Mental Ray Materials
You will notice the set of materials with mia or mib in front. These are extremely powerful and could cut production time like crazy, if you know what to use for your scene. I came across some applications.
Sick for simulating ambient light in an interior. Apply it to ambient color of your wall material, boom, free bounce, much faster than global illumination.
The only thing is that since it is based on ambient occlusion, it may not always be what you want.
Sick shader that simulates beveling on your objects without you going crazy over your models. Plug into overall bump in a mia_material_x while using a desired bump map in standard bump.
3) Mib_cie_d or Mib_blackbody
Shader for lazy people to simulate real world light in terms of temperature (Kelvin scale). Apply this to either color or as a light shader to a light, and set the temperature and intensity as desired. Easy studio lighting.
The best for glass, plastic, porcelain, ceramic, because it’s made for that. The photon variant of the material adds the ability to render caustics.
If we ever need faster renders in glossy reflections for an environment map, use this one. Plug this into the environment shader input of an mia_material, and turn on “single_env_sample”. Then we just tweak the resolution!
There are definitely more techniques out there, just waiting to be discovered!