Users of Autodesk Maya have long depended upon the film-quality results from the NVIDIA mental ray renderer. Starting November 30th mental ray for Maya will be available directly from NVIDIA - for free.
Artists can use mental ray within Maya to craft scenes and render individual frames at any resolution, using any supported processor within a machine. NVIDIA mental ray is backwards compatible for scenes from earlier Maya versions. It's also able to output .mi files to feed production pipelines.
A mental ray license will only be required for production rendering - which is complimentary for colleges and universities, and as little as $65/machine/year for commercial use.
Desolation" rendered by Amaru Zeas with NVIDIA mental ray.
Since February, more than 1,000 beta sites have pounded on mental ray for Maya's capabilities, like final-frame rendering in the interactive Maya viewport, progressive rendering, MDL material support and new global illumination (GI-Next) that is both faster and far easier to use.
What's been blowing people away: the GPU acceleration for GI-Next that can slash a one-hour render to a 5-minute coffee break by adding an NVIDIA Quadro P6000 graphics card alongside a 14-core CPU.
NVIDIA will be supplying the latest mental ray and workflow enhancements to multiple Maya versions, starting with Maya 2016 and 2017 on Windows, Linux and MacOS.
NVIDIA licensing for mental ray is flexible by being a machine-based, yearly subscription that enables any combination of production rendering and OS on any machine. Production rendering options include sequence rendering when working within Maya, running Maya batch or Maya headless when not working in Maya, or using mental ray Standalone or Satellite mode without Maya.
Floating licenses are $295 or $995 for a 5-pack, while systems containing a professional NVIDIA GPU qualify for special pricing of $95 or $325 for a 5-pack. Customers who purchased mental ray standalone from Autodesk will have their subscriptions matched with NVIDIA licenses at no cost.
Learn more about what's coming here here. You can see mental ray for Maya for yourself by visiting the NVIDIA booth 1430 at Autodesk University in Las Vegas.