Couldn't register Arnold renderer in Maya PIT file (error while parsing .pit file)


For Arnold itself, you can ignore that message. Unless you have an Arnold license.

Couldn't register Arnold renderer in Maya PIT file (error while parsing
.pit file). Please contact support@solidangle.com.

For Maya, that message is a symptom of a problem with your Maya install: the Maya installation is not creating all the required files on your system.

If you finish the install (you can install without MtoA if you want), and then try to start Maya and nothing happens, then the ProductInformation.pit file is missing or corrupt.

The Maya install should create this file:

    C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Adlm\ProductInformation.pit

If there is any problem with that file, Maya (and any other Autodesk software) will not start.
Arnold will still render, but it won’t be able to use any Arnold license.

If that file does exist on your system, delete it.
Then remove all Autodesk software, and install Maya again (without MtoA)

You can install MtoA later (go to arnoldrenderer.com/arnold/download to get the latest MtoA).

If you still have problems with the Maya installation, log on to your Autodesk account to contact the Autodesk support team, or go to the Install and Licensing Autodesk forum at https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/installation-licensing/bd-p/24

ShadingGroup has no surfaceShader input


If you see this warning when you render

Warning: [mtoa] [translator polymesh] ShadingGroup exampleSG has no surfaceShader input

it’s because a shadingEngine node either has nothing connected to the surfaceShader port, or (more likely) it has an unknown node plugged into surfaceShader.

For example, if you load a scene that was set up with a different renderer, and that renderer is not loaded, then you’ll get some “ShadingGroup has no surfaceShader input” warnings.

[mtoa] Getting a Process Monitor log to troubleshoot problems loading mtoa


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:

process_monitor_mtoa

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

[MAXtoA] Rendering XGen in 3ds Max


 

You can export an ASS file from Maya (with the XGen primitives) and then use an Arnold Procedural to load the ASS file into 3ds Max.

You need to add these two folders to the system environment variable Path:
  • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2018\plug-ins\xgen\bin
  • C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2018\bin

For example, you can copy this:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2018\plug-ins\xgen\bin;C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2018\bin;

and paste it at the beginning of the current Path:

windows_sys_env_var

Restart 3ds Max after you do this.

Then add the MtoA procedurals folder to the Plugin Search Path:

maxtoa_plugin_search_path

 

[MtoA] cross-platform volume file names


The Arnold volume node uses the texture search path, so you don’t have to use an absolute path in the volume filename.

volume_texture_searchpath

So if you need to set up a Maya scene so that the OpenVDB volumes work on any platform, you could put an environment variable in the Texture Search Path

volume_env_var

Just note that support for volume filenames is still a little … rough. You can’t enter an absolute path in the aiVolume Filename box, then enter a texture search path, and expect MtoA to automatically export a relative path. That still needs to be implemented.

For now, here’s what to do:

  • When you first create the volume, load the vdb file and leave the full absolute path in the aiVolume Filename box.
  • Select the grids and set the other volume parameters.
  • Then set the texture search path and strip off the path from the volume file name (leaving just the file name).
  • Now the environment variable will control where Arnold looks for the vdb file.

The Arnold volume node also support environment variables, so you could do this:

volume_env_var_in_filename

But again, once you put the environment variable into the Filename, the path won’t be resolved inside Maya (but it will work when you render).

[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] Jittering color with user data


To jitter color with user data, you need to connect an aiUserDataInt to the data input parameter, like this:

mtoa_jitter_userdata

The user data is an mtoa_constant attribute on the shape.  For example, if add an extra attribute named mtoa_constant_jitterID to some shapes, then you can use aiUserDataInt to read the jitterID.

If you want to use the shapes as standins, and be able to set the jitterID in the scene, then export the shapes without the mtoa_constant_jitterID attribute. In the scene, you’ll be able to add mtoa_constant_jitterID to the aiStandin node. The aiUserDataInt node in the ASS file will use that jitterID.