Is it not a scam? I do not know what it is exactly, but judging by the name, I guess it is some kind of variation of Cycles. The linked video shows that E-Cycles renders a scene that takes 12 minutes with Cycles in 20 seconds with “fast profile with A.I. denoise”. But if I use Cycles with some sort of “fast” setting (i.e., reducing the calculations that do not contribute to the visual quality much) and denoise, wouldn’t I get a similar effect? I mean, of course, E-Cycles could be a little bit faster, but for Cycles to be 41-times slower, the developers of Cycles must be dumb.
He’s making his own code changes to Cycles in Blender to improve speed. The thing is, Blender’s developers have their own ideas about how things should work and what is “correct”. I haven’t looked at the code so I’m not going to make any guesses but I’m sure there’s plenty of things a dedicated graphics programmer could do to speed it up. These could be at the expense of precision or just taking more chances or better data structures. I have last year’s version and it is way faster than normal Cycles and I couldn’t find any visual differences.
At one point he did attempt to submit his changes to the Blender developers but they weren’t interested(there may have been some strings attached, I don’t really remember, just read the beginning of the E-Cycles thread). After that, that’s when he started producing E-Cycles as a product instead.
I don’t know if he’s stuck to his promise to submitting changes for the previous year’s version to Blender or not either.
I believe most cases E-C is generally closer to around 2.5 x faster than stock Cycles. I cringed a wee bit when I saw that Mathieu went quite that bold with his marketing. Maybe 41x is when rendering volumetrics with the Nebulae build or something like that.
I’ve been an E-Cycles user for something like 15 months, and I couldn’t be happier. For a pro like myself, it pays for itself in the first or second day of use. And I actually switched from Octane (6 years) to E-C. I effing love it.
It kind of reminds me of the “soft RAM” thing. Even if the speed gain is 2 times (to quote their advertisement, “using E-cycles on average is like doubling your GPU(s) count”), not 41 times, given the fact that its cost is about the price of an RTX 2060, it would be stupid NOT to buy it, if one renders in Blender often. How come I never see famous YouTube Blender professionals, like Blender Guru or CG Geek, using E-cycles but only Cycles? Isn’t it because either it does not doubles the speed or because there is some catch (like, some important feature of Cycles is not working, etc)?
If you know the person that codes E-Cycles the 41x claim is kind funny. He is a programmer not an advertiser. He didn’t even know how to properly explain what he had created till I came and said look you should say basically what your plugin does at the top of the post so people don’t think it’s snake oil. Up to 41x faster might be right in very specific situation like norka said. As to why the famous people don’t use it IDK ask the people. It’s not snake oil though. It is a memory optimization. He may have expanded it beyond memory optimization now though.
Such kind of speedups are probably related to keeping bvh across images under some conditions (moving only camera), things like that are huuuge time savers - beside many other optimizations related to hardware optimizations.
The developer has done good work with E-Cycles. I don’t agree with the marketing having 41x in large bold text. That is not at all the typical performance improvements. Using default settings on simple scene I can get 2x, but on heavy scenes for me is more like only 20 percent. Their is also a reduction in image quality because it uses scrambling distance.
Marketing huge performance over Cycles with unfair preset comparisons. These presets can also be easily done in Cycles. All those beautiful image renders E-Cycles would look the same or better in Cycles. E-Cycles is using Cycles with optimizations.
Most of the performance improvements is coming from using Scrambling Distance/noise pattern. To make identical/fair comparison this setting should be set to 1. It will have identical image quality as Cycles and similar performance. See my link comparing Octane/Cycles/E-Cycles at E-Cycles comparison. I tested also the BMW and Bedroom scene with SD of 1 and performance of E-Cycles was identical to Cycles.
Lukas Stockner the developer that created the scrambling distance patch for Cycles warns of potential issues with it see link Scrambling Distance Issues. If you want to test scrambling distance for free can get Bone Studio build at Graphicall.
The scrambling distance artifacts I notice it in interior scenes. For exterior and animation it is definitely beneficial, since SD artifacts are less noticeable and the performance improvements are great.
Cost can be an issue for hobbyist / enthusiast the E-Cycles RTX 2020 version has a list price of 300 dollars and updates are only good until the end of the year.
Over time regular Cycles will get scrambling distance and other performance improvements that Brecht has added to the Cycles plan. Their also great free alternatives like Octane and LuxCore.
Some well known render engine here on this forum use very bold text like “the world fastest and most feature rich render engine” and I think E-Cycles can compete with those and it does. I agree I could always make a better text, especially this time where it was made over a night as I didn’t even planned to make it. I just accepted a kind offer for 2 days. As noted by @watercycles , I’m a coder more than a full time marketing department, so I’ll be very happy to get your suggestion on what a better text could be
On the different point:
The up to 41x faster, it’s from this real results if you follow the E-cycles tutorials:
While I could keep speaking about the base 2x speed-up only, E-Cycles engine flexibility (which allows to get near real-time speed with 4 clicks) is also very beneficial in many professional workflows. Porting all your materials, lightning, etc. to UE or Eevee for quick iterations is doable but very time consuming. You also have to deal with all the tricks to avoid light leaks, get proper refractions, etc. When you later want to go back to very high quality for final render, you have to port all the work again the other way. With E-Cycles, you can switch from your defaults to very fast and back to very high quality with just a few clicks and you can keep all your assets as is. How can I write that with 4 words?
For the quality side of things and as it’s personal feeling, I recommend to have a look to what E-cycles users produce with E-Cycles and judge by yourself if you find it up to your standards:
More examples can be found on Twitter
Constructive critisisme to improve the wording are welcome