A brief history of time… of Mental Ray…
April 1986 Mental Ray was founded for the Mental Ray Project. Created by Mental Images and launched for commercial use in 1989. Mental Ray is an advanced rendering software, which generates outstanding realism. The software combines the physically correct simulation of the behavior of light with a wide range of realistic surfaces and visual effects. Since then the software has been a leading tool in visual effects and all things CG. Mental Ray is used as a third-party program or a plug-in for a number of different softwares such as Autodesk Maya, 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, Cinema 4D and Revit, Softimage|XSI, Side Effects Software’s Houdini, SolidWorks and Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA. In December 2007 the Mental Images software company was purchased by the NVIDIA Corporation. Since then its growing in leaps and bounds.
Mental Ray has a wide variety of used in the CG and Visual effects industries from Motion pictures, Games, Architecture, engineering and Advertising. Some examples of high profiled films that used Mental Ray are Star Wars 2: Attack of the clones, Hulk, TRON: Legacy, Spiderman 3 and The Matrix Trilogy.
Features of Mental Ray.
Some of the key features of Mental Rays Rendering are its algorithms,
- Advanced ray tracing architecture for automatic, accurate, and general simulation of reflections, refractions, shadows, and complex illumination.
- Physically correct simulation of global illumination.
- Photon mapping combines forward and backward ray tracing and simulates all possible light paths, without the need to prepare and combine each effect separately.
- Final gathering for efficient and easy to use computation of one or more diffuse indirect light bounces, optionally combined with photon mapping.
- computation of caustics using dedicated photon maps (light patterns caused by reflected or refracted light).
Other defining features of Mental Ray would include its shading and colour, Textures, Geometry and Shadows. Buts its rendering and lighting seem to be what really sets it apart and why it’s used so much within the CG and visual effects industries.
Images used, Gallery, NVIDIA, accessed 14 April 2012, http://www.mentalimages.com/gallery.html
Features, NVIDIA, accessed 14 April 2012, http://www.mentalimages.com/products/mental-ray/about-mental-ray/features.html
Motion Pictures, NVIDIA, accessed 14 April 2012, http://www.mentalimages.com/gallery/motion-pictures.html
History, NVIDIA, accessed 14 April 2012, <http://www.mentalimages.com/company/history.html>
About Mental Ray, NVIDIA, accessed 14 April 2012, http://www.mentalimages.com/products/mental-ray/about-mental-ray.html
Mental Ray, Wikipedia, accessed 14 April 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_ray