From CoreCG press release:
Auckland, NZ -- CoreCG , a New Zealand-based research and development (R&D) company that specializes in creative solutions for CG animation and visual effects, announced the release of MentalCore  -- a cross-platform, standalone plugin designed to help artists achieve maximum creativity and efficiency while using NVIDIA® mental ray® with Autodesk® Maya®. The release follows two years of extensive use at Oktobor Animation, a year of beta testing by high profile film, television, and game companies, and a soft launch in December 2011.
"We saw an overwhelming response to our beta phase and are excited to introduce an off-the-shelf solution that answers such a huge community need. Eliminating common CG pipeline bottlenecks can require dedicated R&D and often complicated workarounds," said Jason Adams, creative director, CoreCG and Oktobor Animation. "We built MentalCore to simplify workflows and expedite rendering, so artists spend less time troubleshooting and more time on the quality of their work. It's truly an efficient, reliable solution for artists made by artists."
MentalCore, developed by Supervising Technical Director Corey Frew at Oktobor Animation, animation studio for several high-profile Nickelodeon series, is production-proven and provides enhancements to the standard rendering workflow using Autodesk Maya with NVIDIA mental ray. Suitable for any size studio, MentalCore supports Maya 2011 and Maya 2012, and hosts a user-friendly interface and robust feature set, including:
Render Globals Interface - Quick access to all global settings and render passes
Node Based Render Pass System - Reliable render pass system that eases linking to objects, materials and lights
Shader Library - Achieve desired looks with new material, texture and utility shaders
Color Management System - Easily adopt a linear color workflow
Preview Render Passes - Preview render passes in the renderview without the memory overhead of rendering all other passes in one go
Ambient Occlusion Transparency - Support for ambient occlusion transparency
Python API - Easily integrate MentalCore into any pipeline
mental ray Compatibility - Compatible with mental ray standalone renderer
A complete list of features is available here .
Dominic Alderson, 3D supervisor and lead technical director, The Mill TV and Film, London, shared, "You can tell a great deal of time and thought went into MentalCore; it's a reliable product, with a great price tag, that can save studios both time and money. The ability to work across multiple scenes and carry your render setup with MentalCore makes life a breeze. I no longer have to build render layers over and over again or use custom scripts. It provides me with a better option for generating a clean, fast render pass system - allowing me to spend more time on creative development and less time fixing technicalities."
"CoreCG has successfully written one of the best integrations with mental ray yet," said Mark Wallman, a Freelance Technical Director and Senior Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire. "MentalCore is easy for any artist to pick up quickly, and it's got fantastic features like unified sampling and simplified shaders that take on a large bulk of shading work. Its UI is clean and efficient, which can save artists and studios a significant amount of time."
David Trenear, studio manager, Game Labs Apps, is purchasing 18 floating licenses of MentalCore for use in future game development. He shared, "High-quality game design poses its own set of unique technical challenges, especially when factoring in tight deadlines and budgets. MentalCore helps remove those challenges with an easy-to-use interface and practical features that expand our lighting and shading functionality. It simplifies our shading workflow by removing the time-consuming process of creating custom shaders. We've seen what MentalCore can do and how it can accelerate our day-to-day operations, and truly believe it will enhance the quality of our games."
"MentalCore is a great development and lighting tool with a well designed interface and time-saving features – the ability to preview render passes, ambient occlusion transparency and Python API," said Alexander Morano, supervisor of pipeline research and development, Nickelodeon Animation Studio. "The speed of iteration through a scene to get layers set up for lighting is amazingly quick; you can achieve looks that would normally take three to five times longer by hand without the overhead of setting up shaders and layers."
Pricing and Availability
MentalCore is now available for purchase on the CoreCG website  as a node locked license at an introductory price of US $189, or a floating license for US $199. Modified pricing is available for educational institutions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org  for more information. A free 30-day trial of MentalCore is available on http://www.core-cg.com/ .
Core CG Ltd. , headquartered in Auckland, NZ, is a research and development company specializing in creative solutions that drive innovation and productivity in the fields of CG animation and visual effects. Incubated in a real-world production environment at Oktobor Animation, Auckland's largest CG animation studio with credits on several high-profile Nickelodeon series, and developed with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Science and Innovation, CoreCG's technology is production-proven. The company provides artists with efficient, affordable pipeline solutions. Its flagship product is MentalCore , a standalone plugin for NVIDIA® mental ray® and Autodesk® Maya® designed to enhance the lighting, shading and rendering workflow. For more information visit: http://www.core-cg.com/