklustre integration within Maya.

Therefore, I'm fully in support of this thread, even given its angry and accusatory tone, because if Mental Ray hasn't been fixed yet (how many versions of Maya have featured MR with only minor integration updates?) then the bigger production houses aren't putting the pressure on Autodesk (and previously Alias) to justify it. So my hopes are that the community can raise enough volume to do just that.

Bitter
05-04-2008, 01:31 AM
The assumption is that this is what happens is both true and misleading.

For most of us in a smaller situation we do have to wait. However, patch versions of Maya are released consistently for issues that stop production. This is indeed not a wait time issue, at least not as what was described. From Sept to March patches were issued to users where a problem did stop production (no workaround).

Is this as bad as it could be? Certainly not. Could it improve? Sure. But there is no perfect solution, again, if there was, why would we even be talking about this?

Report issues to autodesk. . .I have the sneaky suspicion (especially given my job) that there's a LOT of complaining. . .and little action to report issues.

kyleb2112
05-04-2008, 08:55 AM
Faultymoose, what was the third party software you went with? I always figured I would eventually delve into MR, but this thread has me looking for other options.

ctrl.studio
05-04-2008, 05:33 PM
1. Mental Ray needs some serious work in order to be as production viable as many alternative rendering solutions, when working directly from within Maya.I'm also very curious about what you're speaking about here. mentalray, in maya, has one of the best integration you can find around. any renderman compliant renderer outhere, for example, are not easy to work with. and if you call 'rubish' the mr integration I don't know how you should call the others. infact you never tried them and you'll never do. why ? because they're left as 'technical' as they are. There're ppz that need to have the tools in that fashion because they have to build upon their own tools and pipeline. If you think that there're other tools that will make easier you're approach.. try to make a full global illumination render out of 3delight for example. you can call them and say :- ehy, I'm doing archiviz, can you supply a patch in a couple of days where I'll get a GI scene as easy as with vray and mray ? Or.. :- ehy I've a little studio where there're me and my brother, well we're not beign able to render out a scene with 50mils polys plus hair and fur and occlusion and motionblur, on a 32bit machine, can you send us a patch for that ?


Does MR requires graphic card in renderfarm machine in order to render ?I mean you started a thread like this one and even bothered to know what you're asking just above ? I do think that those that are complaing here, are just not getting the desired results from their little efforts. and with this attitude don't get surprised if you'll find less or more the same problems with any other renderer outthere. that's the reason you're still here. :)

max

Mauritius
05-04-2008, 06:59 PM
I'm also very curious about what you're speaking about here. mentalray, in maya, has one of the best integration you can find around. any renderman compliant renderer outhere, for example, are not easy to work with.
That simply isn't true. I hear that all the time but I have yet to see anyone back that point up.

You have to look at the applications. RMan-compliant renderers are foremost used to render highyly complex feature film visual effects shots with displacement & 3D motion blur/dof.

For this sort of application the integration is very good.
If you're doing architectutal visualziation, or product rendering, it might not be what you're looking for. The renderers could do it, but there is no pushbutton toolset because "pushbutton monkeys rendering radiosity kitchens" (quote form theJaco) is not their target market (yet).

Same vice versa. I've yet to meet any senior rendering TD who has anything good to say about using mental ray in feature film VFX.
In fact, I'm in this industry since 12 years and I haven't met a single one.

The only people that have good things to say about mr work in commercials which have completely different requirements. And even there it's mostly people who have a medium to low knowledge level about rendering.

In the Renaissance artists needed to know enough about the chemistyry of paints to mix their own. I always wonder why people who call themselves "3D artists" today come to believe artistic and technical pools of knowledge have to be mutally exclusive. They are not.

If you can't or don't want to understand what is going on behind the scenes, you're working in the wrong industry.
and if you call 'rubish' the mr integration I don't know how you should call the others. infact you never tried them and you'll never do.
I think you're mixing replies. Faultymoose didn't call mr's integration "rubbish". He just said it needs work.
why ? because they're left as 'technical' as they are. There're ppz that need to have the tools in that fashion because they have to build upon their own tools and pipeline.
So what do you mean with "technical"? Can you specify? What is more technical in 3Delight for Maya (3DFM) or RenderMan for Maya than it is with in Maya's native mr integration???
If you think that there're other tools that will make easier you're approach.. try to make a full global illumination render out of 3delight for example. you can call them and say :- ehy, I'm doing archiviz, can you supply a patch in a couple of days where I'll get a GI scene as easy as with vray and mray ?
3Delight is a full global illumination renderer. You don't need a patch for this. The fact that 3DFM doesn't have an archviz feature set might have to do with the fact that architects are not the target market for this plug-in. But you could expose the required features *(since they already are in 3Delight) and I'm sure DNA would do so, was there a prospect of a market.

In any case the renderer are perfectly capable of this: if you want to see some RenderMan archviz, be sure not to miss the next Batman movie.

And mind you: 3DFM is not 3Delight.3DFM is just a plugin that connects Maya to 3Delight and exposes a subset of the features of this renderer to Maya. The very subset that the main target audience using this renderer in Maya needs.
Not any feature present in 3Delight that anyone could possibly want to use.

On a side note: it would also be a Sisyphean task to expose all of 3Delight's features in a sensible way to a crappy 3D program like Maya -- simply because so many concepts present in the renderer are absent in Maya or don't have a good match.
If you want better access to these features -- out of the box -- use Houdini (with 3Delight).
Or.. :- ehy I've a little studio where there're me and my brother, well we're not beign able to render out a scene with 50mils polys plus hair and fur and occlusion and motionblur, on a 32bit machine, can you send us a patch for that ?
You don't need a patch for that in 3Delight. It already does it. :) And you would be surprised about the level of support.
Speaking of new features: the longest I ever waited for a completely new feature I asked for in 3Delight was 5 working days -- the longest.

It always amuses me when people get all worked up about other people being upset about mr and venting their anger. The

Once you ever used a hybrid REYES/ray-tracing renderer like 3Delight (or PRMan) in a serious production (vs. just downloading it and playing with ist for an hour), you will never look back to mr.
And some people realize at this point that they literally wasted years of their life working around limitations of mr. And that upsets them, retrospectively. ;)

If you haven't come to this realization yourself yet, (because you still solely use e.g. mr) it might be hard to understand that. Just let them bitch and consider the possibility that you might join them one day. :p
I mean you started a thread like this one and even bothered to know what you're asking just above ? I do think that those that are complaing here, are just not getting the desired results from their little efforts. and with this attitude don't get surprised if you'll find less or more the same problems with any other renderer outthere. that's the reason you're still here. :)
Well, what you say seems to indicate that you must not have gotten the desired results from your own little efforts with 3Delight. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. ;)

Pace,

--Moritz

ctrl.studio
05-04-2008, 10:17 PM
moritz, the same kind of things can be said for mentalray. same goes for 3delight in the opposite direction. sure they are professional renderers that works very well. :)

the point is: - why people are not able to use them at their best ?

when and if you'll ever have a user base like the one for mentalray, you'll finish having people all the time not beign able to use it as desired. at that point they'll look for the xyz feature that is not exposed saying:- ehy! why 3delight is so rubish and you so blind that are hiding just the feature that could give me that great rendering output ? at that point you'll have two chances. to design an implementation that will hide even more things but that will force the generic user to go for a standard approach or just to 'target' your application saying that is not what it's there for.

for example, sure 3delight is able to do GI. but not the generic user with it. and sooner or later he will start saying:- ehy! wtf, why the hell I'm not having a decent GI ?
for 'technical' I mean a 'raw' implementation, where the design is not driving you for a certain approach. 3delight is raw. and 'raw' is also mentalray in maya. so technically you have to know about gamma workflow for example. about tonemapping. about using reflections instead of plain specularities for GI renderings. about framebuffers. how to output them. how to compose them. using certain sss shaders you'll have to know about lightmapping and such. this is technical. so, for a generic user (those probably in this thread), if mentalray is considered 'rubish' the same will be just for 3delight. You can go far as you want on your usual way saying that 3delight and reyes renderers are superior than mentalray, but there you're speaking about 'technical' capabilities while here ppz are complaing really about the workflow and its easy of use and feasibility.

Well, what you say seems to indicate that you must not have gotten the desired results from your own little efforts with 3Delight. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.This is very naive by you. As you noted above is not that there're just 'tech' people and 'artist' people. there should be just professional people. where for professional I mean the attitude to sit down in front of a monitor until you didn't get the best you were expecting. I'm just still in front of my monitor.

max

MaNdRaK18
05-05-2008, 01:31 AM
On a side note: it would also be a Sisyphean task to expose all of 3Delight's features in a sensible way to a crappy 3D program like Maya -- simply because so many concepts present in the renderer are absent in Maya or don't have a good match...

If you want better access to these features -- out of the box -- use Houdini (with 3Delight)...
--Moritz

Since You are clearly interested in/advertise 3delight/Houdini, I don't see necessity for Your presence in Maya ( "crappy 3d app" ) forum and mr ( "crappy raytracer") thread.
I fail to see Your contribution to this topic.

EDIT: My 1st sentence was also too harsh.

Bitter
05-05-2008, 02:37 AM
This thread has outlived its usefulness. Most everyone has apparently forgotten that there's a fair chance that someone in here has a hand in your future. And more often than not the posts do not enhance the reputation of the person leaving it. It also makes room for people willing to take advantage of the situation inappropriately by neither being constructive or even slightly helpful.

As Max pointed out, the lack of education by those willing to complain is generally the problem. I work in a studio environment as well as education. 90% of the time I have a complaint that they learned nothing, they were the student that never raised their hand or asked questions. "This doesn't work!" You forgot a checkbox. . .

No one takes control of their own learning process. So then someone sweeps in, takes advantage of them (ahem) only to lead them down another path without ever really learning anything.

Being just as disatisfied with everything. . . . Feel free to make your own choices and experiment. Some workflows will suit you better than others. But again, there is no superior choice for everyone. Nice try.

Am I Bitter? . . .taste me.

And I'll feel free to backup Max on the integration issue. I also use Renderman for Maya and the issues exist, they are simply different issues. But not enough people use it to create an absurd thread. However, if they get the market share they want, it will happen.

Be careful what you wish for.

floze
05-05-2008, 01:16 PM
[...]
Same vice versa. I've yet to meet any senior rendering TD who has anything good to say about using mental ray in feature film VFX.
In fact, I'm in this industry since 12 years and I haven't met a single one.

The only people that have good things to say about mr work in commercials which have completely different requirements. And even there it's mostly people who have a medium to low knowledge level about rendering.
[...]
Pace,

--Moritz
'Si tacuisses' is all I can say, Moritz. Taking the fact that you didnt meet a person working in film/vfx who is glorifying a specific renderer as a point not to use it is simply... uhm... irrational. You seem to have strange company if you seriously allege people doing commercials little rendering knowledge.

I keep repeating myself, but if people feel like they lost years of their life learning how to deal with some renderer and struggle, then they might have learned how to ask people for fishes (or metaphorically spoken: patches), but not how to learn fishing themselves. If you think rman or whatever works better for you, youre welcome! Take a cookie and some tea, relax! I think its cool to air frustrations, specially when it comes to faulty things like human programmed software.. :)

Mauritius
05-05-2008, 02:21 PM
'Si tacuisses' is all I can say, Moritz. Taking the fact that you didnt meet a person working in film/vfx who is glorifying a specific renderer as a point not to use it is simply... uhm... irrational.
Any quantitaitive argument is dubious. I'd never argue that. But the industry is rather small and when you specialize in rendering for over a decade, like me, you have met a lot of people ...

You might have alos misunderstood me. When I said I a haven't met any rendering TD who has anything good to say about mental ray, that was both an open enthymeme as well as (and foremost) an euphemism.

I'm also not taking sides here. I don't care. My point was solely that you have to understand why people have to vent their anger sometimes. :)

.mm

Mauritius
05-05-2008, 02:28 PM
This is very naive by you. As you noted above is not that there're just 'tech' people and 'artist' people. there should be just professional people. where for professional I mean the attitude to sit down in front of a monitor until you didn't get the best you were expecting. I'm just still in front of my monitor.
If someone believes mental ray is a good renderer, chances are they never used anything better.

