In this post, we give a short intro to the newest features of the mental ray for Maya 2015 plugin that is delivered with Autodesk Maya 2015. This is an overview: we will dig deeper into some of the topics on later posts.
Rendering ptex made as simple as possible
We have streamlined the workflow significantly for rendering ptex in Maya 2015. You can simply specify your ptex file in the file node and render. The ptex filter parameters are exposed in the file node. You can render color, as well as scalar and vector displacement, and normal maps.
Support for UV-tiles
UV-tiled images are output from Mudbox, Z-brush and Mari. It’s a gigantic texture that is decomposed into a grid of small textures. The positioning of the tiles is specified by a naming scheme.
Some of you might have used the scripts that are available to render uv-tiles with mental ray for Maya and that create a shader chain to do the placement of all tiles of a uv-tile image. However, now you can render as if it was a simple texture in the regular file node. The user only has to specify the first tile and the naming scheme.
AO GPU exposed
The AO GPU plugin has been a part of mental ray since version 3.11. It allows one to render the AO pass at a very high quality in parallel to the beauty pass. With a recent GPU, the user gets the AO pass for free. AO GPU is now enabled in mentalray for Maya2015 as parameter of the AO render pass.
The new ‘useGPU’ checkbox enables it. You might want to start setting the number of rays to 8 or 16. This usually results in sufficient quality. Please, let us know on our forum http://forum.nvidia-arc.com if you have other experiences.
Native IBL exposed
mental ray’s native environment lighting delivers higher quality at better performance compared to the classical shader based solution. It can now be enabled for image based lighting when you select the ’emitLight’ checkbox in the IBL shape node. The only control that is exposed at the basic level is Quality. Advanced controls expose ‘Resolution’ and ‘Resolution Samples’ to control the building of the acceleration structure, as well as a ‘Color Gain’ control.
Autodesk Maya 2015 provides Xgen for generation of hair, fur and other primitives. The Xgen shader for mental ray allows to render Xgen created content with mental ray.
mila shaders coming with a UI now!
The layering shaders will be discussed in depth in a later post.