[Arnold] [kick] Enabling tiled EXRs

Suppose you have a load of ASS files that were exported with the Tiled option disabled. How could you re-enable the Tiled option without re-exporting the ASS files?

With the kick -set flag, that’s how:

kick -set display_exr.tiled on

That will set the tiled parameter for all EXR driver nodes in the ASS file.

If you want to set the flag for a specific driver node, you need to know the driver node name.

kick -set defaultArnoldDriver@driver_exr.RGBA.tiled on

That sets tiled for the driver_exr node named defaultArnoldDriver@driver_exr.RGBA.

[MtoA] mtoa missing from Plug-in Manager

If mtoa.mll is not listed in the Plug-in Manager, that means that Maya did not find the MtoA module file (mtoa.mod). And if you try to manually load mtoa.mll, you’ll get errors like this:

// Error: file: C:/Program Files/Autodesk/Maya2016/scripts/others/pluginWin.mel line 781: Unable to dynamically load : C:/solidangle/mtoadeploy/2016/plug-ins/mtoa.mll
The specified module could not be found. // 
// Error: file: C:/Program Files/Autodesk/Maya2016/scripts/others/pluginWin.mel line 781: The specified module could not be found. (mtoa) //

To load MtoA, you need to make sure that Maya finds the MtoA module file.

By default, the MtoA installer puts the mtoa.mod file in the user’s modules folder. For example:


If you installed MtoA using one user account, and try to run Maya with a different user account, Maya will not find the module file.

The module file has to be in the MAYA_MODULE_PATH. For example, for the user account “StephenBlair”, here are the default places where Maya looks for modules:

  • C:/Program Files/Autodesk/Maya2016/modules
  • C:/Users/StephenBlair/Documents/maya/2016/modules
  • C:/Users/StephenBlair/Documents/maya/modules
  • C:/Program Files/Common Files/Alias Shared/Modules/maya/2016
  • C:/Program Files/Common Files/Alias Shared/Modules/maya
  • C:/Program Files/Common Files/Autodesk Shared/Modules/maya/2016

If you want MtoA to available to all users, then you could copy mtoa.mod to one of the common locations.

[Arnold] ndoteye shade mode

The Utility shader has a super-fast ndoteye shading mode. This shading mode doesn’t trace any rays: it simply shades based on the angle between camera (eye vector) and  the surface normal (ndoteye = dot product of the Normal and Eye vectors).

Here’s an example of the Utility shader. The middle mesh has the ndoteye shade mode (the left mesh has plastic, and right ambocc).


Note that with ndoteye you get just black in the glossy reflection. That’s because in ndoteye shade mode, the Utility shader handles camera rays only. No secondary rays like glossy or refraction.