Stylized rendering for Autodesk Maya

## December 2019 UPDATE

The December 2019 update has taken a long time to come out, but we hope to make the wait worth it!

We have worked hard with one of our clients to develop a Frayed style, which is inspired by the look of short films like Feast and Age of Sail. We are including the style with this release, pushing MNPRX further than ever before!

While doing so, we revamped the way PaintFX are handled to make scenes lighter, developed a way to bake NoiseFX onto animated objects and made NoiseFX more intuitive to use at different scene world scales.

On our existing styles, we’ve made improvements to the dry-brush effect in the watercolor stylization and on stabilizing the line/point patterns in the hatching stylization under animation.

We’ve also tried to address most issues that some of you have been having, so thank you for sharing your valuable feedback with us! We will focus on creating tutorials on all these new features in the coming weeks.

Materials - Make sure to also update the materials in the scene to take advantage of the latest features with the PaintFX and NoiseFX tools and to use the import/export stylization tool in the future.

### Frayed Stylization

New - Inspired by the look of short films like Feast and Age of Sail, our Frayed Stylization brings real-time rendering with frayed edges directly within Autodesk Maya. Find out more here.

### MNPRX

Viewport rendering

• Improved - Performance with VelocityPV enabled has been drastically improved
• Fixed - Automatically disable MSAA to avoid wrong output within the viewport
• Fixed - The substrate doesn’t sometimes dissapear anymore when the resolution changes

Watercolor

• New - Added a custom dry-brush color and improved upon the dry-brush effect
• Fixed - Bleeding now appears automatically when new scenes are created or opened

Hatching

• New - Hatching and stippling patterns can now be baked onto objects by enabling the deformed setting within the hatching materials.

Installation

• Fixed - Installation will automatically delete MNPRX shelves that might have saved themselves locally though Maya’s preferences.

PaintFX

• Fixed - Vertex control sets are now created on-demand, drastically reducing scene size.
• Fixed - Unnecessary history nodes are automatically deleted.

NoiseFX

• New - Baking of NoiseFX now allows you to bake the current 3D noise pattern so that it works with animation and deformed objects. NoiseFX with 2D noise is thereby deprecated.
• New - World scale of NoiseFX is now directly linked to the world scale of the scene (World Scale attribute in the config node), making the default scale of each effect work predictably with scenes of different world scales.

Import/Export

• Improved - Smaller file sizes for exported styles
• Improved - Progress bar when importing/exporting styles

MNPRX Shelf

• Updated - Updated MNPRX info and Support (prev. Feedback) icons to direct users to the related page on our website.

Documentation

### Stylizations in Nuke

• New - The frayed stylization in Nuke
• Updated - The watercolor stylization in Nuke has been updated to support the December 2019 release of MNPRX.
• New - Refer to the art-direction control documentation to create your own control textures within Nuke.

## SEPTEMBER 2019 UPDATE

The September 2019 update is focused on new styles and overall stability! We have worked on a new Hatching style with one of our clients, and are releasing an alpha version thereof for you all to have fun with! Our watercolor stylization has also gotten some love, as we have improved the edge-based effects and overall control over the pigment density and paper granulation. While working on these styles, we spent some time squashing bugs that you have let us know of.

Watercolor - The pigment density in the configuration node needs to be reduced to match the perceived pigment concentration that you previously had (prev. 5.0, new default is 1.0). The edge intensity attribute might also need to be lowered a bit as we have normalized the edges throughout the image.
Materials - Make sure to also update the materials in the scene to take advantage of the alpha masking bug fix.

### Hatching Stylization

New - The Hatching Stylization brings real-time hatching rendering of 3D objects and animation directly within Autodesk Maya through MNPRX. Find out more here.

### MNPRX

Viewport rendering

• Fixed - Rendering in non-linear image file formats (all except .exr) is now properly color managed. Supported are: 1.8 gamma, 2.2 gamma, Rec 709 gamma, sRGB gamma and Raw. As long as you use these color corrections, rendering will give you the exact colors as what you see in the viewport.
• Improved - Added atmospheric tint support to orthographic renders. Range distance 0 will be at the origin.

MNPRX Materials

• Fixed - Using alpha masks within transparency will not break the object sorting given by Maya anymore.

Watercolor

• New - Edge Darkening type control has been added. ‘Advanced’ edge darkening more faithfully reproduces edge darkening behavior found in traditional watercolors and reduces edges created from gradients. You may switch the type to ‘Simple’ mode if you still desire to use the old edge darkening approach.
• New - Control over the Pigment Density and Paper Granulation has been separated for better control and nicer paper granulation results. Because of this, the Pigment Density will need to be reduced to match the perceived pigment concentration that you previously had in stylized scenes (prev. 5.0, new default is 1.0).

