I've been dealing with the same fatal error for over a week now. When I batch render from Maya's UI, I get "Fatal error: Attempting to save in..." then Maya crashes (sometimes Windows crashes with it). When I batch render from the command line, it just stops, poof, gone. It always happens at random frames. It never seems to get past 2, maybe 3 frames before it happens.
The scene involves a single poly object, animated, with a displacement map (its approximation node is set to fine view low quality). Also animated are the camera, and the directional light that comes with Physical Sun and Sky. The file texture and displacement map are somewhat large. The shadow sampling is high. The final gather is set to 500 points.
Yes, the whole thing is substantial, but I've rendered bigger and badder many times, until this happened.
I'm on Windows XP SP1, 3Gb of RAM and a 2GHz Athlon XP 2800+.
I've done a lot of research on this. Some say it's related to the graphics card (mine is old gamer's Geforce FX 5500 - always came through for me). But I've tried tweaking its setting, like triple buffering off, or updating its drivers, but to no avail. Maybe one day someone will explain to me how a graphics card can interfere with a command line render. I have much to learn, clearly.
Other things that don't work include changing mental ray's memory use, increase BSP size or depth, converting file textures to either tga or map, reinstalling Maya, reinstalling Windows, testing my RAM (it's fine) and optimizing the render from the file menu. Running a render diagnostic tells me all is well.
That being said, whenever I do something drastic to the scene, like disconnect the displacement or turn off shadows, the batch render is somehow able to push through a few more frames. Then, of course, it crashes again. Rebooting might also get me an extra frame.
The two words that keep coming back when I research this is "memory leak". What's a memory leak (beyond the obvious image it conjures up) and how can it be fixed, once and for all?
Any and all help is appreciated.
I'm afraid I don't know anything about memory leaks, but I'm astonished by the fact that nothing you've tried--up to and including reinstalling Windows!--has improved the situation.
One thing I would suggest trying is exporting the contents of your scene (File > Export All) and importing them into a new scene. This has been known to fix invisible bugs.
Yes. I forgot to include one that in my list of "things tried". Didn't work either.
I read that 3D software doesn't like the GeForce line of nvidia cards. Many sites discuss this as a possible source of fatal errors. I was hoping to get rock solid confirmation before running out to he store and shelling out.
Or I may try going back to Maya 7.