About Maya To Mantra
During my work I had to discover that my approach to mantra was not very efficient and complicated: Exporting objects in a proprietary format, reload it in an houdini compiled converter which exports them as geo/bgeo files. And finally create shader networks for mantra and compile them. And there was almost no feedback so I stopped the development of mayaToMantra.
The sources are still avaliable on github.
The very first render system of this OpenMaya project is an exporter for Houdinis Mantra renderer. The renderer is a really good engine and it is a standalone program. Even the interactive rendering from within Houdini is done with the standalone. Of course this takes a little bit time to start but it works quite well.
Most of the work is the translation of the hypershade to mantra or better to vex code. But with some support it will be possible to do a good translation.
The plan is to reach a usable state as soon as possible and the release a free version. Of course you will need a version of Houdini, but you can use the watermarked apprentice version if you want to test it.
The first versions of MayaToMantra will be aviailable for Windows only and at the moment only for Maya2012. Recompiling for Maya2011 is possible, but all additional Attributes rely on the extended node attributes in maya2012, so the plugin will not work with 2011 at the moment.
I have to thank the people from odforce website. Its a very helpful and friendly community where all my stupid questions, well almost all, are answered. For the maya side the people at cgtalk and the german website percutio were really helpful, thanks a lot. And a really special thank to all the people at DNA who allowed me to use their renderman shader sources for my shader implementation.