Making the move, “from commercial 3d software to blender” part 4 (Tools)

Hello there!
First I’d like to say thank you to those giving me feedback on this blog series, through comments, forums, Twitter and the Blender IRC channel! It’s been very positive and that makes writing these posts a lot easier. The main reason I’m doing this is to get more users out there to understand that Blender can be a viable alternative to their current commercial software, and at the same time I tend to learn things much better myself when I try to teach / demonstrate the workings of something. Well, on to the real content…

This time around I’m going to cover the general tools and workflow in Blender compared to software like Maya and Modo.
As you all know I’ve just started using Blender a couple of weeks ago myself, so I’ve had to do some serious experimentation and reading to get comfortable enough with the different tools to present it to the public! But now I finally feel that I’m ready to embark on a real project in Blender, even though it will take more time than usual, because I’m not fluent with the hotkeys and tools just yet.

What I’ll do in this post today, is to present some tools and their hotkeys that I’ve found myself using a lot and describe their usage and sometimes compare them to similar tools in Maya and Modo.

Many new users complain that Blender is so hard to learn because of all the hotkeys involved. For those that’s just starting out in the world of 3D this is totally understandable, but for users coming from a different software it should not be a problem learning the most important hotkeys needed for let’s say modeling. It all boils down to laziness if this is an argument for not learning Blender! Besides in the recent versions, Blender has gotten more comfortable in sense of the user interface, and most things CAN be done using menus and buttons. The way I feel about it is that no matter what software I use I’ll want to learn the hotkeys. It speeds up things considerably, and it’s no different learning the Blender hotkeys than learning the Maya or Modo hotkeys, it’s the same thing.

When deciding to cover Blenders toolset I had to make some decisions on how to organize the material of this post so it makes sense and follows a pattern of some kind. It is a lot to cover, and I landed on a different approach than what I planned in the first place. Instead of creating one gigantic post, I’ll spread it over multiple posts, each containing bite-sized chunks of information. I think that makes more sense, as I’m new to the program myself, and I want to feel that I know what I’m talking about.

Blender has so many uses and tools for doing everything from the “usual” modeling / texturing / rendering to advanced animation, physics simulations, video editing / compositing, game creation, basic sculpting, and the list probably goes on. Covering all of this would be a serious undertaking and I’m not gonna do that! I’ve not even started to scratch the surface of all this functionality myself, so I’ll limit this introduction to the modeling tools for the time being, touching a little bit of texturing and rendering a long the way.

Let’s start with the basics of the modeling tools, looking at how they compare to the similar tools in Maya.
When I first started to use the tools in Blender I thought “What? Is this it? These tools are crap!”, but after reading up on them in the Blender Manual and experimenting a bit, I started to see that they are at least as powerful as the tools in Maya, if not more so. Even after the short time I’ve been exposed to Blender I feel that I’m gonna like these tools better than the tools in both Maya and Modo! Seriously! You just have to understand how they work! Off course I can’t just say that and not give any examples to prove my case, so I’ll give some examples along the way pointing out what I like and why I think they sometimes are superior. Understand me right, I’m not saying that everything is better in Blender, but some tools have options that I miss in other software.

And what is the idea behind this 3D Cursor thing!?  Well, it can work as an insertion point, a pivot for transformation and as a snapping target.
It’s nice to be able to specify the object’s position before creation!
This can be a little annoying when you’re not used to it, but a nice feature all together.

For each section, I’m gonna start with a list of the tools and their hotkeys that I’ve found myself using a lot while modeling (well some of them only sporadically), and then go on to describing them in practice with some pictures and screencasts.

I’LL USE CAPITAL LETTERS IN ALL SHORTCUTS FOR READABILITY, WHEN SHIFT IS NEEDED IT WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE HOTKEY!

S = Scale
Alt + S = Scale along Normals (called “Shrink/Fatten” in the menu)
R = Rotate
G = Grab/Move

If you want to reset the Move / Rotation / Scale values to zero, which basically does the same as the “Center Selected All” in Modo or the F12 hotkey in Lightwave (The Clear Grab):

Alt + S = Clear Scale
Alt + G = Clear Grab (Object to Center)
Alt + R = Clear Rotations

This must be done in “Object Mode”.

