Arnold or Mental Ray: is it worth using both within SI ?

General discussion about 3D DCC and other topics
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nicole
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Arnold or Mental Ray: is it worth using both within SI ?

Post by nicole » 15 Jan 2019, 00:18

hi everyone.
maybe more success here with my questions than on the mailing list?

so was this the reason why Arnold has met here some popularity, because it reminds people of their money scouting activity with Maya?
I think not, there must be a reason why the industry chooses one renderer over another.
I really enjoy Mental Ray.
Could someone tell me what are the advantage of Arnold when used with Softimage:
- more speed than Mental Ray in Softimage? is this very true or is Arnold relatively more speedy only, or false : the fastness of Arnold depending upon the scene opened in SI ?
- more control on the Lights with Arnold ? more shaders ? true or false? could anyone tell me ?
- are the toon ink and car paint and architectural shaders available now in Arnold for SI ? yes ?? so that I don't have to worry about scenes previously built with Mental Ray shaders?
the problem I have is I like Mental Ray, the glow effect, the toon ink, the shaders everything is already set and i enjoy the way it is set, i can afford to wait for slower renderings,
and it seems difficult to switch and cumbersome double work use both Mental Ray and Arnold in one same movie production line. (i shall remind you that i do a movie on my own, with softimage and live actors , autonomously )
and i really like Mental Ray. but would like to test if the PBR shaders and Liquid & Smoke Simulations available it seems with Arnold from Blender scenes, extractable into SI via Arnold (?) could add an extra experimental direction to my movie?
What do you think. I am ready to test and buy a new license for Arnold, but I am willing first to know from a few opinions here, if its worth the trouble searching in that direction.

thank you if you can help sharing your experience and knowledge on this topic.
Mathyas .

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Rork
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Re: Arnold or Mental Ray: is it worth using both within SI ?

Post by Rork » 15 Jan 2019, 21:31

Hi,

So many questions :)
Some thoughts & ramblings on the matter.....

The reason why Arnold is used a lot with Softimage has a historic reason. It was basically the first adaption to a professional 3D app, after Arnold was in beta for a long time within 3DSMax. (e.g. Lara Martinez 'Pepe' movie)
Mental Ray was getting slow and more cumbersome to use when Arnold arrived at the scene, and within the Softimage beta group it was quickly adapted for rendering.

The speed was unmatched compared to Mental Ray, especially things like in-render motion blur and DOF with almost no render penalty, had everybody fell in love in Arnold.
I can still remember frames taking a FULL DAY to render because there was up close motion blur in the frame. And that was for PAL frames!!!!

With the latest builds of Arnold (v.5.x) all of the features of Mental Ray are there (e.g. toon shading took a while to get in there) and surpass MR in speed and quality. It's completely PBR based, as basically the whole industry is now.
And not a ton of settings and sliders to wrestle through to get things going within a reasonable time frame.

Also remember that Mental Ray is End of Life and will not be bug fixed or updated. Not that that matter inside Softimage anyway.

Yes, when you start using Arnold, all scenes have to be re-shaded, as it is a different engine. And control wise for lights etc, it's more or less the same.
Shader wise everything is there, and most default shaders in Softimage are supported to use within Arnold.

Regarding liquid & smoke simulations for your movie, have a look at Blender. You can set up things there and render things with Cycles. There are some nice solutions for Blender that will cost less than a maintenance license for Arnold.
And Blender is free as well.
With some smart data exchanges you can get the best of both world for final comping.

Stay on the road you set out for yourself, and only step sideways if you really need to. Changing things when already in production is a pain, and often cost unnecessary delays.

rob
SI UI tutorials: Toolbar http://goo.gl/iYOL0l | Custom Layout http://goo.gl/6iP5xQ | RenderManager View http://goo.gl/b4ZkjQ

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nicole
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Re: Arnold or Mental Ray: is it worth using both within SI ?

Post by nicole » 15 Jan 2019, 22:38

hi Rob,

i am not using motion blur or depth of field, mostly this because i do not do photorealist shots.
i will think about testing PBR via Blender then.
when you talk about data exchanges, (as i am not well informed ) you think .fbx, or the way i got some sense from the discussion on mailing list that people assumed
doing for example a billboard smoke simulation in Blender and Cycles which would then be composited (eg. into natron or into nuke) with an animation of geometry done in Softimage ?

already thank you for your full clarifying explanation !

Mathyas

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Rork
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Re: Arnold or Mental Ray: is it worth using both within SI ?

Post by Rork » 16 Jan 2019, 10:03

Hi,

Yes data exchange as in moving FBX files back and forth, or Alembic or something both applications will export/import.
And yes, doing the fluids and/or smoke simulations in Blender for final compositing in e.g. Nuke or Natron is the right idea.

You probably will have to do some testing, as camera's are sometimes difficult to get over properly, as applications often use different ways of describing a camera.
But after that it should be smooth sailing. Model what you need in Softimage, move it over for the smiulations. Render both scenes and comp.

And again, if you like Mental Ray, and have no other means for your project, just stick with that.

Good luck on your movie, and don't forget to post progress images ;)

rob
SI UI tutorials: Toolbar http://goo.gl/iYOL0l | Custom Layout http://goo.gl/6iP5xQ | RenderManager View http://goo.gl/b4ZkjQ

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nicole
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Re: Arnold or Mental Ray: is it worth using both within SI ?

Post by nicole » 16 Jan 2019, 12:42

Rork wrote:
16 Jan 2019, 10:03


Good luck on your movie, and don't forget to post progress images ;)

rob
ok thanks again Rob.





(length: about 1 minute)
password : shamash

here is some first TESTS (i still need to fully animate the creatures)

i am looking a way the empoligonizer triangles with arabic motifs would not flicker.
i have shown / asked to eric mootz but he is not giving support anymore.
they can flicker with random seed variates at some keyframes,
but when the seed stays identical and the triangle remains still,
i wish the explicite texture projected over it would remain fix, no (slight ) flicker thus.

there are 12 creatures, they are called 'dissymmetric emotive animals' they come from planet Azul
i need to do the planet Azul, the sky of it, and the objects they exchange during narrative action.

Mathyas