mental ray 3.7 now part of Autodesk Maya 2009

LOS ANGELES—(BUSINESS WIRE)—August 13, 2008— mental images®, a global leader in rendering software and visualization tools today announced that the latest version of their industry-leading rendering software, mental ray® 3.7, is now integrated as part of the recently announced Autodesk® Maya® 2009 software digital content creation package. The release of Maya 2009 will mark the first availability of mental ray 3.7, which will subsequently be integrated by other key mental images customers.

Many of the new features and improvements in Maya 2009 and mental ray 3.7 are intended to provide considerable speed and memory usage performance gains over previous versions. This new release of mental ray for Maya features the integration of the mental ray 3.7 core, which will enable fully interactive rendering during scene creation and manipulation. mental ray can render in parallel while manipulating the scene with Maya, enabling users to see the result immediately.

Most notable are the significant enhancements to the multi-camera rendering and motion blur capabilities. Maya 2009 improved mental ray multi-frame buffer rendering is intended to render multiple images at once, with full motion-dependant displacement mapping, making it possible to control displacement while motion blurring. As a result, displacement details are reduced as motion becomes more extreme. This will drastically improve render times for motion blurring scenes while producing a more realistic result.

As an example, it will now be possible to render a single HD image with full motion blur and full displacement maps in less than seven minutes with 10 render passes for a creature type shot. This represents a 3-fold increase in speed.*

mental images is committed to meeting the needs of visual effects, animation and other DCC professionals with products that make highest-quality rendering, widely and effortlessly accessible at affordable cost to help move the industry forward, said Rolf Herken, CEO and CTO of mental images. Autodesk continues to be a most valuable strategic partner in helping us achieve this mission through the integration of mental ray into their industry-leading software.

The integration of mental ray 3.7 with Maya 2009 is the latest result of the close collaboration between Autodesk and mental images, two companies that have long shared the goal of providing DCC, CAD and other visualization professionals with the most intuitive, efficient and innovative solutions.

mental ray has been an integral part of Autodesk Maya since it was included with Maya 4.5, released in 2002, said Kevin Tureski, Autodesk director of Maya/Toxik product development. The incredible photo anime style of Speed Racer and the non-photorealistic rendering style of the upcoming Clone Wars are just two of many examples of the creative possibilities with Maya and mental ray. Our customers are constantly finding new ways to push the leading edge of visualization and special effects, and the capabilities of Maya 2009 should provide them the tools with which to keep innovating.

Maya 2009 Key Rendering Features & Enhancements

  • Fully integrated mental ray 3.7 core: The integration of the mental ray 3.7 core will provide the following enhancements:
  • Motion-dependent Displacement: It is now possible to control displacement while motion blurring, improving render times for motion blurred scenes, while producing a more realistic result.
  • Improved, Adaptive Tessellation for Catmull-Clark Meshes: Catmull-Clark Meshes are now adaptively tessellated at render time. This produces better displacement maps with render time mental ray subdivision surfaces.
  • Streamlined Multi-Camera Rendering with mental ray: Multi-camera renders in mental ray are optimized though the re-use of pre-computed elements, which will reduce the penalty for multi-camera rendering and making the production of stereo films more viable.
  • Native Render Proxy Support: Render Proxies (also known as mental ray assemblies) can be natively rendered from within mental ray for Maya as well as through mi file rendering with mental ray standalone 3.7, yielding performance gains in multiple ways.
  • mental ray Volume Rendering Enhancements: A new intersection engine for volume shaders eliminates artifacts where two or more different types of volumes intersect, without the need to use Auto Volume feature that is specific to ray tracing. Volume types such as Fur, Light Fog, Particles and Fluids will be able to be rendered together without artifacts using scanline or rasterizer rendering for improved render speed and memory usage.

High Quality, High Performance Global Illumination: Irradiance particle support and algorithm improvements to enable a higher degree of physical accuracy with simplified tuning capabilities and automatic adaptivity.

  • Built-in Ambient Occlusion Support: Built-in ambient occlusion algorithm with caching capabilities provides an alternative to shader solutions for animations.
  • Fully integrated OpenEXR library: No longer an external component, the OpenEXR library supports windowing capabilities of the format used in the renderer, as well as improved multi-channel support.

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