To use a metaphor you can probably relate to: it is pointless to argue with a person about the superiority of Italian cuisine if that person has never truly tasted and understood Italian cooking (just tasting doesn't do) .

Similarly it is a waste of time arguing with people over the superiority of some renderer if they have never used it. Their limited perspective simply disqualifies them for the debate in the 1st place.

As I said, I was merely making a point for why people get upset about renderer x. Not if renderer x is better or worse. I don't think anyone will change anyone's opinion here for the very reason touched above -- lack of a base of comparison.

You will find that in certain circles in the industry these topics aren't debated at all. People just know from experience what works and what doesn't for the stuff they do.
Knowing is very different from believing what works and what doesn't. The latter is all that people who only ever used one renderer (or certain kinds of renderers) can do at best.

.mm

Mauritius
05-05-2008, 02:42 PM
Since You are clearly interested in/advertise 3delight/Houdini, I don't see necessity for Your presence in Maya ( "crappy 3d app" ) forum and mr ( "crappy raytracer") thread.
I fail to see Your contribution to this topic.
Well, what about your own contribution?

If what you quoted was as obvious as you make it sound, why waste everyone's time by forcing them to read a reply that states what they already know?

As your sole contribution to this thread your reply contained zero new information.
Mine (the one you replied to) did.

.mm

inguatu
05-05-2008, 03:14 PM
I'm also not taking sides here. I don't care. My point was solely that you have to understand why people have to vent their anger sometimes. :)

.mm


actually you do care or else you wouldn't be responding to each post personally. You don't vent "anger".. you vent frustration, and there's a point where it just turns into whining or trolling in a forum.

Emil3d
05-05-2008, 06:31 PM
This thread has outlived its usefulness. Most everyone has apparently forgotten that there's a fair chance that someone in here has a hand in your future. And more often than not the posts do not enhance the reputation of the person leaving it. It also makes room for people willing to take advantage of the situation inappropriately by neither being constructive or even slightly helpful.

As Max pointed out, the lack of education by those willing to complain is generally the problem. I work in a studio environment as well as education. 90% of the time I have a complaint that they learned nothing, they were the student that never raised their hand or asked questions. "This doesn't work!" You forgot a checkbox. . .

No one takes control of their own learning process. So then someone sweeps in, takes advantage of them (ahem) only to lead them down another path without ever really learning anything.

Being just as disatisfied with everything. . . . Feel free to make your own choices and experiment. Some workflows will suit you better than others. But again, there is no superior choice for everyone. Nice try.

Am I Bitter? . . .taste me.

And I'll feel free to backup Max on the integration issue. I also use Renderman for Maya and the issues exist, they are simply different issues. But not enough people use it to create an absurd thread. However, if they get the market share they want, it will happen.

Be careful what you wish for. Your honest statements sound true and logical and although I agree that this is the case in general I disagree that all complaints and critics in this thread are due to usersí fault.

One hypothetical example: If 90% of Mentalray users in Maya miss a button and if only 10% of Mentalray users in XSI miss the same button, would you think that most of Maya users are dumb or you would think that there is something wrong with Mentalray implementation in Maya?

I was one of the people who complained in this thread. I have used computers for more than 20 years and most of my time was spent learning new software. I always read the manuals, search the web, and try to learn only what I need for completing my jobs. I have developed a very good sense to detect when my time is being wasted due to poorly designed software and supporting materials. When I use Mentalray in Maya I can clearly see that it was not designed with the user experience in mind and it is very obvious that they never made any tests with user experiences. From scattered bits of information around the forums, I gather that the Mentalray programmers including Master Zap who writes wonderful shaders, are unfortunately not even Maya users. I believe this puts a negative effect on the Maya userís experience side of things. Maya users donít have a supporting documentation that is a comprehensive central source for using Mentalray for Maya. Because of this, Maya users have to search and find scattered bits and pieces of information and then filter it from a lot of useless noise in order to be able to perform essential and basic tasks for using MR for Maya. This is unbelievable for a software with a thousands dollars price tag that claim to be a modern top of the line 3D and rendering solution and which in recent years targets more and more the whole 3D market spectrum including small shops and individual users.

The last program that Iíve been learning is Adobe Dreamweaver, Iím pointing to this fact because it can be used as a software comparison where the user experience and empowerment is the only goal and the reason for existing of this program. This program doesnít do anything that cannot be done without it, yet it is one of the most useful programs in the World for designing web pages. It allows any person to create highly functional web pages without knowing scripting, application and database server, and programming languages. In other words: 'without learning how to fish', and in fact uses this as its major selling point, although it is also very useful for those how know how to fish too. Knowing how to fish is nice and users know that they will get there if they spend substantial time from their lives, but there is a larger market full of users who donít have that goal and are looking for faster solutions because they donít spend all their life only in the little Mentalray bay or even in the little lake of the rendering world. Faster results is typically something that can be delivered form software especially when designed with user experience in mind and this is where Mentalray for Maya is lacking big time.

Iím not advocating other renderers as better solutions. Iím using Maya as a 3D program of my choice based on its capabilities as a whole not because of its rendering solutions, but I do want better rendering solution and I think Mentalray can fit the bill if improved. My comments are in regard to how Mentalray for Maya can be improved and I support the complaints in this thread that have that purpose. I realize that this is a tough problem. Big factor in this is that the user feedback system is also very poor. From forum message from people working for Autodesk, I gather that when a bug or feature request is reported, an administrator classifies it under a number and sends the filtered user feedback to the next department. This doesnít show the number of people requesting a but fix or feature. All users can do is make their requests from Maya help menu and after that there is no user control over what happens next. The feedback system should make all reports transparent to the user community and allow users to vote for priority on any suggestion and even to offer enhanced version of any reported suggestion. I know that there was a web page somewhere created with a similar goal but it had some silly rules and no guarantee that this feedback is used by the decision makers.

So threads like this will continue to pop up until the users feel that someone at Autodesk is actually listening to them.

Although it was may be mentioned with other intent, as stated earlier by someone, having a renderer from a separate company will definitely has its advantages regarding support and user feedback. I believe that if they separate MR for Maya from the package and sell it separately, the user experience side of it will improve much faster.

Emil3d
05-05-2008, 06:36 PM
If someone believes mental ray is a good renderer, chances are they never used anything better... Unless one is a total beginner, I think people know what is what even if they haven't used every single renderer out there. I'm sure that you have a pretty good idea, that is close to the truth, about renderers that you've never used. For anyone interested there is plenty of info for every renderer out there.
I use Mentalray not because I think it is the best out there, but because I have a business with a few Maya sits creating work for small and medium business companies that need product design, architectural, and sign spectaculars visualizations that often include assembly and walkthrough animations and even some more artistic work with web page design. So Mentalray is good for what I do but it could be improved to be much better. Of course I know that other renderers also do good, and at some areas better job but I have invested heavily as money and time to get to this point and I donít think switching to other renderers will reward me substantially enough to justify that change.

dagon1978
05-05-2008, 06:58 PM
If someone believes mental ray is a good renderer, chances are they never used anything better.



ahaha my god, mauritius, you are still here to advertise 3delight?
so, it is the greatest renderer on the world (or universe?) are you happy now?
it is so good that you never need to advertise it... are you frustrated for your user base or what?

dagon1978
05-05-2008, 07:12 PM
p.s.
i'm still waiting a thread, or a post with the "rubbish" parts of mental ray summarized

i write something in the IP thread, i can add something more, as i have a little bit of experience with the problems in mray4maya (and i do agree, it need a little bit of work, expecially now)
i repeat myself, why we can't start a constructive thread with the points to submit to autodesk?
this would be useful for all of us (i mean, all of us who think mental ray is a good renderer :rolleyes: )

MaNdRaK18
05-05-2008, 08:13 PM
Well, what about your own contribution?

My own contribution is pointing out the kind of "spam posts" that Your "contribution" actually IS. Not everyone reading this thread is prone to recognise such junk, given lack of experience some of new ppl in this field might have.



As your sole contribution to this thread your reply contained zero new information.
Mine (the one you replied to) did.

.mm

YOUR "contribution" to this thread contained ZERO VALID INFORMATION to this thread. Actually, You're HIJACKING it.
If You have something usefull to say about mr and maya, let's hear it, if not - go somewhere else and advertise whatever You like.

Bitter
05-05-2008, 08:45 PM
Your honest statements sound true and logical and although I agree that this is the case in general I disagree that all complaints and critics in this thread are due to usersí fault.



Not exactly, I mentioned the integration isn't perfect in a previous post. But overall the decision of what to use as a renderer should be based on experience and education. And the vast majority of people will throw their hands up at the first wall they encounter.

Path of least resistance. The argument that the software as a whole is COMPLETELY without merit seems asinine.

The distinction is that mental ray itself is a fine product (or the list of studios using it wouldn't exist), its integration on the other hand needs work. That's the point people seem to miss.

floze
05-06-2008, 11:17 AM
You will find that in certain circles in the industry these topics aren't debated at all. People just know from experience what works and what doesn't for the stuff they do.
Knowing is very different from believing what works and what doesn't. The latter is all that people who only ever used one renderer (or certain kinds of renderers) can do at best.
Si tacuisses, Moritz. I would accept your point of view if you wouldnt rant either. But youre only ranting your personal opinion here, with rhetorical taint. We call this kind of dialectics flaming and some call it trolling. You wont convince anyone by bullcrapping at n00bs here (and I dont call anyone a n00b, no I dont). There indeed is an amount of people reading this thread who actually used different renderers in production over the years. All of them went through frustration and sleepless nights. All of them agree that there is the right tool for the right job. In that sense youre not adressing people who 'never tasted/understood italian cooking' with your rant, instead youre mocking people who actually do that italian cuisine. And we all know one shouldnt mess with italians. (right, dagon? :D)

The fact that the only external link on your website goes to http://www.3delight.com/ gives it a funny strange taste, too. As Bitter said, this debate has outlived its usefulness and constructiveness. Still fun to follow though, sort of..

ghostlake114
05-06-2008, 11:44 AM
I dont tend to join in, but the thread is quite make me laugh :shrug:

Okie, It is rubbish, I know, but in what situation?

If you are arch vis, why did you stuck with Maya and MR when tons, most of arch vis are done in 3DSMax with Vray? MR and Maya can't be as strong as combo Max and Vray in this case.

But other case? Do you like the MR shader construct? Do you think MR SSS is rubbush? ... many things, that depends, what we are using it for.

If you just want logo with diamond shader go around, any renderer could do it for you without limit.
But each renderer has each case to do.

I agree currently MR is a bit rubbish if they are without shader and contribution of many around here. But that is the true strong point of MR, without shader, we hardly do many things.

Agree, many things MR should improve: more GI engine, more shader friendly with less connection, pass rendering, layer shader built-in.... tons of thing, but currently, most of us manage to do them all inside Maya MR.

I dont take any side, because each has their own reason, but in conclussion, also with many weakness, MR is not rubbish, for the sake of god

Mauritius
05-06-2008, 02:54 PM
The fact that the only external link on your website goes to http://www.3delight.com/ gives it a funny strange taste, too.
Well, sorry about that. I haven't updated that part of may page in ages.

In fact, most of the stuff in there was a straight automatic import from my old blog at plastickitten.net (going from MoveableType to Wordpress).

For whaterver reason, only the first link made it through when I converted the blog (3Delight starts with a number, hence it was the 1st).

If you check archive.org for plastickitten.net/blog, you might find my old MoveableType blog which contained a lot more links (among other things to all RenderMan compliant renderers).

