NVIDIA acquires mental images, creators of mental ray

Thursday 13th December 2007, 01:01:00 PM, written by Rys

Beyond3D forum user Ike Turner has spotted that NVIDIA has acquired mental images, creators of mental ray. Whoa.

mental ray (damn their lack of caps) is the rendering engine shipped with a large proportion of the world's leading DCC and CAD/CAM packages, including XSI, 3ds Max, Maya, CATIA and AutoCAD (to name but a high profile few).

Its widespread use in the VFX space gets NVIDIA further invested in an area they currently provide some products for (Gelato and Sorbetto). mental images are undoubtedly industry leaders in pluggable high-end rendering solutions, giving the clear appeal for NVIDIA's likely all-cash spend.

You can find out more on mental images' website, NVIDIA's, and our forums.

Discuss on the forums

Tagging

nvidia ± mental, images, ray, vfx, rendering


Latest Thread Comments (9 total)
Posted by _xxx_ on Thursday, 13-Dec-07 14:12:57 UTC
Wow, that's a heavyweight there! How much?

Posted by Arun on Thursday, 13-Dec-07 14:21:11 UTC
Interesting acquisition indeed. I can see some clear advantages to having mental image in-house; however, historically, I'd still have said it might not be worth the money. But NVIDIA is going to end the year with $2B+ in cash, so I'm sure they figure they might as well use it for strategic acquisitions like that one.

I also ponder whether more minor and/or major acquisitions are going to follow. There's only so much NVIDIA can spend its cash on ($300M+ cash flow/quarter; that'd be overkill for buyback imo). At least they're still hiring super-aggressively:
- January 2005: 2101 employees.
- January 2006: 2737 employees.
- January 2007: 4083 employees.
- November 2007: 4609 employees.

Are we sure NVIDIA didn't misunderstand Moore's Law, and presumed it to refer to numbers of employees?
_EDIT_: As for Mental Images, a bit of gooling around tells me they had 100-250 employees (presumably much nearer to 100) with $10-50M revenue. Still, not small.

Posted by mkronen NVidia desperatly seeking Raytracing now-how on Friday, 14-Dec-07 10:10:46 UTC
Hi think, their most important motivation is to gain access to some world-class raytracing expertise in face of the challenges that will come with Intels Larrabee.

Posted by hoho on Friday, 14-Dec-07 12:38:24 UTC
So does this mean that ray tracing might not be a fools errand? :)

Posted by _xxx_ on Friday, 14-Dec-07 12:44:32 UTC
I think it's more about catering the professional market in general, not specifically raytracing.

Posted by MfA on Saturday, 15-Dec-07 14:25:28 UTC
Quoting hoho
So does this mean that ray tracing might not be a fools errand? :)
Mental Ray only uses it selectively, like all good renderers, and what makes sense for offline rendering has very little to do with what makes sense for games. So no.NVIDIA probably wants to sell GPU accelerated rendering clusters plus mental ray and support contracts ... could be a profitable business, but seems small potatoes to me for NVIDIA.

Posted by INKster on Saturday, 15-Dec-07 20:03:46 UTC
Quoting MfA
NVIDIA probably wants to sell GPU accelerated rendering clusters plus mental ray and support contracts ... could be a profitable business, but seems small potatoes to me for NVIDIA.
Not in the light of this (http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/35272/118/).

Posted by iwod on Sunday, 16-Dec-07 06:35:12 UTC
I would have expected Intel to do this rather then Nvidia. Anyway- Competition is good thing.

Posted by rian on Monday, 17-Dec-07 22:02:35 UTC
Wow, this is news! Further, combined with "Chances of NVIDIA acquiring AMD" (http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/35289/128/) , this could make NVIDIA become a real multi purpose cpu/gpu platform competor to Intel in the long run.. It all goes multi-purpose anyway, but at least this is perfect news for all raytracing enthusiasts!realtime final gather vs. cube map arrays, anyone?


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