Menal ray misbehaving again. 'No photons stored after .....'

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  10 October 2013
Menal ray misbehaving again. 'No photons stored after .....'

Hi guys. I am trying to render some logo stuff for work using Mental Ray in max 2013. I am getting the 'no photons stored after 1000000' error that is so common.

I am using an arch viz material on my whole scene.
I have all objects and lights generate caustics and GI turned on.
I have a sphere encompassing my whole scene with normals flipped and a black matte arch viz material on it.
I have 4 area spot lights set to .25 intensity with ray trace shadows and a large area ( for soft shadows)

I have read all the threads covering this and have tried my best to do what each one suggests but I am still getting this error message and it makes it impossible to render out the full animation. I am running out of things to try and getting really frustrated.

Can anyone offer me any suggestions as to what has caused this or if there is something else I have not checked? Thanks.
  10 October 2013
Had a development shortly after I posted this. I systematically went through my scene turning things on and off. It turns out that the thing that was causing the issues was the black material I had on my sphere encompassing the scene.

This material was identical to the other material I had in the scene (arch viz) Just that one was black and one was orange. I understand the physics of how black reacts with light in the real world but didnt know Mental ray had an issue with it.

My animation needs a black backdrop. Is Mental ray really only made for Arch Viz work or am I doing something wrong?

  10 October 2013
Originally Posted by Aerodyll: It turns out that the thing that was causing the issues was the black material I had on my sphere encompassing the scene.

My animation needs a black backdrop.

Why do you need that sphere at all? If you want black backdrop, just don't use anything.
  10 October 2013
You know what, I actually don't. I only put it in there to 'catch photons' as that's what everyone said to do online. I had been at this for a while and was running circles so much I hadn't even questioned whether I still needed it once I had finally determined that the issue was the black material. This would be funny if it wasn't for work. Cheers.
  10 October 2013
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