Weta Digital's new render engine; fast, accurate, high quality.

The more significant thing here is that this suggests that bidirectional and spectral path tracing is starting to become rather viable for film, the Cycles developers should take notes here and think about future implementations of said features.

Currently, this has been used on Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the third installment of The Hobbit, it also reports that it takes a bit of inspiration from the Mitsuba render engine as well.

One other thing I’m seeing is that this continues a clear indication that the render engine market is getting ever more crowded. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see engines eventually start to disappear or get bought out, especially in the presence of heavy hitting entries like Arnold selling general licenses.

Thanks, very nice and enlightening article.

Cheers, mib

Well, yes and no. There is definitely no lack of commercial render engines for us to use today but it also seems to me that many companies develop their own in-house renderers that we will never see on the market (like Manuka)

On another note I find it kinda facinating how Weta seems to develop a completely new render engine every few years instead of updating their existing engines. Pantaray was praised as the “next-gen” render engine by Weta as they worked on Avatar and yet they must have been doing R&D with Manuka at around the same time. Renderman has been almost completely restructured during the last few years as well.
Arnold is relatively new on the market so I don’t know much about it’s development history but I suppose that they will have to change a whole lot during their upcoming releases as well to stay relevant. This makes me wonder how long Cycles can stay in the ballfield with those evolving giants.

I know virtually nothing about coding render engines. No pun intended. I’m wondering can Cycles algorithims be optimised or changed so that it could be as realistic as Manuka seems to be or would someone need to write a new engine? For that matter Blender was designed mainly for a single artist working on something. Is it possible to make a render engine that is good for a single artist but also works well for a company like Weta I’m just asking for the sake of curiosity.

Are you not confusing the proficiency of Weta’s artists with some magical capabilities of this engine? Does spectral rendering make that much of difference?

I am just of the mind that path tracers doing the whole BSDF material, physically correct lights etc are going to give about the similar output.

If you are struggling with Cycles than your are likely to get similar results with this engine as the underlying philosophy of their design is the similar

Nice article thanks!

And I am curious. I do not know if it is me only, but , i don think "image quality is like … fantastic " .
Movie’s cg style (+quality) seems as if it is rendered with maya software render :slight_smile: especially in some scenes .
(Also there are a lot maya paint fx brush generated vegetation (I know it’s not :wink: )

I’m sure that if Weta’s artists used Cycles they would get far better results than I have. Having said that Manuka can render lots and lots of hair and fur much more quickly than most engines.
On a slightly different note, from what you’re saying it appear that Cycles could reach that level and a new render engine would not be needed.