Again, I'm not part of DNASoft and I don't expect my blog to be really read by anyone else but some friends & family these days. ;)

.mm

dagon1978
05-06-2008, 03:04 PM
actually do that italian cuisine. And we all know one shouldnt mess with italians. (right, dagon? :D)

:scream:
especially if you are calling Bologna Blogona or Emilia Romagna Emilgia Romana :p

come in italy Moritz, our cuisine it's more complex that what you think, Tagliatelle con Ragý alla Bolognese it's just the most famous of that kind of recipes, not the only one
in Sardinia we haveGnocchetti Sardi con Salsiccia (http://bragwebdesign.com/ricette-di-cucina/primi-piatti/gnocchetti-sardi-con-salsiccia/) , you will surprised by the permutations of our recipes, region-by-region ;)

floze
05-06-2008, 03:41 PM
.:scream:
especially if you are calling Bologna Blogona or Emilia Romagna Emilgia Romana :p

come in italy Moritz, our cuisine it's more complex that what you think, Tagliatelle con Ragý alla Bolognese it's just the most famous of that kind of recipes, not the only one
in Sardinia we haveGnocchetti Sardi con Salsiccia (http://bragwebdesign.com/ricette-di-cucina/primi-piatti/gnocchetti-sardi-con-salsiccia/) , you will surprised by the permutations of our recipes, region-by-region ;)
:drool:

XminusOne
05-07-2008, 04:03 PM
Ok, so to back onto the discussion, i've got an animation, only 100 frms here, MR won't render frames 47 and 48 but everything before and after is fine, why would this be happening? I try to just render out those individual frames(no batch rendering) and it won't work, If I batch render it stops at frame 48, I can do a batch render up to 48 and then set a different batch render to render frame 49 to 100, but I can't get frame 47 and 48 to render. Ideas?

Als
05-10-2008, 12:46 AM
Well,
I feel better about this thread then before. I had bad feeling that I went too far with such a statement. But after almost a year has gone by, and none of my very important questions are answered, I'm sure now it was worth starting it.
All the great "cooks" who hate this thread spend time explaining how I should start learning fishing instead of doing 3D and writing how wrong I am in starting this thread, while answering almost none of my "simple" questions.
If I'm so stupid, or shallow in my looking for answers for such a "simple" issues, why not just enlighten me with your answers?
I spend considerable a lot of time trying to implement MR in my pipeline, and due to the luck of information or help, I'm stuck with half baked solution. While in some cases I'm able to get good results, they are often sabotaged by unknown, unexplainable bugs, which no one has solutions for.
I'm the one who reported the missing libraries to autodesk support, even the solution was written by someone else in autodesk maya thread.

I just read the interview with one the top pixar artists and he explains that he doesn't have a time to go deep into rendering, even though he would like to do so.
How ignorant of him? He should stop doing his great award winning animations and start learning C++, rendering theory, MR shaders syntax, etc. or otherwise we must conclude he is just a noobie and has no clue about anything?

I tried many times to make this thread useful and save other people of working nights trying to find solutions which should be provided at the first place.
I'm complaining mainly about luck of information and solutions, not because I can't be bothered to learn more, but because I don't have where to learn from.
And fact that so many of the questions remained unanswered speaks volumes.

Also I stated why I started this thread many times, but many people here criticising this thread, haven't read the thread properly, nor answered directly on my questions (rants?).

Thanks for listening


Als

Buexe
05-10-2008, 09:55 AM
All the great "cooks" who hate this thread spend time explaining how I should start learning fishing instead of doing 3D and writing how wrong I am in starting this thread, while answering almost none of my "simple" questions.
:) that`s what I thought.

floze
05-10-2008, 01:08 PM
Also I stated why I started this thread many times, but many people here criticising this thread, haven't read the thread properly, nor answered directly on my questions (rants?).

Thanks for listening


Als
Well I'm getting pissed now. What are you talking about? You want to know how to make bump on a mental ray material? Or wtf question do you want to have answered? Sometimes I literally spend hours to help out guys like you, just to find out they were using a different maya version and didnt mention that in the first place.

Btw that pixar guy very likely has a effin' army of guys helping him out with the technical stuff. Thats a different league dude, wake up. Unless you got the dough to afford yourself a private army of coders. Until then just try to get along with it. I cant see your actual goal quite frankly. You want a job at pixar so you dont have to worry about 'half baked solutions'? How about providing fully baked questions? What you call 'simple questions' in fact are fatally simplified questions. Think about it.

Again, how the freakin hell should we help you out in that way by not sitting right next to you and pointing the damn finger on the screen to show whats going wrong. I again searched the whole thread and I still dont know what precisely your problem is. Please name that because we're exhaustingly moving in circles. And particles do render now.

The same goes for XminusOne. Dude. How the goddamn freakin hell should we know whats going on by looking at your post that's telling us at which frames it stopped rendering? This could happen for any reason with any renderer under any condition. Ffs, how should I extrapolate anything from that description? You guys are driving me nuts. Stick a fork in me I'm done.

dagon1978
05-10-2008, 02:13 PM
floze, my friend, take a cup of coffee (italian i recommend;) )

when i said, ok come on and start to summarize problems with examples, with elaborations, wich is the answer? i never had an answer for my problems :D
so if people dont want to start a constructive thread why should we? ;)
let's the people talk to fishing and flying fishes

DizzyJ
05-10-2008, 03:31 PM
:it's just the most famous of that kind of recipes, not the only one
in Sardinia we haveGnocchetti Sardi con Salsiccia (http://bragwebdesign.com/ricette-di-cucina/primi-piatti/gnocchetti-sardi-con-salsiccia/) , you will surprised by the permutations of our recipes, region-by-region ;)

This has been an amusing thread, but Dragon, you've crossed the line into needless cruelty. That recipe is in Italian and my attempt to translate it with Babelfish turned up an error message that would make mr blush:

Sbucciate and tritate the onion, unitela to the sausage and makes you to wither it to low fire.

"Pelati" is translated as "it peels to you," which makes it painfully difficult to shop for.

The next time you tempt us with yummy sausage and gnocchetti, please provide a translation!

*****

XminusOne: What's different about frames 47 and 48 from the rest of the animation? It's hard to provide any answers with so little information. Are you getting error messages?

dagon1978
05-10-2008, 04:29 PM
This has been an amusing thread, but Dragon, you've crossed the line into needless cruelty. That recipe is in Italian and my attempt to translate it with Babelfish turned up an error message that would make mr blush:



"Pelati" is translated as "it peels to you," which makes it painfully difficult to shop for.

The next time you tempt us with yummy sausage and gnocchetti, please provide a translation!

*****

XminusOne: What's different about frames 47 and 48 from the rest of the animation? It's hard to provide any answers with so little information. Are you getting error messages?

ehehe it's turning to a cuisine thread? :P
so pelati = peeled tomatoes, something like this (http://www.21food.com/userImages/yangshixin/yangshixin$418171331.jpg) , in italy we use to make it
but you can use fresh tomatoes (peeled), obviously sammarzano ;)

ghostlake114
05-10-2008, 04:57 PM
I totally agree every problem always HAVE a solution, but how could we find solution?
Simple by docs?
A tutorial?
Deep inside forum?
Never seen before?

...

So, MR is not some kind of above the water, it really require the knowledge. Assume we take time, (or lose time in some opinion). But when we understand the it, hardly for us to get the problem again.

And another thing, which renderer you think is easier than MR? Vray? No, Vray IS NOT simple, the FACT, they just turn out simple, but very complicated in using.

So Als, could you give out your question that can not be answer here, so we all could give it a try

Bitter
05-10-2008, 06:44 PM
The answer is. . .

XSI. At least maybe.

I swear I'm ready to give it a shot, lol. I've scanned other forums and basically it's Maya integration, not mr. So maybe this should be rebranded, "Why is mental ray integration in Maya so rubish?"

floze
05-10-2008, 07:02 PM
The answer is. . .

XSI. At least maybe.

I swear I'm ready to give it a shot, lol. I've scanned other forums and basically it's Maya integration, not mr. So maybe this should be rebranded, "Why is mental ray integration in Maya so rubish?"
The major mistake probably was to try building mental ray on top of the maya software renderer environment. It turned out to be sort of incompatible in several ways with customized and more recently released stuff. Many parts appeared to be redundant (though they practically werent) and it all disastrously mixed up into a soup of essential and obsolete nodes which keeps confusing people. A major overhaul of that entaglement seems pretty reasonable to me either, of course.

slipknot66
05-10-2008, 07:08 PM
Well I'm getting pissed now. What are you talking about? You want to know how to make bump on a mental ray material? Or wtf question do you want to have answered? Sometimes I literally spend hours to help out guys like you, just to find out they were using a different maya version and didnt mention that in the first place.

Btw that pixar guy very likely has a effin' army of guys helping him out with the technical stuff. Thats a different league dude, wake up. Unless you got the dough to afford yourself a private army of coders. Until then just try to get along with it. I cant see your actual goal quite frankly. You want a job at pixar so you dont have to worry about 'half baked solutions'? How about providing fully baked questions? What you call 'simple questions' in fact are fatally simplified questions. Think about it.

Again, how the freakin hell should we help you out in that way by not sitting right next to you and pointing the damn finger on the screen to show whats going wrong. I again searched the whole thread and I still dont know what precisely your problem is. Please name that because we're exhaustingly moving in circles. And particles do render now.

The same goes for XminusOne. Dude. How the goddamn freakin hell should we know whats going on by looking at your post that's telling us at which frames it stopped rendering? This could happen for any reason with any renderer under any condition. Ffs, how should I extrapolate anything from that description? You guys are driving me nuts. Stick a fork in me I'm done.


Wow floze...i understand you :)

brogh
05-10-2008, 07:58 PM
wht to say I agree with floze :)

and about being rubish, heh ...

some of you might got the chanche to use the first implementation of mental in maya and know what i'm talking about being if we are talking about being " rubish " i think that you are refeering to this because actually mental ray isn't that " rubish ",

I also don't like that much how some things are implemented, and how some others were done..

But basically you also must agree, that it depends on what you have to do with it.. do you have to do arch ? i would for shure go with vray, do you have to make movies?.. i would definitively find out something other that vray, (i don't mean that vray isn't able to... )......

why ? because i need something more flexible to do other things..

Architechture, design, movies are completely different cases, and every case has it's limits and needs wich causes the choiche of the engine or the Software itself....

I'm going mad to get correct and efficent label and coverage passes in a simple way with a lot of objects in the scene.. but that's the way it is now .. and it's not set that it's so forever....

many productions wouldn't be based on Mental ray if mental wouldn't have this flexibility... to get the control if you want, and I repeat ... if YOU WANT ... to tweak the last ultimate thing to get a better o faster render.

Obviously you have to stay a lot on learning and practicing if you want to learn it really well... but to get good images it's not needed that you know ANYTHING about mental ray.

math's help a lot to understand what's behind, but you still have to practice a lot to understand what happens visually,

For my dear friends who find mental ray so rubish( i can understand you, as there are many thing that I also don't like,) i would suggest to take an good in deep look ath the manual first, and read it ( but not as you where reading the newspeaper) after that make a plane and a ball and start rendering ....

For my other friends talking about the italian cousine i have to warn you .... Dagon doesn't know how to cook even a simple "spaghetti al burro" ( spaghetti with a little slice of butter ) so i wouldn't take him seriously...

Haha :P

Cheers guys

Bitter
05-10-2008, 08:04 PM
Just like Floze mentioned, I can remember sitting at SIGGRAPH in the Pixar presentation for Ratatouille. On one animation they showed they said, "Yeah just ignore that part where the renderer freaked out."

It happens to everyone, including Pixar. And they do indeed have a technical support staff for Renderman specifically for each project. Look in the credits of their films and it's in its own category.

ILM and Imageworks also have contracts with mental images for the same reason.

Blue Sky has people there that actually write the renderer they use. (BTW, they actually submit bugs to Autodesk for Maya as well, one of which is an IK bug they came across working on the next film.)

floze
05-10-2008, 09:53 PM
ILM and Imageworks also have contracts with mental images for the same reason.
Yeah ILM seems to be a major driving force there. Didnt they want to publish some of their tools they used in their latest movies? I remember reading an interesting interview about that some time ago. It probably would be more reasonable to get in touch with them instead of someone at mental images directly.. because those are the guys who actually need to use that renderer, and push it to it's limits for sure. Could maybe the irradiance particles be a product of that collaboration between ILM and mi? In that interview they mentioned a fast and robust one-bounce GI if I remember correctly.. now the concept behind irradiance particles and importons is quite fast and robust in terms of speed vs. flicker/convergence as far as I can judge.

