WARNING | unable to load dynamic library .\ai_renderview.dll: The specified module could not be found.


kick checks the current working directory for plugins (shaders and procedurals). That means kick tries to load all .dll/.so/.dylib files in the current directory.

So if you do this:

cd C:\solidangle\mtoadeploy\2017\bin
kick -nodes

Then you’ll get a warning like this (plus a pop-up System Error dialog that says “Qt5Core.dll is missing from your computer”).

loading plugins from .
WARNING | unable to load dynamic library .\ai_renderview.dll: The specified module could not be found.

On OSX, the warning would  say ./libai_renderview.so, and on Linux, ./libai.so

Notice the “loading plugins from .” The single period, or dot, represents the current directory.

The solution? Don’t run kick in the MtoA bin folder. Don’t run kick in an any folder where there are non-plugin libraries.

 

[MtoA] Using standins with MASH dynamics


mash_dynamics_w_standin

Here’s a way to use standins with MASH dynamics: instance a low-poly mesh that has its Arnold Translator set to procedural.

  • Use a low-poly primitive as a proxy for the standin
  • In the low-poly primitive Attribute Editor, set Arnold Translator to procedural, and enter the path to the ASS file in the Path box.

arnold_translator_procedural

  • Instance that proxy object with MASH, and apply MASH dynamics

Procedural namespaces


Here’s something new in Arnold 5.0

Each standin (aka procedural) now has its own namespace. So you don’t have to have unique shader names in every ASS file.

For example, here’s two standins. There’s no unique shader names. Both ASS files use the exact same shader names. And there’s no naming conflicts, and each standin renders with the correct shading.

namespaces.png

[MtoA] Getting the MtoA build ID


When you contact support or log bugs, it’s nice to provide the version number and build ID of the MtoA version that you’re using.

This information is displayed in the Arnold > About box.

mtoa_buildid

But the build id (circled in the screenshot) is kinda a pain to type out. Fortunately, you can get the build ID with the arnoldPlugins command:

arnoldPlugins -gbi;
// Result: 261bd4ca (master) //

You can get both the MtoA version and the MtoA build ID like this:

print( "MtoA " + `pluginInfo -v -q "mtoa.mll"` + " - " + `arnoldPlugins -gbi`);

In Python:

print( "MtoA {} - {}".format( cmds.pluginInfo( 'mtoa', query=True, version=True), cmds.arnoldPlugins(getBuildID=True) ) )
# MtoA 1.4.2.2 - 261bd4ca (master)

The case of the mesh that wouldn’t displace


Riddle me this: two meshes with the same displacement shader. One has displacement, the other doesn’t. What’s up with that?

dispmaps

Your first guess might be that it’s a “padding is at least %x smaller than it should be” warning, like this:

// Warning: [disp] planeTestShape: padding is at least 10x smaller than it should be! given disp_padding: 0, recommended: 0.00835387595 //

But that’s not it.

In this case, the plane (the mesh on the right, with displacement) was scaled up. Displacement happens in object space, before any transformations are applied. So effectively, the mesh was displaced, and then everything was scaled up. The displacement scale was just too small for the other mesh, which hadn’t been scaled up).

If you freeze the scaling on the plane, then both objects will be displaced the same, as long as the displacement scale was set large enough.

[MtoA] UnicodeEncodeError when rendering


UnicodeDecodeError

If you get this UnicodeEncodeError when you render

# Error: line 1: UnicodeEncodeError: file C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2016\bin\python27.zip\encodings\utf_8.py line 16: ascii #

it’s probably because because the project folder has a special character in the name (for example, an accent mark like é).

If that’s not it, then we’d need more context (hint: everything else that is logged in the script history).

For a project name with a special character, you’ll see something like this in the script history:

file -f -save -options "v=0;";
// C:/maya/projects/New_Projéct/scenes/blank.mb // 
# Error: line 1: UnicodeEncodeError: file D:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2017\bin\python27.zip\encodings\utf_8.py line 16: ascii # 
# Error: line 1: UnicodeEncodeError: file D:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2017\bin\python27.zip\encodings\utf_8.py line 16: ascii #