GOOD NEWS FOR MAYA & MENTAL RAY FREAKS...!

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  07 July 2008
Thumbs up Small Importons & Ip Tutorial...!

Small Importons and Irradiance Particles Tutorial.
They are not just useless toys, they does WORKS GREAT.

Since that the "Importons and Irradiance Particles thread" seems to be idle, I decided to share my findings by opening a brand new thread.

First Thanks to Max (Ctrl Studio) for recompiling the Ctrl_Ghost Settings.
A big thanks as usual to the "Mitico" Dagon, to find out the correct way to use them effectively.
Before to proceed with the technical details, I really hope we will get some feedback this time, from the guys at "Autodesk" and "Mental Ray" former "Mental Images" now owned by "Invidia".
I would like also to stress out, that I find pretty insane that Maya & Mental Ray artists
like myself, must invest several years and put a lot of efforts,
debugging the Maya & MR software, testing and trying to get basic
and new unimplemented features to work as expected...!
Quote Dagon from the "Importons and Irradiance Particles thread":

"I think we should ask for a contact (a forum with bug reporst, wishlist, etc?) with the mray developers, or at least with the OEM integrators (anyone has ever known who's for maya?)"

"I dont know, is not a personal problem, i think we should start to make a petition (or something like this) to ask better support on the autodesk side."

Please excuse my little off topic complain.

Now back to the main topic...!

This new features requires a good knowledge of MR, so before to mess around with this new settings, I suggest to all the young MR artist out there, to go through the other
MR threads such as "VRay-like interior renders with mental ray???" and the new "Six Tuts On Light And Shade // mental ray for Maya" by FLOZE, first.

After reading through the "Importons and Irradiance Particles" thread, I was thinking that if we could get them to work, it will be a small revolution in Mental Ray rendering, since this settings will allow us to use MR in a Vray fashion.
So I start to test them with the tecniques explained in the thread, with simple Cornell Box maya scenes.

Quote Max from the "Importons and Irradiance Particles" thread:

"A couple of things to use Importons and Irradiance Particles in Maya2008SP1.
You should avoid any maya shader:

'Suppress all Maya Shaders' should be checked. 'Export with Shading Engine' instead shouldn't be checked, in the shading engine node (tests were made with mia_material).
The same goes for lights. 'Suppress all Maya Shaders' need to be checked, and a custom light shader should be supplied (mr sky portals work good).
Finally, in the Rendering Settings, goto Translation->Customization and de-check the 'Export State Shader'."

After a few crashes and a few disappointing results, I decide to test them with my standard MR settings and with big surprise everything start to work out AMAZINGLY FINE...!

So based on my tests, to make this features work in Maya2008SP1:

0. You can use any maya shader.

1.'Suppress all Maya Shaders' shouldn't be checked.

2.'Export with Shading Engine'instead should be checked.

3. The same goes for lights. 'Suppress all Maya Shaders' shouldn't be checked, and a custom light shader should be supplied (mr sky portals work good).

4.Finally, in the Rendering Settings, go to Translation->Customization and check the 'Export State Shader'.

With this settings everything will work as expected, and you just will get a warn message from Mental Ray during the Importon Ip calculation which goes like this:
"PHEN 0.3 warn : maya_state(): Called on an unexpected ray."
Which I guess is safe to ignore.
I've tested this features by rendering both from the main render window, and from the batch render.

Quote Max:

"Another feature that comes with mr3.6+ is an advanced framebuffer memory management. Indeed, the cached mode. When in cache mode you can render any image size (even on 32bit). In fact, if enabled, only a small fraction of the resulting image (or user framebuffers) is present in memory: newly rendered tiles and tiles recently accessed.
This mode should be used only for batch rendering (it will crash maya if used for the render view.. also it does not make too much sense rendering big size images in a viewer). I just rendered a 20k image, in floating point, on a 32bit system. Slower than the others methods, it should be used only if mr is not able to create a framebuffer of a huge size (generally more than 4k images on 32bit)."

By creating first a user framebuffer from the Render Settings window, with standard RGBA (Byte) 4X8 Bit, feeding the advanced framebuffer memory management, in the miscellaneous section of the Ctrl_Ghost Settings window, with the value (1), I've managed to render EXR
floating point, big size images on my Intel Quad 9300 32bit system.

