I am somewhat familiar with RenderMan (not PRMan, but Aqsis, 3Delight, etc) and am considering learning how to write Mental Ray shaders. I only have Mental Ray as included in Softimage XSI EXP, and don’t think that one allows me to write shaders for it, does it?
Anyhow, I am considering purchasing “Rendering with Mental Ray”, which supposedly comes with a demo copy of MR on CD. Has anyone here read the book and tried the MR demo? What are the limitations of the demo opposed to a full version? Can I use the demo version to write my own shaders and is there sufficient documentation and/or an SDK to write my own scene files? Would you recommend the book?