And sorry, Als and XminusOne, if I got too personal. I didnt mean to bash anyone, but sometimes I'm just seeing red.. :hmm:

Bitter
05-10-2008, 11:52 PM
My understanding is that if an advancement that comes about from the collaboration is usable, it can be built into a newer release. Pixar has often been used as the reason for "Production Tested Renderman". But I would love to see the contract.

The same is true of mental ray. Buf in France has a mental ray pipeline and has produced some great work. Welcome to photoreal sex (Fight Club). Luma also has a mental ray pipeline. Given some major studios and smaller studios have chosen it and stuck to it, I defer to their judgement that it's a stable product. (Keep in mind they have their own tools for it.)

As mentioned in the Irradiance Particles thread, I am wondering if XSI has some similar issues. I have access to XSI here. I have used it maybe once to twirl around. I might take one of these scenes like the teapot, export as an .obj and run it in XSI once I get a grip on it.

If I can remove it from the Autodesk umbrella, maybe there's a clearer view.

Also remember that shaders that are written are supposed to be written for standalone, then ported to an OEM package since those packages have different considerations. Hence why the production shaders are locked. They work fine with standalone. . .but with Maya it is a different animal so it's not exposed yet.

There's no argument that it's not perfect. And is troublesome in some cases more than others. But some of us can cope with the trouble based on our own knowledge and experience. I have quite a few people that freak out until I explain there's a way to do it that doesn't produce the problem.

What bothers me are any bugs that cannot be solved through artistic consideration. If the hammer doesn't work I will try something else without complaint even if I think the method is foolish there may be a reason for it. (It doesn't work because I'm doing it wrong.) But if we all go through the toolbox and end up empty handed. . .there's a problem.

This isn't CG for dummies. It's professional level film production tools that come with a lot of twists and turns that result in a complex product. If it were tic-tac-toe for a Nokia, it would be a different story. I personally would hand out pitchforks and torches at the gate for our raid if that were the case.

Als
05-11-2008, 03:06 AM
Well, I will skip all the comments which are bordering on insults regarding my knowledge on rendering or in general. I will repeat again, I'm in this industry a very long time, full time since 1991. I worked in small studios which could not afford renderman, let alone someone to write shaders or plugins. I had to relly on maya render and plugins available for it.
Floze pointed out that most of the confusion comes from people trying to use maya render workflow to work with MR as well.
But main problems I have with mental ray have very little to do with any sort of general techical knowledge or lack of patience.
I never expected one button great render, nor I need someone to look over my shoulder since I can't figure things out on my own, due to lack of focus.
I found mental ray manuals lacking big time on many details and practical examples.
What I found frustrating for example was problem with shaders which didn't work because they had too many digits in id number for shader description. It was really imposible thing to predict, and there is no logic in it, and I spend lot's of time trying to figure out what was wrong, and I was browsing CG talk for quite a while until I spoted the solution.
Secondly after a lot's of trial and error I managed to implement some of external shaders to work in mental ray sattelite, while those still refuse to work on some of the machines. I still haven't found the solution for this one. Even worse some of the shaders worked for a while, and then stoped working giving me strange errors which don't make sense.
I will write more about this in detail, but I have to say that I didn't find anywhere proper example on how this should be implemented, and I find it frustrating that I have to waste my time trying to find solution on something like this. I also found phenomena refuse to work unless they were declared on every machine and copied on specific location.
This is not an issue in linux environment, but on windows it's a bit painfull.
Also even when I would copy all the files I though are needed some machines would work, some did not. I'm not going yet into full detail about this yet, but I feel that all this should be solved on much simplier way.
I also suggested the unified library/repository of MR shaders quite a while ago, and I feel that autodesk should provide this, as well as all the needed versions. They still don't have to fully support them, but at least they should provide a hand in this mater.
Mia materials are right steps in right direction, but it's beyond me why they didn't provide all the examples and finished shaders which are in manuals for mia material.
Also for ages I was trying to find how to use geometric shaders, or some simple example of how to use polka dots texture etc. Let alone examples of all the MR nodes which exist in the version of maya 8.5 which I'm using at the moment.
I did manage to implement Luma shaders and Dark tree shaders, and they can make huge difference, even they are in a sense ancient old shaders. I did ask couple of times if anyone is using them, and got no reply.
Not to mention the bug that maya would not save the setup for mental ray. I found this so frustrating, and even after upgrading to sp1 this is still an issue.
I also asked if it's possible to use new production shaders with maya 8.5?
Due to luck of plugins and shaders for win64 version, I'm still using 32 bit version of maya on those machines for rendering, but some of the shaders "refuse" to work, which is really shame.
I'd also expect autodesk to have better solution for Zdepth shader for MR.
I can't make Dirt shader and ZdepthDOF shader work on those 64 bit machines, so I have to give up on those.
The good thing is that I finally found a book that goes in depth on many MR issues, so finally I have better source of information in one place, but at least I would like people to understand where all my frustration is coming from.
Maya rendering is a big problem since maya renderer is still only one which can render all the types of geometry, fur, fluids, pfx etc. and mental ray should really either replace it completely, or at least be implemented in less confused way.
There is still so many times when I don't really know if some of the node connections will work in MR as they do in maya render, and there is not enough information about this either.
I guess many of people use MR standalone to render, and they don't have any of the issues mentioned above?

Thanks for listening


Als

Bitter
05-11-2008, 07:51 AM
What I found frustrating for example was problem with shaders which didn't work because they had too many digits in id number for shader description.

Autodesk provides this information to my knowledge. You must contact them for the correct id numbers. Puppet knows how to do this. He might can shed light on how to correctly assign numbers.

I spend lot's of time trying to figure out what was wrong, and I was browsing CG talk for quite a while until I spoted the solution.

Why are you looking at CGtalk to be the manual? While we can help with similar experiences, you might be seeking help in the wrong place. Keep in mind each of us has knowledge that only goes so far and well. . .I have seen bad advice here in the past. Unless it comes from the horses mouth I'd take it with a grain of salt. There are exceptions: djx, puppet, max, bart, zap, dragon, floze, etc, where I trust their judgement. But otherwise you are trusting a complete stranger.

Secondly after a lot's of trial and error I managed to implement some of external shaders to work in mental ray sattelite, while those still refuse to work on some of the machines.

Where did these shaders come from? Anything not from the OEM is not supported. Caveat Emptor.

I also found phenomena refuse to work unless they were declared on every machine and copied on specific location.

This is to be expected, the machines do not ask the master for their own local resources. The machines have to have an identical setup to work correctly. Without that you end up with a situation where each machine has to run across the network for basic information, this is not efficient and is avoided by having them setup with the information necessary to run. This is in the docs. (Also, take a look at the rayrc files where commented sections explain their usage.)

Mia materials are right steps in right direction, but it's beyond me why they didn't provide all the examples and finished shaders which are in manuals for mia material.

Do you mean something like presets? These are available inside Maya. But not everything is a preset. While that may be convenient, it is assumed you are a interested in going beyond the preset (which everyone has access to and becomes boring and standard) to create the features correct for your project. It is that depth that makes Maya a powerful program. The presets are a good starting point ONLY, beyond that, the docs are designed to provide you with the information necessary to create on your own.

I did manage to implement Luma shaders and Dark tree shaders, and they can make huge difference, even they are in a sense ancient old shaders. I did ask couple of times if anyone is using them, and got no reply. Not to mention the bug that maya would not save the setup for mental ray.

Again, external shaders. Some of which have not been approved for, nor designed for Maya by manufacturers. You are mixing apples and oranges with some shaders. If you install an external shader, not written for the Maya interface or API by mi or Autodesk, then you are taking a risk that it does not work how you'd like. This is an issue to be taken up with the shader writers to see if they support Maya, not the other way around. If it is a mental images shader then I would feel different. But like buying a part for a Toyota that didn't come from Toyota. . .you're on your own.

I can't make Dirt shader and ZdepthDOF shader work on those 64 bit machines, so I have to give up on those.

Not OEM shaders, you have to seek support from the shader writers, not Autodesk. If they do not have 64-bit shaders then you are out of luck or you should ask the provider for a 64-bit version. The ctrl shaders are excellent shaders, but if they do not operate, then you contact ctrl studio, not Autodesk or mental images. This is why you have seen many of us begging for 64-bit ctrl shaders. And if they fail, we ask ctrl studio on what to do, not mental images. You have to seek the information from the right people or you are truly banging your head against the wall. (BTW, I have not had an issue with ctrl shaders that I didn't create on my own, RTFM.)

Maya rendering is a big problem since maya renderer is still only one which can render all the types of geometry, fur, fluids, pfx etc. and mental ray should really either replace it completely, or at least be implemented in less confused way.

Honestly this is a bit of a pain. There is still an issue with some translation, however you will find it an issue with any renderer. i.e. Renderman does not render fluids at all. It is their hope to have a complete integration with mental ray in the future. Is it taking longer than we'd expect? Sure. WAY longer than I would think. Did they step in the poo with immature features? Yes. They did. No explanation here other than complexity and perhaps I don't understand the difficulty.


There is still so many times when I don't really know if some of the node connections will work in MR as they do in maya render, and there is not enough information about this either.


In the Maya docs there are release notes that detail Limitations. If you discover one that is not listed, then it should be reported to Autodesk. It's possible it is a bug.

I understand you, and your frustration. I have been in similar situations, especially with manuals that are complex. I am trained as an artist and have had to reorganize my thinking to find solutions. And to an extent I understand more than I would have by doing that. By itemizing your complaints I can see each of them as a separate question. And while my answers will not be what you want to hear, they are the answers that exist. I think part of your pain is possibly seeking the answer from the wrong source, or expecting it to be much simpler than it is.

This is a complex topic, rendering, and I expect that's why there are soooo many people in this forum.

Be specific. Read the docs. Ask the manufacturer, then seek help in the forum. In the end will there be technical limitations beyond my control? Probably. Is that fair? Maybe.

floze
05-11-2008, 12:27 PM
Secondly after a lot's of trial and error I managed to implement some of external shaders to work in mental ray sattelite, while those still refuse to work on some of the machines. I still haven't found the solution for this one. Even worse some of the shaders worked for a while, and then stoped working giving me strange errors which don't make sense.
I will write more about this in detail, but I have to say that I didn't find anywhere proper example on how this should be implemented, and I find it frustrating that I have to waste my time trying to find solution on something like this. I also found phenomena refuse to work unless they were declared on every machine and copied on specific location.
You might be using an outdated version of the microsoft runtime library (msvcrt.dll) on your os. Try installing the latest .net framework; search the microsoft websites for the one that suits your system. This is something that's been bugging me for ages, because there's no real indication on what's going wrong - it just appears like the shader dll is not existant. The reason for this is that the one who compiled the shader, compiled it against version x of the runtime library. That's no crime at all, he/she should just make sure to provide that information to people who want to use that shader. If youre using 'regular' software that requires the latest library, it typically gets installed more or less silently by the installation routine, so you dont even notice anything about that. Since mr shaders usually dont have installation routines which could check all that environmental conditions, you (as a user) are sort of expected to have the latest runtime libraries installed. I know that's technical crap no one ever should have to care about, but now you can start blaming microsoft for it if you like.

