Render/Renderers Advice

Hi Guys,

I used to work in an advertising agency, and back there I had Maya and Vray at my disposal (although Blender was what I used for modeling).
But then I left the agency and started freelancing.

The thing is, usually the agencies here asks for pretty huge images (9000x8000px). And also 99% of the illustrations needs blurred reflections and glass (people love glass around here).

So, before start buying more softwares, I’ll try to explain the stuff I’m going through.

Since Blender is my first choice for about 3 years now, I tried to reproduce what I was doing (in vray) in cycles. The materials looked the same (even better to be honest), but the render time was crazy (9 - 10 hours). If it was only that, I think I would be fine, however I had some other issues.

  1. Fireflies. Fireflies everywhere. I tried some tips I’ve seen in the forums (larger light sources, high samples, etc.), but it wasn’t enough.

  2. The glass. The glass material looks amazing. However the art directors always need the alpha channel for the glass, and for what I searched, the cycles glass material don’t have alpha because of a “design choice”.

That said, I also tried to reproduce the results in BI, but didn’t have much sucess.

So what I’m asking here is for advice in solving the cycles issues, tips to get the same result without much trouble in BI, or suggestions for other renderers/approaches (including commercial ones).

Right now I’m even considering buying Lightwave. I used it in a small production house here in my city a few years ago and I usually got pretty good results in incredibly fast render times.

I also installed Kerkythea, Yafaray, Luxrender and Nox Renderer yesterday to do some tests, but I believe Lux and Nox I won’t be the best speed option for me.
In addition, I have about 24 CPU cores in a network at my disposal and 3 “okay” GPU too.

I can’t publish here the latest jobs I did (the ones I tried to replicate in blender) but I can link an old one (made in vray) here .
The “pure” render is the last one in the bottom. The upper ones are retouched by the retouch guy.

I thank you all in advance and let’s see how it goes. :slight_smile:

If V-Ray gives you the results you want, you could use V-Ray for blender http://www.chaosgroup.com/en/2/vray_blender.html

Indeed, vray/Blender will soon also be available with vray 3.0 - good times.
Regarding your issues with Cycles:

Hard to say where your firefly issues come from without seeing the scene and the material setups. Does clamping help?

Alpha through a refractive material doesn’t make a whole lot of sense imho. That would look completely fake because objects behind the glass object wouldn’t get distorted. If we’re talking about windows or other objects that have a negligible refractive effect, just replace the refraction/glass shader with a glossy/transparent mix and you will get your alpha channel.

Whoa :open_mouth: I didn’t knew it was released officially.
Well, I’ll try the free solutions first, but it’ll be definitely an option if everything else fails. Thank you very much! :smiley:

Yeah I know :confused: I’ll try to do a similar scene to publish it here with settings and results. In my latest attempt, clamp didn’t helped much.
For the glass… yeah, I know what you mean, but then should I rely on biased solutions for this? The glass in this particular case is for the lamps. My “final product” is a PSD with the image in a transparent BG so the art directors can apply it in different scenarios (change BG color for example). But it could be for a product made of glass, which again they would want it to be transparent so they can apply in different layouts.

Also is there a distributed rendering solution for cycles? Other than the stacking method?

Anyways, thank you very much for the reply :smiley:

HI, maybe this one is what you search for mimicking Vrays way of distributed rendering?

otherwise for a automatic solution for image stacking, this addon here is an elegant solution;

Hey myclay, thanks for the tips! I already knew the CGCookie video. But the problem is, since I have different computers with different processors, even if I stack different values of samples for each one, I don’t think it’ll be reliable enough to get the image I need in time.

I tried to adjust some settings in the cycles version of my scene and also I turned on the Multi Importance Sample for the HDRi and it worked! (I mean, no fireflies). However it took about 16 hours to render and I still have the glass alpha issue :confused:

So I kept looking for other good (and cheaper solutions) and I remembered of Micro Render (we used it in one of the agencies I worked). So I downloaded the demo and in just a few minutes I managed to recreate the scene (more or less). But right now it doesn’t have DR so even with its great speed, I dunno if it’ll fit my needs. In any case I’ll try to optimize the scene even further to see what I come up with.

The other ones were Kerkythea (I installed and I’m currently testing), but I don’t know its limitations yet (feature-wise) and Thea Render (I download the demo but didn’t started any tests yet).
Does anybody here know something about Kerkythea’s features and limitations? As well as good sources for learning Thea Render? I downloaded the PDFs and bookmarked some of the youtube tutorials but the more information, the better :slight_smile:

I also sent an e-mail to the client asking if this scene in particular was used already to see if I can post my tests here, so it’ll make much more sense :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways, thank you very much guys, I’ll keep trying.

