[MtoA] Error: defaultArnold Driver can’t create file

You’ll get an error like this if your project path has characters like é or ü or Ô in it.

// Error: [driver_exr] defaultArnoldDriver@driver_exr.RGBA: can't create file ".exr": OpenEXR exception: Permission denied. //

// Error: [driver_jpeg] defaultArnoldDriver@driver_jpeg.RGBA: can't create file ".jpg": Unable to open file ".jpg”

// Error: [driver_png] defaultArnoldDriver@driver_png.RGBA: can't create file ".png": Could not open file ".png"

Arnold can’t create the output file, because the special characters mess up the resolution of the output path, which ends up as an empty string.

So with no path provided, the ouput driver tries to write “.jpg” in the current working directory, which is probably something like C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2018.

Use plain text characters for your project folders.


compiled against non-compatible Arnold

If you see something like this:

[Arnold]: MAXtoA_Shaders.dll was compiled against non-compatible Arnold

it usually means you have an older Arnold trying to load something compiled with  a newer Arnold. There’s two common reasons for this happening:

  • The system PATH includes the location of the older Arnold, so the older Arnold is loaded instead of the Arnold version included with the plugin.
  • The plugin install is messed up, and has the wrong Arnold version in it.


[mtoa] Register failed for arnoldAOVChildSelector

If you see this error in the script editor

# Error: Register failed for arnoldAOVChildSelector #

that means your preferred render layer setup is Legacy Render Layers (so MtoA fails to register something that’s used for the new Render Setup).

If you’re not using Render Setup, then you can safely ignore this error.


[MtoA] UnicodeEncodeError when rendering


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 #



Vertices and the maximum valence limit

The valence of a vertex is the number of edges connected to that vertex. In Arnold, the maximum valence is 255 (that’s because of the data type we use to store the valence; we minimize the memory requirements since this is stored per-vertex).

If a mesh in the scene has a vertex with more than 255 edges, you’ll get a WARNING like this:

 [polymesh] example_mesh: mesh has at least a vertex with valence higher than 255, disabling subdivision

But if the adaptive subdivision results in a vertex with too many edges, you’ll get an ERROR:

 ERROR: [arnold] [subdiv] example_mesh: edge (144578,287741) in face 263433 has a vertex that exceeded the max valence limit of 255 

[MtoA] Unable to dynamically load mtoa.mll …The specified procedure could not be found.

If the MtoA plug-in  does not load and you get a “The specified procedure could not be found” error like this:

// Error: line 1: Unable to dynamically load : C:/solidangle/mtoadeploy/2016/plug-ins/mtoa.mll
The specified procedure could not be found.
// Error: line 1: The specified procedure could not be found.
 (mtoa) //

then there’s a few basic things you need to check first.

Does your processor support SSE4.1?

Support for SSE4.1 is a minimum requirement. You won’t be able to load MtoA or use Arnold if your processor doesn’t support SSE4.1.

Check the environment in Maya

For example, does the PATH include any older versions of MtoA? If you’re on Windows, run the MEL command system(“set”) to get the environment. On OSX or Linux, run system(“printenv”).


Check for missing or conflicting libraries

On Windows, you can use Dependency Walker to  check for any conflicts or missing DLLs.


Download and extract Dependency Walker. Then start it from inside Maya (to inherit the Maya environment). For example, I do something like this:
system( “start C:/Users/stephen/Downloads//depends22_x64/depends.exe” );

Then load mtoa.mll.

Get a Process Monitor log

If a clean install of MtoA doesn’t work (and the computer does support SSE4.1), then “The specified module could not be found.” usually means there’s a missing dependency. Dependency Walker is a decent, if aging, tool for checking out dependencies, but for leaving no stone unturned, I prefer Process Monitor.

The MtoA plugin (mtoa.mll) depends on a handful of files only. Here’s the log of loaded DLLs for a working MtoA:


Here’s a quick walkthrough (no audio) of how to get a Process Monitor log:

[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.