Without any crash, and I also get rid of a tedious error message
which was saying that MR couldn't create the main framebuffer(0).

Max please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm not a MR programmer...!

Please note that all the rendering tests, was done with 2 very heavy maya scenes:

The Jeff Patton exterior which is almost 197 MB. huge size caused by the XFROG trees.
The Jeremy Birn Christmas Interior is almost 193 MB., because this scene is filled by evermotion high detailed 3D objects.

Here we go with the result of my small reseach:


1. This image was rendered without Ctrl_Ghost Settings, with the old FG/GI algorithm.
Maya 2008sp1 with MR Physical Sky/Sun & Mia X Materials only, and one Portal Light behind the window.
The Light emitting from the wall lamps, the Christmas Tree lights and the Fireplace, was achieved through the additional parameter of the Mia X Material, to which I connected Mib Light Surface shaders.
Please note the light blotches caused by the light emitting objects.
Based on my tests, too achieve a good light distribution, you should just increase the FG filter, or increase the FG Density and Interpolation Points, which will also increase render time insanely.
Render time with 50 Interpolation Points: about 5 hrs.

2. This image was rendered with Ctrl_Ghost Settings, FG/GI & Importons enabled, Density 1, Emitted 100000, Merge 0.1, Size 256, depht 4 and IP disabled.
Please note the much better light distribution compared to the old FG/GI algorithm.
Render time: about 5 hrs.

3. This image was rendered with Ctrl_Ghost Settings, IP & Importons enabled, and here comes the very smart solution pointed out by Dagon, based on the old FG map freezing technique.
First you have to launch a render through the batch render, which I prefer, or through the main render window, with the Importons settings as follows:
Density 1, Emitted 100000, Merge 0.1, Size 64, depht 4.
IP settings: rays 64, passes 4, interpolation never, interpolation points 64,scale 1,enviroment enabled, enviroment rays 64, enviroment scale 1, rebuild enabled and provide an absolute path on your hard disk, that points to a file with an .ip extension.
Name the file as you like.
After the Importon & IP calculation phase, MR will save the .ip file on your hard disk, and will start the main rendering phase.
Now you have to interrupt the rendering, and go back to the Ctrl_Ghost Settings window and replace the Importons settings as follow:
Density 1, Emitted 100000, Merge 0.1, Size 256, depht 4.
IP settings: rays 256, passes 4, interpolation always, interpolation points 256,scale 1,enviroment enabled, enviroment rays 256, enviroment scale 1, rebuild disabled, and provide the absolute path on your hard disk, that points to the .ip extension file previously created.
Now you start a new render through the batch render, which I prefer, or through the main render window, wait a few hours (5/6 hrs. in this case) and VOILA'.

4. This image was rendered with the same technique as image n.3, just with the Importons Density 0.2, Emitted 0, Merge 0.1, Size 256, depht 4.
I feel that this image, compared to image n.3, is a little bit darker. It seems that Ambient Occlusion is much more present.
Render time: about 6 hrs.

5. This image was rendered with the same technique as image n.3 and 4, I've just increased to 4 the Color Gain of the Fire image, dropped into the additional parameter of the Fireplace Mia X Material.
Please note the bright red spots on the walls and ceiling of the room.
Render time: about 6 hrs.
I guess you could get rid of this red spots, by increasing the Density to 1 in the Importons settings.
Or just playing around with the Indirect Illumination Options of the Mia X Material, or the Mia_Light_Surface.
Considering the huge size of this maya scene (193 MB.), I could not manage to increase the
Density to more than 0.2 in the Importons settings, because Maya was just crashing down...!
Since I'm a little bit tired at the moment, I will appreciate any help or suggestion on how to get rid of the red spots, maybe Max and Dagon could help us out one more time...?

6. This image was rendered with the same technique as image n.1, with the old FG/GI algorithm.
Maya 2008sp1 with MR Physical Sky/Sun & Mia X Materials only.
Please note that the wooden planks material seems to be more bright than the next images, just because for this one, I used very high raytracing values.
Render time: about 5 hrs.

7. This image was rendered with the same technique as image n.2
Render time: about 5 hrs.

8. This image was rendered with the same technique as image n.3, with only 50000 Emitted Importons.
Render time: about 5 hrs.