First we have the basic move, rotate and scale tools. In other applications there wouldn’t be much to say about these tools as they are self-explanatory but in Blender they have some nifty options worth explaining. These tools have some options that are common for them all:

Hold Ctrl while transforming to use step values, and shift to use partial (more exact) values.
You can constrain the movement,rotation and scale commands by pressing X, Y or Z, or
lock it to a plane by hitting Shift + X, Y or Z to ex. move only in X, Y space, hit Shift + Z
You can have Blender constrain to the dominant axis under your mouse using the MMB while transforming the object, but this is not always intuitive imho.
Finally, you can use numeric input with the transform tools! Very nice.
ex. to move the selected object or components 5 units in x, press:
G (grab) + X (constrain) + 5 (units) then LMB or Enter to confirm.
This works with both positive and negative numbers off course.
Another way to apply numeric transformation is by using the properties region (N to show/hide)

In Maya you have off course the basic operations of move, scale and rotate, but no way of using the keyboard to enter numeric values directly into the tool, you have to use the input boxes. Also, it is not as easy to constrain transformations to a given axis. You have to use the manipulator and select the axis you want to deactivate with your mouse, then you have to activate it after. All over, I’d say that the differences in these tools are small in practice, but more controllable using Blender. Less mouse clicks are always a good thing 😉 The ability in Blender to constrain, then numerically enter the transformation in units with the keyboard is really helpful and not as easy to do in Maya. Also, the “Continuous Grab” option in Blender, that makes the cursor continue to affect the values when you move out of the viewport, by jumping it through and through is really a lifesaver. But that probably made no sense what so ever to people not using Blender, so I’ll demonstrate it with a little screencast:

Now isn’t that something! 😉

Blender sports some really cool proportional editing tools, that operates kinda like the falloff in Modo and the Soft Select in Maya, but includes options that extends the functionality of some of these tools, like the ability to randomly transform components, making it easy to create landscapes and mountains, rocks and other things that has random form qualities. The way you can use these are as follows:

O (letter o) = Enable proportional falloff
Shift + O = Toggle different falloff modes
Mouse wheel = Adjust radius of influence
Alt + O = Toggle Connected option

Here is a small video, showing how the Proportional Edit Tool works:

To do any kind of serious modeling you need to be able to control the pivot point of your object, and to control how to make the tools operate from the correct “action center”. Modo is exceptional when it comes to doing these things, Maya is not as good and I’d place Blender in between, above Maya when it comes to ease of use and functionality. To control the Pivot you can:

, = Change Pivot to Bounding Box (default)
Alt + , = Change Pivot to 3D Cursor (Added this myself, couldn’t find it anywhere!)
Ctrl + , = Change Pivot to Median Point
Alt + . = Change Pivot to Active Element
Ctrl + . = Change Pivot to Individual Origins
Shift + Ctrl + Alt + C = Set Center of object

To control the axis of operations you use the Alt + Space hotkey to select between:

Global, Local, Normal, Gimbal or View

Before I leave the basic transformation tools I’d like to say something about the “feel” of these tools.
The manipulators are not blocking the selection ability! This is VERY nice compared to Maya, where the manipulator always gets in the way of selecting mesh components.
When it comes to selecting components, the automatic selection of faces when selecting the verts that makes up the faces without the need to convert selection to faces as you do in Maya is also very nice.

Where to go next? I guess you could go in all sorts of directions, but I’ll use a list of hotkeys that I’ve found myself using pretty often, explaining some of the tools where the functionality differs from how other applications mentioned operates.

If you’re just starting out in Blender, I urge you to fire it up, and try to use these hotkeys to get a feel for how they work!

Ctrl + LMB = Extend / Create point (Can be used as a simple extrude!)
This is a universal command that adds a new point, edge or face to meshes and creates a new
point on curves / F-Curves, beziers and the likes.

F = Fill/Make Edge/Face (Can fill three or four vertices with a face, join two vertices with
an edge)

Alt + Q = Toggle Transform Tool (custom)*
Alt + m = Merge
Shift + V = Slide Vertex
Ctrl + R = Create Edge Loop (PgUp/PgDown or scroll to change number of cuts)
E = Extrude (Alt + E to get option for individual)
Ctrl + N = Unify Normals (NB! In edit mode)
Alt + S = Shrink/Fatten (Scale along Normals)
Shift + Alt + F = Make Sphere (turn the selection into a circular form)
Alt + Space = Choose Transform Axis Orientation (Action Center)
K = Knife (Z to cut through non-visible, Press Ctrl to cut through the middle of an edge)
Shift-K = cuts only the selection and cuts through all faces (not just front faces)
Duplicate / Copy = Shift + D
P = Separate (Extract selection to separate mesh)
Y = Split (Cut the selection from mesh / disconnect)
Shift + Ctrl + Alt + C = Center Geometry to Origin
Ctrl + E = Slide Edge (Edge tools/options)
J = Vertex Connect
Ctrl + F = Face Functions / Face Tools
Ctrl + V = Vertex Tools
I = Extrude Inner / Inset face
Ctrl + B = bevel
Ctrl + E = Bridge edges (Edge tools/options)
X = Delete (Menu with different options) Also: Dissolve

Tool for subdividing and many other things are found under the W hotkey “Specials” menu.
Also you can find special tools relating to edges with the Ctrl + E hotkey, Faces with Ctrl + F, and vertices with Ctrl + V.

