blender internal vs cycles...

Just some tests from the movie I’m making in my spare time…

http://www.cowtoolsmedai.co.uk/assets/v1.jpghttp://www.cowtoolsmedia.co.uk/assets/v1.jpg
http://www.cowtoolsmedai.co.uk/assets/v1.jpghttp://www.cowtoolsmedai.co.uk/assets/v1.jpg

http://www.cowtoolsmedia.co.uk/assets/v12.jpghttp://www.cowtoolsmedia.co.uk/assets/v2.jpg
http://www.cowtoolsmedai.co.uk/assets/v1.jpg

it’s the same sequence rendered in BI and cycles (i did the cycles one first and then tried to get as close as possible in BI…) screenshots from cycles…

Cycles in this test was ~8 minutes a frame BI ~1:30

Ultimately the building at the end could be improved much, especially in the internal render where I would fake the glossy reflections with environment maps, soften the shadows and play a little with fill lights some more…

Also in BI I had to push the colour a lot to match teh film settings from cycles… and cycles seems a little richer in teh rock textures!

Was the cycles render done on the cpu, I am guessing that is the only ‘fair’ way of comparing the too

Either way, BI is still the faster of the two.
The cycles render does looks much better, but if you give BI some love, it’ll give it back to you in render time.

An idea: You could render a few frames with cycles and use it as a reference for the BI render. E.g: The blue / yellow contrast on the mountains in the BI should be reduced from looking at the cycles render.

Casio, I did render the cycles one first… It’s amazing how using area lights that match size and colour exactly of the cycles equivalents and matching teh sky colour as best I could using hemi and sun lights how washed out BI looked… the film response also has a big effect on teh cycles render…

I had to push a lot more in post to get it this close… (which meant a lot of the mids suffered and don’t match as well as I’d like)

Tyrant Monkey, it may not be a level playing field, but this isn’t a benchmark for fair comparison, it’s me doing some render tests to work out which way I’m going to go for rendering my movie…

Given that I have an i7 with 8 threads, a quad core2 and a dual core 2 Blender internal is already advantagous and attractive for renderfarming… 1:30 a frame is a figure for the quad core2… i7 is slightly faster, dual core slightly slower…

In my tests it’s not worth using those CPU for cycles for animation frames… frame render times, minutes become hours! so run overnight I get a handful of frames off the farm…

So yes, cycles is running on a geforce 560 ti… I also have a laptop with a gt425m (96 cores) that could potentially share the load… but I don’t like running my laptop overnight under stress as it doesn’t cool efficiently enough!

Workflow:
I’ve been doing a ton of work with cycles recently (sadly can’t show it yet it’s under non disclosure)
mostly stills stuff) and have found that setting lights and materials iteratively has been a real advantage… takes me back to using lightwave with fprime!

doing this test I must have done maybe 50-60 test renders in BI… each I have to wait 40 ish seconds of pre processing time before I start to see results on screen… and I’m reminded constantly that BI won’t let me get away with stuff! I have to be more precise for uv coordinates, material settings and light bounces…

I could easily have killed BI by doing glossy reflections and more indirect lighting to get a better result quicker…but at teh expense of render time… I know I could fake it all and get much closer… but the iteration really drags!

I was pleased how close BI got for the landscape stuff though…
I have a feeling I’ll render some passes in BI and some with cycles and comp… Without the clouds the cycles stuff gets more feasible and I will be using lots of volumetrics later on in the movie, which makes BI the only choice there…

Anyway I hope this is interesting to somebody!

Nice test and nice work.

I don’t see to big difference in those renders - I mean bit more gloos on cycles, and it is bit more bluish, but looks very similar imo (at least if I don’t pause video).
About workflow, I guess it will go to just comparing what takes more time - rendering in cycles but fast shader setup, or fast BI but lots of test renders.

It may be better to just buy some render farm so you will get fast render and shader setup. But for now I guess there is no Cycles renderfarm yet :confused: so better stick to bi.

Thanks Atom,

Jose, yep, succinctly put!
I’ve always maintained that blender internal is very viable and one thing this test shows me is ultimately the audience won’t care what I used…

I have a high volume of effects shots that will be easier in BI, I have some character stuff in there where sub surface scattering and hair will be useful… I also have a plan for some heavy architectural scenes where cycles will earn its keep… I guess I’ll use both to their strengths and mix and match on a shot by shot basis.

