[Sidefx-houdini-list] Mantra/Renderman/Mentalray

Simon Kapeniak szymon.kapeniak at gmail.com
Sun Mar 30 09:02:11 EDT 2008

Ok, I got your point. I was just interested in it, since I'm in a similar
position trying to prefigure XSI-Houdini pipeline issues for a while.

I see also that shift in expectations you talk about (this is perhaps the
reason for The Mill got interested in Houdini recently...)

1). Yes, as to my opinion, Houdini is a great companion to XSI (or vice
versa) since they both extends each others possibilities a lot.
2). Yes, Mantra is worth to try and stick to, and in fact you won't see much
difference between PRMan and Mantra as to work flow, need of preparing your
own shaders and such. There is no point for buying PRMan or 3delight once
you get Mantra on board.
3). Yes, Mantra must be familiarized but the same goes for PRMan. Once you
get closer to Mantra you get them both. Why?
4). Unfortunately the only way to know Mantra is reading PRMan books and
papers or study its shaders..! Mantra simple lacks learning materials for no
good reason except maybe the one that SESI feels dismissed from preparing
any  since Mantra shares *almost all concepts with Renderman family. 95% of
PRMan stuff can be done with Mantra (and only 50% of Mantra stuff can be
done in PRMan if you consider Mantra as a hybrid engine not only for
micro-polygon and ray tracing, but also volumetric, physical based rendering
and metropolis transport in a near future).
5). One thing you won't get from mental ray even driven by Houdini is a
genius integration between Mantra and Houdini, which lets you instance any
digital assets with per instance variance of any parameter, ifd filtering
for fine tuning ifds (mantra's ribs) after saving them on disk, render-time
primitives like points, hairs or ribbons, or geometry attributes driven
shaders. All of these goodies are worth to give Mantra a test drive beside
obvious things like image quality, robust motion blur, displacement and

Good luck!

2008/3/30, pingo van der brinkloev <houdinilist at comxnet.dk>:
> The short version: I wanna blow up some stuff.
> The longer one: I've been using XSI for about 4 years now and I've
> become pretty familiar with the material editor. I do mostly
> photorealistic stuff now, but I'm getting more interested in high end
> fx. I'm quite happy with XSI, I just want to do some more, and I feel
> that I'm hitting a wall with XSI when it comes to dynamics and
> especially particles.
> I feel there's a shift in the demand from clients towards... how do I
> put it... "A lot of things doing a lot of things"...? They want their
> cars to be made of flowers, their clothes to move on their own, and 3
> billion people making their logo with colored pieces of paper. On top
> of that it has to look better than real - or like it's all made with
> crayons controlled by sound. (and in the end it all blows up;-).
> I'm pretty sure the application to do this, is Houdini. correct me if
> I'm wrong.
> So I went to bootcamp and got myself all the books and DVD's and
> started Learning. But the other day I found myself having made
> something in Houdini i wanted to render out and show someone, and I
> was totally disappointed that I just couldn't put an MI architectural
> shader on it all, whack an HDR environment around the scene, turn on
> final gather and render. I realized that of course I can do this in
> Mantra, and it's actually quite easy, but it was all brand new and it
> took me most of the night to figure it out. So at 4 in the morning was
> left with 3 options: 1: Learn Manta. 2: Get Mentalray, which I know,
> working, so i can concentrate on learning all the other features of
> Houdini. Or 3: take the plunge and pick up Renderman, which seems to
> be industry leader.
> So I'm quite interested in what people prefer, without getting into
> some application/render war.
> cheers!
> pingo
> On 30/03/2008, at 13.21, Simon Kapeniak wrote:
> > Can I ask why you make a switch from XSI? As to your question there
> > gonna be
> > lots of answer here soon so I'll wait ;)
> >
> > 2008/3/30, pingo van der brinkloev <houdinilist at comxnet.dk>:
> >>
> >> Hi. I'm new here in the world of houdini and making the switch from
> >> XSI
> >>
> >> Is anyone using Mental Ray with Houdini? How does it work, compared
> >> to
> >> XSI (very tightly integrated and node based).
> >> Should I dive onto Renderman instead? it seems to be very integrated.
> >> Is it node based as well?
> >> Or should I just stick to Mantra?
> >>
> >> Like to hear your thoughts on this.
> >>
> >> cheers
> >>
> >> pingo
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