Max9 mental ray shader thread?


I put this out in the general 3dsmax section because I figured I’d get more input. I have created a material test scene for Max/mental ray. I wanted to setup a mr material website similar to what Vray and Maxwell have…but I just don’t have time right now.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I didn’t want to start tacking these max9 only materials onto the end of the existing mr shader thread. I think we should start a new material repository thread where people can share materials, request materials, etc.

Here’s my test widget with a wood flooring example material:

Here it is with a glass material:
(larger image so I put a link instead of the image)

Here are my questions:
I have converted most of the architectural bitmaps over to A&D materials for Max9…so the scene is setup for Max9. How should it be organzied? Maybe a main thread with sub-threads for Max6-9? Can Cgtalk host the file(s) (all in all it’s about 3 mb zipped I think). I can host it on my site, but I may run out of bandwidth if it gets hit heavily. And I really don’t want to have to pay more out of my pocket than I already do. If I host it on one of those free sites like…then it may eventually die out and someone would have to reload it…so I’m not keen on that. Any thoughts?

Finally, here are some additional tests with variations on the scene…do you see something I should change/add in the scene:
I call this the final scene with the 2" reflecting test box:

Here’s a variation that replaces the 2" box with just a reflection box. I figure people could better scale the scene this way…but it might be best to create multiple scenes? One setup in inches, one in feet, mm, etc?

Another style (larger image, so a link instead of the pic):

Finally an older one, but I don’t like this design as much as the newer ones:

Sorry for the long post, I know it’s a lot of info to digest. But with the talent pool around here I know you guys will have some good feedback/ideas for me. :thumbsup:


Well I was waiting for something like that and I was not viewing interest from anyone so I decided follow my own path. I would like people say things about the test scene and only then when the lights and model and materials and so be right for all of us then start to post materials. Also every material MUST contain in my opinion always all the maps (at a low resolution if you want but always some map, I don’t like see materials without maps and take work in prepare one just to decide then the material don’t looks good.

For host the files I think we can set mirrors, I love These mirrors host the matlibs (one for metals, one for woods and so? how many categories?).

I would like to see the scene to make my opinion (lights specially, I don’t like all that steps, perhaps some “ramp” and some steps).

No in my opinion. Create in your own and the only thing people have to do is enter the units setup and change to meters (but maintaining always the 1 unit= 1inches like Autodesk think is right (I also think so).


Thanks Jeff. This is a great idea. I am a long time Vray user, and the Vray material site is
pretty nice. I have been testing the max9 demo for a couple days now, and I am really
impressed with the new Mentalray. The final gather seemes much faster.
We do mostly animation (archviz) here. It will be interesting to see how Mentalray
stacks up to Vray as far as over all render speed goes.

The test scene looks nice. I am looking forward to it.
I think you will have a huge response to this idea. If there is anything I can do to help,
let me know.



I put the flat steps in there instead of a ramp because it needs to contain some flat horizontal surface(s). The steps also help the arch-viz community see how the material will look in a more typical example for them. Plus the stepping helps define the persistence/attenuation effect of glass a bit better than a ramp (at least from my own testing).

The scene uses two lights with light cards (one photometric and one mrSpot), and the kitchen probe HDR for the environment.

It’s certainly a lot more friendly and faster in this build. But IMHO there is still a bottleneck when it comes to GI animations. I have a bit more info about that here:

But in a nutshell, if the only thing that moves in your scene is the camera…then you’re money. If you have cars and/or people moving about then you still have to recalculate the FG solution for each frame. But on the good side, that’s not as slow of a process as it once was.


Hi Jeff,

first of all I think it´s a pretty good idea to start a new thread because such a lot of things have changed and i guess a lot of custom shaders do not work anymore or at least different.

I think the key is the right scene. May be there are some different approaches.



Hey Jeff,

Very nice test scene IMHO. Easy to read how the
material is working and looks from your render times
to be pretty user friendly time wise.

Getting a more organised approach to threads in MR would
definately be welcome, the current behemoth is not
easy at all to navigate or keep track of a given discussion
that may be of current interest.

Would it be possible to plead with the powers that be at CG Talk
to give us a MR specific sub forum, then we could run specific
threads for different Max versions or for specific Shader
tests and requests? It would then be possible to have threads
that deal with other aspects of MR that may produce fruitful

Anyway, will be keeping an eye on this as it will be a cool
thread anyway.



Thanks for the reply.
So I should be able to render FG every nth frame, simular to Vray. I asummed this to be the
case, I just havent had a chance to test it yet. For moving doors, fans,etc, we render these
out seperately now, and would do the same with mentalray.




Right (I think), you currently can’t render every nth frame with mental ray when objects other than the camera are moving/changing. nth frame calculating for moving objects is something I’d really like to see added in the near future.

But for fans and doors I guess it would be the same workflow now…you can render them out seperately and composite them into your animation.


Great idea, i like this scene the best.


Jeff, I really like your test object. I was working on one myself, but I like yours better. I think a person can really gauge how the material is behaving fom your setup. I also like the idea of keeping an object consistant to real world scale. Your wood texture in the first image, is it in fact scale for 2 inches? It looks like it could be a floor thats much larger.

As far as setting up a website, I think I could help in that reguard. I can have one of my guys set up a webpage to showcase the images and files. My company has enough bandwidth to support a page like this. Let me know if this is okay with you.


