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
. As always could any users please register their usage by emailing me.