Installation

• Fixed - Installing MNPRX will delete any empty lines that the Maya.env file might have had to avoid Maya not recognizing the plugin.

Configuration Node

• Fixed - Bug that didn’t save all attributes with the scene.

PaintFX

• Fixed - Bug that sometimes messed up the painting of effects.

Documentation

### Watercolor stylization in Nuke

• Updated - The watercolor stylization in Nuke has been updated to support the August 2019 release of MNPRX (September 2019 update coming soon).
• New - Documentation on compositing MNPRX stylizations in Nuke and MNPRX AOV’s Explained now found in the documentation.

## AUGUST 2019 UPDATE

The August 2019 update is focused on improving the functionality of MNPRX and its tools. We now support normal Maya materials within MNPRX stylizations, rim lights and have improved tools for better production workflows. Make sure to also update the materials in the scene, to use the rim lights within the uber material.

### MNPRX

Viewport rendering

• New - Maya materials are also supported by MNPRX now, making Viewport+ the perfect option for higher quality viewport renders. Do keep in mind that NoiseFX and PaintFX only work with MNPRX materials.
• Improved - Ambient occlusion has been improved upon and can now be used with any material and in scenes with big world scales.
• Improved - The Atmosphere Tint is now deactivated for orthographic views.
• Fixed - Minor bug that didn’t TAA the image when de-selecting objects.
• Fixed - Minor bug that didn’t show the substrate properly upon changing between textures of different resolutions.

MNPRX Materials

• New - Rim Lights setting and attributes have been added to the uber material.

MNPRX Toolbox

• New - Bulk Attribute tool now available for Indie/Studio licenses. The tool will allow you to change ShaderFX settings in bulk. It will be expanded to change normal attributes in the future, as well.

Watercolor

• Fixed - Pigment dilution now also dilutes ambient occlusion.

MNPRX Shelf

• New - A point light shelf icon has been included in the MNPRX shelf. Point light support is limited by Maya’s ShaderFX framework, so you won’t be able to cast point light shadows in MNPRX materials.

Material Presets
New - Redesigned and more powerful material presets window. From top to bottom, the updates are as follows:

• Improved - Save presets by pressing enter after writing the name (save button still there if you prefer a mouse)
• New - Load attributes checkbox allows you to not load the attributes in case you are only interested in loading the NoiseFX or textures of an existing preset
• New - Filter presets by name or by material type
• Improved - Double click on a preset to load it on the selected objects

Style Presets
New - Redesigned and more powerful stylization presets window. From top to bottom, the updates are as follows:

• Improved - Save presets by pressing enter after writing the name (save button still there if you prefer a mouse)
• New - Filter presets by name or by stylization
• Improved - Double click on a preset to load it

Import/Export

• Improved - Optimized file size when exporting stylization

Documentation

## JULY 2019 UPDATE

The July 2019 update of MNPRX includes a completely new Cutout Stylization, together with our own implementation of Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion (GTAO)! These two features, together with a series of smaller new features, improvements and fixes, make the July update a substantial improvement for MNPRX. Just make sure to also update the materials in the scene, to be sure that you are using all the latest features of this update.

### MNPRX

Cutout Stylization

New - The Cutout Stylization brings real-time cutout rendering of 3D objects and animation directly within Autodesk Maya through MNPRX.

Viewport rendering

• New - Render with Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion (GTAO) to emulate ambient lighting.
• New - Visualize and stylize normal Viewport 2.0 Maya materials (NoiseFX, PaintFX and GTAO are only supported with MNPRX materials).
• Fixed - The Target Sequence Renderer can also render and save images from cameras within namespaces.

Watercolor Stylization

• New - Ambient occlusion can concentrate pigment density within the watercolor stylization.

Substrates

• New - Rotation attribute on each substrate.
• New - Thorough control over the Alternate Substrate

Material Presets

• Improved - Material presets do not force to load-up materials within the MNPRX renderer anymore, you can use the normal Viewport 2.0 with it, if desired.
• Improved - Material presets automatically check and clean connected Shading Engines to work properly with certain material setups.

MNPRX Materials

• Improved - The noise created through the NoiseFX tool will not be stretched along one direction anymore.

