MetaSL.org - MetaSL Tutorial and Reference Book/Website

Hello everybody!

Today we release MetaSL.org which is a companion website to the work-in-progress book about MetaSL programming by Andy Kopra and Lutz Kettner.

This site/book is a walkthrough of the concepts behind MetaSL and will show you how to write shaders in the MetaSL language.

Now, let it be clear that this is intended as a living "work in progress site", so these are the initial chapters of the book, available online.

I quote from the page: "Chapters of the MetaSL book will be posted on the website in both HTML and PDF formats as they are written. The structure and contents of earlier chapters may change as required by the development of later chapters. The reference pages, based as they are on the MetaSL specification, will not change between MetaSL specification versions, though improvements may be made in the way the content is hyperlinked and cross-referenced."

What is available so far is the first four chapters explaining topics such as basic language concept and layout, and some of the most basic shading- and raytracing concepts.

The book also has an accompanying forum on the mental images website, where questions and feedback can be posted. You will get an unprecedented front-row seat to the evolution of this book. Enjoy the ride!



Issue in mia_envblur in 3ds Max

An issue has been found in the "mia_envblur" shader as it is integrated into 3ds Max. (Read more about mia_envblur here)

Autodesk has added a Phenomenon wrapping the shader, and it was just discovered there is a typo in the Phenomenon declaration, that causes one of the parameters to not actually function. The blur still works - but only with a fixed level. The checkbox for inheriting the blur from the Arch&Design material is non-functional!

You can easily fix this yourself by opening a file named "architectural_max.mi" which in the path: <3dsmax>\mentalimages\shaders_standard\mentalray\include.

Opening the file you can search for a line which reads like this:

"mia_material_blur" = interface "not m.mia_material_blur",

Edit this line to read:

"mia_material_blur" = interface "m.mia_material_blur",

...i.e. removing the "not ".

Now, all parameters of your environment blur (including inheriting blur from the Arch&Design material) should work!

Also, some people report issues with flickering in the reflections. This can be caused by two things:
  • Too low resolution in the Envblur shader. The "resolution" value need to be high enough to resolve details in the original environment map.
  • Intermittent interaction with the "blur" feature in 3ds max "Bitmap" shader. Turn down the blur in the Bitmap shader (in the "Coordinates" rollout) to lowest possible, which should resolve the problem.