Looking for a good alternative to the Blender internal render engine

I’m fairly new to blender, but in the few renders I’ve done I noticed that the internal render engine does a horrible job of lighting. There end up being five layers of light, and there is a clearly defined line between them that kills the entire render. What’s the best external render engine that doesn’t render forever? I mostly do animations, so I can’t let every frame render for two days. If there’s a way to fix this without switching renderers that would be great to know as well.

Horrible job of lighting eh?? You’r obviously not very good at it :wink:
Try out cycles

I’ve tried cycles, but it’s really buggy and doesn’t work with materials and textures yet. The lighting isn’t that it’s unevenly lit or the shadows are wrong or anything, it’s that you can see the changes between light levels. If I was doing a tiny render, that would be fine. However, I do my renders at 1920x1080. The lighting engine sucks.


V-ray
Yafaray
Luxrender
Octane
Mistuba
Indigo
Aqsis
Do a forum search for external renders as the pros/cons of each have all been discussed before.
Just try them yourself and see which best meets your needs.

Thanks! I’m hoping to find one that will be able to render my scenes with little to no changes to the lighting and materials. Hopefully one of these will provide what I’m looking for.

Good luck on that. :smiley:
vray, octane, lux and thea offer biased and direct lighting kernels and are nice for animations - you got to pay for all but lux.
vray ~400 Euro
thea ~400 euro
octane ~90 euro but a pain to render animations because it has to voxelize the scene for each frame.

I second greg though, I think you’re just not too good setting up lights for BI.

If you think the problem is my lack of experience, can you link me to a tutorial?

I think you got a bit crappy attitude in some replies here.

The Blender Internal renderer is (especially in conjunction with the compositor) capable of surprisingly high quality images. Why don´t you post your scene, or an example setup and then it´s easier to point you in the right direction. Blender is not the easiest thing to wrap your head around. :slight_smile:

Cycles do work with images. I´m not a cycles pro, but try the latest build over at graphicall.org if you´re not sucessful with that. Also… look around all the buttons in the cycles materials and you will find the answer.

Here is a blend file that exhibits the lighting layers issue, and here is a render of the animation. notice the visible borders between light levels.

Do you mean the banding artifacts?

I guess, yeah

Thats banding alright, it’s normal for unicolor areas, all you got to do is go to the render tab and enable dithering.

And your file has 3 randomly (to me) placed area lights without any size.
No fill light, no rim light.

I don’t know your level of expertise, but you might want to check this one out:

Digital Lighting and Rendering

great software independent book on the matter.

Good thing that arexma also could confirm that, because I´m currently in front of a monitor I don´t trust. Dithering is also my suggestion. A screen/computer can only show a certain number of color/brightness (steps) and banding can be avoided using more colour variations - as pointed out.

http://i51.tinypic.com/etxfld.png

Approximated Ambient Occlusion (doesn’t help much in this scene, but it needs the pass anyways for EL)
Approximated Environmental Lighting (to lighten out the shading of the cube a bit)
One big area light, casting softshadows, not too big though, not to kill the silhouette of the shadow.
One camera light and one fillight with diffuse only to fill the scene with light.
Took back specularity and cranked up hardness of the ground plane. It still had the default settings.
Turned back mirror depth to 1, don’t need more here, just costs renderspeed.
Enabled dithering to prevent banding (which is worst on gray surfaces)

And I see you render directly to a videocontainer. Don’t.
Render image sequences, preferabley something that can handle alpha (png, tga) and is uncompressed.
If your render fails (crash, powerout… whatever), or one frame is wrong you can re-render everything when rendering to video.
Rendering to image sequence you can change the single frames, composite, do whatever lossless and compress to a video container at any time with idk. VirtualDub for instance.

Good points - thumbs up, arexma.

Dithering exists to solve this very problem

Also, don’t forget MachStudio Pro. Although more difficult to setup, the realtime rendering is quite awesome. I mean, it used to cost $4000 - and it’s now free, so it can’t hurt to try it out. I did some testing, and it’s very impressive. http://www.studiogpu.com/

@Herbet123 - With the testing you did with Mach Studio how did you get your models out of Blender into Mach Studio? I ask because the only exporter from Blender that I know of is for 2.49b, not for any of the Blender 2.5 series of releases. Or was your testing done with software other than Blender?