9. This image was rendered with the same technique as image n.4
Render time: about 6 hrs.

10. Just a simple test with Fur.

Enjoy with this new features...!

Ciao...!

Alex Sandri
http://www.samui3d.com

PS. I hope I was enough clear, and please excuse my english, because like Max and Dagon I'm Italian, too...!
__________________
Alex Sandri

Last edited by withego : 08 August 2008 at 06:44 AM. Reason: ERRATA CORRIGE.
 
  07 July 2008
great work withego

Originally Posted by withego: Before to proceed with the technical details, I really hope we will get some feedback this time, from the guys at "Autodesk" and "Mental Ray" former "Mental Images" now owned by "Invidia".
I would like also to stress out, that I find pretty insane that Maya & Mental Ray artists
like myself, must invest several years and put a lot of efforts,
debugging the Maya & MR software, testing and trying to get basic
and new unimplemented features to work as expected...!
Quote Dagon from the "Importons and Irradiance Particles thread":

"I think we should ask for a contact (a forum with bug reporst, wishlist, etc?) with the mray developers, or at least with the OEM integrators (anyone has ever known who's for maya?)"

"I dont know, is not a personal problem, i think we should start to make a petition (or something like this) to ask better support on the autodesk side."


maybe there is already something on the way...


Originally Posted by withego: PS. I hope I was enough clear, and please excuse my english, because like Max and Dagon I'm Italian, too...!

we do it better opsss
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  04 April 2009
I am subscribing to this thread. Wonderful observations. I can see a dramatic increase in richness of colors and lighting. I have not delved into importons or irradiance particles yet and now I want to!

I will be working with a minutely less intense scene but it is indoor and needs to be as realistic as possible.

BTW, what computer are you rendering on? Those render times are horrible :P. Just curious. I don't want a 5 hour per frame render time.

Thanks again. If I have any questions, may I pm you? Also, this states its for maya 2008 sp1. Do I have to do the same things described in the early parts of your tutorial for maya 2009?

Just to be clear, I can't use any maya standard lights? What about inside lights? I surely can't use portals for that. Do I need to put in something like the Physical Light shaders into the custom shader of my lights?
 
  04 April 2009
Post

Dear Spiralo, sorry for the delay.

I use a simple Intel Quad with 4 Giga of Ram, and since I usually don't do animations, but Archviz stills, I'm more concern about quality vs. speed.
5 hrs. for a high rez Maya & MR archviz render is not that crazy....!

As I stated in the first part of my tutorial at Gnomonology:

PLEASE NOTE:
FOR BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY WITH PREVIOUS MAYA VERSIONS
SUCH AS MAYA 2008 SP1/EXT2, A POLY SPHERE “DUMMY” OBJECT IS PROVIDED
THE ONLY PURPOSE OF THIS “DUMMY” OBJECT IS TO EXPOSE THE “CTRL GHOST SETTINGS”
BY ATTACHING THE “CTRL GHOST SETTINGS” TO THE “ENABLE GEOMETRY SHADER’ SLOT UNDER THE MENTAL RAY TAB OF THE “DUMMY” OBJECT,
WE WILL ENABLE THE “IMPORTONS IRRADIANCE PARTICLES” ATTRIBUTES

YOU MUST USE THE “DUMMY” WITH THE SCENE PROVIDED, IN MAYA 2008 SP1 FORMAT
THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD “AUTODESK MAYA 2008 SP1”, IS PROVIDED IN THE “READ ME” FILE
WITH THE MAYA 2008 SP1 SCENE, YOU DON’T NEED TO SETUP “STRING OPTIONS”
IN THE “MI DEFAULT OPTION” WINDOW, SINCE THAT ALL THE STRINGS INCLUDING
THE “EMITTED” STRING ARE ALREADY PRESENT IN THE “CTRL GHOST SETTINGS”

PLEASE NOTE:
WITH MAYA 2009, TO EXPOSE THIS FEATURES THE “DUMMY” IS NOT NEEDED
SINCE THE “IMPORTONS IRRADIANCE PARTICLES” ATTRIBUTES ARE ALREADY IMPLEMENTED UNDER THE INDIRECT LIGHTING TAB OF THE RENDER SETTINGS WINDOW


