Mental Ray is it going anywhere?

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Leoung O'Young

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May 17, 2011, 1:42:53 PM5/17/11
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Hi Everyone,

We are at a point of considering to upgrade our XSI licenses.
Looking at the upgrading path for rendering and just wondering what
future holds for Mental Ray.
Since this is not just a one time investment, is this a good time to
look at other rendering options?

Thanks,
Leoung

Daniel H

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May 17, 2011, 2:35:16 PM5/17/11
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Rendering options: Arnold from Solid Angle should be coming out very soon, and from what we've seen through demos and various video projects it's an amazing and wickedly fast renderer.
Softimage Arnold render engine sneak peek: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vitdfmISlyQ

-Daniel

Steven Caron

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May 17, 2011, 2:39:43 PM5/17/11
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"Arnold from Solid Angle should be coming out very soon"

unfortunately no one knows this for sure...

Christopher Tedin

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May 17, 2011, 2:47:58 PM5/17/11
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Vray is in beta as well, and probably has a better chance of being offered to small studios and individuals, although its release date is not known either. Arnold is definitely not "coming out very soon", at least for the rest of us. It is in fact released, if you are willing to buy several licenses. Really a solution to medium or larger studios.

Leoung O'Young

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May 17, 2011, 2:50:09 PM5/17/11
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Looks very impressive. when it will be released is the question.

Leoung

Daniel H

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May 17, 2011, 3:00:44 PM5/17/11
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I agree that the continual "Coming Soon" sign on the Solid Angle web site is foreboding, but here's to "hope" as this recent article says otherwise:

March 26, 2011 at 8:48 am
Arnold will be available in the coming months as commercial version for individuals
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.entremaqueros.com%2Fbitacoras%2Fdimension%2Fconferencia-sintesys-solid-angle-arnold-render%2F

Ureche Octavian

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May 17, 2011, 3:29:10 PM5/17/11
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The official target for vray on xsi is q4 this year. Fingers crossed
for that, as the beta is going well.

regards,
octav

Rob Wuijster

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May 17, 2011, 3:30:31 PM5/17/11
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That quote was also added to the presentation PDF, but was later forced to be pulled/corrected as the statement was incorrect.
Journalists....... <roll eyes>

As more than one person stated, it is out there, but perhaps more suited atm for medium to larger studios.

There's an Arnold thread on si-community with lots of post-production examples to keep you hungry for more ;-)

Rob

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Christopher Tedin

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May 17, 2011, 3:33:04 PM5/17/11
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That article should not be taken as truth, as it didn't originate from SolidAngle, but rather from Sintesys. I think they since changed the wording on it before the conference. I got this correction from Marcos himself.

javier gonzalez

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May 17, 2011, 3:38:11 PM5/17/11
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what about 3Delight? I've always heard about it and seems to have a stable version, why not use it? Will the lack of publicity or hard to use, maybe lack of tutorials. enlighten me. please



2011/5/17 Christopher Tedin <cte...@comcast.net>

Daniel H

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May 17, 2011, 3:39:38 PM5/17/11
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Re: changed the wording on it ... Hmmm, interesting. Thanks.

Christopher Tedin

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May 17, 2011, 3:45:41 PM5/17/11
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You can download it for free and begin using it right away. They give the first license (2 cores, I think) for free. It's very reasonable to get more. Great motion, depth blur and displacement. Not so great with raytracing, but that's really Mental Ray's area of expertise. Certainly could do multiple passes and switch when you need different effects for different areas (although with motion blur, that's probably not really practical.) Raytracing is not bad really. Most everything else is very fast and extremely stable with large files.

Mathieu Leclaire

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May 17, 2011, 4:20:21 PM5/17/11
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Well, I would say that's mostly because 3Delight is a RenderMan reyes/scanline renderer, where Mental Ray, Arnold and VRay are raytracers. Two very different approaches to rendering.

RenderMan and Scanline renderers have been used for years by big studios who could afford huge technical teams. Scanline is definately faster and can usually handle much more geometry. Motion Blur and Displacement are easily handled. If you know how to use it, it can give incredible results, but the biggest problem with a scanline renderer is that it's all cheats and you need to bake huge amount of files before you can render the final image. You need shadow maps, occlusion maps, GI point clouds, brickmaps, etc... you need to bake all these files before you can do your render and it can easily become a big hell to manage all these files.

