hey there,
i suppose this has been discussed before, but…couldn’t find it. so maybe one can give me a hint or answer my question again.

i’m thinking of using an external renderer for architectural renderings. i think kerkythea, indigo, yafray and luxrender could all do the job. i saw great renderings made with all of these packages. but here are some parameters which are important to me. maybe there is someone who has some experience with the different softwarepackages who can make a short comparison:

  • large amount of triangles -> rendertime
  • instances
  • ies, sky, hdri
  • daylight/artificial light -> rendertime
  • ways of applying image maps (uv-mapping is quit complicated for architectural purpose i think), controling their size
  • rendersetting control -> do you have to be an expert?
  • blender export
  • future developement

i really would appriciate some advice.


no one there, who tried the different external renderers and can compare? or is this the wrong place to ask? or even the wrong question?

please give me a feedback, so that i know what’s wrong.

I don’t do much architectural work, but I have used Yaf(a)ray, Luxrender and Indigo a little.

  1. More geometry = longer rendertime.
  2. I think they all can do it
  3. ies and HDRI lighting are unavailable in the default Blender while Lux, Indigo and Yaf(a)ray can do.
  4. More lights = longer rendertime.
  5. Blender has good unwrap tools which will export textures to Kerkythea, Lux, Indigo, Yaf
  6. No, but it will help enormously if you take time to read available documentation and experiment.
  7. Available.
  8. Who knows.

I have seen architectural work made with all the applications you mention, sometimes it comes down to personal preference, sometimes it depends how photoreal you want the results to be.

I know this doesn’t fully answer your question but it would be worse to ignore it.

organic: thank you a lot for your reply. i just go on asking. :wink:

  1. more geometry/more lights = more rendertime -> i worked a lot with radiance before. geometry didn’t really matter there. of cause a single cube rendertime is shorter than a whole house. but i could fit in many complex trees in a complex modell without needing much more rendertime. same for natural daylight exterior renderings. compared to artificial light interior renderings, they are rendered quite quickly. In general i need a resolution for the finished work of 4000/3000 pixel. a daylight exterior rendering could be done in just an hour using radianceon a standard dualcore machine. a comparison between the different packages would be helpfull (eg. is yafray faster or slower than indigo etc)

  2. i really believe, that a good planar projection is sufficient for most architectural tasks. even easier to control in size and position. i can’t find arguments for an unwrapping if it’s not an organic architecture. does these funtionality exist in all renderers? (please give me good arguments for unwrapping if there are some. as i sayed: i’m not a pro in unwrapping and maybe i missed the clue)


We use mostly yafray for architectural. Lux is ok, but sometimes took too long for rends and we had to finalize for deadline.
yaf(a)ray is promising, yet some features don’t work at this moment as in yafray (particles that we used to simulate grass).
as you know in architecture, sometime the clients don’t wait for a “perfect” rendering, neither they want to allocate a budget for that, so we take a “quick and dirty” approach of providing decent images done in yafray. it’s mostly about the artist rather than the tool used. if you are an architect, we can chat and exchange settings/material for projects. best a

I wish I could help more, but I don’t have experience with architecture. Trees on simple alpha planes wouldn’t add much to the render time. Also a whole house if it is a (relatively)simple box, would be reasonably quick - complexity is what increases the calculation time.
enricoceric made a comparison between Lux, Indigo and Yaf(a)ray here.

I would unwrap for accuracy, but using ‘project from view’ in Blender for each surface might suffice. It gives more control over placement and size, and Blender can export the texture placement to external renderers - sorry I can’t give specific details on this, I haven’t used the renderers sufficiently.

studioa: thank you for your help. on your internet sight most renderings seem to be untextured. but if you texture your models, how do you applicate them?

organic: you helped me a lot. the link is great. i missed it. i often add the trees in postpro , but for nice shadows it’ sometimes nice to add tree geometry in the scene forground. later i overlay them with a real tree-photo in gimp.