Also, it definitely is possible to use a central location for anything - plugins, scripts, icons, presets, mental ray shaders. This is how I set up my stuff, I dont expect it to work for anyone else but you'll get the idea:

//Declare root path
string $rootPath = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/";

//Set the SCRIPTS environment variable
string $flist[] = `getFileList -fld ( $rootPath + "scripts/" ) -fs "*."`;
for ( $f in $flist ) {
$oldScriptPath = `getenv "MAYA_SCRIPT_PATH"`;
putenv "MAYA_SCRIPT_PATH" ( $oldScriptPath + ";" + $rootPath + "scripts/" + $f );
} clear $flist;

//Set the PLUGINS environment variable
string $oldPluginsPath = `getenv "MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH"`;
if ( `about -v` == "8.5 x64" ) {
putenv "MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH" ( $oldPluginsPath + ";" + "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/;" + $rootPath + "plug-ins/x64" );
}
if ( `about -v` == "8.5" ) {
putenv "MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH" ( $oldPluginsPath + ";" + "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/;" + $rootPath + "plug-ins/x86" );
}

//Set the MENTAL RAY environment variables

// if ( `getenv "MR_DEBUG"` == 1 ) {
// putenv "MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH" ( $rootPath + "mental_ray/shader_DEBUG/include" );
// } else {
if ( `about -v` == "8.5 x64" ) {
putenv "MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH" ( $rootPath + "mental_ray/shader_x64/include" );
}
if ( `about -v` == "8.5" ) {
putenv "MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH" ( $rootPath + "mental_ray/shader_x86/include" );
}
// }

if ( `about -v` == "8.5 x64" ) {
putenv "MI_LIBRARY_PATH" ( $rootPath + "mental_ray/shader_x64/lib" );
}
if ( `about -v` == "8.5" ) {
putenv "MI_LIBRARY_PATH" ( $rootPath + "mental_ray/shader_x86/lib" );
}

//Set the ICONS environment variable
string $oldXbmPath = `getenv "XBMLANGPATH"`;
putenv "XBMLANGPATH" ( $oldXbmPath + ";" + $rootPath + "icons" );

//Set some CUSTOM environment variables
putenv "MAYA_DISABLE_MRMAP" "1";
putenv "MAYA_DISABLE_MRFORMATS" "1";

//Set the PRESETS environment variable
string $oldPresetPath = `getenv "MAYA_PRESET_PATH"`;
putenv "MAYA_PRESET_PATH" ( $oldPresetPath + ";" + $rootPath + "presets" );

//Source all scripts in the startup folder
$flist = `getFileList -fld ( $rootPath + "scripts/startup/" ) -fs "*.mel"`;
for ( $f in $flist ) {
eval( "source \""+ $rootPath + "scripts/startup/" + $f + "\"");
} clear $flist;

//..
yeahbaby( 0, 4 ) ;

//Start the Bonus Tools stuff
eval( "source \""+ $rootPath + "scripts/BonusTools/bonusToolsMenu.mel\"" );
scriptJob -permanent -event "MenuModeChanged" "bonusToolsMenu";
bonusToolsMenu;

..save it to userSetup.mel (this is important, since maya will check for exactly this filename at startup) and put it into a regular script path.

To have mental ray and mayatomr look at exactly the places you want it to search for it's shaders, go to mentalrayStart.mel in your mayalocation\scripts\others folder, at around line 45 where the procedure miRayrcPath is being declared, and let it look like this:

proc string[] miRayrcPath(string $dir)
{
string $dirs[];
int $i = 0;

/*
$dirs[$i++] = `internalVar -userPrefDir`;
$dirs[$i++] = `internalVar -userAppDir`;
if (`about -nt`) {
if (size(getenv("HOMEDRIVE")) && size(getenv("HOMEPATH")))
$dirs[$i++] = getenv("HOMEDRIVE") + getenv("HOMEPATH");
if (size(getenv("USERPROFILE")))
$dirs[$i++] = "$USERPROFILE";
}
else
$dirs[$i++] = "$HOME";
$dirs[$i++] = `getenv("MAYA_LOCATION")` + "/mentalray";
$dirs[$i++] = $dir;
*/

if ( `getenv "MR_DEBUG"` == 1 ) {
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_DEBUG";
print ( "mental ray for Maya: loading x64 DEBUG libraries\n" );
$dirs[$i++] = $dir;
} else {
if ( `about -v` == "8.5 x64" ) {
//$dirs[$i++] = "//pslsrv04/ANM01/00_Resources/_maya/_mental_ray/Shader_x64";
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x64";
print ( "mental ray for Maya: loading x64 libraries\n" );
$dirs[$i++] = $dir;
}

if ( `about -v` == "8.5" ) {
//$dirs[$i++] = "//pslsrv04/ANM01/00_Resources/_maya/_mental_ray/Shader_x86";
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x86";
print ( "mental ray for Maya: loading x86 libraries\n" );
$dirs[$i++] = $dir;
}
}

return $dirs;
}

..all you basically have to do is looking for the (absolute) pathes I used above and exchange them with your central network location where you would store all your mr stuff.. savvy?

To have mayatomr and thus the nodefactory search for shaders at the right spot, go into the mentalrayForMaya.mel in the mayalocation\scripts\others folder at around line 40 and let the mentalrayForMaya procedure look like this:

global proc mentalrayForMaya(string $plugdir)
{
// Adjust custom shader path to force loading of standard shader
// packages with known exceptions excluded from factory loading.
// Unify the environment variable to work cross-platform.

//edited by floze//
//string $mayaLocation = getenv("MAYA_LOCATION");
//string $mrayInclude = $mayaLocation + "/mentalray/include";
string $mrayInclude;
// if ( `getenv "MR_DEBUG"` == 1 ) {
// $mrayInclude = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_DEBUG/include";
// } else {
if ( `about -v` == "8.5 x64" ) {
$mrayInclude = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x64/include";
}
if ( `about -v` == "8.5" ) {
$mrayInclude = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x86/include";
}
// }
string $env = strip(getenv("MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH"));
string $shaderPath;

if (size($env)) {
// Beware platform-specific directory separator.
if (!`about -nt` && gmatch($env, "*:*")) {
string $pathArray[];
tokenize $env ":" $pathArray;
for ($path in $pathArray)
$shaderPath += $path + ";";
$shaderPath += $mrayInclude;
}
else
$shaderPath = $env + ";" + $mrayInclude;
}
else
$shaderPath = $mrayInclude;

putenv("MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH", $shaderPath);

string $suppressEnv = getenv("MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_SUPPRESS");

putenv("MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_SUPPRESS",
($suppressEnv + ";mayabase.mi;mayahair.mi"));

string $mrfmLocation = dirname($plugdir);

// If you want to override the network rendering port number,
// add this line with your own environment variable name.
// The services file (/etc/services on Unix, and
// C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\services on Windows)
// should have an entry like this:
// my_mentalray_networkrendering_port <port number>/tcp
//
//putenv("MI_RAY3_SERVICE", "my_mentalray_networkrendering_port");
}

..and do the same for the 'lib' path in the mentalrayFactory.mel in your mayalocation\scripts\others folder at around line 90:

proc string[] miCustomLibraryPath(string $dir)
{
string $dirs[];
int $i = 0;

//edited by floze//
//$dirs[$i++] = `internalVar -userAppDir` + "/mentalray";
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x64";
//$dirs[$i++] = `getenv("MAYA_LOCATION")` + "/mentalray";
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x64";
//$dirs[$i++] = `getenv("MAYA_LOCATION")` + "/mentalray/lib";
// if ( `getenv "MR_DEBUG"` == 1 ) {
// $dirs[$i++] = "//pslsrv10/pslsrv10/Projects/_Resources/ANM/00_Resources/maya/mental_ray/shader_DEBUG/lib";
// } else {
if ( `about -v` == "8.5 x64" ) {
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x64/lib";
}
if ( `about -v` == "8.5" ) {
$dirs[$i++] = "C:/Dokumente und Einstellungen/floze/Eigene Dateien/maya/setup/mental_ray/shader_x86/lib";
}
// }

string $env = strip(getenv("MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH"));

if (size($env)) {
int $pathCount;
string $paths[];

if (gmatch($env, "*;*"))
$pathCount = `tokenize $env ";" $paths`;
else
if (!`about -nt` && gmatch($env, "*:*"))
$pathCount = `tokenize $env ":" $paths`;
else
if (`filetest -d $env` || `filetest -f $env`) {
$pathCount = 1;
$paths[0] = $env;
}

for ($k = 0; $k < $pathCount; $k++)
$dirs[$i++] = $paths[$k];
}

$env = strip(getenv("MI_LIBRARY_PATH"));

if (size($env)) {
int $pathCount;
string $paths[];

if (gmatch($env, "*;*"))
$pathCount = `tokenize $env ";" $paths`;
else
if (!`about -nt` && gmatch($env, "*:*"))
$pathCount = `tokenize $env ":" $paths`;
else
if (`filetest -d $env` || `filetest -f $env`) {
$pathCount = 1;
$paths[0] = $env;
}

for ($k = 0; $k < $pathCount; $k++)
$dirs[$i++] = $paths[$k];
}

if (size(strip($dir)))
$dirs[$i++] = $dir;

if (miIsFactoryDebug()) {
miFactoryDebug("library search path:");
for ($k = 0; $k < $i; $k++)
miFactoryDebug($dirs[$k]);
}

return $dirs;
}

Well that's the madman's dirty way to force mr and mayatomr do what you want it to do. But it works, proven for 8.5. There's some commented and obsolete stuff in the code above, e.g. I dont remember if its actually necessary to edit the mentalrayForMaya.mel and mentalrayFactory.mel if the nodefactory correctly reads the maya.rayrc (where you should change the paths to point your network location, too), but you'll get the idea, and I suggest not to simply copy and paste anything from above except the userSetup.mel - instead try to get through it and understand what's happening and adapt it to your environment. There's always a way to rape that software, if you know what I mean. I take no, not the least responsibility if you screw it all up though.

dagon1978
05-11-2008, 05:43 PM
Could maybe the irradiance particles be a product of that collaboration between ILM and mi? In that interview they mentioned a fast and robust one-bounce GI if I remember correctly.. now the concept behind irradiance particles and importons is quite fast and robust in terms of speed vs. flicker/convergence as far as I can judge.

mmm i think it come up from the reality server (where almost all the recent innovative features comes from), i dont know if there is an ILM touch too

Als
05-11-2008, 08:38 PM
Autodesk provides this information to my knowledge. You must contact them for the correct id numbers. Puppet knows how to do this. He might can shed light on how to correctly assign numbers.


I've mentioned this to Puppet, in the thread about his shaders and website, but I think he missed it. I think this should be available somewhere with easy access, since main issue comes from non autodesk community shaders, and it should be seen by community.


Why are you looking at CGtalk to be the manual?



No, I'm not, I look for answers in CGtalk after I search in maya manuals, autodesk knowledge support site, and available MR comunities.



Where did these shaders come from? Anything not from the OEM is not supported. Caveat Emptor.


These are the shaders which quite a lot of people use, and I used them before without any problems with maya 5.01 and v7.


This is to be expected, the machines do not ask the master for their own local resources. The machines have to have an identical setup to work correctly. Without that you end up with a situation where each machine has to run across the network for basic information, this is not efficient and is avoided by having them setup with the information necessary to run. This is in the docs. (Also, take a look at the rayrc files where commented sections explain their usage.)


I sort of don't really agree on this. In order to have identical setup on all the machines, it makes much more sense to have it on one place. Also important for me, this would make it easier easy to add or take away shaders if need occurs. This is the reason why I'm trying to set it up this way.



Do you mean something like presets? These are available inside Maya. But not everything is a preset. While that may be convenient, it is assumed you are a interested in going beyond the preset (which everyone has access to and becomes boring and standard) to create the features correct for your project. It is that depth that makes Maya a powerful program. The presets are a good starting point ONLY, beyond that, the docs are designed to provide you with the information necessary to create on your own.


No. There is a long manual on mia material with many render examples. It would be soooo much easier if they supplied , to see how they work, connections etc. and use them as well when in rush. There is also no reason why not include bigger material library. Vray, Maxwell, etc. have it, so why not MR? Wood needs to look like wood, clay like clay etc. If I understand well they are included in new Max 2009, so it makes sense to include them in maya as well, I guess/hope it's mater of time when they do. Also some of those presets are sort of wrong, but that's another issue...


Again, external shaders. Some of which have not been approved for, nor designed for Maya by manufacturers. You are mixing apples and oranges with some shaders.


Well, I'm not sure what do you mean by that really...
I'm using external shaders because at the first place there were none or very few provided, and for example there is still lack of essential good shaders for many things for example Zdepth, buffer output, etc. This is improved in 2008, but I'm still using 8.5. That's why I also asked if it's possible to use those new shaders with maya 8.5.


If you install an external shader, not written for the Maya interface or API by mi or Autodesk, then you are taking a risk that it does not work how you'd like.


