Why is Mental ray so rubish?

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Old 06 June 2007   #1
Why is Mental ray so rub... complicated?

Well, yes you will say what a great renderer.
Well, indeed it's really powerfull and all, but I have to say this implementation in maya is really - rubish.
Yes, it's much better then it was, but that doesn't help.
On the current project, I was staying nights trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Same setup doesn't work in different scenes, there are misterious nodes everywhere, so many errors reported, with no explanation anywhere what the error is all about.
Many respectfull people around are discusing how the hell bump works with mia shader?
Well it doesn't. Using same shader on two different object produces different results.
Huh?
Then stabillity.
Mental ray was crashing whenever he felt like it and on fresh loaded scenes it would crash or render, or crash, whatever the mood it was in.
Or lightmaps?
What the hell is that about. You need to connect the light map in order for shader to work and connect something to something but then that is still reporting error whatever you do and doing strange things. It turns from white to black to purple to cream and back.
And yes one setup just doesn't transfer from scene to scene, and the fact that rendering setup is changing by itself like some ghost is not helping either.
And what the "mi_matrix_solve: A is singular" is all about?
This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to complicated for no reason what so ever, with so many little traps on every step of the way that I just found it - useless. I guess I will need to go back to drawing board, back to high school for MR, but I have to say that they could make all of this so much easier.
Luck of information is not helping either. Why I can't figure out how to make polka dot texture work? Why I can't get checker to make any bump? And so on and so on...
Well, yeh, some people make amazing stuff with mental ray, but at waaaaaaaaaay to big cost of having no life really...
And without installing any of those great shaders people gracefully share, it would be even worse.
So please autodesk, we really need MUCH better MANUALS, MORE EXAMPLES, HOW TO's and some logic in how I suppose to build the shaders in hypershade...
And thanks to all you lovely people who share, because without you I would be not sleaping for days...
Oh, I forgot to mention sattellite engine which I need to change by typing in text file and close maya every time I need to render on different machine, and which crashes maya if "render slave dies". Horible...
This all really needs lot's of fixing. Possabilities are incredible, but oh, my, so much rubish on the way there...

End of Rant.

Thanks for listening


Als
__________________
"No Bucks, NO Buck Rogers!"

VFX rule no. 387
# Just redo it!


Last edited by Als : 06 June 2007 at 01:39 PM.
 
Old 06 June 2007   #2
Im interested to know for what reasons you have stayed using MR when it is obviously the source of much frustration. Couldnt you use a different renderer?

-- David
__________________
http://www.djx.com.au
 
Old 06 June 2007   #3
Oh... I really enjoyed reading all that frustration oozing out of someone.
You are right in many ways in what you say. And I agree - mentalRay is a total creativity
killer. It's bad when you have beautiful renders coming from mentalRay only from scientists
but you have outstanding renders coming out of ordinary people done in their personal
bedroom. It's a thing of scale. Like with maya, you have so little features. It will forever
remain only a foundation for big studios to implement their proprietary tools. And I feel
pretty much that is the case with mentalRay.
 
Old 06 June 2007   #4
Originally Posted by djx: Im interested to know for what reasons you have stayed using MR when it is obviously the source of much frustration. Couldnt you use a different renderer?

-- David


Because it's free and comes installed with Maya everybody starts looking after it. It was among the first engines that have been availble for Maya as well.
Not to mention the numbers of schools and educational ressources availble that keep bullying newbies with how great and easy mental ray is
__________________
Lazhar Rekik
 
Old 06 June 2007   #5
Originally Posted by Als: Well, yes you will say what a great renderer.
Well, indeed it's really powerfull and all, but I have to say this implementation in maya is really - rubish.
Yes, it's much better then it was, but that doesn't help.
On the current project, I was staying nights trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Same setup doesn't work in different scenes, there are misterious nodes everywhere, so many errors reported, with no explanation anywhere what the error is all about.
Many respectfull people around are discusing how the hell bump works with mia shader?
Well it doesn't. Using same shader on two different object produces different results.
Huh?
Then stabillity.
Mental ray was crashing whenever he felt like it and on fresh loaded scenes it would crash or render, or crash, whatever the mood it was in.
Or lightmaps?
What the hell is that about. You need to connect the light map in order for shader to work and connect something to something but then that is still reporting error whatever you do and doing strange things. It turns from white to black to purple to cream and back.
And yes one setup just doesn't transfer from scene to scene, and the fact that rendering setup is changing by itself like some ghost is not helping either.
And what the "mi_matrix_solve: A is singular" is all about?
This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to complicated for no reason what so ever, with so many little traps on every step of the way that I just found it - useless. I guess I will need to go back to drawing board, back to high school for MR, but I have to say that they could make all of this so much easier.
Luck of information is not helping either. Why I can't figure out how to make polka dot texture work? Why I can't get checker to make any bump? And so on and so on...
Well, yeh, some people make amazing stuff with mental ray, but at waaaaaaaaaay to big cost of having no life really...
And without installing any of those great shaders people gracefully share, it would be even worse.
So please autodesk, we really need MUCH better MANUALS, MORE EXAMPLES, HOW TO's and some logic in how I suppose to build the shaders in hypershade...
And thanks to all you lovely people who share, because without you I would be not sleaping for days...
Oh, I forgot to mention sattellite engine which I need to change by typing in text file and close maya every time I need to render on different machine, and which crashes maya if "render slave dies". Horible...
This all really needs lot's of fixing. Possabilities are incredible, but oh, my, so much rubish on the way there...