Well, that’s it for this post! Hope you enjoyed it and hopefully you picked up something useful while reading it…

I have to mention one more thing about the Blender community:

The community is awesome!

I missed the ability to toggle between the actual manipulator handles (Move/Rotate/Scale) with a hotkey.

So, I posted it to the developer forum, and an hour or so later, I had a Python script that did just that! Now that is not something you’ll get when contacting Autodesk! (And I doubt that the Maya forums would give me this kind of service either…)

Truly amazing…

Well…

As I said earlier, I’ll continue to post my experiences with moving to Blender over the next few posts to this blog, so please subscribe if you find this interesting! You can also follow my Twitter at: @furiousape that gets pinged every time I post to this page.

Until next time:

Happy Blending! 😉

About part 4 of “from commercial 3d software to blender”

When deciding to cover Blender’s toolset I had to make some decisions as to how to organize the material so it makes sense and follows a pattern of some kind. It is a lot to cover, so I guess it will be a long post! Hopefully the readers that’s really interested in switching to Blender will appreciate it though…

Blender has so many uses and tools for doing everything from the “usual” modeling / texturing / rendering to advanced animation, physics simulations, video editing / compositing, game creation, basic sculpting, and the list probably goes on. Covering all of this would be a serious undertaking and I’m not gonna do that! I’ve not even started to scratch the surface of all this functionality myself, so I’ll limit the first introduction to the modeling tools for the time being, touching a little bit of texturing and rendering a long the way.

I’ve made a draft for this post and I’ll keep working on it! Just so you don’t think it’s abandoned if it should take a couple of days…

Until Next Time:

Happy Blending! 🙂

making the move, “from commercial 3d software to blender” part 3

Today I’ll go over my impressions of the User Interface (UI) of Blender.

The User Interface is what gives you the first impression of any software, and Blender has an interface that looks pretty sleek and modern. It uses a Cross platform OpenGL GUI library that looks the same on all supported platforms, which is a good thing!

The interface has three “rules”, saying that it should be:

  • Non Overlapping: The UI permits you to view all relevant options and tools at a glance without pushing or dragging windows around.
  • Non Blocking: Tools and interface options do not block the user from any other parts of Blender. Blender doesn’t pop up requesters that require the user to fill in data before things execute.
  • Non Modal: User input should remain as consistent and predictable as possible without changing commonly used methods (mouse, keyboard) on the fly.

So what does this mean in practice?

Well, Blender is and looks a bit different than anything else out there and therefore takes some getting used to, as with anything else in Blender.
But personally I’ve come to like it very much, because it allows for unhindered configurability. If you like to work in a full 3d view, without any distractions (this is the way I prefer to model), you can just hit Ctrl + UpArrow to toggle a full window/regular view (you need to have your mouse cursor over the window/pane to maximize).
This is a very nice feature when working with the Node Editor, to give you space to see your whole node system, or any other panel you like to isolate.

Like in Modo, the windows can be split into as many smaller windows as you like, each containing different content, or duplicating an existing one if that is what you want. I love this ability to create new window presets, and they can also be saved and restored in later sessions.

Some pictures are in place to demonstrate this:

Blender Interface 1

You can click and drag any divider to split the windows horizontally or vertically
Blender Interface 2

This way you can construct your own working presets, like this one I’ve made for texturing:

Blender Interface 3

So, as you can see, the interface is very customizable.

I don’t know what else to say about the window arrangement, but it is very easy to get exactly what you want for any given job.

No 3D application would be complete without a Quad View, and Blender supports this as well. Just hit Ctrl+Alt+Q (for quad, i guess).

Blender Interface 4

You can switch the 3D view to show wireframe, textured, shaded, as bounding boxes and with Cycles renderer enabled, you can also view the object As Rendered! Very nice indeed.

