How far behind XSi?


Is Maya’s implementation of Mental Ray? I did some modelling work at college for a few ‘softies’ and had them show me a bit about XSi rendering while I was there. I couldn’t believe how streamlined it all seemed to be. Looking at things in maya it just seemed like endless attribute rollouts, bizarre new shaders, strange procedures to even get the thing running. A real put-off to anyone who wants to have a go with it. I’m making my demo at the moment and certainly can’t justify spending months learning all these intricasies to incorporate them into my rendering when my time here is almost over. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to…the results from MR are stunning…but the learning curve seems pretty steep and long.

Contrast this to XSi where there seemed to be very little technical things to know, it was more intuative for the artist. For example are all shaders in XSi MR shaders? So everything just works with MR off the bat or do they need to do a fair degree of hair-pulling themselves to get things working? I didn’t see any evidence of that when watching my colleagues and their renders seemed to incorporate GI/FG/Caustics et al beautifully.

I know MR has been tightly knit with Softimage for many releases now so it should be better but Maya’s implementation just seems really half-arsed and overly complicated.

Do people here think that for the typical 3D artist, Maya MR is more complex than it needs to be? It almost seems like you need a technical background rather than an artistic one to get any mileage out of it. Noone’s looking for a 1-click make beautiful render button but at the same time there has to be a more friendly way to get renders than this? Does XSi just give you the bare miniumum to access these features and you need to go ‘in under the hood’ to find all it’s confusing equivalents? Whereas Maya makes everything visible from the start which is a daunting when you first see it?

Is it simply just a matter of time/releases and we will see this slick integration with Maya? Or do the different architectures of the software mean that the Maya implementation will never match XSi’s?



well… i need to agree with you, that this implementation of MR inside Maya its not easy to learn, but im sure that in the future releases of Maya it will get better.The problem is that mentalray IS the Softimage render, in Maya its a plugin.But i like it, and i could achieve some good results with Maya/MR.:slight_smile:


MR in Maya 6 really isn’t all that hard. The attributes in the Render Globals are pretty much exactly the same ones as in XSI’s render settings.


It’s still a ways off. Maya never had intentions on using MR integrated with the package. I mean, the software render in Maya really sucked, and was mainly used for previews. That’s why there was PR Renderman. Maya never really needed to have a renderer built in.

Now, everyone expects a “Do it all” package, so Alias just bolted on MR on the side. Hey, it’s better than the old software render. Or you could aways go back to its original intention, which is export it out to Renderman.

Shading and lighting is very technical, so don’t be surprised that there’s a learning curve. Natural light has a lot of physics and properties that are difficult to nail down inside a computer software. Basically, you have a F-18 fighter jet with all it’s power and glory but no knowledge to know how to use it. Like anything else, you have to have the skills and the know-how to take advantage of the power. Do a search, google around. It won’t take you months to pick it up. You could do it in a week and get pretty good results.

Good luck,



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