How long it took to get familiar with MR?

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Old 01 January 2005   #1
How long it took to get familiar with MR?

I try to examine how much time I have to committed to XSI and understand stuff to get in to a "medium level of knowledge" of using Mental Ray.

So everyone, how long it took from YOU to get familiar with it? I really do not mean that you should know everything, but to a point you were quite happy using it in everyday situation.

Pasi
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Old 01 January 2005   #2
I first started dabbling with MR with Maya. Had a pretty hard time with it. MR shader this, MR shader that confused the hell out of me. I was starting to understand how the photon-related effects like GI and FG worked when I started XSI.

After that, it took about a week for me to get pretty familiar with it. I'm still learning.
 
Old 01 January 2005   #3
Originally Posted by Shinova: I first started dabbling with MR with Maya. Had a pretty hard time with it. MR shader this, MR shader that confused the hell out of me. I was starting to understand how the photon-related effects like GI and FG worked when I started XSI.

After that, it took about a week for me to get pretty familiar with it. I'm still learning.


A week is not too bad...or your a more intelligent than most of us, hehee! But how long you stuggled with it when you were using Maya?

What was it that using XSI "opened your eyes" about GI and FG?

Pasi
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Last edited by pwallin : 01 January 2005 at 12:31 PM.
 
Old 01 January 2005   #4
Originally Posted by pwallin: What was it that using XSI "opened your eyes" about GI and FG?

Pasi



XSI's documentation definetly helped. I found out what the emmitters and what the receivers are supposed to be (XSI sort of forces you to deal with it while Maya sort of hides it under a rug and you have to go looking for it)

XSI more "solidified" my MR knowledge rather than "opened my eyes." Sort of like putting the cap on a bottle after filling it up with water elsewhere.
 
Old 01 January 2005   #5
its the hardest renderer ive used and im struggling with it to get fast / decent results. still i love it.
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Old 01 January 2005   #6
Hum, tough question. I'd say that to get a moderate level of knowledge with mental ray, one would have to spend at least 6 months working with it on a daily basis. That said, unless you are a TD or a lead artist, it is rare that you can spend that much time on a single thing. So 2 years sounds more reasonable to me.

I think of myself as an intermediate user with mental ray, and I have been using it for 4 years and a half. However, I have not done production with it for 4 years and half, so it's pretty hard to put this into a solid figure.


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Old 01 January 2005   #7
Two years!? No way! In two years I'd say you could master it. As far as just getting comfortable with it, and understanding the workflow, and all the settings, probably just a few weeks. It's hard to say since XSI was the first program I picked up, so naturally it's way makes the most sense to me.

To get comfortable with FG, it shouldn't take more then a day! With FG you practically just turn it on. There's always a millions tweaks you can make to it if you want, through your objects materials and stuff. But for the most part there's just 2-3 different settings for FG.

GI's a little more complicated, but again, to become comfortable with it, probably wouldn't take more then a week or two if you read the right tutorials.

Like I said before, maybe it's cause XSI is my first app, but it's never seemed near as complicated as everyone seems to make it out to be. It's really only as hard as you make it. You can setup simple materials, and simple lighting, and stuff, OR you can dig deep into the rendertree and build some really advanced shaders, and light your scenes with FG and GI, and motion blur, and DOF, and split all this up into 100 render passes.

Anywho! To be comfortable with the MR workflow, it took me probably 2-3 weeks. To get to a medium level, I wouldn't say more then 6 months honestly. Maybe I'm out of my mind though.
 
Old 01 January 2005   #8
It's been about 4 months for me, and I'm just starting to get the hang of it. Until this past week when I looked into how passes worked I was still pretty clueless, but now a lot of the blanks have been filled in even though I'm still getting pretty slow renders (at least compared to what I used to get in vRay).
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Old 01 January 2005   #9
I agree with Bernard.

It's relatively easy to understand FG or GI, but it's not the only thing to know with MR...
As a "medium level user" the most difficult thing for me is to avoid all the flickering pb.

I you work for print, it's cool, I would say 6 months to get in to a "medium level of knowledge" but if you work for animation, 2 years seems more reasonable to me.
 
Old 01 January 2005   #10
GI, Caustics and FG are easy. It's all those shaders that are the problem.
 
Old 01 January 2005   #11
Well I started with Maya. Spent whole summer for it, you know those old school techniques if you want to study something
In the end of the summer I figured that it is not for me, I am not an TD by heart. More like chain piece where aestethic values end and technical stuff begins. You can do archidecture visualization with MR, stills with outstanding quality plus it is very scalar and open to use in animations etc.
In XSI I found good environment where learning conditions are best when concidering the available tools and learning material.

So in May I have 1 year with MR behind me. Right now I am trying to slap together my first Phenomena to optimize my workflow. As deeper I go, the more fun I have out of it. It is a constant battle with time and effort. Always I am too tempted to take too large pieces and afterwards frustration hits me. My advice would be not to take too large pieces, but try to maximize your fun value through study in smaller steps if that makes any sense.
Good luck!
 
Old 01 January 2005   #12
Mental Ray isn't too difficult; it's taken me a few weeks to get comfortable with it. I'm by no means an expert by far, but I feel I'm at the level where I can get what I want from it.

Now, you really want something challanging, try that damn animation editor! That f@#$! thing is like pulling teeth with nail clippers trying to get it to do anything remotely resembling what I want. Only if it were as intuitive as Mental Ray...
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Old 01 January 2005   #13
Originally Posted by Shinova: GI, Caustics and FG are easy. It's all those shaders that are the problem.


totally agree, you can learn "advanced" lighting in couple of days, but when it comes to shaders, you never learn them prefectly because there's milloion and one way to use them . Well that's only good because then you can master you renderings.

about the learning, no one can't say "how long" it will take, someone can learn in couple of hours someone will never learn. But important thing is that you 1st learn the basic of the raytracing, in theory level and then start learning renderer itself.
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Old 01 January 2005   #14
Originally Posted by Serial: about the learning, no one can't say "how long" it will take, someone can learn in couple of hours someone will never learn. But important thing is that you 1st learn the basic of the raytracing, in theory level and then start learning renderer itself.


I just try to gather rough experience from people how long it took from them. That way I can have a rough estimate.

I have done 3D over 15 years with several software, so I think I have quite decent understand for raytracing, GI, caustics and so on, so at least I can roughly predict what it's going to take from be based on experience of others. Of course it's not accurate at all but better than nothing.

Pasi
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Old 01 January 2005   #15
I have to agree about the 2 years timeframe...
if for learning MRay you mean learning to write shaders for it and learn C++ and some of the maths required for it in the process.

regarding how long it would take, it depends from your understanding of the basics of shading.

I know people who came from Maya's hypergraph/shadernet who got to the same level they were at in maya's scanling in a matter of a couple of weeks.

some people still don't get the fundamentals after a couple of years.

assuming you at least grasp the concepts of shading models, normals, and basic operations on colours, scalars and vectors, you can get pretty good at it with a couple months of determinated stubborn studying.
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