Another project with Autodesk Maya and Mental Ray.
This time however I also started learning more advanced features such as HDR Image based lighting, Final Gather and Global Illumination, as well as the mi Arch shaders applied with all sorts of metal properties and maps for the armor. Mental Ray is as amazing for shading and rendering as it is frustrating, and renders can take forever if you don't optimize your scene!
There was a point at which I had abandoned this project for a while since my PC kept crashing during renders. But then, having no other choice, I watched a Gnomon DVD about mental ray so that I could optimize my scene to make it renderable without crashing:
Mental Ray Fundamentals by Matt Hartle.
And so for those of you who are struggling with complex scenes and mental ray or are serious about mental ray and have a weak PC (as I only had 2GB of RAM for instance), I would strongly recommend that you research and learn the technical aspects of mental ray thoroughly even if it means a couple hours of your time, and it cetainly took me a few days. I know that as artists you would naturally avoid wasting so much time to learn such technical things but sometimes that time spent can save you lots of hours wasted in buggy renders, crashes and frustrations in the future!