PLEASE NOTE:
IF YOU UNHIDE THE “DUMMY” OBJECT, THE “DUMMY’S” “CTRL GHOST SETTINGS”,
WILL OVERRIDE THE “IMPORTONS IRRADIANCE PARTICLES” ATTRIBUTES IN THE MAIN RENDER WINDOW

As I stated in the second part of my tutorial at Gnomonology:

THERE ARE 2 DIFFERENT WORKFLOWS FOR THE IMPORTONS EMISSION:

IMPORTONS DENSITY:
RELATED TO THE IMAGE RESOLUTION
THE NUMBER OF IMPORTONS SHOT FROM THE CAMERA PER PIXEL

IMPORTONS EMITTED:
UNRELATED TO THE IMAGE RESOLUTION
DEFINES THE AMOUNT OF IMPORTONS EMITTED

PLEASE NOTE:
LOWER VALUES SPEED UP IMPORTONS EMISSION BUT DESCREASE IMAGE QUALITY
“IMPORTONS EMITTED” USUALLY FASTER THAN THE “IMPORTONS DENSITY” WORKFLOW

PLEASE NOTE:
IN THE MAYA 2009 RENDER SETTINGS WINDOW, YOU CANNOT SET THE IMPORTONS
EMISSION OPTION LIKE WITH THE “DUMMY” “CTRL GHOST SETTINGS” IN MAYA 2008 SP1/EXT2

IN THIS EXAMPLE WE WILL USE THE “IMPORTONS EMITTED” WORKFLOW
SO WE WILL ENABLE THE “EMITTED” PARAMETER VIA THE STRING OPTION
IN THE “MI_DEFAULT_OPTONS” ATTRIBUTES WINDOW

OPEN THE OUTLINER AND UNDER DISPLAY, UNCHECK THE “DAG OBJECTS ONLY”
SCROLL DOWN UNTIL YOU FIND THE “MI_DEFAULT_OPTONS” NODE AND DOUBLE CLICK IT
IN THE “MI_DEFAULT_OPTONS” ATTRIBUTES WINDOW,
SCROLL DOWN TO THE “STRING OPTIONS” TAB
SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THE OF THE “STRING OPTIONS” SLOTS AND YOU WILL FIND THE LAST “STRING OPTIONS (28)”, ALREADY FILLED WITH 3 INPUT VALUES AS FOLLOWS:
NAME= importon emitted
VALUE= 100000
TYPE= integer

PLEASE NOTE:
IF YOU PREFER TO USE THE “IMPORTONS DENSITY” WORKFLOW,
JUST DELETE THE “STRING OPTIONS (28)” AND INPUT A VALUE OF “0.1”
IN THE “IMPORTONS DENSITY” PARAMETER OF THE RENDER SETTINGS WINDOW

PLEASE NOTE:
INSTEAD OF “0.1” YOU CAN USE HIGHER VALUES FOR THE “IMPORTONS DENSITY”
IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE POWER OF YOUR SYSTEM AND THE AMOUT OF RAMS
AVAILABLE

This are the settings that you have to optimize to reduce render times.

Since Importons & Irradiance Particles Algorithm is an alternative to the standard FG/GI workflow,
you can use all the Maya & MR standard lights, materials and features supported by MR,
just like you use them usually with the standard MR FG/GI workflow.

I have enclosed a few links that might be useful, mostly the last one where one user "daniohayon" posted a nice animation created with this rendering techniques.

Hope it helps....!

Ciao...!

Alex

PS.
I'm preparing a new Maya & MR Archviz tutorial based on the famous "Sponza" model, that will explore the Importons and Irradiance particles workflow
discussed in the second and third part of my previous tutorial, used together with Maya & MR Proxy Assemblies and BSP2.
It will explore also the new Maya 2009 Render Passes features.



http://gnomonology.com/inst/16908
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=621727
http://forum.lamrug.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1608
http://imakeu.com/Work/AnimTest.html
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...277#post5336277
__________________
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  04 April 2009
so the good news is that Mental Ray folks have more to worry about to get realistic renderings?

I was hoping you were going to say something like "Mental Ray will no longer make you jump through hoops and play musical glasses with third party utilities to set up a good render" but I guess that was optimistic thinking.

