Which renderer?

Which renderers do you guys prefer to use? I have a second PC to do the rendering, so speed is not so much an issue. I plan to do GI, and Radiosity images of high quality

So, image quality, editability and feature wise( DOF e.t.c), tell me what you´re working with, I would also be pleased to read the reasons for which renderer you choose.

  1. Lightflow
  2. Virtualight
  3. BMRT ( still usable even when considered “dead”)
  4. 3delight



I prefer VirtuaLight.

Reasons: Excellent raytracer. Superior antialiasing possibilities, all the way up to level 10 super-adaptive. It also has undersampling which is great when you want a really quick testrender. The shaderlanguage is incredibly flexible, still fairly easy to use. It features advanced shader options such as chromatic dispersion and absorption. Subsurface scattering is coming too, though it’s not available just yet. It’s got a very good Monte-Carlo irradiance algorithm, useful for both indoor radiosity style pics as well as outdoor skylight/sunlight renders. On top of this you get photonmapping, reflective and refractive caustics and participating media such as Rayleigh (molecular level) and Mie (fog, mist, really small water droplets in the atmosphere) and two other models (isotropic and henyey-greenstein with variable excentricity). You get arealights with neat soft shadows, blackhole lights, and all other standard kind of lightsources.

On top of this it evolves rather fast. Stephane Marty, the author of VL, keeps churning out updates on a fairly regular basis, though it’s slowed down a bit lately.

The downside is that with all options switched on, you can easily get scenes that takes days to render. But then again, you don’t have to use all features all the time.

Umm… I’ve got more to say, but this’ll suffice for now.

EDIT: U asked about DOF too. VL supports that as well, of course. And a couple of different cam lens models to choose from too.

Thank you very much for your detailed and insightfull opinion jamesK, I think I would focus on Virtualight.



My personal favourite is Pov-ray.
It has a very fast renderer (or at least I think it does) and there is a great script to export to it.

It has patches such as Megapov, and others that I cant think of at the moment. Also, it has a really simple script language (name escapes me at the moment).
It has photons, DOF (although this isnt amazing, but worth mentioning), radiosity, quite a lot of control over the antialiasing, GI, and (obviously) reflection and refraction. There are bump maps but not displacement maps.

Im sorry if I have got any of this wrong, but this is just off of the top of my head.

Although I really like it, I havent had much experience with the others, if any.


If you don’t mind, what OS are you running on the PC. If you are just going to use it for Rendering then linux might be a good option.
I say Linux / Pov-Ray or Lightflow. (more of Pov-Ray)

Hi PowerMacG4, the second machine is a Win2k, I ´ll skit over to the Pov-ray site to take a look at it´s shading language

you can do things with image map and isosurface functions

VL has real displacement mapping built in, tho… 8)