NVIDIA mental ray for Maya is back


Starting November 30, CG artists using Autodesk Maya can tap NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated renderer, mental ray, directly within Maya 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.

Production rendering will still require a mental ray license, which is complimentary for colleges and universities, and as little as $65/machine/year for commercial use.


Since February, more than 1,000 beta sites have tested 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. Testers were excited to find that GPU acceleration for GI-Next could slash a typical one-hour render to a five-minute coffee break with the addition of 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 a flexible, 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 five-pack, while systems containing a professional NVIDIA GPU qualify for special pricing of $95 or $325 for a five-pack. Customers who purchased mental ray standalone from Autodesk will have their subscriptions matched with NVIDIA licenses at no cost. Available beginning November 30, Maya users can download mental ray for Maya here.

NVIDIA mental ray is on display this week in the PNY booth at the NAB NY show, as well as in the NVIDIA booth at Autodesk University in Las Vegas, NV, where Quadro Pascal is also powering VR in Autodesk’s Future of Making Things Pavilion. Find out more about NVIDIA’s talks and demos at AU here.


Alternative for free GPU rendering is also GPU render FurryBall RT in free version - for Maya, Cinema 4D and 3DS Max.