Rendering via the Maya Octane plugin consists of two primary processes 1) utilizing OctaneRender in the IPR for viewing quick iterations and 2) using the Octane plugin with Maya's standard batch rendering process to produce final renders or animations.
The typical rendering workflow is to conduct test renderings with the Maya’s Interactive Preview Render (IPR) window to develop the look, tune the lighting and shaders, and determine the amount of samples needed to eliminate noise. Once the rendering is determined acceptable, then set the Kernel Type - max. Samples to match the sample value in the OctaneRender tab of the Render Settings window.
Maya’s batch rendering process can then be used to render out stills or a sequence of images using Octane based on these settings. Still images can also be saved from the IPR window so it's not always necessary to set up a batch render if only a single frame is desired.
The IPR will update changes to materials and lights (parameter adjustments only) without having to reload the scene onto the GPU. Most transformations made to objects and camera views in the scene will be updated in the IPR window as the image is tuned as long as the geometry type for the objects in question are set to Moveable or Reshapeable proxy. Occasionally the IPR render will need to be refreshed to reflect updates made to the scene. Figure 1 shows an Octane scene rendered in Maya’s IPR.
Figure 1: The Maya IPR Window using OctaneRender