I'm aware of this, but it's worth the risk, since I don't have really much of a choice.


This is an issue to be taken up with the shader writers to see if they support Maya, not the other way around. If it is a mental images shader then I would feel different. But like buying a part for a Toyota that didn't come from Toyota. . .you're on your own.


They are written by people who use them with maya, or modiefied to be used with maya, so again I'm not sure what are you trying to say.


Not OEM shaders, you have to seek support from the shader writers, not Autodesk. If they do not have 64-bit shaders then you are out of luck or you should ask the provider for a 64-bit version. The ctrl shaders are excellent shaders, but if they do not operate, then you contact ctrl studio, not Autodesk or mental images. This is why you have seen many of us begging for 64-bit ctrl shaders. And if they fail, we ask ctrl studio on what to do, not mental images. You have to seek the information from the right people or you are truly banging your head against the wall.


Well, this advice is sort of valid, maybe a bit obvious...


(BTW, I have not had an issue with ctrl shaders that I didn't create on my own, RTFM.)


RTFM? Huh? This is exactly the point I'm making about things which are NOT in the FM.


Honestly this is a bit of a pain. There is still an issue with some translation, however you will find it an issue with any renderer. i.e. Renderman does not render fluids at all. It is their hope to have a complete integration with mental ray in the future. Is it taking longer than we'd expect? Sure. WAY longer than I would think. Did they step in the poo with immature features? Yes. They did. No explanation here other than complexity and perhaps I don't understand the difficulty.


Exactly the point I was trying to make.


By itemizing your complaints I can see each of them as a separate question. And while my answers will not be what you want to hear, they are the answers that exist. I think part of your pain is possibly seeking the answer from the wrong source, or expecting it to be much simpler than it is.


I'm not expecting answers to be simple, I'm not simple. But I would like some of them to be more logical, and to be available.


Be specific. Read the docs. Ask the manufacturer, then seek help in the forum. In the end will there be technical limitations beyond my control? Probably. Is that fair? Maybe.

I'm trying to learn and to understand how everything works. And whenever I can, I try to share my knowledge. I hope that's fair. I am also very gratefull to all the people who share their shaders, knowledge etc. This is how these forums work for all of us.
Thanks for your answers.

Als

Als
05-11-2008, 08:44 PM
You might be using an outdated version of the microsoft runtime library (msvcrt.dll) on your os. Try installing the latest .net framework; search the microsoft websites for the one that suits your system. This is something that's been bugging me for ages, because there's no real indication on what's going wrong - it just appears like the shader dll is not existant. The reason for this is that the one who compiled the shader, compiled it against version x of the runtime library. That's no crime at all, he/she should just make sure to provide that information to people who want to use that shader. If youre using 'regular' software that requires the latest library, it typically gets installed more or less silently by the installation routine, so you dont even notice anything about that. Since mr shaders usually dont have installation routines which could check all that environmental conditions, you (as a user) are sort of expected to have the latest runtime libraries installed. I know that's technical crap no one ever should have to care about, but now you can start blaming microsoft for it if you like.


Thanks a million Floze for this.
I thought this is the reason. But problem is for example that maya 8.5 comes for example with two different libraries with same name but different directories, and question is when it's reading which. Also I'm not sure that old libraries are contained in new ones, because sometimes they are smaller in size even though they are newer.
I found some program which tells which libraries are needed for certain code, but it's still trial end error to be sure where to put them in order to work. If you have two (or more) libraries with same name, which one to use? This is issue I still haven't resolved.
I will try to implement your advice,

Thanks a lot!


Als

jupiterjazz
05-11-2008, 08:59 PM
Could maybe the irradiance particles be a product of that collaboration between ILM and mi? In that interview they mentioned a fast and robust one-bounce GI if I remember correctly.. now the concept behind irradiance particles and importons is quite fast and robust in terms of speed vs. flicker/convergence as far as I can judge.

Bollocks.

No ILM collaboration. It was developed by mental only.

The robust technique is RenderMan's pointbased approach (which BTW can also be n-bounce), and ILM's effects are all made with PRMan.

Let me also add that Sony Pictures Imageworks does NOT use one single mental ray thread to render their movies.


P

Bitter
05-11-2008, 10:46 PM
Imageworks:

We are looking for experienced developers with a passion for:
* raytracing and rendering (Prman, Mental Ray, Gelato etc)
* C/C++ programming
* Parallel programming and high-performance computing

"We got a lot more geometric detail with the buildings, which allowed us to get a lot closer," says visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk. "We combined that with ambient occlusion lighting in both RenderMan and Mental Ray to get a global illumination look and feel."

. . .rendering was accomplished by Pixar's RenderMan with an assist from Mental Images' Mental Ray.

"We use mental ray for its technical sophistication and ray tracing accuracy, giving our artists the ability to produce realistic lighting effects for our films. A key factor in our decision was the unique custom support package provided by mental images," said Bill Villarreal, Vice President of Technology at Imageworks.

Visual effects Senior TD for "Surf's Up", "Spider Man 3" & "Beowulf". Houdini, HDK, RenderMan, Python, Mental Ray. Jungle deformation systems/Wave FX/Goo/CFD.

I can find multiple references to mental ray and Imageworks not only from the CG and business sites, but from many employees of Imageworks like the one above. And given that their parent company is trying to use mental ray with the CELL B/E chips, it makes sense they would be interested in using it for production. By 2011 many game systems are looking to introduce games that operate purely on raytracing. After Nvidias purchase and possibly CELL usage, it looks like the software is in a decent position to be used more often as opposed to being ignored.

ILM references and mental ray are far more numerous. I don't feel like being redundant. (Star Wars, Poseidon, Transformers, The Hulk. . . the list continues.)

Is it their sole solution? No, Renderman is used quite often. But the implication is that learning anything other than Renderman is useless. This is obviously not true. Again, different pipelines use different tools for a job. You're better off knowing as many tools as possible if you want to get employed and stay employed. (If you are a modeler you would know polys, NURBS, and Sub-Ds) So for us it makes sense to know Renderman and mental ray.

I find absolutes of "never" don't hold up in a real world situation.

jupiterjazz
05-11-2008, 11:12 PM
I find absolutes of "never" don't hold up in a real world situation.

I hope you didn't spend a lot of time searching for all those other quotes :)
I just know those things called 'facts'.

But I agree on the absolutes.
So let's say that the real huge most of Imageworks & ILM frames are not rendered with mental ray. Ok?

Ah, I did not do any implication.
What I could have said is that RenderMan renderers are more proper tools for VFX & full CG animation while mental ray is oriented (more and more) towards architectural & design.

p

floze
05-12-2008, 02:08 AM
Bollocks.
Those italians.. well I was referring to this interview on VFXTalk:

Our relationship with ILM is very strong indeed. We provide custom support and development to ILM on a 24 hour turn-around basis. We also have extremely qualified staff on-site at ILM if it is required by them. However, ILM does not have access to mental ray's source code. In fact, ILM gets what they need with the additional benefit of not having to worry about the source code. All mental ray core development is done exclusively by mental images and all features and improvements in mental ray that result from the working relationship with ILM will be released to the public as part of one of the next general releases of mental ray.

I know its just some marketing blah, but hey.

Oh and Paolo.. coincidentally in the bus to the SIGGRAPH mental ray masterclasses that you held back in 2005 in LA, I met a guy sitting right next to me who told me he was working for Sony Imageworks.. visiting the classes just because they had an AC at that hotel conference room?

Bitter
05-12-2008, 02:43 AM
I hope you didn't spend a lot of time searching for all those other quotes :)

Nah, just 5 minutes while I was doing laundry. Gave me something to do while separating the whites from the not so whites.

Doesn't hurt I have former classmates at Sony either.

lazzhar
05-12-2008, 05:07 AM
Those italians.. well I was referring to this interview on VFXTalk:

I know its just some marketing blah, but hey.

Oh and Paolo.. coincidentally in the bus to the SIGGRAPH mental ray masterclasses that you held back in 2005 in LA, I met a guy sitting right next to me who told me he was working for Sony Imageworks.. visiting the classes just because they had an AC at that hotel conference room?

Probably because they got into the architectural visualization world I suspect. As it's described in this article: http://www.fxguide.com/article466.html

Saturn
05-12-2008, 07:43 AM
Since rman pipeline are generally bake bake bake render. You can use mr to make some of the bake stage.

We do that here sometimes at cfc. And I can tell you that some shot of the next Dark night ( batman ) have been done in mr.

Also last note my head of 3D here at CFC used to work at sony imageworks as a mr shader writter on matrix sequel. So I guess Pablo they got at least one mr thread ;)


Rendering maya workflow is crap whatever which renderer ( I include Prman ) you use anyway. Not really efficient is you ask me specially when you see what softimage did with mr or DNA software did to integrate 3delight in XSI. For the first time Rman becomes sexy to me and not something from the past where you had to do everything yourself.

jupiterjazz
05-12-2008, 09:10 AM
Those italians..

Again this argument...
So after implying that "you should not mess with us" are you now implying something else?
I know Scorsese and Coppola movies are great, but you rarely wake up in your bed with a horse's head.



well I was referring to this interview on VFXTalk:
I know its just some marketing blah, but hey.


Haha!
Can't qualify this as a solid reference.. :)



Oh and Paolo.. coincidentally in the bus to the SIGGRAPH mental ray masterclasses that you held back in 2005 in LA, I met a guy sitting right next to me who told me he was working for Sony Imageworks.. visiting the classes just because they had an AC at that hotel conference room?

Well, with such a solid proof, I really have to shut up here! :)

Listen, although it's really tempting to try to reduce the level of disinformation contained in this whole thread, I will stop replying all those other provocations as of this message.

Here some facts on ILM's latest 3 movies: IronMan, Transformers & Pirates, all rendered with PRMan.

The same applies to SPI, for example Surfs'Up is entirely rendered with PRMan.
They also use their internal renderer and Mantra (Monster's House & the upcoming movie, Cloudy). Polar Express was all RenderMan. The use of mental ray is practically absent at Sony.

edit:
Saturn, you are right, few threads could have been used for some bakes, in fact I did rephrase my absolutes yesterday to a more modest 99%. We are speaking of peanuts anyway if you consider the final renderings.

And I agree on the Maya-Rendering-Workflow. Now that is a serious issue.

P

Mauritius
05-12-2008, 11:19 AM
Imageworks:
I can find multiple references to mental ray and Imageworks not only from the CG and business sites, but from many employees of Imageworks like the one above. And given that their parent company is trying to use mental ray with the CELL B/E chips, it makes sense they would be interested in using it for production. By 2011 many game systems are looking to introduce games that operate purely on raytracing. After Nvidias purchase and possibly CELL usage, it looks like the software is in a decent position to be used more often as opposed to being ignored.
What has gaming and the possible (an highly unlikely) use of ray-tracing at a possible future time got to do with what offline renderer one of the aforementioned facilities uses?

I frankly think you are completley clueless about the decision making process in such facilities as far as the long time strategy, deciding on a renderer, goes.
ILM references and mental ray are far more numerous. I don't feel like being redundant. (Star Wars, Poseidon, Transformers, The Hulk. . . the list continues.)
So you happen to also know what it was actually used for on these shows? And how can you deduce that it still is used on any show in these places as of today?

Mentioning mental ray skills in a job ad says absolutely nothing about whether that company does use mental ray. If someone is a senior mental ray shader writer, they can be taught RMan shader writing quicker. The same applies vice versa; a company using solely mental ray might list RenderMan skills in their jobs ads for this very reason.

You have to look at what really is or was done with mental ray in the big places.
Usually we are (or were) talking about baking out a GI solution into a point cloud or textures and using that in final frames rendered with PRMan or another REYES renderer.
This is a split pipeline that makes things more complicated. It also makes it more expensive, as far as maintining this pipelines goes.
Least not because mental ray doesn't read RIBs or understands RSL and that is entirely mental images' fault these days as there are no obstacles any more that make the implementation of those create a legal threat to the company doing so.
On that note: 3Delight can read* render .mi files, ignoring shaders.