MNPRX Shelf

• New - Double clicking on mat will now reload the Attribute Editor of the material, forcing the ShaderFX material to show all its attributes.
• New - Selecting all objects that share the assigned material can now be done directly from the MNPRX shelf by right-clicking on mat -> Select objects with material.

Licensing

• New - installing MNPRX will check for an existing license and automatically ask the user what to do with it. This will make transitions from Non-Commercial to Indie/Studio much easier by simply re-installing MNPRX and deleting the existing license to enter the new one.

Documentation

### Watercolor stylization in Nuke

The watercolor stylization is now also available for Nuke in Indie and Studio licenses, allowing to re-create the style and tweak it further in compositing. More details on where to get it and how to take advantage of it can be found in the documentation.

## JUNE 2019 UPDATE (Public release!)

The June 2019 update of MNPRX is the biggest yet! We’ve developed many things to improve the overall experience and to continue moving forward with our planned development. Because of this, a re-installation of MNPRX is required on any computer that has a previous installation running. We apologize for this inconvenience, but hope the new features will make up for it.

### MNPRX

Viewport rendering

New - Viewport rendering has been completely re-implemented to be handled entirely through MNPRX.

• Render with Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA) for progressive super-sampled results.
• Abstracted quality for the viewport, rendered images and image sequences within 5 different modes: Half, Standard, FXAA, 4x SSAA and TAA.
• Render out images and image sequences in multiple image file formats (.png, .jpg, .exr, .tif, .iff).
• Create quick playblasts in all formats supported by your computer.
• Rendered images, image sequences and playblasts should have the same colors that you see in the viewport (except for .exr images which are in linear space).
• Define alpha of the rendered images and image sequences as None, Linear, or Premultiplied (only within formats that support alpha channels).

PaintFX

• New - Numerical value for painting amount can now be directly seen and modified within PaintFX.
• New - Pressure sensitivity is enabled when painting with a stylus.
• Improved - Intuitive undo operations within PaintFX.
• Improved - No more flickering of the in-use brush icon.
• Improved - Automatic switch between NoiseFX and PaintFX without re-selecting the objects.

NoiseFX

• Improved - Intuitive undo operations within NoiseFX (except for reset and on/off toggle).
• Fixed - Reset and on/off noise toggle now flush the undo queue when used to avoid Maya crashes (Solving these crashes seem to be outside of our power as it relies on fixing the ShaderFX implementation).

Material Presets

• Fixed - When multiple objects share a material, Create New Material will now just create the material within the selection.
• Improved - Loading a material on an object with the default Lambert1 material won’t load the material on all objects sharing it.
• New - ID material presets have been added.

Usability

• Improved - Scene stylization will be automatically loaded when opening a stylized scene.
• Improved - Velocity vertex data is only computed by the required geometry.
• Improved - Velocity vertex data is discarded when no longer required, reducing scene size.
• Fixed - Bug where the attribute editor sometimes didn’t show the ShaderFX attributes.
• Fixed - Memory leak when resizing the viewport.

Installation

• New - MNPRX environment variables are now handled by a plugin distribution module, avoiding clashes with environment variables from the host system.
• Fixed - Installing MNPRX won’t modify the existing order of environment variables within the host computer, minimizing clashes that it may have with other installed plugins that may depend on this.

Licensing

• New - Using MNPRX now requires a valid license. Upon first use, you will be prompted to either enter the activation code that came with your purchase of MNPRX Indie/Studio or activate MNPRX Non-Commercial.

## APRIL 2019 UPDATE

### MNPRX

MNPR Material

MNPRX Shelf

Viewport Rendering

• Fixed - Playblasts using the rendr tool come out with proper color correction again with Maya 2018.3, onwards (fix of MAYA-88922 bug caused a double color correction).

Documentation

## MARCH 2019 UPDATE

### MNPRX

Stylization Import/Export tool

New tool that allows the artist to Import/Export the stylization of either the selected objects or of the entire scene. The stylization settings that can be exported/imported include:

• Style parameters (mnprConfig node attributes).
• MNPR materials (with NoiseFX and material attributes).
• PaintFX (all painted parameters).
• Proxies (the geometry proxies, their material and painted parameters).

The tool is name-based, but supports the Import/Export between different namespaces. The stylization can also be imported on scenes where there were no prior MNPRX materials, as long as names of the objects remain consistent.

Viewport Rendering

• New - Viewport Rendering now also matches the resolution gate, when in use.
• Fixed - Memory leak that used all available system memory when rendering out big image sequences.
• Fixed - Texture samplers not being recognized until the shaders were reloaded i.e., no more weird pixels at the borders of the images.
• Fixed - Assigned substrate not showing when opening a scene from scratch.

