Mental Ray is an excellent renderer, but it both its scene and shader API's are far too close to the underlying engine. As such they're difficult to use, and aren't supported my many modeling systems. Ethel uses the front end code of Angel to convert RIB files into MI format. As such it allows practically any modeller to drive Mental Ray..


Before running Ethel, you should install all your shaders as SLC's and set the environment variable SHADERS to point to them. Ethel may then be run as "ethel ribfile >mifile" or even "ethel ribfile | ray". In Houdini you can simply set your renderer to be "ethel | ray".


Most geometry seems to be handled pretty well. Standard shaders are converted to their softimage equivalent. The most obvious artifact of this is in the spot and point light sources, as the Softimage lighting model doesn't attenuate as anyone living in this universe would expect. This release replaces all non-standard shaders with plastic.

The current release can be downloaded for freeBSD, Linux, NT and SGI. . As always could any users please register their usage by emailing me.

Ian Stephenson.
DCT Systems
NCCA,Bournemouth University