educate me on external renderers

Im so lost when it comes to renderers, theres so many.

The things that are important to me are, light setup, world settings, particles & materials.

i see these renderers, have their own material librarys, does that mean you have to learn how to create materials in them from scratch?

lighting, how do the lighting setups work, do you export blender lights or do they have their own.

perticles, do they have their own particle systems which you have to learn how to use?

do they have their own world, atmosphere settings. like gradients and clouds or something.

which ones work with blender?

which is the best.

now i know those last two are very general, by them I mean.

Whats currently still supported, what isnt a non-commercial renderer.

which is the best, well, I hear about lots of renderers. like renderman. which is from pixar I assume. I associate pixar with cartoony looking animations. is it used on realistic movies. I dont know if the renderman renderer supports blender, but I do see other renderers say they comply to the renderman standard. I just dont know what that means.

I have searched this and read. not about all the renderes, but the blender forum, and I just aint got the answers I want.

answers have tended to be along the lines of, “its all in the artist, not in the renderer” or have linked to something done with blender internal, that they think looks realisteic, but then to me it doesnt =/

Im currently reading a lot about lighting, so theres no point in offering me lighting links. I just want to basically understand what external renderers do. and which ones to use so I can try them.

thank you.

Renderman, is a standard, a document ultimately, that specifies how a rendering engine should handle input from a 3d program. There is no perfect renderer!!! I think the closest to a perfect rendering engine would be mental ray or vray, neither of them free or even fully integrated with blender (though there are people working on it, and lots of progress). I think the three most popular external renderers for blender in order of popularity…Yafaray then Luxrender then Indigo. Which one is the best? Only you can determine for yourself. All have issues, none of them just work, you really have to study and become good with one before you can make a judgement. I like Lux, it requires quite a bit of tweaking and configuring, but it’s quality results are worth it. All that being said, Blender Internal is still my favorite. The art of 3d is about faking it, most external renderers are about reality, as in how would the light really act when bounced around this space. For that stuff I use my camera not my computer…the real world is all around us…3d is about fantasy, Go Durian!

From what I can tell about you from your post, you want Lux :cool:.

thanks for the reply.

What about Kerkythea? Im reading about these now, they look pretty much the same as blender when it comes to background and lighting. just creating gradients and adding lamps.

they can be both external and part of the blender interface, does that mean you can use blender materials, and do they render particles?

The very short answer is to treat them as you did Blender. You didn’t learn how to use Blender by sitting reading the download page. Try them out…

It also depends what you want them for. You wouldn’t render animation with Indigo for example. If you don’t have a lot of RAM consider Yafaray, as it makes better use of it. Probably particles are going to be an issue, as far as I know neither Indigo, Lux or Yafaray(unless you make a special build) will render halo or hair particles, but you can use the ‘object’ visualisation, or you can convert hair particles to mesh, both of which will cost you in terms of RAM and render time unless you make good use of layers and compositing.
This may change with 2.50 and beyond when Blender’s API eventually allows external renderers access to all of Blender’s tools, including nodes and particles.

Chances are you will find one of them easier to use or install, but maybe prefer the results from another - under some circumstances. It is better to know more than one option for different usages.

If you intend working in a commercial studio it might be worth looking at V-Ray. There is a free demo version available, accessed from Blender by andreymi’s export script.

You have probably discovered from your research there are many opinions on which is better for what and why, I’m afraid now it is up to you to form your own opinion…

thank you for the replies. after some thinking and understanding how these renderers work, using an external renderer isnt going to solve the issues I`m having. I was expecting a totally different enviroment. or an easy cure to my lighting issues.
On the positive side, I now know what my problems are NOT, and I can keep everything inside blender, which is a plus.
I would normally just try stuff out, but I wasnt really wanting to install 5 different renderers on my system to find which I prefered. not when Im still lacking experience.

My problems atm are, using the world interface and understanding the whole process of creating a realistic world inside blender. which I will gather the info and make another post for.
thanks for your help guys. CASE CLOSED

I know you closed this, but follow up -

Indigo uses Blender materials, but it has it’s own material library. The main difference between Indigo and Blender internal is that Indigo calculates the light more correctly - so looks realistic without having to put in any ‘fake lighting’.

I was about to ask this question on another thread but its close to home.

I’m producing a live action short film which willl be full of visual effects. Mainly props, a jet in the sky and some moving stautes. I was gonna ask what my best option for rendering would be? I’ve never used an external renderer before but I don’t want my Cg stuff to look out of place. Will I get the required results from Blender render?

Cheers in advance

This not only answers your question but the original one as well (a bit at least):
go and try it!

Really, I think it’s impossible to answer such questions without knowing exactly what you need. In my personal workflow I use THREE Rendering Engines regularly (Blender, Luxrender and Yafaray) because they all have their specific uses and weak points. You really need to try them out and see which one does the best job for your CURRENT project.
Options like VRay or Renderman are great, professionally used and production ready, yet still they don’t solve everything.

So, a more helpful answer probably for you, Dundaglan:
Blender’s internal engine is among the faster ones available for Blender (especially with the new speed ups of 2.50). It does offer the most options for post pro (nodes), which might be important for a movie. And it definitely does a good job if you know what you’re doing. Realism is possible. So, yes, it might be a good choice for your project. Look at the movies like elephants dream or BBB’s , if in doubt (and learn from the resources available!).