After working in Blender for a couple of days, the viewport/window shortcuts I find myself using most for navigation (in random order) is:

Ctrl + Alt + 0 (zero) = Align Active Camera to view
This way it is easy to set up a general view for render in the 3D viewport.

Shift + C = Center Cursor and view all
To get an overview of my scene

. = Zoom to selected
Would not survive without this

Ctrl + UpArrow = Maximize window under cursor
Very nice feature to get into the details

Numpad / = Isolate selected in view (local/global view)
Very practical for getting an undisturbed focus to a single object in the viewport

z = toggle solid/wireframe view

Home = Zoom to All
Get a view over your whole scene

1 – 10 = Select layer (shift to add more than one)

1-9 (num pad) = jump to different views (top,right,back etc) 5 to toggle persp/ortho

And off course the regular Rotate, Zoom and Pan is self explanatory.

Last time I covered the Selection tools briefly, and next up, I’ll cover some of the basic tools that I find myself using all the time and how I think they work compared to how other software implements similar solutions.

This has been a brief overview of the Viewport and navigational features of Blender.

I really like the way it is implemented, and I don’t miss anything from Maya or Modo when it comes to windows and navigation, though it does take some time to adjust to it! Within a few days it starts to feel more and more natural anyway…

Until Next Time:

Happy Blending 😉

making the move, “from commercial 3d software to blender” part 2

Starting out:

When I first tried to get to know the interface and how to navigate around, I had a hard time getting comfortable with Blender’s navigation and selection scheme. I know, you could select “Maya” in the user input preferences, but that will cause other keyboard hotkeys to change as well, and I want to learn to use the default hotkeys to better be able to follow tutorials and guide others with using Blender. What you can do (and what should have been done by the Blender developers) is to set up a Maya “Navigation Only” preset, so only the viewport navigation would be affected, without altering the hotkeys for the transformation tools. That has been an option in Modo since version 401, and something I’ve used since then.

But it is pretty easy to set this up yourself in the user preferences if you want, but I find that if I use “Emulate 3 button Mouse” in the preferences, I can use both my MacBook, with and without a mouse connected, my stationary workstation with my Wacom Intous to navigate with ease using:

Alt + LMB to Rotate
Alt + Ctrl + LMB to Zoom
Alt + Shift + LMB to Pan/Move

This is kinda like in Lightwave and Modo and works fine when you get used to it.

Then it is the selection of objects and sub-components (verts,edges,faces),
which in Blender is done with the RIGHT mouse button! Yes, you heard me right,
the right mouse button it is. There is an option in the preferences to change
this to Left mouse button, but that will cancel the “Emulate 3 button mouse”
that I use, so I had to get used to selecting with my right mouse button. But
believe it or not, it wasn’t as hard as I would have thought, and within a
couple of days, I didn’t feel that it was too alien to do so.

Starting out I didn’t find the selection tools in Blender very comfortable or
powerful, but after learning how to actually use them, I actually prefer them
over any other application out there! Well, maybe Modo still has a minor
advantage in terms of selections, but Blender’s versions is more than just ok.
It really is good enough for my purposes anyway. It goes something like this:

RMB will select objects or components, shift to add / remove
Ctrl + LMB + Drag to get a Lasso selection (+shift to deselect)
C + LMB will give you a “Circle” / Paint selection (MMB to deselect / wheel to set radius)
B + LMB will give you a “Box” selection (MMB to deselect)
Alt + RMB on an edge will select a loop
Ctrl + Alt + RMB will select a ring
Shift + G will select “similar” where you can choose from ex. perimeter, material etc
Ctrl + L = Select connected (L to select connected under cursor)
Shift + L = Deselect connected under cursor
Ctrl and +/- on the Numpad will expand or contract your selection

So as you can see, Blender has its ass covered when it comes to selections!
There may be more to it, but this is what I have found until now.

That’s it for the introduction, briefly covering the 3d viewport navigation and
selection tools. Next up, I’ll go more in depth with navigating the UI and
window presets, which is a very powerful feature of Blender with unlimited
possibilities.

What I can say up to now, is that Blender takes some time getting used to, with
these new ways of doing things, and I still feel like a snail trying to run
when I try to do a project in Blender, but I like it more and more for each day
I use it! I’ve started to model a character with it now, and I’ll texture and
render it with Cycles, using the node-based shader system. I’ll keep posting my
learning experiences to this blog, so be sure to subscribe for updates if you
find this interesting!

