Maya 2015 – mental ray changes

It’s that time of year again to look at what’s changed in mental ray. While many things are available in mental ray some things may need a GUI to access. GTC showed a possible UI solution to use advanced preview features.

But first you might want to welcome mental ray’s official blog to the blogging world just posted previously:

“Inside mental ray”

NVIDIA has been hard at work on the plug-in with Autodesk support. You’ll likely notice plenty of changes in this version of Maya and this should be nothing compared to the development that’s coming. These UI examples along with demonstration were shown publicly at GTC.

Things to note in 2015:

  • The Layering Library is now included with Maya 2015. These shaders should become your daily driver for all your tasks. These will continue to evolve. Tutorials to follow here as well since these have been updated quite a bit since discussed here previously. These shaders are based on the Material Definition Language.

MILA Default Setup

MILA Default Setup

MILA Paint Base Phenomenon

MILA Paint Base Phenomenon

MILA Reflective Base Phenomenon

MILA Reflective Base Phenomenon

Ambient Occlusion on the GPU

Ambient Occlusion on the GPU

  • Global Illumination on the GPU is included but not exposed. This feature is in progress. Look for a tutorial coming soon!
  • Improved “brute force” final gather that converges more quickly, especially when using fewer rays and Unified Sampling
  • Ptex is now handled natively in the Maya file node. Simply open or attach a Ptex file. (Bump not supported since it relies on UVs. Use normal maps instead.)
  • Tiled Texture workflow (known as udim or tiled UVs) is now supported natively in the Maya file nodes with options for Mudbox, Zbrush, and Mari conventions. Make sure to use texture formats that support Texture Caching for the best performance!
UV Texture Tiling

UV Texture Tiling

  • The render settings UI gets another small facelift by defocusing rarely used controls. Work here is ongoing.
  • The Environment Lighting mode (Native IBL) is now integrated into the Maya IBL system
Environment Lighting Mode

Environment Lighting Mode

  • Improvements to Progressive Rendering and stability in Maya. Note that this feature is more complete in 3ds Max 2015 than Maya right now.
  • mental ray now uses Open SubDiv from Pixar.
  • Improvements to built in object lights including fixes.
  • Vastly improved Light Importance Sampling (Light IS) that now handles all light types from point sources to object/mesh lights both textured and not textured (not yet exposed in the UI). Scenes with many lights now render much faster (in some cases less than a third of the original time) and with less noise. A simple “Quality” control is provided for overall control.
  • The render viewport has updated controls for color space and viewing.
  • Shader ball updates are improved and more interactive.
  • Fast frame preview for non-progressive renders

mental ray also supports OCIO. This should make it easier for artists to use linear color workflow in the future.

What does the further future hold? As Maya catches up to existing features in mental ray, you can expect development to move forward more quickly with features reaching Maya at the same time as mental ray.

About David

I am a VFX artist that specializes in Lighting and Rendering. I spend a fair amount of my time supplying clients with artistic solutions as well as technology solutions. With a background in fine art and technical animation training, I strive to bridge the divide between the artist and technologist.

Posted on March 24, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. This is awesome news !
    They even made templates for mila materials !
    Can’t wait to test it !

    • Mila integration is ongoing. So expect some changes, mostly enhancements as more users participate in using them. I’ll be doing a tutorial soon hopefully on the basics.

  2. im sure there is no no color management in 2015

  3. great news! glad to see so much improvement. looking forward to seeing it continued!

  4. i would like to know more about which lights to use with mila, their limitations, and how they differ from using them with mia. you know, guidelines and rules etc.

    great post, thanks

  5. If Mental Ray is supporting Open Subdiv, will it finally recognize partial creasing? That would make me too excited for words…

    • mental ray has always supported partial creases. Maya does not export them. This would need to be a Maya feature. Opensubdiv export is ongoing.

      • I didn’t realize–that’s just tragic.
        I’m stepping way out of my depth here… but Maya exports partial creases to PRman and 3Delight. I wonder why it wouldn’t send them to MR.

      • Because those renderers use different translators. Maya uses mayatomr specifically.

  6. Hi David, does the new ibl option still need to manually set light relative scale to .318? Thanks!

  7. Does MentalRay support now spriteNumPP attribute?

    • Hi Anthony. Honestly I don’t know. We use Houdini for that. It would need to be supported in the translator rather than mental ray most likely.

  8. It makes sense. Thanks!

  9. Hi david!
    As the usr_ibl is deprecated, how can we replicate the behaviour for usr_ibl in conjuntion with fg for sec bounces as discussed in this blog? visible noise is quite more noticeable with the native ibl now, unless quality is set to 2.0 (2015sp1 here) and render times go up quite a lot. We used the usr_ibl shaders for a shortfilm with really good results, now for a tv show we want to use the same or similar.

    • We typically found less noise with Native IBL as opposed to user_ibl. Part of this is because in the baking process you can force it to lose some details by reducing the resolution on purpose. For production we have very rarely needed to go above Quality 0.35 for the IBL. How is your scene setup? Materials, HDRI contrast, and Unified settings will all influence this in one way or another.

  1. Pingback: Maya 2014 – mental ray changes | elemental ray

  2. Pingback: The Layering Library (MILA) UI: BETA SHADERS | elemental ray

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