Raytracers are usually longer to render but gives perfect physically accurate images. Once you have your set-up done, you can render entire sequences with one set-up and you have no, or very little external files to manage. It takes much less time for a lighter to set-up a scene with a raytracer, but it usually takes longer to process.

Since Softimage users comes from a Mental Ray raytracing background, another raytracer like Arnold or VRay will be much easier to learn as it comes from the same mentality. 3Delight is an entirely different beast. A very powerful beast, but a much different approach. 3Delight seems to have made an awesome job to make it easy for regular artist to play with it without needing tons of TDs, but it still is a much different approach.

That's why I believe that most people coming from a Softimage background are usually much more comfortable moving to another raytracing solution. That's just the way I see it anyway.

-Mathieu

javier gonzalez

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May 17, 2011, 4:30:16 PM5/17/11
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Thanks Mathieu, Christopher, is now much clearer.

2011/5/17 Mathieu Leclaire <mlec...@hybride.com>

Christopher Tedin

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May 17, 2011, 4:40:58 PM5/17/11
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Yes, thanks Mathieu. That helps even myself, who is trying to figure out how best to use 3Delight. I am coming across some of those issues right now, watching the precomputing happen before the render begins, as opposed to Mental Ray and Vray, which begin almost immediately. It is a great way to dip your foot into the waters of Reyes rendering, but you can go pretty deep pretty fast.

Leoung O'Young

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May 17, 2011, 4:55:46 PM5/17/11
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I guess we stuck with MentalRay for the time being if you want a raytraced renderer.
Probably it may take a year or more for any viable options for smaller shops.
C4D? ;-)
Yes, thanks enlightening us with the differences

Leoung

Christopher Tedin

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May 17, 2011, 5:22:30 PM5/17/11
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C4D? Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let's all take a nice cleansing breath. Lots of options here still. :-)

Francois Lord

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May 17, 2011, 6:25:36 PM5/17/11
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I agree with everything Mathieu said.

Also, mental ray is an hybrid renderer, using raytracing only when necessary (or if you tell it to). Arnold on the other hand is a brute force raytracer, meaning that it uses raytracing for everything. This has the effect if simpliflying the process even more: less parameters to tweak, less time before render starts and more predictable results. Of course, it has disadvantages, but we're not going to bash Arnold, are we? :)

Leoung O'Young

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May 17, 2011, 6:56:31 PM5/17/11
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I would like to hear the disadvantages

Meng-Yang Lu

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May 17, 2011, 7:10:05 PM5/17/11
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Disadvantage:  You have to hear about the disadvantages from someone else instead of discovering them for yourself.  :P

Leoung O'Young

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May 17, 2011, 7:27:12 PM5/17/11
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Love your answer...

Stephen Davidson

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May 17, 2011, 7:55:35 PM5/17/11
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I have been hearing this for... what is it ... three years, now?

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Steven Caron

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May 17, 2011, 8:00:37 PM5/17/11
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ya but the problem is how much of it is mis information and not from solid angle directly?

Raffaele Fragapane

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May 17, 2011, 9:22:34 PM5/17/11
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All of it? I still haven't read a single statement from solid angle or Marcos personally who was less than cautious.
If someone three years ago said Arnold was close to being offered commercially (doubt it, as three years ago I doubt the XSI plugin was anywhere near where it seems to be now) it wasn't anybody involved with the product first or second hand.

That said, I'd be surprised if it wasn't this year or Q1 the next, but that's a wild guess with no foundation whatsoever.
The product has been in a perfectly functional state for a while now, as proven by the many productions that rely on it extensively (often solely), so I guess it's more of a matter of marketing, organization and business model when it will be out.

Alok Gandhi

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May 17, 2011, 9:28:56 PM5/17/11
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Yeah, for our current production we are going to use it. Seems reasonsably dependable so far apart from some ice particle orientation issues on instancing.