With the advent of point-based techniques and their maturing over the last three years, use of mental ray at most if not all of those places that felt they had to use if from time to time, to compensate for PRMan's slow ray-tracing, has plumped.
Not least, as the previous sentence already hinted at, because ray-tracing isn't even needed any more to archieve some of the most expensive to render stuff in the past.
The use of mental ray at most places is or was local to a certain project that happens to have (had) TDs on it who favour that renderer and were in decision making positions at the time.

All this is 1st hand information from people I work with that came straight ILM & Imageworks to the show were I work these days, in London.

The place I worked before, Rising Sun Pictures, in 2004 decided to never use mental ray again. This was after using it on "Sky Captian" and foremost because of the pain their TDs had to endure on that project.
And RSP is probably the most technical facility (by number of high level TDs vs number of "plain" artists) I ever worked at.
I haven't worked there in the last 12 months, but from all I gather they haven't reverted their decision yet.
Given the skills people sport at RSP, we can rule out lack of understanding of how mental ray works safely as a cause for the aformentioned decision, believe me.

MPC used mental ray on "Poseidon", to render the water. After that they decided: Never again will we use this renderer.
Why is that? Because MPC doesn't employ the technical expertise to handle this renderer or develop a fancy pipeline for it? Not likely. Their R&D/pipeline department is the biggest of the four big places in London. ILM btw. rendered their water for "Poseidon" using PRMan ...

You have to distinguish the marketing mumbo jumbo from facts. I rely solely on what people who worked at place X on project Y tell me, straight to my face.
What I do not rely on, and never will, is what I read in some marketing brochure from Pixar, mental images or whatever other company.
Believe me, you won't find the fact that RSP & MPC decided to not use mental ray ever again in one of those. All you will find is: "Mental ray was used to render Poseidon/Sky Captain/movie X" (and what a pile of rubbish this statement is anyway, from any vendor of any renderer).

Even though this is the Maya forum, I feel I also need to say something about XSI since its mental ray integration is really outstanding. Thus we can learn something about the validity of a lot of arguments people used here to defend mental ray, namely that a lot of the bad perception people have of it in Maya supposedly can be blamed solely on the fact that the Maya integration is so bad (which it certainly is).

XSI has just designed a complete new rendering API to give as many 3rd part renderers the ability to integrate with the app as possible.
XSI and mental ray use a shared memory architecture (for the scene graph) to give the renderer better & faster access to everything. This is great if people only want to use mental ray. I think XSI only realised in recent years how much they shot themselves into the foot by creating this dependency from a single vendor.
On a sidenote, 3Delight was the 1st finish their 3Delight for XSI plugin and they provided a lot of the input that shaped the workings of the new API.

A lot of people using XSI to do serious film work with it crave for alternatives to mental ray these days.
In late 2006 my mail box got flooded with mails from people who were dead keen to use Affogato for XSI as soon as RSP allowed me to release it. They mainly wanted to use it with some RMan compliant renderer (any, in fact) to overcome all the issues they were having with mental ray once their projects went past a certain complexity level.

Given the truly excellent integration mental ray has in XSI, I leave the conculsion on what this says about the renderer itself to the inclined reader.

You're better off knowing as many tools as possible if you want to get employed and stay employed.
I would think it made most sense to understand the underlying technologies such renderers use, not product A or product B. This knowledge is what has lead me to form the opinion I have about mental ray (or any renderer), foremost.

.mm

floze
05-12-2008, 12:07 PM
Again this argument...
So after implying that "you should not mess with us" are you now implying something else?

Haha that's what I actually mean. I was kidding you and you seem to take it serious. ;)
Its solely personal, empirical facts that make me have this picture of you guys down there. No affront there, I really love your country and I also have many italian descent friends over here! So please take it with a grain of salt. :)

And frankly I dont care whether Sony, ILM or whoever else is using prman, mental ray, mantra or whatever renderer to get their jobs done. As long as I'm not the leading TD at such major company I dont have any influence on that, just as I dont have any influence on the daily weather, so why should I ever care about that. But I know what mostly works for myself and that's the important part. Call me an ignorant dumbass, I still wouldnt care. Those kind of debates bore the hell out of me. If cgi ever goes down the drain along with the whole civilization I'll get back to painting charcoal on rocks, the most failsafe way to render.

Buexe
05-12-2008, 12:31 PM
Call me an ignorant dumbass, I still wouldnt care. Those kind of debates bore the hell out of me.
Very true, ignorant dumbass!
(sorry, you asked for it :) )

lazzhar
05-12-2008, 01:03 PM
I have learnt the word "solely" from this thread:)

floze
05-12-2008, 01:46 PM
What has gaming and the possible (an highly unlikely) use of ray-tracing at a possible future time got to do with what offline renderer one of the aforementioned facilities uses?

I frankly think you are completley clueless about the decision making process in such facilities as far as the long time strategy, deciding on a renderer, goes.
Ever caught on the fact that the video gaming industry is outpacing both movies and music together? GTA IV has cost around $100.000.000 for a reason; besides video gaming is and ever has been the major driving force behind hardware development for the 'common man' - otherwise we'd still sit in front of ultra-pricey SGI. Movies are so yesterday. Dont let hollywood crap your ears with that 'bollocks'.

jupiterjazz
05-12-2008, 01:52 PM
Haha that's what I actually mean. I was kidding you and you seem to take it serious. ;)
Its solely personal, empirical facts that make me have this picture of you guys down there. No affront there, I really love your country and I also have many italian descent friends over here! So please take it with a grain of salt. :)


Dude, I did take it cum grano salis.
And my provocation was equally ironic, so relax.
If you still think I didn't, then there must be some headless horse chickening around.. ;)



And frankly I dont care whether Sony, ILM or whoever else is using prman, mental ray, mantra or whatever renderer to get their jobs done. As long as I'm not the leading TD at such major company I dont have any influence on that, just as I dont have any influence on the daily weather, so why should I ever care about that. But I know what mostly works for myself and that's the important part. Call me an ignorant dumbass, I still wouldnt care. Those kind of debates bore the hell out of me. If cgi ever goes down the drain along with the whole civilization I'll get back to painting charcoal on rocks, the most failsafe way to render.

I did not call you anything you said, so please don't call yourself names.

As per the rest, I don't need to say anything and I wasn't referring to you, nor your needs.

My corrections were on some false speculation and to some political vapourware which is taken as liquid-gold and should be sometimes and in some cases necessarily questioned.


p


PS I know, I should shut up, but you guys are masters in tempting... ;)

Koogle
05-12-2008, 01:55 PM
If cgi ever goes down the drain along with the whole civilization I'll get back to painting charcoal on rocks, the most failsafe way to render.

funniest thing in this whole thread :)

now if we could just get a "Why is Maya so rubbish" thread started that would really get things rolling afteral it is Maya poor implementation of tools and features that are just as annoying as the sloppy areas of mental ray for Maya.

floze
05-12-2008, 02:09 PM
PS I know, I should shut up, but you guys are masters in tempting... ;)
:beer:
I havent had such fun in a long time here to be honest! If I ever had the chance to invite everyone writing in this thread for having some beers together to cover that topic, I'd call our local brewery right away. Or heineken if you like. Imho its the truest lets-have-a-drink-together-topic because it really never would come to any conclusion until we all fall over. I wonder who'd be the first one though. :scream:

Bitter
05-12-2008, 02:12 PM
If there's whiskey there, count me in. Maybe our own users meeting at SIGGRAPH, but what would we label the meeting or the group for that matter?

dagon1978
05-12-2008, 02:26 PM
hehe what i found funny is to see someone that "don't care" writing 10000 words and 1000 post in this thread, maybe he do care a bit? :D

there are many different area in the CG world, it's irritating to see someone considering a particular area better then others... i dont care if ILM or imageworks use or not mental ray, i know for a fact that it is much better then any reyes renderer for what i'm working for, so when i'll be an ILM employee (*) i'll do care about it

(*) ironic

Saturn
05-12-2008, 03:07 PM
hehe what i found funny is to see someone that "don't care" writing 10000 words and 1000 post in this thread, maybe he do care a bit? :D

there are many different area in the CG world, it's irritating to see someone considering a particular area better then others... i dont care if ILM or imageworks use or not mental ray, i know for a fact that it is much better then any reyes renderer for what i'm working for, so when i'll be an ILM employee (*) i'll do care about it

(*) ironic

The day you will be an ILM employee ( or similar big house ) you will move only locators and press render ;)

Saturn
05-12-2008, 03:11 PM
edit:
Saturn, you are right, few threads could have been used for some bakes, in fact I did rephrase my absolutes yesterday to a more modest 99%. We are speaking of peanuts anyway if you consider the final renderings.

And I agree on the Maya-Rendering-Workflow. Now that is a serious issue.

P

Yup aggreed.

Emil3d
05-13-2008, 02:03 AM
Iíve been wondering if there are any statistical data about what shares of the total 3D market is used for the different industries: film, game, visualization, illustration(artworks). It will be interesting to know the total revenue each industry is making and how many 3D software licenses belong to each industry.

inguatu
05-14-2008, 02:59 AM
p


PS I know, I should shut up, but you guys are masters in tempting... ;)


funny.. based on your reponses you LOVE to hear yourself talk. I doubt you'll let this thread finally die. :argh:

Buexe
05-14-2008, 07:56 AM
WARNING! HERE COMES A FUNNY JOKE, IT IS NOT A SERIOUS COMMENT:

Now here is a fact:
Pixar didn`t use a single mr thread to render their movies, doesn`t that speak for itself about the quality of mr. LOL:D

lightcache
05-14-2008, 08:33 AM
fisrtly mentlaray is no where near as bad on maya as it used to be, it's actually got to something quite usable now lol.
I use Renderman Studio for the most part, and yes alot of the pre packed shaders with in it are years old. and I mean YEARS!
but it's darn powerful and if you don't like a certain attribute you can open it up in notepad and code a change, you can throw pretty much anything at it, and it'll spit frames out. Which at the end of the day is all we want to do isnt it.

mental Ray still imho has some distance to go, but it's getting there.
Oh and i'm learning Vray for maya aswell.
another string in my bow.
can't hurt can it,
I dont feel that i'm cheating on mental ray with "them other floozies"
sleep around a little.
:P

brogh
05-14-2008, 11:25 AM
Now here is a fact:
Pixar didn`t use a single mr thread to render their movies, doesn`t that speak for itself about the quality of mr. LOL:D

Haha if you have you own render engine do you have to buy others ? ... cmon don't say unsense guys

and if you don't like Mray, stop using it, find something else .. like fishing i would say ..

Buexe
05-14-2008, 12:01 PM
Haha if you have you own render engine do you have to buy others ? ... cmon don't say unsense guys

and if you don't like Mray, stop using it, find something else .. like fishing i would say ..
There are ALWAYS people who lack the ability to detect irony, even if it is marked with a smilie and the infamous LOL. ( no LOL + no :D )
And BTW: I DON`T USE MR ANYMORE.

brogh
05-14-2008, 12:32 PM
And BTW: I DON`T USE MR ANYMORE.

So should i suppose that you are going fishing ?

:P

Buexe
05-14-2008, 01:39 PM
So should i suppose that you are going fishing ?

:P
No, because I went fishing already last weekend:) , but that is another story. But if it is of interest to you I render with RfM, because I like it`s implementation, user-friendliness, speed and memory-management much better. But that doesn`t mean I wouldn`t like to see mr shine. The term "rubish" is of course not appropriate to describe mr, because of the hard work a lot of smart (and very nice BTW)people have invested.

Sharky0815
05-14-2008, 04:08 PM
Ok, I have to speak up now. It seems a lot of people in this thread like to think that the word "rubish" was misspelt by the author. Not so, I believe. Indeed, I see it as refering to the famous Rube Goldberg Machine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine), which is described as ... an incredibly overengineered apparatus that performs a very simple task in very indirect and convoluted fashion ...

If that doesn't fit Maya's mentalray integration, I don't know what else does... :D

XminusOne
05-14-2008, 04:40 PM
The same goes for XminusOne. Dude. How the goddamn freakin hell should we know whats going on by looking at your post that's telling us at which frames it stopped rendering? This could happen for any reason with any renderer under any condition. Ffs, how should I extrapolate anything from that description? You guys are driving me nuts. Stick a fork in me I'm done.

