Nvidia discontinues Mental Ray
Nvidia is stopping development of Mental Ray. As of today, 20 November 2017, it will no longer be possible to buy new subscriptions to the standalone edition of renderer or its 3ds Max and Maya plugins.
No new features, but bugfixes to continue throughout 2018
Nvidia announced its intention to discontinue development of new features for Mental Ray in an email to subscribers last week.
According to the linked FAQs, users with current subscriptions will continue to receive maintenance releases with bugfixes throughout 2018, and product support will continue for the “foreseeable future”.
Nvidia will also add support for its upcoming Volta generation of GPUs, expected early next year.
Developers integrating Mental Ray into their software – primarily CAD firms, given that Autodesk has now stopped integrating Mental Ray into both 3ds Max and Maya – will receive support until 2020.
Users of Nvidia’s newer plugin versions of Mental Ray for 3ds Max and Maya will also be eligible to extend their licences after their subscription period expires to cover any ongoing projects that require Mental Ray.
Development to continue on Iray, though sales and support shifted to integration partners
According to the FAQs, Nvidia continues to “significantly focus” on its other GPU rendering technologies, including its OptiX ray tracing framework and its increasingly widely used MDL material format.
The firm also confirmed that it will “further invest” in Mental Ray’s sister application Iray, itself now available as both a server edition and separate plugins for 3ds Max, Maya and Rhino.
Updated: Product development will be taken over by Nvidia’s partners: Lightwork Design in the case of Iray for 3ds Max, [0x1] Software for Iray for Maya, and migenius for Iray for Rhino and Iray Server.
Support and sales are being shifted to Irayplugins.com, a new site operated jointly by the three companies.
Nvidia has also announced that it has discontinued the Iray for Cinema 4D plugin. A final release will add support for Nvidia’s Volta GPUs and Cinema 4D R19, the current version of the software.