Sent from my iPhone

Raffaele Fragapane

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May 17, 2011, 9:36:13 PM5/17/11
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For the record: particle orientation and instancing is a common enough problem that I've seen before (including extreme moblur due to the classic 360 going from 1 to -1 within an error becoming a 360-iota rotation). The most lethal was back in Passion Pictures on the miramax intro, Alan Jones probably remebers that one well (damn MRay to hell!).

If you want to derive a full transform from particle for instancing, it helps to add a minimimal offset to the rotation (usually on the YZ plane) before hand.

Might or might not be the case here, but doesn't hurt trying.
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Stephen Davidson

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May 17, 2011, 10:10:38 PM5/17/11
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No, but it has been talked about on xsibase.com since 2002.

look at the date of the first thread.


There have been a lot of false rumors, then.

Raffaele Fragapane

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May 17, 2011, 10:50:49 PM5/17/11
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That was when Arnold had a max plugin, and XSI had only MRay and no other option whatsoever.
While Arnold was already the name of the renderer, it has very little to do with what it became and the path it took.

2002 you're talking back to only shortly after things such as pepeland etc.
It's before even monster house, the first project in Sony using Arnold end to end.

Alok Gandhi

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May 17, 2011, 11:55:57 PM5/17/11
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thanks Raff, surely worth a try !!

Sent from my iPhone

Cristobal Infante

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May 18, 2011, 6:53:38 AM5/18/11
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Have  a look at Marcos latest presentation in FMX, it could give a better idea of Arnold

http://www.fmx.de/media/streaming-archive.html
and look for ¨Marcos Fajardo - Parth Tracing and Unbiased Render¨

Stefan Andersson

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May 18, 2011, 7:33:38 AM5/18/11
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a lot of people have made lot's of good reply's, so I'm just going to
reply on the subject line.

"No."

regards
stefan

On Tue, May 17, 2011 at 7:42 PM, Leoung O'Young <digi...@digimata.com> wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
>
> We are at a point of considering to upgrade our XSI licenses.
> Looking at the upgrading path for rendering and just wondering what future
> holds for Mental Ray.
> Since this is not just a one time investment, is this a good time to look at
> other rendering options?
>
> Thanks,
> Leoung
>

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Cristobal Infante

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May 18, 2011, 12:45:26 PM5/18/11
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By the way, have a look at the volume rendering on Arnold you can see on that video, from about minute 30.

Looks very promising indeed

Steve Pratt

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May 19, 2011, 1:48:39 AM5/19/11
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Just finished two stills projects using Octane Render.
http://www.refractivesoftware.com/index.php
Magnificent for product visualisation and it's still in beta.
Unbiased GPU rendering.
Dreading having to go back to Mental Ray. Octane's real-time photo-realistic feedback made setting up the scenes a breeze.

Also check out Cycles for Blender if you've not seen it in action yet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bDaRXvXG0E

Eugen Sares

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May 19, 2011, 4:24:19 AM5/19/11
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mental ray bashing everywhere... would be interesting to know what the
developers themselves say to all of this.
Who are these guys?
What's on the roadmap?
Are there plans to improve/accelerate GI calculations and everything else
that gives people headaches?
Is this even possible with the current architecture?
Who gives feedback for bugfixes/improvements?
Can average joe give feedback, too?
Are they aware that mray looses more and more of it's reputation showing
that ivory tower attitude?
Do they care?
If not, why?
Is Autodesk considering alternatives if it becomes clear that mray has
reached the end of it's lifecycle?
...
It used to be a good renderer...


On Wed, 18 May 2011 13:33:38 +0200, Stefan Andersson <ste...@madcrew.se>
wrote:

Enrique Caballero

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May 19, 2011, 5:28:40 AM5/19/11
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personally at 2011 i still never use GI and dont care much about it.

But my biggest gripe with mental ray has to do with something far more simple and necessary...

Why still no motionblur that wont cripple an entire productions render farm?  

Basically to this day I still find mental rays motion blur to be completely unusable, Its increase of rendertime is dramatic to say the least. 

