Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Why Has Mental Ray in Maya Disappeared?

Mental Ray - free with Maya
Mental Ray is a renderer that comes free with Maya - but sometimes it goes missing. One of the most common questions new Maya users ask is "Where has Mental Ray gone?!?"

Every Maya user faces this problem at least once, and the solution is not always obvious. You look in the Render Settings menu and - Mental Ray has vanished!

So, what to do to bring it back? And why does Mental Ray disappear so often?

3D Render. Wikimedia Commons
Why does Mental Ray disappear?
Because it's a plugin. Mental Ray sometimes disappears after Maya crashes, or after some other unexpected shutdown.

Maya developers made sure when they first installed it that Mental Ray would automatically unload and un-plug in the case of an unexpected shotdown of Maya. 

How do you bring it back?

Because mental ray in Maya is just a plug-in, it can be enabled and disabled just like any other plugin.

To bring Mental Ray back, go to Window/Settings/Preferences/Plug-in Manager.  Scroll down through the options until you reach Mayatomr.mll. Now check the boxes for Loaded and also for Autoload.  Save your preferences.  Mental Ray should load and work as usual now. If it doesn't, try re-starting Maya.

I'm working in Maya 2016 and I still can't find Mental Ray!
This is a bug in Maya 2016. Because Mental Ray is a plugin which is being phased out, it seems that Autodesk decided to write it out of the main installation for Maya 2016. To re-install Mental ray, you will need to download Maya 2016 Service Pack 3, which should solve the problem. You can download it here.

If it still doesn't work, try uninstalling both Maya 2016 and also the Mental Ray plug in, then installing them again. Sometimes this will fix the problem.

I'm working in Maya 2017 and I can't find Mental Ray!
Mental Ray has now been removed from Maya 2017, and replaced by a new raytracer - Arnold. To see more about this change, read this blog post. 

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