MentalCore 1.6v1 Released!

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  05 May 2013
MentalCore 1.6v1 Released!

We have just released version 1.6v1 of MentalCore, the essential rendering toolkit for Maya and Mentalray! New to this release is support for Maya 2014 including GPU Ambient Occlusion, as well as a bunch of other features and bug fixes. Check out the full list of features below.

To download the update or request a free 30 day trial, head over to our website -

- Maya 2014 Support

MentalCore now supports Maya 2014, along with some new features only available in Maya 2014:
  • GPU Ambient Occlusion. MentalCore supports the new GPU AO mode available in Mentalray 3.11. When enabled, ambient occlusion can be computed on the GPU simultaneously with the beauty render. The GPU AO pass is produced almost for free since typically it finishes rendering much quicker then the main image and does not impact CPU rendering.
  • Object Lights. Added support for Mentalray 3.11 object lights. This allows you to easily define a mesh as a area light source, which can also be textured. Note this is somewhat a experimental feature and is known to have some crashing issues which will hopefully be fixed in a future Maya service pack.
  • Added new advanced options in the MentalCore globals available in Mentalray 3.11, such as light importance sampling and more.
  • Unified sampling has been removed from the MentalCore globals as it is now natively supported in Maya 2014.
Please note, as we only support the latest 3 versions of Maya, support for Maya 2011 has been dropped

- Advanced Options Tab
A new “Advanced” tab can be found in the MentalCore globals which contains many advanced rendering options that are generally not exposed in Maya. Some of these options have been moved from the General tab to tidy up the UI.

- Proxy Textures
Added a new workflow to create low res textures for use to speed up test renders and Finalgather calculations. A simple UI allows you to easily generate low res versions of texture files in your scene. There are 2 types: Proxy textures, which are used during interactive rendering and automatically switched to original full res textures when batch rendering and Finalgather textures, which can be used to significantly speed to calculation of finalgathering in texture heavy scenes.

- New Distance Blend Shader
New “core_distance_blend” texture shader to assist in building shader networks. This allows you to blend between 2 textures over a specified distance from the camera.

- Render Settings Stored in EXR Metadata
For Maya 2013+, render settings such as Sampling Mode, Quality, AA settings etc as well as the Maya file it was rendered from will be stored in the metadata of EXR files, allowing easier diagnosis of renders without having to open Maya to check settings.

- Global Clamp
Added a new “Global Clamp” option which can be used to clamp beauty passes renders to reduce noise effects caused super bright pixels or fireflies. This will clamp the beauty render as well as any beauty passes to the specified value. It is found under the “Render Passes” tab in the MentalCore globals.

- Updates
  • Added new holdout option for shaders, you can now select between “Primary Holdout” and “Holdout”. Primary Holdout will cutout objects in eye and transparency rays only and objects will still be visible in reflections/refractions. The Holdout option will appear black to all types of rays.
  • Added a new clamp option to the core_environment shader to clamp the brightness of the secondary environment used for reflections/refractions.
  • Light relative scale option now defaults to 0.318.
  • Use Preview Profile for Sampling Beauty Passes - Experimental. This new option added to the Advanced tab of the MentalCore globals allows you to use the preview profile on the primary framebuffer and beauty passes when rendering via batch render or “All Passes” mode and then automatically convert it back to the output profile once rendering is complete. This means that anti aliasing contrast is calculated in sRGB colorspace (or whatever profile profile you have selected) rather then linear which can produce a more intuitively sampled image.
- Bug Fixes
  • Fixed issue with core_blend_materials where the blending in secondary rays was getting messed up.
  • Fixed issue with core_mia_material when using the segment shadows option.
  • Fixed bug with light relative scale option not having any effect.
  • Changed default resolution for mia_env_blur in core_environment to 2048 as low values can cause popping.
  • Fixed issue with core_hair shader and alpha when using transparency.
  • For core_environment, the primary environment options will now effect the environment pass.
  • Fixed a bug with the core_hair shader sometimes creating extra colour ramp inputs when opening a file.
  • API function mapi.create_pass will now throw a exception if the pass name is invalid.
MentalCore - Shading and rendering pipeline for Maya/Mentalray
  05 May 2013
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