Maya/MR batch frames differ after restart

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  07 July 2013
Maya/MR batch frames differ after restart

Standard fare - newbie to the forum, comes begging with a question...

I'll preface this by saying that I'm relatively new to Maya, but have been programming renderers under the hood for a couple decades. My SIGGRAPH geek card goes back to 1992, so by most of your standards, I'm some kind of fossil...

If I could just write what I need in C and be done with it, I'd have been done with this project weeks ago. However, today's project says it must be done in Maya, so here I am trying to figure out this pointy-clicky thing. You can talk science and math to me and assume I'll understand, but you won't insult me by assuming I'm clueless about Maya. Geezer that I am, I need help...

The issue du-jour, is that I'm trying to run a batch render using MentalRay, and if I stop the render in the middle (or, let's say, Maya performs her all-too-often standard activity of rolling over and puking bits, requiring restarting the batch somewhere along the way), and then try to restart it, the re-rendered frames are a different brightness than the previously rendered frames. Specifically they're darker.

If I roll back the start and re-render /everything/, once it gets around to where it previously stopped, (assuming it doesn't crash any earlier), the frames match up properly again. This appears to mean that I need to get a complete clean batch of rendered frames out of Maya without a crash, which seems fairly unlikely.

Looking at the beginning of the first batch render, it looks like the scene brighness "ramps up" over a half dozen frames or so, to reach the brighness that it was all rendering at, during the first run. The "restarted batch" appears to start at the same initial-frame brightness, but doesn't ramp up, so stays darker perpetually.

Nothing in my scene intentionally ramps the lights up over the first few frames, so I don't know where that brightness change is coming from in the first render, and I wouldn't expect a keyed light brightness to be inconsistent depending on whether it was animated through, or simply stepped past anyway, even if I had such a thing in my scene.

Is this a known bug? Me being stupid? Simply bad karma? Any thoughts on getting all the way through the render without screwed up brightness?

Maya 2012 on the Mac. The scene file is a bit large, or I'd attach it. If I can find time, I'll try to replicate with a pared down version.

Thanks in advance for any help.
  07 July 2013
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