[MtoA] The case of the instant crash when I load MtoA

In this case, Maya 2015 (Windows) disappeared a few seconds after I clicked the MtoA Loaded check box in the Plug-in Manager. Eventually I tracked it down to this line in my pluginPrefs.mel:

evalDeferred("autoLoadPlugin(\"\", \"PolyTools\", \"PolyTools\")");

Darn you PolyTools, I forgot about you 😉 There’s some kind of conflict between PolyTools (from the Maya BonusTools) and MtoA.

I tracked this down the hard way, by renaming my 2015 MAYA_APP_DIR to 2015-x64.bak and starting over with the default preferences, and then comparing the two.

An easier way (on Windows) would have been to use MTOA_STARTUP_LOG_VERBOSITY along with the -log command-line flag (for example, maya -log %TEMP%\mayastartup.log), which would have given me this:

* Arnold windows icc-13.1.3 oiio-1.4.14 rlm-11.1.2 2015/01/23 16:50:01
* CRASHED in Tstring::formatToWidth at 00:00:00, pixel (0, 0)
* signal caught: error C0000005 -- access violation
* backtrace:
*  0 0x0000000045476700 [ai            ] AiArray                                                                                                                                                                               
*  1 0x0000000045477eff [ai            ] AiArray                                                                                                                                                                               
*  2 0x00000000773cb940 [kernel32      ] UnhandledExceptionFilter                                                                                                                                                              
*  3 0x00000000774e3398 [ntdll         ] MD5Final                                                                                                                                                                              
*  4 0x00000000774685c8 [ntdll         ] _C_specific_handler                                                                                                                                                                   
*  5 0x0000000077479d2d [ntdll         ] RtlDecodePointer                                                                                                                                                                      
*  6 0x00000000774691cf [ntdll         ] RtlUnwindEx                                                                                                                                                                           
*  7 0x00000000774a1248 [ntdll         ] KiUserExceptionDispatcher                                                                                                                                                             
>> 8 0x000007fee46eeb05 [FOUNDATION    ] Tstring::formatToWidth                                                                                                                                                                
*  9 0x000007fee46efff5 [FOUNDATION    ] Tstring::set                                                                                                                                                                          
* 10 0x000007febe593e9c [PolyTools     ] uninitializePlugin                                                                                                                                                                    
* 11 0x000007febe593feb [PolyTools     ] uninitializePlugin                   

[MtoA] Mapping textures to Yeti hair

Like MtoA, Yeti exports UV coordinates in the uparamcoord and vparamcoord parameters, and you use these to map textures in the aiHair shader with the Uparam and Vparam extra attributes.

For example, if you plug a texture into the Rootcolor and tipcolor
then you can use uparamcoord and vparamcoord to map that texture onto the hair:

Tip If you enable Expand Procedurals and export an ASS file, you can see what parametes Yeti exports:

### created by pgYetiMayaShape
 name pgYetiMayaShape_|pgYetiMaya|pgYetiMayaShape|scatter01_pSphereShape1_grow01
 num_points 621 1 b85UINT
# ...
 points 4347 1 b85POINT
# ...
 basis "catmull-rom"
 mode "ribbon"
 min_pixel_width 0
 visibility 255
 self_shadows on
 1 0 0 0
 0 1 0 0
 0 0 1 0
 0 0 0 1
 shader "initialShadingGroup"
 opaque on
 id -1230660816
 declare curve_id uniform UINT
 curve_id 621 1 b85UINT
# ...
 declare uparamcoord uniform FLOAT
 uparamcoord 621 1 b85FLOAT
# ...
 declare vparamcoord uniform FLOAT
 vparamcoord 621 1 b85FLOAT
# ...
 declare surf_s uniform FLOAT
 surf_s 621 1 b85FLOAT
# ...
 declare surf_t uniform FLOAT
 surf_t 621 1 b85FLOAT
# ...
 declare length uniform FLOAT
 length 621 1 b85FLOAT
# ...
 declare fur_id uniform FLOAT
 fur_id 621 1 b85FLOAT
# ...
 declare surf_n uniform VECTOR
 surf_n 621 1 b85VECTOR
# ...
 declare filename constant STRING
 filename "C:/Users/StephenBlair/Documents/maya/projects/Support//yeti/tmp/yeti_combExample_pgYetiMayaShape_1886244453_1.fur"
 declare mtoa_shading_groups constant ARRAY NODE
 mtoa_shading_groups "initialShadingGroup"
 declare frame constant INT
 frame 1
 declare verbosity constant INT
 verbosity 1
 declare density constant FLOAT
 density 10
 declare width constant FLOAT
 width 1
 declare threads constant INT
 threads 0
 declare min_pixel_width constant FLOAT
 min_pixel_width 0
 declare mode constant INT
 mode 0
 declare imageSearchPath constant STRING
 imageSearchPath ""
 declare samples constant ARRAY FLOAT
 samples 1

