Lux vs Indigo.

I’m curious to hear peoples opinions on which renderer is better. Indigo is closed-source, and a commercial product. However, you can get a free version which, as far as I can tell, only limits you to 1 megapixel, and disabled Network rendering. Lux, on the other hand, is open-source, completely free, however is still in it’s infancy (hasn’t gotten out of the RC stages, I believe). Both are unbiased renderers, and both seem to be close to each other in terms of quality. I’d like to have some people weigh in, tho, before I really start to learn one or the other.
Please know, that I’d be using the free version of Indigo. I certainly don’t have a reason to pay for the full license as of now.


Hi TicTac,

Indigo and Lux are both very good renderers, but the main difference is that Indigo is a lot faster to render than Lux, due to the fact that Indigo has been around for 4 years longer than Lux. Indigo also has a team of 2 working fulltime on it and you get commercial support if you start using it for your work. I’d try them both out and see how you go.

Our blender manual is here:


Thanks for the input! I’ve used Indigo before, but just to test it out. I really like the material system in it, and like you said it’s been around for much longer than LuxRender. I’ve seen great things come from both renderers so far, (albeit slightly more realistic ones out of Indigo,) and I suppose that I’ll just have to keep trying them out until I get a feel for which one I prefer :slight_smile:

Thank you,

Yeah, you should keep on trying to test both. I did work with Indigo before (exactly until it went commercial - I still have the free version here) and it certainly was nice to work with. I won’t compare the speed of both engines (unbiased rendering is slow either way, just accept that) but Luxrender definitely has one big advantage - it supports procedural materials. This makes it a lot easier to texture unimportant parts of the scene, you don’t have to UV Unwrap everything and make your own textures for the objects. Development seems stable in both cases and both engines keep on adding new features and bugfixes / improvements (Indigo’s commercial version, that is) so that I can’t really recommend one of them, not knowing what you’re going to do with them.

I do, however, admit that I won’t work with Indigo again anytime soon since I like to have a developed and maintained rendering engine instead of some old product, like the free indigo version.

Well, there IS a free version of Indigo, and I’m pretty sure it’s just a gimped version of the commercial one (limited to 1mp).
I have to say, I like the idea of Lux’s lightgroups :slight_smile: Ben should add them to Indigo cough cough

Lux light groups are great. I don’t think I would follow Myke’s advice of using procedural textures on unimportant parts, however. Procedural textures are slower than UV Mapped images the last thing you need is to add more time to the scene.

We do have lightgroups. We call them light layers and I think it’s a feature we need to promote more. :slight_smile:

Really? Got more information on that or some examples? I probably know why but still I never thought it would have a significant impact on render speed.

And still, I guess it’s a trade-off - memory vs. speed. And the time necessary to unwrap everything and make image textures is another thing to consider. I personally don’t care too much about rendertimes with unbiased engines, so I will probably stick with procedurals.

On a side note - the free Indigo I’m talking about is a pre 2.0 Version. 1.1.17 or something. Is there a more recent one available?

@Ben, Really?? I guess I didn’t do my homework thoroughly enough :S

@Myke, the newest one is 2.0.12, but (ben, correct me if I’m wrong,) it’s a slightly gimped version of the commercial license.

@Myke: I did a massive re-texturing of the British Natural History Museum (render challenge). Initially I started off using Lux procedural textures, but one of the contributors on that board suggested that I might want to try UV mapping it to increase render speed. It worked, my render speed increased.

You can download my Lux prepared file here, if you like.

UV texturing is still a lot of work, and as you can tell by my image, the scaling is a bit off. Whereas procedural textures track the size of their object perfectly.

What would be nice is if either one supported particles and motion blur to the extent the internal renderer does.

Personally I like Indigo better. Lux renders still look a tad “'toony” to me, where some Indigo renders are nearly impossible to distinguish from a real photo. The one thing you should remember is that Lux will always be free and open. It’s rather difficult to beat FREE.

I think both of them support motion blur, you have to set the shutter speed of your ‘camera’, though :slight_smile: That’s one thing I like, both of these renders can be set up as though you’re using a camera, not a computer :smiley: (unfortunately, I know nothing in-depth about photography :stuck_out_tongue: )

I agree, there is a certain quality to Lux renders that’s just a tad off, and I can’t put my finger on it :frowning: (Although Lux is still in RC stages, it hasn’t reached an official release yet.) Indigo produces results that are indistinguishable, at least for me, from actual photographs when used right.

Lux does support particles, I integrated the particle patch and the dupligroup patch into LuxBlend v0.6RC3c. This is an unsupported version of LuxBlend, so please do not ask for support from the Lux forum.

If you would like the script, it is here, in the text window for the attached BLEND.

The caveat, is that you must use the visualization type of Object. The object must be a mesh. Hair particle types are not supported at this time. I have not tried boids, but they may work.


ras_luxblend_particle_support.blend (937 KB)

I’d be really interested in having more details about that particular point, is this still true with v0.6RC5 or v0.6RC6? When I can make side by side comparisons between Lux and Indigo, I usually find more inaccuracies with Indigo than with Lux (but you might well say I’m biased :slight_smile: ).


I have to agree with Jeanphi on this. “toony” is the last thing that comes to mind when working with Lux.

Haven’t been on the indigo site for a long time and to find what I was looking for was not that easy :wink: (the exact limitations of the free, gimped version).
So, when I was talking about a free version I really meant the last one that you’re allowed to use for any resolutions. A version that only renders images as large as 0.7 megapixels is a demo version but not a “free version”, if you ask me. Nevertheless, thanks for the help.

@Atom: I see, I’d really like to hear some expert’s explanation about that. Thanks for pointing it out, though, it’s a thing to keep in mind.