End of Rant.

Thanks for listening


Als


I agree with you. The implementation of MR in maya is just rubbish.
You got a lot of frustration specially if you come from Max or even more if you come from XSI.

The fault is not MR itself it's maya. I never saw a software so complicated to do simple
thing. I mean we are in 2007 not in 1996 and you have to act like 10 years ago.

The best advice I can give is to switch to Max or XSi ( if you ask me I will switch to XSI ) and you will just start to love MR.
__________________
http://www.harrybardak.co.uk
 
Old 06 June 2007   #6
Quote: Because it's free and comes installed with Maya...

I can see how this might be a reason why someone would start looking at MR, but Als appears to be a professional artist working for a production company. I was just interesetd to know if reasons other than money were making them choose to use a renderer that they were finding to be difficult. (If its just the money - fair enough though).

Dont misunderstand me. I'm quite a fan of MR, but since I have not used anything else in recent years, I was just interested in why other people choose or dont choose it.

-- David
__________________
http://www.djx.com.au
 
Old 06 June 2007   #7
you're overreacting for sure.
there are many maya/mentalray tutorials available today
digitaltutors - for begginer level, gnomon - a bit more advanced, etc
free online tutorials everywhere

just open your eyes, you will never learn by bitching
(with more or less arguable complains) the software


Quote: I never saw a software so complicated to do simple things

the simple things being...?
indentify them and they will surely be fixed in later versions.

Last edited by cpan : 06 June 2007 at 01:08 PM.
 
Old 06 June 2007   #8
Originally Posted by yashu: the simple things being...?
indentify them and they will be changed in later versions.


Moving vertex/edges/polygons for instances.
Changing the same parameter value on multiple object.

GUI issues mainly. You can always do it most of time by scripting.
__________________
http://www.harrybardak.co.uk
 
Old 06 June 2007   #9
I hear FinalRender is much easier to use...
__________________
DESIGN FORWARD
http://www.mantastudios.com
 
Old 06 June 2007   #10
Originally Posted by Saturn: Moving vertex/edges/polygons for instances.
Changing the same parameter value on multiple object.

GUI issues mainly. You can always do it most of time by scripting.


oh, i though we were talking about mentalray...

btw use attribute spread sheet for b)
 
Old 06 June 2007   #11
i get frustrated with mental ray too. and this thread has made me decide to start testing out final render which ive thought about for a while.

i agree the autodesk training materials for mental ray suck. ive seen the gnomon and digital tutors materials and they are helpful but by no means comprehensive. but on the other hand the new MIA shaders and physical sky have been nice. but i find it always very slow. maybe i just need to throw more hardware at it. but one of the things looking nice about final render is how easy distributed rendering is -- wow

ive spent a lot of time learning mental ray and im not scared of code but u know its the developers responsibilty to make all the features easily accessible and well documented for the average user -- and by average user i mean - artist.
 
Old 06 June 2007   #12
Originally Posted by yashu: you're overreacting for sure.
there are many maya/mentalray tutorials available today
digitaltutors - for begginer level, gnomon - a bit more advanced, etc
free online tutorials everywhere

just open your eyes, you will never learn by bitching
(with more or less arguable complains) the software

the simple things being...?
indentify them and they will surely be fixed in later versions.




Well, I'm not really overreacting.

This is due that I couldn't go home to sleep because MR is doing weird stuff with render setups and becuse it was crashing for no reason.
Also because I couldn't make bump map to look any good, and because filtering texture files doesn't work in maya at any exceptable level.
I was just trying to use bump on missfastskin and mia materials, and I had to go through like 20 pages of various forums to understand what the hell is going on.
It's only bump, not astrophysics.
I'm complaining because there are other ways of doing things, and innovation and improving is something I'm expected to do on daily basis, so I expect the same from software I use, and their makers.
I don't expect maya to crash because render slave died? (and why it died at the first place)
I don't expect to stop working in maya, close the maya, type small text files in order to tell software which machines to use to render, and then reopen it. This is what I was doing 20 years ago, I hope there should be easier way of doing things. Imagine what waste of time this is if you scene takes 20 minutes to load in, etc.