### Watercolor stylization in Nuke

• New - Added sample usage of background plates in the stylization pipeline.
• New - MNPRX stylization can now be imported within the stylization options.
• Fixed - Depth target provoking weird edge darkening lines.

## FEBRUARY 2019 UPDATE

### MNPRX

MNPR Material

• Optimized - Compilation times have been drastically reduced (up to 20x) by optimizing the node network to get rid of redundant shader code. Changing Settings and recompiling the material should now be immediate.
• New - Real-time Displacement and tessellation have been added to the mnpr_uber material. These can be activated within the material Settings. (DX11+ hardware is required for this).
• Fixed and improved - Support for light maps has been improved and a bug regarding the use of diffuse factor with light maps has been fixed. Light maps can be activated within the material Settings, whereas vertex painted lighting is always active.
• Improved - Cangiante algorithm has been improved for better results with mapped textures. The attribute defaults to 0.6 now and can go up or down until the desired result is achieved.
• Reorganized - The material attributes have been reorganized for more intuitive control. The Highlights attributes are not shown by default anymore, but can be activated through Settings.

Watercolor

• Fixed - Bleeding when no objects are behind is now working again as expected.

Usability

• New - A textured material preset has been added in the mPre tool. Loading this preset will retain the textures of the prior material (i.e., mnpr_uber, lambert) and set all attributes required for a textured workflow.
• Improved - Creating/Loading a new material will now keep the name of the previously assigned one.

Licensing

• Improved - A less aggressive licensing method has been created that will always allow to load and work with MNPRX. However, it won’t be possible to render images past the licensing date.

## JANUARY 2019 UPDATE

### MNPRX

MNPR Material

• New - Art-directable shading has been added to the mnpr_uber material. Artists can now control light directly on the object through lightmaps, paintFX or noiseFX. Lightmaps within the material can be activated on demand in the Settings of the material itself. Art-directable shading is found by default within the paintFX and noiseFX tools. Art-directed shading is strongly dependent on the Diffuse Factor attribute. Therefore, an additional Shade attribute has been added to the material to separately control the lighting contribution from lights. It is highly encouraged to read the documentation to fully understand how art-directable shading can be effectively used.
• Fixed - Issue with depth in semi-transparent objects not rendering and certain depth-dependent stylization effects now working properly.

PaintFX

• Improved - Highlight brush that is currently in use.

### Watercolor stylization in Nuke

• Improved - Updated stylization pipeline to support the latest changes in MNPRX.

## NOVEMBER 2018 UPDATE

### MNPRX

MNPR Material

• New - Semi-transparency support added to mnpr_uber material.
• Improved - Shade Override and Shade Wrap attributes can now be used together

PaintFX

• Fixed - Issue of objects appearing white after another object with the same material was being painted.

### Watercolor stylization in Nuke

• New - Added sample usage stylizing images rendered with an external renderer e.g., Arnold, Renderman.
• Fixed - Issue where color bleeding was not as strong in Nuke as in Maya.

## OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE

### MNPRX

Viewport Rendering

New - Tool to batch render any render target (images/gBuffers) out of MNPRX. You can specify the following within the user interface:

• Render targets (images/gBuffers) to save
• Custom output folder
• Frame resolution
• Frame range
• Multiple camera views

The artist can cancel the render at any time and all targets are saved within one pass.

Substrates

• New - Motion-driven substrates (dynamic canvas) that allow for motion coherent substrate-based effects. Activate the Velocity PV attribute in the mnprConfig node to activate it.
• Improved - Controllable substrate tiles through the Substrate Tile attribute.
• New - Smooth/rough transition between tiles by activating the Substrate Tile Blend attribute.
• New - Support for substrate blending between two specified textures with the Substrate Blend attribute.

Watercolor

• Improved - No more Depth Range or Bleeding Threshold attribute required for watercolor effects to behave correctly.

## SEPTEMBER 2018 UPDATE

### Watercolor stylization in Nuke

New - The watercolor stylization pipeline in The Foundry’s Nuke. This node network allows to recreate the MNPRX watercolor stylization out of render targets exported from Maya.

## JULY 2018 UPDATE

### MNPRX

Viewport Rendering

• Fixed - Edge artefacts in alpha channel when FXAA was on

Substrates

• Improved - Extended the range of substrates (papers) to use.
• Improved - Substrates can be downloaded from within the shelf RMB on _MNPR_ shelf icon -> Download substrates.