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NVIDIA MATERIAL DEFINITION LANGUAGE

NVIDIA MATERIAL DEFINITION LANGUAGE

The NVIDIA Material Definition Language (MDL) gives you the freedom to share physically based materials and lights between supporting applications. For example, create an MDL material in an application like NVIDIA® Iray® for Rhino, save it to your library, then use it in NVIDIA Iray for Maya, NVIDIA mental ray® or any other supporting application. Build a library of MDL materials once and be confident they'll maintain their appearance as they move into all the applications in the workflow. It's an easy way to save significant time and effort.

Unlike a shading language that produces programs for a particular renderer, MDL materials define the behavior of light at a high level. Different renderers and tools interpret the light behavior and create the best possible image, whether it's an OpenGL-based application or physically based renderer like Iray or Chaos Group's V-Ray¹.

The NVIDIA vMaterial Library is included with all of the Iray plug-ins making it easy to get started designing with a set of real-world materials. Use the materials as they are or modify and layer them to create the look that's needed within the applications. Easily export the modified materials and move them to other supporting applications with just a few clicks.

NVIDIA Iray uses the Material Definition Language to deliver extremely similar results across its three rendering modes. This enables users to seamlessly transition from OpenGL to fast ray tracing to full global illumination without any scene adjustments.

 
 
 
 

NVIDIA® Iray uses the Material Definition Language to deliver extremely similar results across its three rendering modes. This enables users to seamlessly transition from OpenGL to fast ray tracing to full global illumination without any scene adjustments.

PHOTOREAL Photoreal
INTERACTIVE Interactive
REALTIME Realtime
 
 

Complex materials defined in MDL can be shared between renderers like Iray or Version 3.13 of the NVIDIA mental ray® renderer, as shown in this custom definition for a custom cloth material.

 
Cloth material rendered and illuminated with MDL support.
IRAY 2015 Woman rendered with Iray 2015.
mental ray 3.13 Woman rendered with mental ray v3.13.
 
 

Material definitions are constructed from physically based elements and functions that are easily layered to achieve a rich continuum of materials without the need to program or compile. Output from leading measurement devices, like those from X-Rite and Radiant, can also be used as elements and customized with layers and functions to greatly extend their usage range.

Diffuse Reflection
Diffuse Reflection
Diffuse Transmission
Diffuse Transmission
Simple Glossy
Simple Glossy
 
Backscattering Glossy
Backscattering Glossy
Specular Reflection
Specular Reflection
Reflect & Transmit
Reflect & Transmit
 
 
 

Seamless Material Exchange

While MDL materials and lights can move easily between supporting applications they require the MDL Material Exchange package or the NVIDIA vMaterials library to be installed for proper operation. Guides and tips on exchanging materials are available in the Materials section of the NVIDIA Advanced Rendering Forum.

 

APPLICATIONS AND PLUG-INS WITH MDL and MATERIAL EXCHANGE SUPPORT

NVIDIA IRAY PLUG-INS

3DS Max  Cinema 4D  AUTODESK MAYA  RHINOCEROS

STANDALONE SOLUTIONS

Daz 3D  Substance Designer  NVIDIA Mental Ray

 
 

Resources for developers

NVIDIA Material Definition Language 1.3 Specification Download.

Please visit NVIDIA DesignWorks for information about supporting the Material Definition Language in your renderer, or for creating custom definitions and functions for use in your favorite renderer supporting MDL. For GPU-accelerated renderers like Iray, custom definitions, functions, and measurements will run entirely on the GPU, delivering high-performance results without any GPU programming knowledge.

 
 
 
¹ Please contact Chaos Group for more information and versions which have support for MDL