You're a jerk. Nuff said. KMFA Someone give me a fork.

DizzyJ
05-14-2008, 04:51 PM
Now here is a fact:
Pixar didn`t use a single mr thread to render their movies, doesn`t that speak for itself about the quality of mr. LOL:D

Not really. They have a team of PRman specialists and can adjust PRman to address specific rendering issues they have. An outside vendor can't provide that degree of involvement.

Buexe
05-14-2008, 05:26 PM
Not really. They have a team of PRman specialists and can adjust PRman to address specific rendering issues they have. An outside vendor can't provide that degree of involvement.
It was joke, dude.

floze
05-14-2008, 06:03 PM
You're a jerk. Nuff said. KMFA Someone give me a fork.http://img382.imageshack.us/img382/6917/110hl0.gif

Koogle
05-14-2008, 06:56 PM
... an incredibly overengineered apparatus that performs a very simple task in very indirect and convoluted fashion ...

If that doesn't fit Maya's mentalray integration, I don't know what else does... :D

lol you might be onto something, but why stop at just mentalray integration? There certainly are many more areas of maya that could do with being whipped into shape... just poor design really.

but not really seeing how that has anything to do with the wrong spelling of rub-ish..

Sharky0815
05-14-2008, 07:49 PM
but not really seeing how that has anything to do with the wrong spelling of rub-ish..

Because the cartoonist this kind of contraption is named after has the first name "Rube"! Just a combination of my weird sense of humor and an overdose of "The incredible machine" when I was young(er)...

mr Bob
05-15-2008, 03:51 AM
I cannot blame people being pissed with MR and Maya , out of the box mayas render pipeline is a joke , if your a small shop without a big R&D department your pretty much stuffed.Then again you could actually ditch maya and use something that works out of the box for your rendering :)

XminusOne
05-15-2008, 01:44 PM
http://img382.imageshack.us/img382/6917/110hl0.gif

I should've known I was dealing with a 12 year old.

floze
05-15-2008, 02:14 PM
I should've known I was dealing with a 12 year old.
Not yet, I'm still at the age of 9 (which is perfect). And when I grow up I want to be a little boy. :bowdown:

dagon1978
05-15-2008, 02:24 PM
Ok, so to back onto the discussion, i've got an animation, only 100 frms here, MR won't render frames 47 and 48 but everything before and after is fine, why would this be happening? I try to just render out those individual frames(no batch rendering) and it won't work, If I batch render it stops at frame 48, I can do a batch render up to 48 and then set a different batch render to render frame 49 to 100, but I can't get frame 47 and 48 to render. Ideas?

my crystal sphere says that it happened because of wrong astral conjunctions, you have to wait until the 47 of this month to make it work
please Xminus, be serius :rolleyes:

Emil3d
05-15-2008, 03:48 PM
XminusOne, it is hard to come up with ideas and suggestions because the description of your problem is not specific enough. You should at least specify what the render log is reporting. What do you mean when you say ďIf I batch render it stopsĒ? Does the batch rendering process just quit?

You could narrow the focus on the problem, by making series of tests that reduce the possibilities for problems. For example, on a copy of your scene, delete all objects except the rendering camera and make a test render. If there is still problem obviously it is something with your camera or rendering settings. If there is no problem, obviously it is something from the deleted objects. If so, open a fresh copy and delete half of the objects, and then test render again. Continue in this way until you narrow the focus on the eventual suspects and then post a more specific message.

People here are much more helpful and responsive when they see that youíve spent at least some common sense efforts in troubleshooting the problem.

XminusOne
05-15-2008, 09:31 PM
So instead of helping or asking me to supply more info, people like the 12 year old that commented towards me can be complete jerks? I got it figured out regardless, it seems it was the update for MR, resorted back to my older version and worked just fine. Emil3d, you helped without any more info, or at least attempted(Thanks BTW!!!), so why is it that the 12 year old and his fanboy dagon couldn't?

dagon1978
05-15-2008, 11:37 PM
So instead of helping or asking me to supply more info, people like the 12 year old that commented towards me can be complete jerks? I got it figured out regardless, it seems it was the update for MR, resorted back to my older version and worked just fine. Emil3d, you helped without any more info, or at least attempted(Thanks BTW!!!), so why is it that the 12 year old and his fanboy dagon couldn't?
let's the 12year old stop his help to the mray community and you'll see the response of this community ;) i hope you'll not need an help in the next future :buttrock:

see ya

floze
05-16-2008, 11:47 AM
So instead of helping or asking me to supply more info [...]
Yeah, people should help you to get you the help you deserve. Nice attitude. Go pay for autodesk support, they'd love to serve ye milord.

If you dont get the right answers you might ask the wrong questions. Its that easy. Unbendingly. And I give answer to everyone if I can.

You were showing me the finger, who deleted that? I want to see it. Who's administrating here? And where's the votekick in this forum?

XminusOne
05-16-2008, 02:02 PM
Listen JERK, this is a forum, a place for people to ask for help. I didn't ask in a rude way, but you've done nothing but be rude to me. And yes, I had a little guy up there givin you the bird, but I didn't want to stoop to your level, so I removed it. The only reason you help people i'm guessing is to make yourself look better, how noble of you. Grow up.

Kel Solaar
05-16-2008, 03:45 PM
This thread is turning in a Troll/Flamebait thingy and is not going anywhere. Should be locked since there isn't anything constructive since weeks now.

DizzyJ
05-16-2008, 03:51 PM
XminusOne, several people have asked you for more details about the problem so they can try to help you with it, but you seem more interested in antagonizing people than providing people with enough information so they can diagnose your problem.

Calling people names won't solve your problem, and insulting people who know a lot about mr means you've lost some expert advice if you do get around to giving us enough information to do something with it.

CKPinson
05-16-2008, 03:55 PM
As I've said before- I like using Mental Ray- there are other options out there but in my opinion the results are better in MR. There is a lot of support for it too so look, do some research or take some training. Oh and by the way there is no such thing as a perfect program- look at the constantly chastized Microsoft, but ironically more use it then Linux etc.

Ironhalo
05-16-2008, 04:10 PM
This thread is turning in a Troll/Flamebait thingy and is not going anywhere. Should be locked since there isn't anything constructive since weeks now.

i agree, this thread should be deleted or locked. it hasn't produced anything constructive in a long time.

Buexe
05-16-2008, 04:12 PM
i agree, this thread should be deleted or locked. it hasn't produced anything constructive in a long time.
me does agreez 2

Sharky0815
05-16-2008, 04:24 PM
look at the constantly chastized Microsoft, but ironically more use it then Linux etc.

This thread has the potential to become the mother of all flamewars. Now we just need someone to bring up Max vs. Maya and politics. And sprinkle it with some environmentalism for good measure.

BTW, I prefer GNOME. And emacs.

ghostlake114
05-16-2008, 04:34 PM
BTW, I prefer GNOME. And emacs.

Hug? what is GNONE, emacs is what the hell? why you mention that dump... I like Window and hate any Linux or Mac or any OS else :bowdown:

hahah, I am just joking, sorry Sharky, but seem every small thing could be shoot into a big flame easily if we can not control the attitude

The topic should be locked !

XminusOne
05-16-2008, 06:17 PM
Hey Dizzy, I hear your points. But please read all the posts before placing the blame on me, i'll take some of the blame for continuing to fuel the fire, and i'll refrain from coming here and asking for help any longer so as to not upset the "experts". My apologies.

DizzyJ
05-16-2008, 07:31 PM
and i'll refrain from coming here and asking for help any longer so as to not upset the "experts". My apologies.

No need to bail on CGTalk just because you had one bad experience. I looked through the post. Yes, Floze was rude, but Dagon immediately told him to cool it. Three of us have asked you to provide details, and you haven't done that.

Next time, I'd suggest not asking a serious question in a thread called anything like "Why is Mental ray so rubish?" The nature of a thread like this is to get people worked up. Try to isolate what the problem might be enough that you can ask a more specific question, then post it alone. Not every question gets answered, but it's much more effective than getting offended at someone's frustration over a pointless debate and never telling anyone what might be going on so they can help.

XminusOne
05-16-2008, 09:31 PM
Very true Dizzy, again, I apologize for the war in the thread. I feel a bit ashamed now. :hmm:

Als
05-16-2008, 09:37 PM
Well, this thread really turned out bad.
I guess it's my fault for opening it.
If you have read my first post, you will realise that I didn't said that MR is rubbish, but the implementation. I think I also explained why.
I tried hard to learn quickly as I could, but I still think all of this could be way more user friendly.
I never said anything about complicated aspects of using MR, nor rendering film shots, nor anything like that.
This was just robustness of the implementation in maya, ease of setting it up, and use for really basic things.
Also when I see the implementation in new max 2009, this seems they answered most of those problems.
So here is hope that same would be in the new version of maya.
I did not intend to insult anyone along the way, specially not the programmers who work on either maya or MR for maya.
As we all know they do what managers tell them to do.
But all this issues come down to one thing.
And that's how autodesk looks for small studios vs big ones.
I guess it's my fault for using maya, instead of lightwave or cinema or something else, but this is software I'm using many years now, and I do need maya power to answer on many of jobs I do get.
I can think of many improvement for maya in all departments of the software, but my main issue is render, and I think I'm not the only one.
Maya renderer is way to old and it needs an upgrade. Sooner the better. MR is maybe going there, but certainly way too slow.
The proof for this is how quickly MR got integrated inside Max, and the fact that some top autodesk guys are using max and MR not maya and MR is sort of a worry for me.
I do need to have ONE renderer which can render ALL of the maya: nurbs, polygons, subds, particles, fur, paint effects, fluids, toons and so on.
I'm surely not the only one who would like to see that happen.

I'm sorry for all the bad words in this thread, but that is also a sign that I'm not the only one who would like to see more robust and production proven sturdy renderer inside maya.

If autodesk is buying all this companies they might consider buying Nvidia and Pixar next :argh:
LOL!

Thanks


Al

sentry66
05-23-2008, 06:55 PM
I've been interested in using mental ray ever since it was a plug in for maya 4.5 because I used to use it with softimage|3D and XSI. I never really thought I could use it in production until recently though

All my files that would render in 2 minutes for normal full res frame with the maya renderer would take MR around 10-15 minutes. Obviously I knew I'd have to spend some time to get to the bottom of why things were taking so long and it wouldn't be a quick overnight switch.

I had to convert all my most often used shaders so they'd work well with mental ray. I use a lot of 3d procedurals and certain ones or combinations of them REALLY slowed mental ray down. Instead of using layered texture nodes, I had to use a series of blend nodes etc. That cut the render times down to 1/3 of what they were previously just by identifying the problem nodes in my shaders

I also had to spend a few hours messing around with BSP diagnostics and real world renders to get an idea of the BSP settings to use for one of my typical scenes. That alone cut my render times almost in half when I approached it in a scientific way logging each time down for each setting before I zeroed in on what was the best all around compromise for me. I do think it's completely stupid that people have to mess around with BSP settings. You'd think the software would do that sort of thing automatically, but oh well

It only took a couple weeks though working in my spare time, and everything looks so much better now with the SSS shaders, blurry reflections, nicer displacement, and HDRI reflections etc.

I am disappointed in the grainy raytraced shadows though. Adding in soft raytraced shadows really increases the rendertime a lot where it didn't so much with the maya renderer. Also the motion blur in mental ray is an absolute joke with how long it takes, but I can get away with doing it in post for the most part so that's not much of a problem. Maya's 2D motion blur had some occasional weirdness too, so it's not like it was without it's flaws

overall my rendertimes have increased about 30-40% per frame over what I was doing with the maya renderer, but the quality is so much better I think it's worth it and am going to throw more hardware at it to make up the difference

I know renderman or some of the other engines are really nice, but at least mental ray is free and has a huge amount of support. I've encountered some weirdness with it on occasion, but just closing the file and relaunching maya apparently fixes things a lot of the time. It'll only get better and faster as time goes on. It has already improved a lot in the last 6 years

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