Scale is an issue, and in one example I took out the 2" box thing and just made it a reflection only “thing”. I guess a large scale (2’ maybe?) & small scale, like the 2" version are all that’s really needed? And maybe the same in metric? Or do we just go with the generic units and let people scale them to suit their material?

Second to that…I’m figuring we may need another scene for testing SSS shaders since they require special lighting and also exact measurements.

Thank you very much for offering some webspace & design! I’ve PM’d a CGtalk moderator to see if CGtalk is interested in setting something up. Also, some of the Maya guys have a similar thread in which I’ve offered this test object to them as well.

They are working on a website now, and I’m not sure if we should all work together (maybe even bring in the XSI camp) or if that might be too big of a mess or what. So as I know more about options, I’ll post the info here so we can guage what’s best for us (3dsmax users).

As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make sure the scene is free, easy to use, and the materials can be downloaded/uploaded for free…with no restrictions on use.


IMHO I think having a scene texture built to a certain scale would help us all out, especially to ArchVis guys. As you know, scaling certain textures could alter their properties under the same lighting conditions, IE transparent or translucent textures. Maybe as you said, having differing scaled based scenes would be the way to go. 2" and 2’ scenes seem to me all you would need. Anything larger or smaller than that would require special circumstances anyway.

I love that Idea!

Just wanted to offer a hand. I always loved the idea of a texture repository that had materials that people could actually use. So many times you come across textures that are designed in such a way that they are useless for anything other than what they were made for. Free, easy to use, no restrictions, and hopefully accurate materials and scenes would be a really benefit to all.


Hey Jeff, long time no post :slight_smile:
I think a Max9 material share space would be a fantastic. Although I wouldn’t be able to help much with hosting I certainly have a few materials that I’ve come up with that I’d like to share with the community. I personally think the test scene with the nerf material works the best as it has the 2 inch “ruler” going acorss the floor… just my opinion though.

Please let me know if you’d like any help getting this off of the ground.



Hey Jim! Yeah it’s been a while. Looks like everyone has been real busy over the last year or so! :slight_smile: (that’s a good thing.)

Well, here’s some changes I made tonight:

I still prefer the plain colored ground plane, the grid seems to distract my eyes from the material itself. But, I didn’t like the 2" box thing…and I guess this is more uniform with the other test scenes I’ve seen.

I’ll archive the scene tomorrow and post it for review, then we can all figure out if anything needs adjusting, and what’s the best way to host all this stuff, etc…


Nice test scene. Looking forward to this. The new MR arch/design mat is pretty flexible. I
expect that there will be some very nice shaders made from it.


…every time I read Repository I want to say suppository for some reason… :slight_smile:

Jeff… I’d be happy to mirror downloads also. I think if you were to host the main site whereever… including all the preview images and such, then when the person browsing wants to download the actual file, a simple script will randomly pick which mirror to d/l from. Shouldn’t be too hard…


Great idea Jeff, thanks again for having initiative:)! Once this thing gets going, I’ll happily share my materials :smiley:

Having separate threads for different materials (e.g. woods, metals…), in my opinion might be confusing if some areas intersect. Also, It wouldn’t help for a more organised way to follow discussions about specific threads.

The structure I propose is this:

  • 1 ‘Home’ thread - this is where the link to the latest materials can be found, news, faq, general discussion about the test scene or anything else which is not related to a specific material.

  • threads created by anyone who comes up with a new shader. If you have a material that you would like to share, create a thread, recieve some input, have a discussion, and when it’s ready, the material will join the material library.

I thought of this structure because in the first place it keeps track of the discussion for a specific material, and in the second place, it helps creating higher quality materials.

Now, that I also brought it up, I also think that there should be some sort of system, so that only good materials get into the library. Now, what makes a material good? And who should be the one who decides if it’s good? I think that if we have a separate thread for a material, then the whole community will express their ideas, and so, the community will be the ‘judge’ (sounds waaay to serious:P).

Maybe there are other structure ideas, that might help in the direction I’m aiming, or even more; what do you think?


and some ideas for the test scene:)

  • I also think it’s better to leave everything in generic units (1 system unit being 1 inch)
  • I agree that there should be separate test scenes for 2", 2’ and SSS
  • The grid is indeed distracting :(. I preffered the 2" cube. Nice and simple. Sometimes I like to use in test scenes real objects ( a lighter, a coffe cup, etc) near my tested mesh, I understand the scale better. But I guess this inapropriate for a test scene for all kinds of materials
  • It would be nice if the light/scene setup allowed to test caustics (both reflective and refractive), or maybe have a separate test scene for these?

Ok, I guess I’m pretty excited about this Max9 Shader Thread idea:P


on the test scene:
Yeah the floor did seem a little busy. Maybe without all of the words and just the squares it would be more effective? or maybe just have square in the lower left define the dementions?

I personally feel just 1 test scene would suffice.

on the organisation of the it all:
I think the max 8 material thread proved to be too un-weildy, Rockns idea seems to make sense. Maybe we could get cgtalk to open a new sub-forum like the particle flow or max resourses sub forums and have Jeffs main thread be a sticky containing all of the test scenes, revisions and updates and such.


Render me interested, Batman.

I’m really impressed with this implementation of MentalRay. I’ve always wanted to really put Mental Ray into our toolbox, but getting people to try it out was hard (clunky). Kudos to Autodesk for this iteration.

So yeah, scene please.