Making the move, “From Commercial 3D Software to Blender” Part 1

So. I have used software like Maya, Lightwave and Modo for some time now. The reason I could do this is because I have gotten educational licenses for the software. Well, I actually have a commercial license for Modo but anyway…
If I want the latest editions of these packages, I would have to upgrade my educational licenses to commercial, and that is anything but cheap!
My economy these days suck big time, so I soon came to the conclusion that this would be impossible.
So what are my options? Blender!
I have tried Blender many times before, each time there is a new version I download it and goof around in the the viewport, but every time I have been put off by the non-standard way of doing things compared to my other software.

The thing is that Blender IS a bit different from everything else, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
It just takes some getting used to. I have never before actually tried to LEARN Blender, but this time I have seriously committed myself into learning this software.
I will not lie, it has not been all easy, and I still am in the very early stages of “Mastering Blender”, but for each day I learn something new, and discover the cool things that is different, but good.
So, my goal with this series of posts will be to share my experiences with moving from commercial software packages like Maya, Lightwave and Modo to Blender.
I’ll compare features and methods of doing things along the way as I discover this myself.

There are many good reasons for using Blender. These are my reasons:

  • Cost (this one is obvious)
  • In the latest version Blender has gotten bMesh and bSurfaces
  • The integration of Bullet Physics (Same as in Lightwave, Modo, Maya 2013)
  • A very active and vibrant user community
  • Always get the latest innovations for Free (as in beer)
  • Deep support for scripting with Python via the API
  • A new rendering engine with a superb node based shader system (Cycles)
  • Great modeler (once you get used to it)
  • Some of the best UV tools available both commercially and free

So this is a pretty impressive list if you ask me.

I’ll continue sharing my experiences with this project, hopefully some of you will see that there is actually an alternative to Autodesk!

I don’t say that Blender is the best tool for everything, but neither is any of the commercial packages. All has its flaws.
But if you ever thought of switching to Blender, now is a good time to do so! New tools and features makes Blender a serious competitor in the market of professional tools for creating Digital Art.

Happy Blending!

Wacom Intous 4 (small) vs. Bamboo

A couple of months ago I purchased a Wacom Bamboo Tablet because my older one was falling appart. I chose the cheapest model, without touch and other fancy stuff. I was pretty satisfied with this, but I was missing the express keys and the eraser on the back of the pen. Therefore I decided to level up to a Intous 4 small tablet to satisfy my needs. Is the difference all that? Well, apart from the obvious, I’d say that if you’re considering buying one of these, if you absolutely need the express keys and the pen eraser you’ll have to invest in the Intous, but if all you’re doing is some basic photoshopping or navigating in your 3d application you can save considerable dollars on choosing the Bamboo. It is very nice and simple, and you don’t have to be so careful with it. You can get 3 and a half Bamboo Tablets for the price of one Intous, and for simple work you won’t notice any difference.

That said, the actual pen in the Bamboo set is kinda cheap versus the rubber coated grip pen that comes with the Intous. Both tablets are worth investigating, and I just wanted to say that if you can’t afford the luxury of the Intous, the Bamboo works fine for me in both Maya, ZBrush and Photoshop and as a general navigation device for the computer.

When it comes to software, the Bamboo only has a single user preset for buttons and mappings, while in the Intous you can specify different settings for different applications you use, that might be important for some users.

I’ll give both tablets a good score, though Bamboo is a better bang for the buck. If you need an advanced tablet: go Intous, if not go Bamboo!

Easy as that.

Final Gather with Mental Ray (Maya)

My last post described the GI indirect lighting method that uses photons to create the secondary lighting.
Another way to achieve indirect lighting is with Final Gather, that in contrast to GI looks at the information in the regular direct light and based on that it sends out Final Gather Points. These points land where the regular light rays land and from there it sends out their own rays that collects information about their surroundings and adjusts accordingly to how the point is to be lit. In the end, all the points average their values to get an even distribution of light in the scene.
When you use FG in your renders, you can actually use geometry as lights in your scene with a bright surface shader, so that the FG points sends this out when hitting the geometry.
Final Gather gives very nice looking lights which are soft and delicate, but it isn’t really a “true” indirect light. It is kind of fake compared to real indirect light, and therefore it isn’t the most authentic looking light out there. But it is easy to set up and works very well in many situations. Besides it is faster to render than Global Illumination.

With Final Gather the default settings in Maya usually works ok as a starting point. If your render gets noisy you can increase the accuracy in the render settings. If you set this too high, your render times can drastically increase.
Point Density controls how many points getting sent out.
The default usually works well.

