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Old 22-10-2004, 09:56 AM   #1
Relayer
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Default Is Mental Ray up to it?

Could anyone advise?

I've been working in Maya 4.5 for the last couple of years and am more than aware that the renderer is not as good as other 3D software packages. Working on a joint project with some Lightwave artists recently highlighted that.

I was thinking of upgrading to Maya 6 so that I could use Mental Ray.

Could those with the experience tell me the pro's and cons of Mental Ray and is it worth the price of the upgrade? Does it compare wellk with other renderers? Or do I import all my models and texture maps into Lightwave to be rendered?

Thanks
R.
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Old 22-10-2004, 11:19 AM   #2
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I would say yes, Mental Ray is very much up to it. It's implementation to Maya is relatively young and thus its full potential might be tricky to use at times but it's getting better and easier to use from version to version. Of course it has its own learning curve so don't expect to magically get impressive images with a click of a button...

MR has been around quite some time now so it's not a new thing. It's just new to Maya. It's been for example the renderer of XSI for years and now it's part of 3DSMax too...

More info here: http://www.mentalimages.com/2_1_0_mentalray/index.html

P.S. The Maya Software renderer isn't imho as bad as some people say. In some cases it's even faster. Of course you need to know it thoroughly too to make use of it. I tend to use it almost always if I don't need the fancy features of MR...

P.P.S. There's a lot more to getting nice and good quality CG images than the renderer. Everything begins with a good model, good textures and good lighting. It's like they say: "Crap in = crap out".
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Old 22-10-2004, 12:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info K-Man,
I agree. Most of the time I've had no worries over Mayas renderer, and have been happy with the results.

However,we completed a project in the summer where both Lightwave and Maya renderers were used. The scenes were ice scenes/landscapes and I think this was where Mayas renderer fell short. The Lightwave images were beautiful. I though that maybe MRays facility for global illumination would have helped considerably with Mayas results.

Fair point about crap in=crap out..............I've certainly managed a fair amount of that .

Cheers
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Old 22-10-2004, 03:25 PM   #4
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I just wanted to add to this topic and say that I'm surprised that there aren't any good tutorials out there showing good tips on using Mental Ray. Rendering is such an important part of a good end product that you think someone would have created a tut on it by now.

Maybe there is one out there but I can't seem to find it.
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Old 24-10-2004, 12:54 PM   #5
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I'll propably do some MR tutes for SM when I get time...
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Old 25-10-2004, 10:11 AM   #6
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That would be excellent,
Cheers.
R
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Old 25-10-2004, 10:28 AM   #7
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I've noticed a serious lack of good mental ray tuts too...this is one area that I would love to get good at
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Old 30-10-2004, 02:07 PM   #8
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But there are some really nice tutorials on internet for MR. not video tutorials but txt! And I must say that I am really think that Maya can get much bather results than LW or any other 3d software can get, and I heard that Maya 7 will have renderman bundled with unlimited version of Maya!!! If that happens Maya will get even higher than its now, and Maya is at first place, and second is 10 places down
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Old 30-10-2004, 03:32 PM   #9
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I dont claim this to be a "good" tutorial, and its been pieced on an hour or so, but to whoever it can be interested the basic workflow to GI+FG comes down to this:
_____________________________________________
QD Mentalray GI+FG Cornell box workflow example
1 make a scene like that: a box with a hole on top and some balls inside
put a spotligh pointing to the hole, on its atributes turn on emit photons
on the camera used to render put its environment color to white
2 assign lamberts with various colors to the box and balls go down to the mentalray tab and asign a 50%gray to irradiance of the lamberts (and put a blinn without specular for the chromeballs)
3 render with mr prewiev settings...
4 just changed the settings to globalillumination preview
5-6 in the light´s atribute editor slowly iterate and finetune trough the values at
a)photon intensity
b)#gi photons
c)intensity
d)exponent
(this is a good moment to see what changing kust one of them actually does... ) keep going until the brightest and darkest areas look more or less right(not too overexposed-underexposed) and the spots(photons) cover more or less uniformly the scene... (not seen when reduced quality to fit on thread)
7 emit more photons from the light pump up photon volume accuracy
8 Turn on final gather
9 pump up render settings and put even more photons, iterate steps 5-6-7 and play with the irradiances and ambients of the lamberts until youre done...(ie you either like it or youre so frustrated you declare it "done")

another variation is putting "windows" to the box or deleting the wall behind the camera
And numerically pumping up beyond 1 the v value of the v (HSVmode) in the white of the environment on the camera. Or placing an image(hdr or whatever) on a big scaled normal inverted ball surrounding the box
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Old 11-11-2004, 02:48 PM   #10
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Mental ray is awsome but does have some downfalls, like not being to render light glows and fogs and (just recently learned) PaintFX.

Theres some good, basic MR tutorials i found here. http://www.3dluvr.com/intercepto/maya/tutorials/
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Old 11-11-2004, 07:26 PM   #11
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I have heard that Max hav bether Mray than Maya, is that trouth???
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