mental ray for Maya Released!

NVIDIA has released mental ray for Maya for the first time as their own plug-in.

You can find out more about it here.

The plug-in is free to use for non-commercial or commercial work with batch render licenses for $295 a year subscription. The subscription works well for users wanting consistent updates with new features and fixes, even upgrades to new releases within the same subscription year!

Before users of mental ray in Maya had to wait for Maya service packs for fixes and entirely new versions of Maya for new features but with the subscription model, users can get continuous updates and fixes.

Read all about this arrangement on the official NVIDIA ARC forum.


Bug reports, feature suggestions, and more can be made directly to NVIDIA’s forum.

And since we no longer have to wait a year at a time for new features, there’s much more to do on Elemental Ray!


mental ray returns home

Announced today in a knowledge article from Autodesk, mental ray will no longer ship with future versions of Maya beginning with release 2017.

NVIDIA is continuing mental ray as their own product and is testing their free Beta version for Maya 2017 with new features like the GPU accelerated GI Next and interactive rendering. In some scenes the GI Next performace is nearly 15x faster than CPU rendering.

Find out more in their press release:



NVIDIA has begun their own independent Beta for mental ray 3.14 for Autodesk Maya 2016.

Its nickname is “pi-ray” because, you know, 3.14159….

This is a development alpha/beta. Features are introduced one after another for testing and feedback instead of one big bag of features all at once.

Take a peek at their forum post for requirements and then send them an email to sign up! (You have to be a forum member to participate.)


vMaterials using MDL!

With the release of Iray+ for 3ds Max today, NVIDIA has also released their first set of materials based on the Material Definition Language (MDL).

While mental ray 3.13 has limited support for MDL, 3.14 promises complete support. In the meantime you can register and download these and give them a shot in mental ray 3.13 for Maya 2016 or most anything supporting MDL materials. Keep in mind the UI for populating attributes isn’t complete for this release of Maya and may take some work to try. You can also see how the materials are written with a text editor.

The download will install the vMaterial Hub and Library. You can find them on Windows here: C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents\mdl\nvidia\vMaterials

You can register here for the download links: vMaterials Download

Some preset materials.