One common problem with FG is that you can get noisy areas in the tight shadows in your scene.
You can remedy this by increasing the accuracy and adjusting the Point Interpolation upwards. This makes the points blend better, but at the expense of loss in detail. You can get the details back with the use of Ambient Occlusion, that I’ll explain later.

The Scale sliders (primary diffuse and secondary diffuse) is used to tone down the intensity of the FG light effect. A darker shade gives less brightness. The secondary diffuse implies using the Secondary Diffuse Bounces.
The Secondary bounces works so that the points that land on a surface, spawns another ray that bounces from the original target and creating a new sample point on the next surface.
This increases calculation but gives more even distribution and more authentic lighting.

Keep on lighting!

Global Illumination in Mental Ray Part 1 (Maya 2012)

Direct light is the light we see in our scene without Global Illumination turned on. GI will trace the light and make it bounce between surfaces to give a more real-life light behavior.
The thing that makes GI work is the use of light photons that is emitted from the light source and travel through the scene, illuminating the surfaces by Gathering information about color and luminance on the surfaces they come in contact with. This information is picked up and then the photons bounce to the next surface repeating the work.

Choosing the light type to use is important, as it will affect the way photons work within it. Generally you can think that the photon emission will follow the light emission for each light type.

There are two types of photons in Mental Ray, the first being Global Illumination and the second is Caustics.

The photon intensity setting of the light refers to the light-energy used for the photons when they leave the light source. The default value in Maya is set to 8000, which is pretty intense and often leads to blown out renders when used with small scenes.
The Exponent setting determines how fast the photons will lose their energy as they travel through space.
High values give shorter life so they lose energy faster.

Keep in mind that all these settings are calculated on values that exists in the sizes of objects and the size of your scene in the Units setting in Maya.
So if you build a scene that is many units in size this would need totally different settings in Mental Ray than if your scene is only a few units in size.

When using GI in your lights it is easy to forget that you also need to consider the direct light property, so that the direct light intensity is adjusted up or down depending on
the light you are trying to mimic. These are independent settings and can drastically alter your overall lighting!

There are many settings to control in the Indirect Lighting tab of Mental Ray. I will continue to post tips and tricks on lighting and rendering with Mental Ray in the time to come.

Setting up Mental Ray Satellite with Windows slave and Mac OS X host

I don’t know why, but every time I have to set up Mental Ray between different platforms I always stumble some before everything works perfect. Today I configured my quad core Windows computer to do the chewing when rendering from my MacBook Pro laptop.

This is a super-simple setup, but somehow it wasn’t all click and go today either. First of all, I had the slave machine configured earlier, so when I tried to telnet into the port I googled about it would not connect from my Mac host.
So, I checked with the \Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\services file on the Windows machine and got the correct port number 7412 for satellite connections, then I created the maya.rayhosts file in the preferences folder on my mac containing one simple machine.

(File: /Users/chris/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2012-x64/prefs/maya.rayhosts):
192.168.1.152:7412

After disabling the local network firewall on Windows, it sort of worked, but I got this annoying error message from Mental Ray after the render:

MSG  0.0  info : adding new host 1 (192.168.1.152:7412)
MSG  0.0  error  011330: mi-ray/tcp: not a service (check /etc/services)
MSG  0.0  warn   012219: using fallback inet service 7003

Then I tried to add the correct port for satellite (a different port than the one used with MR Stand alone btw) to the /etc/services.
This did not help either.

But, when I also added the “fallback service”, inet 7003/tcp to /etc/services it managed to actually shut up!

# /etc/services
# Mental ray satellite
mi-ray7412/tcp
inet		7003/tcp

So, if anybody out there experience the same “error” message, you know what to do…
BTW, the error doesn’t stop the render from running, but I believe maybe a nanosecond or two will be wasted if the ports don’t match up and the system has to mage a different route… Who knows?

How to stop Maya from asking for network connection (OS X)

For some reason, Maya isn’t allowed to receive network connections without manually letting it by choosing “Allow” or “Deny” in the firewall pop up message. Even if it is listed as “Allow” in the firewall preferences, it asks again every time.

I’m not sure whats causing this behavior, but it sure is annoying. Finally I found a solution for it!

It has to do with “code signing” and something the developer has forgotten to do after changing the application, I don’t know.

I’m not as paranoid to think that someone has altered the code without my knowledge, so I trust the code from Autodesk and sign it myself to stop receiving this message. I’ll route you to the blog where I found the solution here:

Silvanote blog post

I’ve heard people have similar problems with other applications as well, like iTunes.

I take no responsibilities for this solution, it’s totally up to you!