How does Indigo render so well?

Today I was comparing a couple of different rendering packages (softwares). I looked at yafray, pov ray, sunflow, and a couple of other ones. Then, I looked at Indigo. . And I was absolutely astounded! Those images looked incredibly real. Indigo has the rendering capabilities of prman or mental ray it seems. Well, maybe not THAT good, but Indigo has the most photo realistic images of a free renderer that I’ve ever seen. But I was just wondering, what allows Indigo to output images that are that realistic? Is it the coding?

Good question, an obvious answer is that it uses real physics, but they must have gone further than most other renderers.
But it is amazing how much better it is than a lot of renderers.

Indigo is what they call an “unbiased” rendering engine, just like Maxwell or LuxRender.
They don’t “cheat” (or much, much less than standard scanline engines), but the quality of the render gets higher with the rendering time. That means, after 15 minutes, your render will be awfully grainy, much better after 8 hours etc… It can go on forever (the longer the finer the image gets), contrary to a scanline rendering engine that will eventually be finished when all the lines are rendered.
That is the downside… don’t even think of rendering a long animation with indigo (unless you own a really powerfull render farm)

What happened to luxrenderer? I looked for it, but I can’t find the website.

So then, with Indigo, does it let you set the number of hours you want it to spend rendering each frame? (Sorry if it’s a dumb question, but I’m kinda new to this process)

I believe you can set a Sample limit. Once the render reaches X samples, it will quit. One problem with an unbiased render engine, is that the samples are random, so the grain of each frame will be different. Causing an old worn film look to the animation. Unless you let it render to a point where there is no noticeable noise (hope you have a render farm). To get and ideal what animations look like with Indigo, take a look at the links in the following thread. By page three they are looking kind of good. http://www.indigorenderer.com/joomla/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3906

Edit: About lux look here: http://www.luxrender.net/

Even if you can set a number of sample per frame. Its almost unrealistic to use Indigo for animations. Honestly I let a simple setup file I found on these forums run for almost 24 hours and I could still see some “grain” from lack of sampling.

In this case, I’m guessing Luxrenderer isn’t too much better? I had planned to use yafray. It seems to output some pretty realistic stuff, and it doesn’t seem to take as long to render.

It all depends really, I personally find them faster to render overall. They take time for a final quality pic, but checks can be made very very quickly. I know if I’ve messed up or put something in the wrong place in about 15 seconds. I don’t spend 30 minutes waiting to see what I’ve got wrong, and that saves a lot of time for me overall. I then just let the big render go while I’m out somewhere. Also, you can resume renders and render over many computers :slight_smile:

Also, for very complex caustics & lighting it can be quicker than yafray (v high detail photonmaps can take some time).

Definitely not for animations though!