How do you bake Ambient Occlusion to vertex colors in Maya nowadays?
Mental Ray is no longer supported, developed or even shipped with Maya. Arnold lacks this functionality, and TURTLE is yet another thing in the long list of stuff that Autodesk acquired (to increase stock value) but then just abandoned.
xNormal has this support, via GPU and command line - but I would prefer to do this inside Maya.
I've done a few tests with TURTLE, and I get it working but there are always odd artifacts.
There are also some strange behaviors:
-UV's affect the result - even though we are baking directly to vertices
-Geometry with radial symmetry get different AO bake results on different sides - even though the sides are identical.
-Objects hidden in the scene affect the bake (baking it brighter).
I've tried both sample modes: the per-vertex and the triangle blend. There's maybe some other flags in the command that you can play around with but tbh the documentation is shit and doesn't seem to have been updated since like, 2012.