Blender for fur and rendering

Ok, I never worked with Blender, but I am looking for a software package where I can do quality rendering, materials and fur. I work with Zbrush and recently made some cartoon/pixar type animals for a commercial project that needed fur. Zbrush is a great sculpt tool but can’t do the hair on the pussycat. (Zbrush has a FiberBrush… which is meh.) For my future projects I need an environment where I can import my Zbrush models, apply fur, place lights/camera etc., and make (very important) high-res renders. Perhaps better said; an environment to bring it all together and make outstanding final renders. I am a little worried about a learning curve; is it hard to get into these features? Do I need to know the whole package from the inside out to do this? What’s your opinion? I am also considering Modo, but that’s $995… (I work on a Mac btw.)

General rule applies, your result will be just as good as you can handle your tool. :wink:

While for fur rendering surely vray, renderman, 3delight or arnold renderer are a good choise, I am almost certain you can achive similar results with Blender Internal. I actually prefere Blender Internal for technical or animation renders as it is fast and you can fake your way around certain shortcomings with nodes easily.

Do you need to render animations or stills?
For stills, you should be quite fast to learn what you want.
Animation requires rigging, skinning and well animation :wink: that´d take some time.

Here´s what you can get out of Blender (3 years ago):

That all said, I think you´ll be able to achive what you want with Blender.

You´re alternatives would be PmG Messiah with Arnold Renderer (600USD) or Lightwave 10 (cough) or some more expensive tool.

Sorry but I just have to correct you on this one, PmG Messiah doesn’t use the Arnold Renderer, while it’s true they licensed some libraries from Marcos a loooong time ago when Arnold was in a very early stage, it doesn’t have much in common at all with Arnold.

Arnold is a beast, it’s a pure raytracer (pathtracer) wich has managed to overcome the shortcomings of raytracers vs reyes renderers (like the unnaturally small performance and memory consumption footprint of micropoly displacements, motion blur/dof, etc. Aswell as programmable shading through OSL). PmG Messiah internal renderer is pretty lacking in alot of areas, particularly motion blur.

The renderer closest in design and phiosophy to Arnold that’s production ready today I have to say is V-Ray.
EDIT: I have to retract that, since Arnold is a pure, unbiased pathtracer I don’t know if V-Ray is the best example to compare to, probably more suiting with a comparison to Maxwell Render. But really, in terms of performance and the ability to handle huuuge scenes there really is no comparison to Arnold just yet.

But one rendering engine WILL BE, at least on paper (according to the ToDo and future plans) most similar to Arnold has to be Brecht Van Lommels new baby; Cycles :slight_smile:
Brecht has understood everything of what a “future-safe” renderer consists of judging from his plans, and it will too, become a beast.

LOL sorry for hijacking the thread and picking on a more or less innocent comment, especially since I haven’t been logged on to these forums in many months, but it just needed to be said :slight_smile:

I think it´s good you said it :slight_smile:
I really thought that PmG had Arnold (as 3DBuzz and CGtalk forums suggested so)
I got a copy of Messiah, but haven´t had time yet to really look into it. (grabbed it at the 40 bucks sale - thought it might be handy)

Does Arnold still exist? I can´t find any homepage. Only the info that at some point Arnold was assimilated by Messiah:Render and other sources suggest that Messiah´s renderer and Arnold share a codebase but forked at some point.

Yeah I own I copy too (Dare to Share campaign :)), and the myth that’s so often spread around is the reason why I felt the urge to comment on it :slight_smile: It’s true that it has Arnold roots, but the Arnold alive today at Sony Pictures Imageworks (in addition to the one in Marcos own company) is a different beast.

Yes it does, Sony Pictures Imageworks uses it for everything, and some other small studios and private individuals are using a beta/pre-sale version of it’s soon to be announced commercial version. The official webpage for the commercial version seems to be in a permanent “Stay tuned” state ( )

But this thread is all you need for Arnold information:

There are tons of benchmarks, videos and other stuff from beta users, like this one for example, wich contains alot of pics, videos etc, from a couple of years ago:
Note the performance in the XSI viewport video, look familiar? :slight_smile: Impressive performance for CPU-only pathtracing.
I saw some videos from a presentation where they showed the motion blur performance but can’t seem to find the video now, possible it’s on the cgsociety thread mentioned earlier.
EDIT: Here it is:
Watch both parts, highly recommended to listen to the whole presentation and not just watch the video examples

EDIT #2: Part #2 contains the motion blur examples, but you should really watch both. Here’s part #2:

Anyway, as I said I think Brecht has a solid future plan for Cycles, interesting that he’s adding OSL (Open Shading Language) support aswell, considering it’s developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks and used in Arnold aswell :slight_smile:

About fur:

  • You’re going to have to give the combing tools a try in order to get a good idea on whether they’re good or bad. Blender has everything necessary, but it depends a lot on which of software you’re used to.
  • Lighting and materials for fur isn’t as easy to get right (it never is…), but proper results like those in Big Buck Bunny are very acheivable.

About rendering:

The current internal renderer is a bit outdated and may take longer to get desirable results compared to most unbiased renderers (There is no GI support for example). There are external render engines like YafaRay and Luxrender, but they don’t support proper fur. 3Delight is supported, but since it’s a renderman renderer, you have to be familiar with those.

There is a new unbiased internal renderer under way called Cycles, but development on it just started, so it won’t be production-ready within the next year or two.

Thank you for your reply. Your examples are excellent, that is what I am looking for. I only do ‘stills’ (commercial illustration work). The most heard rumor seems to be that blender is a pain to learn, but if I am correct that has changed since the introduction of 2.5?

Awesome news.

I have the impression that alot of people who have discarded blender pre-2.5 have found it alot less frustrating in 2.5+ yes, however there are still some “non-standard” behaviour when compared to most other apps, wich some people find unintuitive, like the 3dcursor concept, xyz axis orientation among other things. But I think most people just loathe change and get scared to quickly, give it some time and you’ll adjust.

It’s not exactly as if ZBrush followed some well established 3d interface/navigation “standard” (lol)

:slight_smile: ZBrush is a strange beast, but I love it. One of my best buys in years.