I thought this was funny....

I normally don't use mentalraytips.com to post "funny" things, but I had to make an exception for this, because, well... you'll see.

When I received this little video, it literally made my day. It's the "Behind The Scenes" video for Freddie Wong's "Epic VFX Time". Freddie does little funny visual effects experiments and tutorials on his youtube channel - well worth a watch.

However, when this came across my screen, well, I couldn't help but laugh:

I've been mentioned in VFX behind-the-scenes documentaries before - but never like this.

Thanks guys. :)

However, I'd like to massively correct that I am not "the guy who programs mental ray", I am *a* guy who programs mental ray *shaders*. That's different. We are a whole team behind the software, not just me...

But still - thanks!



The Great Directory Migration - putting stuff in 3ds max 2011 (and newer)

I apologize that this blog post is way overdue.

What's this about?
All over the net (including this blog) you can find instructions in how to add various shaders to 3ds Max, by putting files in certain directories in the 3ds max directory structure, namely a "mentalray" directory (with various subdirectories) under your main 3ds max directory.

Nowdays, there are two things to watch out for:

GOTCHA #1: 64/32 Bitness

First is 32 vs 64 bit. In windows, programs on a 32 bit machine live under a directory that (on an english speaking computer) is called "C:\Program Files\" 

This is also true for 64 bit programs on a 64 bit computer.

However, for 32 bit programs on a 64 bit computer the directory is called "C:\Program Files (x86)\" which may throw you off.

GOTCHA #2: 3ds Max 2011 (and newer)

When Autodesk introduced the MetaSL framework in 3ds Max 2011 (which means that shaders are not necessarily mental ray shaders per se) having a subdirectory to your max directory called "mentalray" doesn't really make sense any more. But since these both are mental images technologies, having a directory called "mentalimages" does make sense.

The change was made such that instead of a single "mentalray" directory under which the three categories of shaders (standard, autoload and 3rdparty), there is now instead a "mentalimages" directory. The three categories exist under this directory, similar to before.

However, under those three directories, the distinction between "mentalray" and "MetaSL" shaders has been added.

Under those you find various other subdirectories - which under the "mentalray" subdirectory hence includes the good old friends the "include" and "shaders" directories.


To add an .mi file like for example the skinplus.mi (a mental ray "include" file) shader to be automatically loaded on startup, you want it in the "include" directory under the "autoload" category.

In 3ds Max 2010 (or older) this would have been:
  • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2010\mentalray\shaders_autoload\include
In 3ds Max 2011 (and newer) this would instead be
  • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2011\mentalimages\shaders_autoload\mentalray\include

Basically, the translation would be that
  • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2010\mentalray\shaders_<category>\<dirname>
  • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2011\mentalimages\shaders_<category>\mentalray\<dirname>

I hope this helps installing various shaders and other goodies in 3ds Max 2011 and beyond.