View Full Version : Mental Ray Video Training for Max Users

12 December 2006, 09:45 PM
Hey All,

After being in the 'black hole' of production for a couple
of months it is good to be able to get back to the real world
(can the virtual world of online forums be called that) and
give you a heads up on a new training series that we are
just kicking off.

The Max community has bemoaned the lack of Mental Ray
training for quite some time now so we are hoping that our
new site and Training series, titled 'Mental Bout Max' will help
go someway to filling the hole.

The aim is to pick Mental ray apart from a Max users perspective
and show how each of its functions and its parameters will
affect the final piece we are working on. Hopefully helping the end user
to make choices in MR that are guided by understanding what
the Software is doing.

Animation, narration and screen capture whilst working in Max
should hopefully make the experience rewarding and interesting.

We have produced an intro Vid that can be downloaded for
free from the front page of the site (
(Avi or self extracting archive) which should allow you to
gauge quality and direction of the training.
Tons of questions have also been answered on the FAQ page that
should fill in any blanks.

We definately want any and all feedback on any aspect of this
production, so, feel free to vocalise. (gently :eek: )

If you want to open MR up in your Max work then you may find
something in this series that will be able to help.


12 December 2006, 01:21 AM
Looks promising Brian! Great to see people covering the Max-side of MR.
I like the bite-sized modules. Are most of them going to sit around the 3-4 Pound mark, or is this just introductory? Also, are you going to offer download bundles once a full set of modules are released?

Just a small critique about the site... i'd lose the flash intro. I think most people would rather get straight to the main page, especially since the intro doesn't really add anything to the overall presentation, regardless of whether you can skip it or not. :)

12 December 2006, 08:06 AM
Hey Martin,

The prices are going to stay in the 2 to 4 pound mark
as one of the real incentives in producing this was
to make it accessible to every level of Max user.

We did wonder about the Flash intro, so it will get
a review on its life span shortly. :thumbsup:


12 December 2006, 03:04 PM

I am unable to play the .AVI file. Windows Media Player cannot identify the codec. Can you let me know what codec it was compressed with.

- Adam

12 December 2006, 03:20 PM
Hi Adam,

Sorry, really should have included that info in my post. I
probably should include that info on th home page. Anyway
the codec is Xvid, an mpeg4 codec that can be freely
downloaded from links at (
It is a pretty small download and quick install but gives
very nice results.


Henry Anthony
12 December 2006, 08:10 PM

This is very appealing to me. I do have a two suggestions.
1. Set up a gallery (or did I miss it). How else can I be assured you know how to produce quality images? This is very important to me. I would not consider a purchase without this proof.
2. Provide downloadable scenes that can be tinkered with. These could be quite simple.


12 December 2006, 10:45 AM
looks interesting

which versions of mental ray and max are you covering...?
max 8 and max 9?

steve g

12 December 2006, 12:23 PM
just bought the switchover awaiting a email from them i think for the download that right?

steve g

12 December 2006, 03:26 PM
I do have a two suggestions.
1. Set up a gallery (or did I miss it). How else can I be assured you know how to produce quality images? This is very important to me. I would not consider a purchase without this proof.
2. Provide downloadable scenes that can be tinkered with. These could be quite simple.


Hi Henry,

The idea of a gallery did get toyed with but, to be honest it is not really
a good way to judge the quality of an educational item. To explain I'll use
an analogy I have thrown around quite a bit when discussing this very subject
on a number of occaisions. Painting by numbers. As an artist (or aspiring artist?)
you buy a training course which proports to teach you to paint like the masters.
At the end of the course you are guarenteed to be able to reproduce the
Mona Lisa (insert your own favourite painting here). And sure enough that
is what you are able to do, but you have done it simply by reproducing
the steps laid out in the course rather than understanding and developing
the myriad skills that make a great artist. This IMHO is a BAD way to learn
and not what MBM is all about. We want to examine every aspect of MR
and UNDERSTAND what the 'buttons and dials' ACTUALLY do so that as an
artist we can set parameters and make choices in MR knowing exactly what
effect that choice will have on our render 'quality', 'time', 'memory needs'
etc. (Wheeeww)
Having said all that, we will throw that thought back into the mix on the sites
next revision because only fools fail to listen to their potential customers. So
thank you for taking the time to throw that out to us. :thumbsup:

The downloadable scenes may well be a good idea once we get past the
Overview stage that we are currently developing.


12 December 2006, 03:28 PM
just bought the switchover awaiting a email from them i think for the download that right?

steve g

Hey Steve,

Yep your summise is spot on. Just checked with admin and
you should hopefully have received your email before I post
this up. :applause:


PS - To answer your initial question. We are using Max 9 for everything.
We delayed development of MBM for a while as we knew that MR would
have some significant changes in 3.5 and it didn't seem sensible to start
with, what is essentially a much less user friendly version of MR (3.4)

12 December 2006, 04:45 PM
okay watched the switchover video!

pretty impressed with it too...i think that anyone who has max 9.0 should really go get this video if they're not used to mental ray and were wondering about using it rather than buying vray, brazil or final render...

a couple of things i'd observe that the trainer seems to over explain a little too much for my liking as i 'got what he was saying' straight away but had to wait 60 seconds for him to move on on occasion maybe i'm just too eager!!!..just a small point and NOTHING to stop anyone from buying it or using the fast forward button!

...also i'd have liked to have seen at least 1 of the methods applied to darken the scene up in the end and I was left talking out loud to the video..saying what about lowering the final gather amount from 1.0 to a lower amount?....maybe just seeing a 'result' from one of the options talked about at the end of the video would have finished off the video more neatly....also when listing the options maybe throwing up a slide with the options written out would drive the point home faster and also cut down n the length of the video..

i'd give it a score of 4 out of 5 stars if this were an amazon rating!

only thing to change to make it 5 out of 5 would be to not linger and labour a point too much [not easy to judge but you get my idea i hope!] and also just add that 1 example's results at the end to get 95% nr the scanline/light tracer version.

okay so overall a real great video and i'll be looking forward to more in the nr future!

12 December 2006, 09:13 AM

Thanks very much for the kind words and for taking the time
to give us some feedback on the actual training. Everything
we get from end users will only help us deliver better modules
down the line.

Getting a balance between 'too fast' for begginners and 'too
slow' for intermediate/advanced software users is a tricky
area, (the quality testers did voice similar concerns) but given
your thoughts we will endevour to fine tune the balance a
little more. :thumbsup:

Good thoughts on the ending to, we are looking at an idea
in connection with that ;)


12 December 2006, 10:01 AM
no problem!
looking forward to getting more of your videos as soon as they are available.

steve g

12 December 2006, 06:23 PM
Everyone who bought Module 2 should keep there eye
in their inbox. :applause:


12 December 2006, 12:18 AM

just watched the additional video for the 2nd module...that's really helped out and made for a complete module which is a fantastic resouce now.

looking forward to the next module you create!

5 out of 5 stars now!

steve g

01 January 2007, 05:32 PM
Hey All,

Didn't seem worth starting a new thread but we just
wanted to keep everyone up to speed on where MBM
will be going over the next month.


01 January 2007, 05:18 PM
Hey All,

Just a quick post for anyone wanting Mental ray training.
Module 3 of the 'Overview Series' is now available and
Module 1 of our New 'Project' based training series will
be available by weekend.

Jump to Module (


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