New Unlimited Mental Ray Satellite / Standalone

Hi all,

we have very pleasant news for those of you who are frequently rendering on remote machines using Mental Ray Satellite that are connected and controlled from a Maya or 3ds Max plugin:

The Mental Ray Standalone does not require a license anymore.
It is completely free to use on any number of machines.

This is a great extension for users of the Mental Ray plugins who depend on network-distributed rendering for more rendering throughput. It is also lifting any restrictions for usage in a render farm when running from the command-line or managed by a render job manager like Backburner.

What is Mental Ray Satellite rendering?

Unlike starting separate render jobs in a render farm, the Satellite rendering mode allows to connect remote machines in the internal network to your main Mental Ray rendering engine, so that they take over the heavy part of rendering the image or animation without stressing your main machine, which is already busy running your DCC tool. You can continue working with Maya or 3ds Max in the usual way, since Mental Ray is handling the data distribution and network communication under-the-hood. Naturally, the network speed and machine configurations have great impact on the overall experience and a fluent workflow.

In Maya, the satellite mode can be enabled selectively for preview rendering in Render View, and also for batch rendering in the background. However, progressive rendering is not supported in this distributed mode. That makes it less useful in the interactive viewport rendering with Mental Ray, although it’s generally possible to enable it there too. You have the option to let Satellites do ALL the rendering remotely, freeing your main machine from any rendering load (perfect for a background batch render), or set them to contribute to the main rendering as needed (like for a quick preview render).

Otherwise, there are no limitations on the number of machines or CPU cores that can be utilized, different to the original Satellite mode in Autodesk products. However, technically, the overall benefit for rendering may decrease at some point when too many remote machines need to be synchronized over a potentially occupied network.

This latest Mental Ray Standalone can also be used from the command-line, of course, now without any restrictions and no licensing setup.

Please download the new installers below for your platform. We provide versions that are compatible with Maya 2018 and 3ds Max 2018 Mental Ray. We have no plans to upgrade to later versions of Maya or 3ds Max.

Happy rendering! 😀


Downloads

Mental Ray Free Standalone / Satellite

12 thoughts on “New Unlimited Mental Ray Satellite / Standalone

  1. Steffen says:

    You can use the Mental Ray Standalone from 3ds Max in two ways: via Satellite / Backburner, or by exporting (“echo”) the scene as an .mi file and separate render on the command line. The Satellite mode needs to be initiated by starting the command “3ds Max 2018 Start Satellite” command in your Windows start menu on the render machine, and then connect from 3ds Max to that machine. If you need more help on this please let me know.

  2. robert says:

    How about releasing code as apache licence or like that so people who need/want to use in future version of 3ds max can recomplie renderer and use it like they want 🙂 ?

    It will be such a waste to just drop this legendary renderer code to bin

    1. Steffen says:

      Indeed, we are thinking about it. It’s unclear though if mental ray is still usable after we have removed the IP parts. Let’s see…

  3. If you think about all code licensed from others who doesn’t want to publish their code to public it will be indeed big problem only to take out this parts of code.

    From what i think third-party code could be geometry/tesselation algorithms as well as picture loading libraries. Any others ?

  4. robert says:

    Patents are public, code also will hopefully be so incorporating those in other rendering software will be violated with or without publication of code ?

      1. robert says:

        Ok so if you need please remove parts that’s are patented and publish because i think that code will be usable no doubt

        It will be far more usable than code that is dropped to trash 🙂

  5. Mental Sunray says:

    What Robert’s talking about probably wouldn’t apply to me (unless it results in a Blender release I guess), as it’s not clear when/if I’ll update my Autodesk software, but I think the motivation to keep Mental Ray accessible in future products is admirable. I don’t imagine that a fully open-source release is at all viable, given that NVIDIA is a business and probably still using parts of Mental Ray in IRAY and / or other products.

    Maybe a middle ground would be to release the closed-source bits as a pre-compiled black box with the api / sdk parts for integration into content apps accessible as open-source – i.e. so people wouldn’t be able to change the underlying Mental Ray tech, but could integrate it as it exists now into content creation apps. I think SolidAngle did something similar when they discontinued the Softimage plugin for Arnold (open sourced the StoA part), but whether or not that’s feasible for Mental Ray, only you all would really know.

    I do kind of wonder, given that Autodesk is now subscription-based, whether it’s realistic to expect the open-source community to be able to keep Mental Ray plugins updated and working with each new Autodesk version, given that most subscription users probably keep moving to the new versions. Seems like there probably wouldn’t really be the manpower, but I’d be glad to be mistaken.

    More applicable would be back-porting the last version to earlier versions of Max / Maya if they’re similar enough (although again depends on how many people are still using old versions) and / or Blender (where there’s a more robust open source community and they’d have more access to be able to tweak the host app to be able to work with a closed-source Mental Ray).

    P.S. Just want to say a massive thanks to NVIDIA, Steffen, and everyone else on the advanced rendering team for doing this. It means a lot to have continued access to Mental Ray.

  6. Mike says:

    Yes, I would like to thank NVIDIA, and Steffen for all of the help and releasing this to the general public. I use standalone for distributed bucket rendering on a smaller scale than most probably, generating single image “PNG” sequences rather than using backburner or some other render manager. Works perfect. If the render fails at some point, I can reset it where it left off at the exact frame. I purchased a few used super micro servers from eBay with dual 16 core processors, and they work perfect with the standalone product. With a combined total of 128 cores, I have created a small render farm, and my render times have decreased substantially. Some of my animations would have taken 3 weeks on my workstation, with these servers and MR Standalone I completed the sequence in 4 days. Thanks again….

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