I have an instinct to stay away from unbiased renderers for animation… seems they are good for stills, where you can let them crank away until they get it right… but for animation where you have to get the frame done and move on to the next, it just seems to me that they aren’t worth the hassle. (One of the reasons that Cycles doesn’t knock me over… I wish BI would get some work instead of all of these add-on unbiased renderers that seem to come out of the woodwork…)

I may be wrong… but your tests seem to be agreeing with my knee-jerk bias… so… thank you! :slight_smile:

great work Michael. !!!
I prefer the cycles render though. But I know what you mean. It’s an exterior scene anyway.
We have to wait for an SSS in cycles. If this is possible for a physically correct renderer.
The BI SSS, after so many tries, no, thank you.

I wholly agree that biased alternatives would be nice…
I did some tests with 3delight and it suits me very well… aqsis too could be a possibility, but I must admit Matt Ebbs’ 3delight integration suits me much more then mosaic, which seems overly complex… yet Matt managed to maintain lots of flexibility…

I’m very tempted to write a node based shader editor for renderman that suits the blender mentality at some point, (not for this movie though!) but I’m waiting on Brecht’s render api changes to become mainstream…

3delight sucks at high polycount base cages (stalls forever on lightmaps and pre calculation stages) but really excells at low poly subdiv cages with lots of displacement mapping… dof, hair and motion blur…again, suits my workstyle!

Michalis, good to see you back here, seems like it’s been a while!
SSS will of course be possible in a physically based material system… how fast it is is another story!

I prefer the cycles render but think if I’d never seen it that the BI one holds up quite well… it does feel a bit more “gamey” though… probably due to the building lighting, harsh shadows and no subtlety…

It’s amazing how using area lights that match size and colour exactly of the cycles equivalents and matching teh sky colour as best I could using hemi and sun lights how washed out BI looked

maybe try to set arealight gamma to .45(i.e. 1/2.2) to avoid washout.

I Had colour management on so assumed that would be taken care of!

Must do a test when I get home.

Wow, they both look amazing, although the Cycles one feels more “real” somehow. Can’t wait to see the finished project!

Thanks she not laying yet any day now. Thanks for the info

Both look excellent.

The Cycles version has a lot more subtle colours across the whole image.

The first few seconds of the mountain in the Blender version are a little bland with very few colours, yet the cycles version has subtle bounce light from the sky, and this alone makes it look a lot more interesting.

I would look into compositing elements though, use the strength of both applications and you’ll end up with a much more efficient workflow.

Thanks, skycooler, thanks Daniel.

Yep, I’m already planning on just compositing and mixing.matching (in my long winded stream of consciousness posts above.)
Just trying to come up with a satisfying ending at teh moment!

I’ll be much happier when the script is final and I have a blockout from start to finish… that’s the nature of pre-production I guess! then all I have to worry about is getting it done!

Work has been absorbing me almost totally for the last 3 months otherwise I think I’d have nailed this all by now!

Offtopic, I’ve started to upload some of the trailers I directed last year for Need for Speed…
I was brought on to work on cinematography in the in game race intros and quickly ended up “owning” all the marketing videos, both in house and external.

Pretty much pitching creative direction for each piece, overseeing “asset capture and creation” and finally directing each one overseeing the edit, the audio the camera and the motion graphics…

There were 20 pieces I was directly responsible for (7 cinematic pieces, a bunch pf edited play throughs and a ton of team interview pieces about various aspects of teh game…and another 7 or so by weiden and Kennedy (featuring teh entourage guys) that I supplied action footage for. At its peak we had 5 pieces all being delivered in teh same week!

PLAY LOUD !

Did you use Blender for the trailers???

I only did some tests and previs here and there with blender… hardly used it at all on NFS.

The scenes were setup with an in house tool running on playstation development kits… very weird animating with a joypad I can tell you… some of the button combos became streetfighter complex!

Very statisfying to have instant playback at 60FPS at final render quality though. (all rendered realtime by the game engine… with depth of field and motion blur!)

The only problem we had was we were making these whilst the artwork wasn’t finishedten had to throw stuff out or grade it because the lighting for a track changed massively from day to day as the weather systems were added!

Editing was using Final Cut on the mac, audio in protools.

I’m very tempted to write a node based shader editor for renderman that suits the blender mentality at some point, (not for this movie though!) but I’m waiting on Brecht’s render api changes to become mainstream…

Amen
Did you achieve to use SSS, color map and bump/disp map with 3delight and the Matt exporter? If yes, I 'm really interesting to know how.