[MtoA] Using set overrides to assign Arnold IDs to groups of mesh shapes

Arnold shapes have an id parameter that you can use to set up custom ID AOVs.

kick -info polymesh.id
node: polymesh
param: id
type: INT
default: 0

For example, you can Object ID color mode of the Utility shader to generate an ID AOV.

MtoA doesn’t automatically generate IDs, so you need to use the User Options parameter on the shapes to assign IDs.

If you want to give a group of polygon meshes the same ID, so that they all get the same Object ID color, then you can use override sets.

Example: Three sets, each set with an override of User Options that sets the polymesh.id parameter

In Softimage, SItoA does generate IDs, and you can override them using groups and a branch-applied Arnold User Options property.

[MtoA] The case of the scene that crashed Maya

In this case, Maya crashed as soon as you loaded a certain scene.

What was the problem? Yeti couldn’t get a license, and then when MtoA loaded the Yeti procedural, that was it: crash.

We found the problem by checking the Maya log that we got with the -log command-line flag:

maya.exe -log %TEMP%\maya.log

The solution was to set RLM_LICENSE so Yeti could get its license (or unset MTOA_EXTENSIONS_PATH so that the Yeti extension wasn’t loaded, or move the Yeti module file so Maya wouldn’t find it).

This is what we saw in the log:

[Wed Nov 05 18:08:13 2014] Yeti 1.3.14: Yeti v1.3.14, built on Oct 10 2014 at 20:52:13
[Wed Nov 05 18:08:13 2014] Yeti 1.3.14: (c) 2010-Present Peregrine Labs a division of Peregrine Visual Storytelling Ltd. All rights reserved.
[Wed Nov 05 18:08:13 2014] Yeti 1.3.14: ERROR pgLicenseCheck - License system could not get a valid server handle, error: Can't read license data (-102)
No such process (errno: 3)
00:00:00 WARNING | [mtoa] Extension pgYetiArnoldMtoa(C:/solidangle/yeti/Yeti-v1.3.14_Maya2014-windows64/plug-ins/pgYetiArnoldMtoa.dll) requires Maya plugin pgYetiMaya, registering will be deferred until plugin is loaded.
the data object was unable to read its value : (0) no error
the data object was unable to read its value : (0) no error

* Arnold windows icc-14.0.2 oiio-1.4.14 rlm-11.1.2 2014/11/03 15:27:54
* CRASHED in QResource::locale 
* signal caught: error C0000005 -- access violation
* backtrace:
*  0 0x000000002c8b7a20 [ai            ] AiArray                                           
*  1 0x000000002c8b9f80 [ai            ] AiArray                                           
*  2 0x000000007722b940 [kernel32      ] UnhandledExceptionFilter                          
*  3 0x0000000077343398 [ntdll         ] MD5Final                                          
*  4 0x00000000772c85c8 [ntdll         ] _C_specific_handler                               
*  5 0x00000000772d9d2d [ntdll         ] RtlDecodePointer                                  
*  6 0x00000000772c91cf [ntdll         ] RtlUnwindEx                                       
*  7 0x0000000077301248 [ntdll         ] KiUserExceptionDispatcher                         
>> 8 0x0000000067840147 [QtCore4       ] QResource::locale    
...and so on and so on...

[MtoA] [MacOSX] Rendering a sequence

Here’s a question submitted through solidangle.com: how do I render a sequence of frames with Maya on Mac OS X?

The answer is: the same way you would a sequence of frames with mental ray in Maya.