Great work but you have more patience than I do. I don't miss Mental Ray.
 
  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by cgbeige: Great work but you have more patience than I do. I don't miss Mental Ray.

so do mental ray and mental ray people bye bye
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  04 April 2009
Would be fun to see a nice rendering of the living room above, but with no texturing on the walls and a ligher color, in order to show clearly if the rendered image has any distinctive splotches or not.

I mean, if anyone were to render some white colored architecture building ala time of modernism, I am thinking that any splotches would show if there are no textures to perhaps hide them.
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Last edited by Undseth : 04 April 2009 at 06:41 PM.
 
  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by dagon1978: so do mental ray and mental ray people bye bye


fitting that you'd ignore my criticism and just toss out a dis. you need to learn to argue and not just hurl insults.

not that you'd admit that MR is a convoluted mess of unfinished fixes and workarounds since you write books about it.

Last edited by cgbeige : 04 April 2009 at 07:44 PM.
 
  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by cgbeige: fitting that you'd ignore my criticism and just toss out a dis. you need to learn to argue and not just hurl insults.

not that you'd admit that MR is a convoluted mess of unfinished fixes and workarounds since you write books about it.


can you point me out of just one of you constructive messages over mental ray?
can you please tell us which is the purpose of your message here or in all of the mental ray threads since you don't know anything about it?

if you are frustrated because you are unable to do anything with it, maybe you can purchase my book, visto che capisci l'italiano i can give you a discount
__________________
my mental ray book my website
 
  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by dagon1978: can you point me out of just one of you constructive messages over mental ray?
can you please tell us which is the purpose of your message here or in all of the mental ray threads since you don't know anything about it?

if you are frustrated because you are unable to do anything with it, maybe you can purchase my book, visto che capisci l'italiano i can give you a discount



Muoio
__________________
www.darioortisi.it
MayAdvanced Blog
My youtube channel
 
  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by dagon1978: can you point me out of just one of you constructive messages over mental ray?
can you please tell us which is the purpose of your message here or in all of the mental ray threads since you don't know anything about it?

if you are frustrated because you are unable to do anything with it, maybe you can purchase my book, visto che capisci l'italiano i can give you a discount



I like it too
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  04 April 2009
Nice renders mate! As soon as I find time Im gunna get back into rendering and come back to this thread. /thumbsup
__________________
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  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by cgbeige: fitting that you'd ignore my criticism and just toss out a dis. you need to learn to argue and not just hurl insults.

not that you'd admit that MR is a convoluted mess of unfinished fixes and workarounds since you write books about it.


jesus dude.. quit trolling the forums or you'll be reported. Betwen you and sara, you should start your own trolling thread where you can berate each other and each other's software till you're blue in the face. Knock it off. We get it. You don't like Mental Ray. That's done.
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To oceans deep with hope
I have travelled

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  04 April 2009
it wasn't a troll. "good news" meaning "get more third party software to fix mental ray" seemed like bad news. I was genuinely interested in making Mental Ray easier to deal with - not harder.

A troll is what you do whenever I mention using a Mac. There's a difference - I understand Mental Ray to the extent that I know it's a pain to use for the type of scene shown above. You've got someone of technical director skill getting quality that I'd deem unusable in my renders. I'm not trying to offend the OP, but the image looks like plastic.

Let me rephrase my statement: is Mental Ray really that broken that you need more utilities to make it usable still? Would you tell a new Mental Ray user that they need more hacks to get good renders?

Last edited by cgbeige : 04 April 2009 at 04:13 AM.
 
  04 April 2009
Originally Posted by cgbeige: it wasn't a troll. "good news" meaning "get more third party software to fix mental ray" seemed like bad news. I was genuinely interested in making Mental Ray easier to deal with - not harder.

A troll is what you do whenever I mention using a Mac. There's a difference - I understand Mental Ray to the extent that I know it's a pain to use for the type of scene shown above. You've got someone of technical director skill getting quality that I'd deem unusable in my renders.

Let me rephrase my statement: is Mental Ray really that broken that you need more utilities to make it usable still?


Its called "diluting the forums with unnecessary fluff". Some of your comments dont add anything to the discussion, they are just flippant comments not intending to be constructive in any way.
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