Mental Ray Q&A

Hi mental ray users and lovers,

Even though the Mental Ray Forum has disappeared recently from the web, we are here to help you with issues you might have with the Mental Ray plugins or the Standalone. Just ask your questions in the comments and we will try to come up with an answer in a new blog post.

For example, I wonder if and how you are using the GPU capabilities in Mental Ray, like the “GI Next” Global Illumination acceleration, or the fast GPU mode of Ambient Occlusion?

We are also interested in art work and renderings done with Mental Ray that we would love to highlight on this blog.

Happy to hear from you,

Steffen

8 thoughts on “Mental Ray Q&A

  1. xrmm says:

    As an old user of mentalray, I would like to ask a digression. Mentalray was later acquired by Nvidia and the development was stopped. Then what was the original mentalray development department staff doing in Nvidia? I’m very interested. Does Nvidia have any plans to develop a new renderer? I recently saw that Nvidia is preparing a rendering engine called NVIDIA Omniverse. Was this software developed by the original mentalray department?

  2. As an old user of mentalray, I would like to ask a digression. Mentalray was later acquired by Nvidia and the development was stopped. Then what was the original mentalray development department staff doing in Nvidia? I’m very interested. Does Nvidia have any plans to develop a new renderer? I recently saw that Nvidia is preparing a rendering engine called NVIDIA Omniverse. Was this software developed by the original mentalray department?

  3. Parham Salamati says:

    Hey dear Steffen 🙂

    Thanks for all the efforts you make, and for keeping this place alive all this time, It’s been one of my favorite places to check out in the past couple of years.

    Mental Ray is still an active part of my vfx pipeline. Even though most of it’s usage is still on 3.13.1.6 on Max 2016 for some reason, I’ve been using GPU Accelerated AO a lot and sometimes played with GI-Next as a hobby 🙂

    In a way of “Getting things done” perspective, I should say Mental Ray has become my “First To Go” solution for almost everything, unless I have a job Mental Ray could not handle due to compatibility and/or stopped development.

    FG is still my main focus (probably as I know how to handle it and troubleshoot), Legacy GI is still working for me (scene dependent), IP is a playground for me, no serious work though, and GI-Next is somewhat out of reach for me at the moment, again, just playing with it as a hobby.

    Standalone setup and trying to make use of GI-Next on a small farm sounds exciting though, and I think I’ll be trying that soon 😀

  4. Paul Marshall says:

    Hi Steffen, I use Mental ray to render images of Mars created from digital terrain maps that NASA release. I colour them and then set up a physical camera and let Mental work its magic. Here’s an example https://flic.kr/p/2iSTAvx – there are lots more on my Flickr page.. the earlier ones were done with Scanline, until I discovered how to use Mental ray a bit more. Have only just discovered the Standalone render so will be playing with that later! Cheers Paul 🙂

    1. Steffen says:

      Wow, really cool. Didn’t know about these extreme details of the NASA data. The animation is super smooth (no flickering noticeable). And also very relaxing to watch. Well done. It feels like you could spot a Martian… 👽

      1. Paul Marshall says:

        Many thanks! The NASA images are taken with their super camera they call HIRISE, which is on the MRO Mars Reconnaissance orbiter. Its apparently the best space camera out there and can photograph at resolutions of 25cm per pixel, pretty cool from 200km above the Martian surface! They often take 2 shots to create stereo pairs and from that they generate a digital terrain map. They’re incredibly accurate as well.

        For any of the videos I totally recommend viewing them on youtube 4k on a smart TV. 🤓

  5. It would be amazing to have access to a license. We use mental ray for simple contour rendering. With the subscription model that Autodesk utilizes, we lost our access to Maya 2016 (and with it Mental Ray). Now we are stuck with having to go to pay full prices for Arnold to access the smallest of features. And its quite slow.

    It was exciting to see that we could get Mental Ray in 2018 but because of the licensing, cant seem to get it to batch render multiple render layers.

    Would LOVE to purchase a license still.

    1. Steffen says:

      Well, you can get a license for batch rendering on a specific computer. Just send a request to arc-licensing(at)nvidia.com to provide the necessary info about your machine. Best, Steffen

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