With the glass alpha, try adding a mix shader node before it and mix it with a transparent bsdf… something like this –

the mix factor will go from 0 (transparent) to 1 (glass)

Não sei se é suficiente para suas necessidades, mas dê uma olhada no Corona Render. Parece ser bem rápido.

Thank you for the input, man! However I believe I tested this config in the past and it didn’t worked (I don’t remember exactly why). But in any case I’ll sure try this again, however the rendertime to get a noise-fireflies-free image is too much right now :confused:

Dude, just started testing it today. And holy sh*t it’s amazing!! :OO I almost reproduced about 90% of my “goal” image, and it took only 3 hours using 8 cores (9500x6500 pixels) :OO

Right now I’m experiencing some issues (alphas, shadow catcher material and HDRi lighting) but I adressed the questions in the thread of the plugin developer. Looks promising!!!

Update:

Started some tests with Appleseed too. I didn’t figured out the render settings yet, but looks promising too.
I’ll also create my “test scene” trying to replicate my goal scene today and will start posting some images.
Hopefully this tests can become informative about the renderers in the future :slight_smile:

Thanks again guys, all replies really appreciated!

I’m in love with Corona, BUT I can’t use it. The standalone version does not work with old processors. I am very very frustrated. I’m using Cycles, but when I see a render with Corona my desire is crying. rsrs
Please, continue posting your tests.

Me desculpe o ingrês.

Edit’
Look: http://bertrand-benoit.com/blog/2014/07/12/corona-loft/

Whoa :open_mouth: I didn’t knew that.
Yeah man, I’m finding it to be awesome!!
This guy is insane :OOO I followed a lot of his stuff when I first started in 3D, doing ArchViz.

And no prob for the english xD I just replied this way so everybody can understand :smiley:

Ok guys, so I’m doing a little update here.
First of all, I built my test scene (trying to replicate more or less my commercial one). Until now the client didn’t answered so I still can’t post my current tests. The ones with the test scene will be rendered yet :stuck_out_tongue:

Sooo. Even without images I’ll try to share a little of the experience I had.

Cycles: I got good results. Pratically I replicated the exactly result I got with Vray. However, it took about 16hrs, and since it has no support for DR… well, I just can’t wait. And I still have the glass problem.

Kerkythea: Old but gold, I believe. I imagine how good Thea Render should be. oO I got some good results really fast, with just a few tweaks for the material (I exported the Micro Render scene, which has planes for illumination, and adjusted them accordingly). BUT, when I tried to render the final resolution (9500x6500), it crashed :confused: also I didn’t see how to save in TIFF 16 bits format.

Thea Render: I downloaded the demo. Looked nice, however everytime I tried to render something, it closed when the render finishes. So I couldn’t do much. I don’t even tried my scene (just a box, a plane and a sunlight).

MicroRender: Amazing :open_mouth: I got even better results than vray (really). The only drawback was the render time (which was pretty fast, about 6 hours and not in my fastest machine), and since it has no support for DR… In any case I’m really considering buying the license for other types of job. Really nice results and waaaay faster than Cycles.

Appleseed: For me the materials creation looked great. I have some fun just adjusting them to match my scene. However I found no documentation explaining the render methods and each parameter (so I could tweak to get a relation between speed/quality), and since I’m no expert in render algorithms and all this kind of stuff, I just couldn’t do much. I tried a render with the Direct Lighting algorithm (Distributed Raytracing I believe), but for the tweaks I did, it took a really long time to get a noise free image in just 950x650 px.

Corona: OMG. Material creation incredibly easy. Render settings too. I spent 20 minutes doing everything, and it rendered a noise-free image (using only 8 cores) in 4 hours (9500x6500 px). I’m amazed. I’ll probably start saving money for when they release the commercial version.

I believe that’s all. I’ll try to render in each one of the renderers above (maybe I’ll skip appleseed and Thea) using the test scene so I can show you guys the results. It may take a little while because I have some character jobs to do in the next week, but I hope to write here again anytime soon.

Again, thank you very much for the inputs, guys!

Many tests in little time! Great!
What did you used in your ArchViz time?

For now I will continue with Cycles. For archviz it isn’t enough, but it’s free and works in slow computers. I’m not doing seriously job, just for fun. Indeed, I work with music… Anyway, I can’t wait for your next posts!