Notes from here and there on the frontline

Misc notes from frontline support…

  • Shaders disconnecting when you open scene
    Ack! This gave me a scare initially, but it turned out to be something else (not the dreaded “disconnected shaders” problem).
    The reported problem was that the Particle_Renderer node was losing its connection to the Volume port on the material.

    The actual problem was the Constant node. Nodes like Constant and Blinn are material type shaders, not textures.
    The parameters in a shader (like Color) are designed to work with texture-type shaders. That’s why plugging a material node like Constant into the Particle Renderer doesn’t work.

  • too many literal bytes for texture
    For a specific TIF texture, mental ray standalone was giving an error that looked like this:

    API 0.0 error 301098: c:\test.72.mi, line 1484: too many literal bytes for texture (null)

    xsibatch didn’t complain, btw.

    The only previous reports of that error that I could find were from 10 years ago.

    The customer converted the image to another format to get around the error.

  • Disappearing point clouds when you remove the initial state
    A customer sent in a scene where, if you removed the initial state, all the particles disappeared.
    I did find a workaround: go into the Emit from Curve compound, open the Generate Points PPG, and change the Seed value. That would force the particles to emit again.

  • Empty nodes in the render and ICE trees
    This was reported by a customer running on Linux: no text in the render tree and ICE tree nodes.

    We tried the following with no success:
    – Run cmdreg -f XSICOMDLLs.lst (the Linux version of runonce.bat)
    – Run mwcleanup
    – Remove ~/Autodesk/Softimage_2012 and /var/tmp/Mw_{username}
    A graphic card or display driver issue is my best guess; I didn’t hear back from the customer so eventually I had to close the case “unconfirmed”.

  • Combining a Syflex simulation and shape animation
    Can’t be done. The Cluster Shape Combiner is lower in the stack, so it won’t be evaluated each frame of the simulation (just once right before the simulation starts). Even if you remove the Syflex ICE tree, the shape animation won’t happen as long as the Simulation stack is there.

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