[Sidefx-houdini-list] Houdini Mental Ray

Jan Walter jwalter at d2.com
Wed Aug 1 14:23:49 EDT 2007

Well, since yesterday it's kind of official, that FX Composer ships with 
mental mill (Artist Edition):


Read the white paper about what mental mill really is, but in short I 
can say the shading language MetaSL is much simpler (easier to learn) 
in  comparison to mental ray's C/C++ API (especially for those guys who 
have a RenderMan background). The mental mill API has basically two 
libraries: One for the GUI (e.g. wire your black boxes or phenomena to a 
shading network - as you would do in e.g. the VEX Builder), one for the 
compilation into several back ends (e.g. Cg, GLSL, HLSL, C++). Might be 
interesting for those guys who start thinking about merging the movie 
and game industry. You get HW (GPU support) and SW versions from the 
same source tree (just using different back ends). And I guess that's 
all I can say about it right now ...



Andrew D Lyons wrote:
> I can completely see the arguments for mental ray from sidefx.
> Perhaps though this is one of the things that the community needs to
> take care of. I've been noticing lately with H9 that whenever I run
> into a problem with Prman integration. SESI can point me at a SOHO
> python file to do an immediate fix, and then they roll out the same
> fix in the next build. The point being that it is increasingly easy to
> build support for any renderer into Houdini 9 using HDA's and SOHO. It
> would only take a few places to pool resources or share tools for
> Mental ray support to really come along. But then again maybe SESI
> will do it if the support is strong enough. I'm kind of glad that they
> support prman so well, but I'm also hoping they devote adequate
> resources to see Mantra/VOPs come along as well, because at the end of
> the day it has so much going for it, and unless proper resources are
> devoted to it - it might not get off the ground. Strategically
> speaking, making Mantra/VOPs the best that they can be is arguably a
> better focus for SESI than playing second fiddle to the renderers used
> by the competition...
> Cheers
> On 01/08/07, Jean-Claude Nouchy <jclaude at mimgfx.com> wrote:
>> I'm not a Mantra guru nor a MR eighter, I'm not a shader writer afterall
>> but I can share my personal experience about this point.
>> I start by saying that I personaly think there is a point to have MR and
>> PRman support in Houdini even if we all know Mantra now kickass pretty
>> much and even more on many sides, render and shading talking, and most
>> important money talking...
>> .. but..
>> until last December and for ealier one year and half I spent my time (and
>> some money even) trying to get the company i was working for including
>> Houdini inthe pipeline, mostly trying to build a VFX team from scratch, I
>> trained (based on my little knowledge) 3 guys and built the whole pipeline
>> for the XSI<->Houdini<->Maya workflow..
>> after a certain moment, rendering was the ultimate task to solve..
>> the point was that the whole pipeline was XSI based with just a couple of
>> Maya boxes as well.. and a whole MentalRay based Renderfarm.
>> I tried to convince that Mantra was more than enought for the purpose we
>> needed but obviously I wasnt able to care about advanced Shaders writing
>> and such.. and the Shaders writers there simply wonted consider moving to
>> Mantra..
>> that's a scenario i'm sure is not so uncommon in small-mediumsmall
>> companies where Houdini is not the main platform or where it gets
>> introduced later than XSI or Maya (therefore Mental Ray or PrMan)...
>> PrMan is greatfully supported by Houdini.. while MentalRay is not.
>> This should change.. just cause that's a big "obstacle" companies could
>> might wont to deal with when choosing Houdini .. and therefore ending by
>> choosing Maya (or XSI in my case.. after a 1,5 wasted year of work, but
>> reasons were also other more than rendering with Mantra).
>> that said... when I moved to Houdini from XSI .. and when I discovered VOP
>> network over Xsi's Rendertree.. man .. i was amazed! and that's the first
>> thing I show people when I want to make their jaws drop.
>> my 0.02 (maybe too long story for 0.02, sorry)
>>> Having worked exclusively with Mantra for such a long time
>>> I've definitely seen some major developments and improvements
>>> over the years.
>>> But it's most interesting to see what appears to be a significant
>>> shift in attitude ( toward Mantra) over the last 5 years or
>>> so from those who have traditionally used other renderers
>>> such as PRman or MR.
>>> I'm assuming VOPs has played a big role in this attitude shift.
>>> But ( if anyone cares to share their opinions) it would be great
>>> to hear about other points of comparison that have really helped
>>> to sell people on Mantra over recent years ................ simply
>>> to help get a better perspective on the issue.
>>> Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
>>> Larry
>>>>  Personally, I don't see the point in MR since Mantra
>>>> kicks so much ass now, and is so much cheaper (i.e. free) than MR or
>>>> PRman.
>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> .:: jean-claude ::.
>> .:: mimgfx.com  ::.
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