I'm not new to mental ray either.
But for example the results on many of those tutorials have quite simple results, which are not really up to scratch to today demand for photorealistic images.

I'm not against learning. But I really feel stupid learning something which doesn't have any logic to it, but it's result of doing manually something which should be provided by software.

For example why I can't render particle points in software render? There is no really logic behind it, it's just luck of implementation.
Why I can't connect materials in the same way I did with maya software renderer?
No real reason, just luck of implementation.
Or why I need to define how many polygons I need to have in nurbs surface in order to look smooth. I just need it to look the same as it looks in the view window.

Also I'm talking about a bit effort needs to be put toward the user friendliness of the software, and with maya MR needs a LOT of effort to be put in there.

Good example is mia material which clearly made a mark as a great tool and many people want to use it, since it's promissing quick result with less hasle.

But why you need to create 6 nodes and spend 10 minutes connecting them in order to get bump with mia material?

Or how I need to connect polka dots as a texture? Where I'm suposed to find this out?
This should be really simple, but clearly it's not.

And what is that singular error, still no one replied to it?

Or why they didn't provide the library of those materials which are in the documentation for mia material, even better scenes which are in the examples...

I just need good tree material, which I can quickly use. I doubt that my client will care less if I understand physics behind brdf or anything like that, he just needs me to spend least time on obvious and put more time in creative stuff.

I'm frustrated not by learning but of luck of information on autodesk part. I think they can do so much better job on that, which they clearly can do, just need to continue in this direction.

Or can you shad the light how to use any of the geometry shaders. I couldn't find anything about it in manuals/documentation, and very very little on internet. I want to learn about it, but I would assume that some knowledge needs to be available.
This was always part of maya. It's easy to do complicated things and very complicated to do simple things...
Yeah, bitching didn't help anyone, but I hope this thread might, by discusing those stupid issues which stops us from doing great stuff.


Als
__________________
"No Bucks, NO Buck Rogers!"

VFX rule no. 387
# Just redo it!

 
Old 06 June 2007   #13
Yeah!! You are really MAD about making a change, eh?

Autodesk should do one thing, and one thing only - they should kidnap two or three people
like us, and record every little aspect of frustration generated during maya(MR) sessions...
And then they should compile all the data and remodel the maya interface and rendering
workflow to better suit us.

For example, if you take a look at the Vray like Render with MR you shall see how I get all kinds
of small artefacts in my renders which I have really no clue on how to fix. Now, I need to
clear up 2 or three hours of my schedjule tomorrow and investigate every little thing that
bears the slightest suspicion in regard to those notorious artefacts... How's that for
user friendlyness?
 
Old 06 June 2007   #14
Originally Posted by Als: Well, I'm not really overreacting.

This was always part of maya. It's easy to do complicated things and very complicated to do simple things...

Als


I love it that you just said this. That's how i've always explained my love hate experience to people about Maya.

While we're griping ...

I originally came from Cinema4D, and don't get me wrong, Maya/MentalRay is a much more powerful program. But a little less so with every C4D release. The irony is that I mentioned a few things about C4D to our other animators and now THEY ARE ALL MOVING TO IT. Not that they think it's better either, but it's fast, reliable, predictable, and fairly feature complete.

As of now there is no EASY way to set up render passes in MentalRay other than Normals and Z-pass. There are things I like about the render layers in Maya now. Great for some work. But If you just want elements of your image saved off in passes without having to setup another layer or scene or reshade, you're out of luck. Cinema4D, Renderman, even CARRARA! let's you just hit a ceck box and bam you have a new pass, no rendertime overhead or setup time.




I'm always being told that you CAN do this in maya, but for the life of me can't figure out how :-/
 
Old 06 June 2007   #15
Aleksandar,

i totaly agree with everything you say.
frustration, lowering productivity, useless workarounds are indeed the terms that define the MR implemntation in Maya; especially after the useless autodesk updates that just compicated thins.


i have been a maya-MR user for 5 years now, and i totaly understand your feeling.
i am still learning MR, but i can assure you taht if i could turn back time, i would chose V-ray.I just don't want to throw away 5 years of experience in MR.


I dont think that youre are over reacting at all.
i noted a series of frustraying elements in the implementation:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...p?f=87&t=498604

adding bump to the mia materials takes more than 2 min when it takes a click (2, 3 seconds in ANY other renderer)
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...p?f=87&t=506064
i think it's Autodesk responsibility becose it's there software after all that is the Host for the plugin.

i just can wait the day V-ray will be available for Maya.
until then, we must keep learining how to achieve simple things by leranong super-galactik-look-up-and-down-mega-filtering-complicated-fatal-singular workarounds.

cheers
 
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