In Maya:

From the command line:

  • Open a Maya Terminal, either through Spotlight or in Finder (/Applications/Autodesk/maya2015/Maya Terminal.term)

    Using a Maya Terminal means that the PATH already includes the location of the Maya command-line renderer.

  • In the terminal, use the Render command to render the sequence. For example:
    Render -r arnold -s 1 -e 10 -proj /Users/stephen/MyProject /Users/stephen/MyProject/scenes/arnold.mb

If Arnold is the renderer specified in the saved scene file, you can omit -r arnold from the Render command.

Run the command Render -help -r arnold to print the help for the Arnold-specific render flags.

[MtoA] Pimping your Yeti module file

Here’s a variation of the Yeti module file that adds the bin folder to the PATH, and plug-ins to MTOA_EXTENSIONS_PATH:

+ pgYetiMaya any C:\solidangle\yeti\Yeti-v1.3.14_Maya2014-windows64
PATH +:= bin

MtoA uses MTOA_EXTENSIONS_PATH to find the Yeti extension for MtoA, and Arnold uses PATH to find the Yeti procedural.

[MtoA] One mtoa.mod to rule them all

After a few tries, I got one mtoa.mod file that works for multiple Maya versions:

+ MAYAVERSION:2015 mtoa any C:\solidangle\mtoadeploy\2015
PATH +:= bin
+ MAYAVERSION:2014 mtoa any C:\solidangle\mtoadeploy\2014
PATH +:= bin
+ MAYAVERSION:2013 mtoa any C:\solidangle\mtoadeploy\2013
PATH +:= bin

I had to repeat the PATH line for each module, otherwise the bin folder wasn’t added to the PATH.

I just had to set MAYA_MODULE_PATH to point to this mtoa.mod file, and then I could load MtoA in Maya 2013, 2014, and 2015.

This could be useful if you have multiple users sharing a single machine, because with this mtoa.mod, you don’t have to worry about putting version-specific mtoa.mod files in every user’s Maya folder (by default, the MtoA installer puts mtoa.mod in the user’s $MAYA_APP_DIR\\modules\\<version> folders).

Another way to do it would to be put the mtoa.mod files in the default shared modules folders. For example, on Windows:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Modules\Maya\2013
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Modules\Maya\2014
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Modules\Maya\2015

On Linux:


On Mac OS X:

/Users/Shared/Autodesk/maya/<version> for MacOS

[Linux] Missing .sog files?

Sometimes on Linux you may get “unable to load dynamic library” errors for .sog files. Like this:

00:00:00     0MB WARNING |  unable to load dynamic library: /home/stephen/solidangle/mtoa/2014/xgen_procedural.sog: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory 

or this:

00:00:00     0MB WARNING |  unable to load dynamic library: /usr/apps/houdini/houdini-13.0.343/htoa/arnold_plugins/driver_houdini.sog: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory 

Don’t worry about the “.sog” part. In most cases, Arnold isn’t actually looking for a .sog file. Arnold is trying to load a .so file, and either the .so itself or a dependency is missing. The “.sog” is printed by mistake in the log message (and this is fixed in the next Arnold version).

So (heh) focus your investigation on why Arnold couldn’t load the .so file (try running ldd on it).

In the two examples above:

  • xgen_procedural.so couldn’t be loaded because LD_LIBRARY_PATH didn’t include the Maya lib folder, so all the tbb-related libraries were missing.
  • driver_houdini.so was missing some Houdini dependencies, but in this case it was being loaded into MtoA, so driver_houdini wasn’t needed and the warning could be safely ignored.

What’s a .sog?
If a plugin has a .sog extension, AiLoadPlugins() will load the plugin with RTLD_GLOBAL, which means the symbols from the plugin will be globally exposed and available to other plugins.

.sog is a Maya naming convention for an .so to be dlopen’ed with RLD_GLOBAL

[Arnold] [MtoA] Disabling Skip License Check

If you render a scene that has Skip License Check enabled, you’ll get the Arnold watermark. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to turn off Skip License Check from the command line:

render -r arnold -ai:slc off some_scene.mb
kick -set options.skip_license_check off -dp -dw some.ass

You might also want to enable Abort on License Fail (-ai:alf for render, -set options.abort_on_license_fail for kick).