Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128850 Report Item

You can in fact network render with Mental Ray but you need to have maya and the plugin installed on all the machiens in question. I thinkt here are some notes on thsi int he docs that come with the new version of the mental ray plugin.

However this will only aloow you to render with Maya and not softimage or any other programs that access MR as the file formats are different but this should not be an issue for you.

Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128851 Report Item

Great news.Thanks Gmask. I'll check deeper into it now. What do you think of "Smedge"? Someone mentioned this awhile ago? Thanks again for the help,it's appreaciated.

Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128852 Report Item

I haven't used Smedge 2 intensively but it does have a free tryout that you can test on two computers

Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128853 Report Item

Ive been sing Smedge with Maya on 8 machines for over a year now. Works quite nice, it also supports Lightwave, Soft, XSI, Shake, Rayz & Air. Although I have not tried these myself. You can use it to run any comand line batch operation over a network. eg imgcvt. This way I was able to render Inkworks toon renders over the network.

Easy to use, pretty stable and a cheap price... (I'dont get paid to say this, maybe I should? )



Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128854 Report Item

My docs states the oposite:

Parallel network rendering allows you to distribute the rendering of each frame in your scene across multiple machines on your network. This requires standalone mental ray rendering licenses and can be invoked while working within Maya (in the Render View) and also from the command line with Maya or the mental ray 3.1 standalone renderer.

The mayarender_with_mr.cmd doesnt have options for setting start & end frame. So in order to create packets/distribution I think you would have to use some pre render mel script. Dont have much knowlegde in MEL, is there a mel guru out there to help us out? I guess one not would be able to use more than one machine per frame using for method.

For me at least the parallell rendering of each would be a very nice feature


Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128855 Report Item

If you read a bit furtther you will see what I stated before..

"If you would like to render from within Maya or batch render with Maya, you will need to install mental ray for Maya on all client machines and mental ray 3.1 standalone on all server machines."

The confusion here is I think that if you wish to have the parallel network rendering on one image that you will need the standalone. However for batch rendering you only need to have maya and mr plugin installed or on computers that do not have maya installed you would need the standalone.

Here's a link to another thread discussing this issue..


Here's a link to the AW MR Faq


If you had several Maya seats with the plugin installed then you can split your render sequences between those machines.. I see no reason why not but unlike the standalone they will nto work on a single image and you will have to pay for a license on each machine wether it is the standalone or a seat of Maya.

I don't know if for example Smedge could issue batch renders to all the machines on your network that have the MR plugin installed or not but I don't see why not.

I'll look into the mel script unless somebody else has allready written it.. should not be too hard..


I wonder how much MR standalone's cost?

Jan 01, 2003
Post id: 128856 Report Item

still looking.....

Jan 02, 2003
Post id: 128857 Report Item

Hello mask

Im trying exaclty what you're suggesting. However all maya does when I add the -s -e -b flags, is to print the list of


-v prints the product version and cut number

-batch for batch mode

-prompt for interactive non-gui mode

-nosplash skips the application splash screen

-proj [dir] look for files in the specified project dir

-command [mel command] runs the specified command on startup

-file [file] opens the specified file

-script [file] sources the specified file on startup

-log [file] copies stdout and stderr messages to the specified file

(use complete file name)

-recover recover the last journal file

-render [file] renders the specified file

(use 'Render -help' for more options)

-optimizeRender [file] [outfile]

optimize maya file efficient for rendering

purposes, and put result in outfile

(use 'maya -optimizeRender -help' for more options)

-archive [file] displays a list of files required to archive

the specified scene.

-help prints this message

Not shure what's wrong. What I did notice was that these flags work when using the -render flag. I assume this is because it invokes the maya Render.exe and the flags are sent over to that one. Could be I need to set some env variables or adjust some rayhost file?

Jan 02, 2003
Post id: 128858 Report Item

Ooops.. I really should have tested that first..

Jan 02, 2003
Post id: 128859 Report Item

Had me fooled there. I'll need to look in to those mel commands. Something around these lines:

Pre render mel

int $start = `getAttr mentalrayGlobals.startFrame` ;

int $end = `getAttr mentalrayGlobals.endFrame` ;

int $pack = 5;

post render mel

$start = $start + $pack;

$end = $end + $pack;

//save file

Any progamming minds out there?

Jan 02, 2003
Post id: 128860 Report Item

I could write this but not right now....

Jan 02, 2003
Post id: 128861 Report Item

That would be nice feature to have

Had a look around for pricing of standalone

AW sells them for "as low as $1,000 per CPU (quantity purchase required). "

in October 2001 it was:

mental ray for Maya node locked (dual CPU) - $3995 per license

mental ray for Maya floating (dual CPU) - $4795 per license

mental ray Stand Alone floating (1-7 CPUs) - $1950 per CPU

mental ray Stand Alone floating (8 - 47 CPUs) - $1250 per CPU

mental ray Stand Alone floating (over 47 CPUs) - $1000 per CPU

Not shure if this applies anymore.

Also I think there are other distributors of MR stanadalone offering better deals...


Jan 02, 2003
Post id: 128862 Report Item

I remeber seeing somewhere more recently that they are selling them for $1000 per cpu as a base.. although I suppose if you bought more that you would get a discount. However in regard sto XSI.. I seem to remeber being told that rendering licenses were $500 per CPU (I could think of at least one person who will correct me on this if I'm wrong).. either way there is a considerable cost to setting up a renderfarm with MR.

Jan 03, 2003
Post id: 128863 Report Item

Listening to Jeremy Birn http://www.3drender.com during a AW Maya render seminar at Siggraph this summer I remember he said something along these lines: Smaller shops (in broadcast) tend to go for solutions with built in radiosity (ie MR, LW etc) whereas large ones tend to use manual solutions matching lights, reflections & color blead (mostly in PRman or propietary renders). Now theres nothing wrong in doing this, youll get a more artistic approach to it, youll have more control of your lights and it would most likely render faster. However without that much manpower, having acess to a render network for global ilumination would be a great asset.

Now if Id only could convince my boss

Id really like to hear from other smaller shops; if they've done the switch, what they're experincing, if expectations were met, things to watch out for, etc.

I guess the most obvious thing Id need to learn is shader coding.....


Jan 03, 2003
Post id: 128864 Report Item

You can fake all this with Maya's renderer.. it is a little mor ework ..check out www.pixho.com