While newer renderers like 3delight give us beautiful motionblur seemingly for free

Dan Yargici

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May 19, 2011, 5:31:37 AM5/19/11
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Cycles looks pretty impressive, here's another nice demo:

http://youtu.be/tSIx_o0IOXk?hd=1

DAN

Steffen Dünner

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May 19, 2011, 5:40:44 AM5/19/11
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Don't want to defend mental ray here, but comparing motion blur speed and quality of a raytracer to a REYES renderer is a bit unfair IMHO.
Try rendering real reflections and / or refractions with 3Delight and weep ;)
Every technology has its advantages and disadvantages...

Cheers
Steffen


2011/5/19 Enrique Caballero <enriquec...@gmail.com>



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Stefan Andersson

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May 19, 2011, 6:01:10 AM5/19/11
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The only time (at the moment) that we are using mental ray, is when we
need to render volumetric ICE simulations. Otherwise we export and
render everything in Maya/Vray.

It's just not worth the headache to go through mental ray. Dven though
Softimage has a the best RenderPass system around, that doesn't help.
And I'm talking released render engines, not "beta/comming soon"
renderers. And while 3delight is available as a commercial option,
it's a LOT more expensive that to buy Vray.

I've said it before and I'm going to keep saying it. The decision to
make Softimage a pure mental ray only software from the start was a
really really bad decision. And it's still a bad thing that Autodesk
is putting so much effort into integrating an engine that (from the
looks of it) the majority of people don't want to use.

Stubborn as they are (the decision makers) I guess there is nothing we
can do about it. The only thing we can do... is to switch the
rendering to another software (which we also do).

A single Vray/Maya license, gives you 10.000 standalone licenses to
render with on the farm.

regards
stefan

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Robert Chapman

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May 19, 2011, 6:16:16 AM5/19/11
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10,000 render licenses for free!? woah surely they would be shouting
this from the treetops - that is a major feature! I'm assuming here,
but part of the reluctance to move render engines is the prohibitive
cost of replacing all the render farm licenses - this just settles
that issue and kindof puts the existing model of one license per
render node to shame! wheres the catch? :)

Stefan Andersson

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May 19, 2011, 6:23:35 AM5/19/11
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Sandy Sutherland

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May 19, 2011, 6:30:25 AM5/19/11
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Well it is like that for Houdini + Mantra - you can run your farm for
free AFAIK!

S.

Stefan Andersson

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May 19, 2011, 6:38:25 AM5/19/11
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yes, and Mantra is also a good option. Though I don't have enough
experience with that one, so I can't make any comments regarding the
rendering in Houdini.

regards
stefan

--

Sven Constable

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May 19, 2011, 10:01:47 AM5/19/11
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But we should consider, that any product running for free at any scale, isn't necessarily a good thing at the end.. Mental images/AD should change the mentalray licensing costs to a reasonably price, that's all. Let's say 100-200€ per rendernode and the option to buy individual mr licences without using standalone. Would be fine for me. But with the current situation I have to buy one extra softimage seat, just for 5 batchrender licences and thats around 600€ per node. That's ridiculous. And standalone isn't that much less and introducing more hassle for small companys or individuals, I think.

sven

Adam Seeley

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May 19, 2011, 10:44:10 AM5/19/11
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Hi Folks,

Thought I'd drop this in the bag....

http://www.cgstudiomap.com/

Advanced search will allow you to search for studios by the software
they use.

Handy,

Adam.


Adam Seeley
Senior Animator, Commercials, UK

T: +44 (0)20 7565 1000
E: adam....@primefocusworld.com@primefocusworld.com

www.primefocusworld.com

Christopher Tedin

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May 19, 2011, 10:47:16 AM5/19/11
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Oh, I forgot about Octane. Just got my replacement for my old laptop and
it has a GTX 440M. I'll have to give it a try.

Steffen Dünner

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May 19, 2011, 11:03:28 AM5/19/11
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Octane would be a much more interesting product if it had a CPU only mode because of a) most renderfarms are CPU-based, b) large textures and geometry just don't fit into the "tiny" graphics card memory (unless you invest 10.000s of € in new hardware) not to mention the usual problems with drivers / chip manufacturers (CUDA vs. AMDs Stream vs. OpenCL)... tried a very early alpha of Blender's "Cycles" at the FMX and it rocked (at least the few things that are already implemented), even in non-GPU mode.

Cheers
Steffen


2011/5/19 Christopher Tedin <cte...@comcast.net>

Alan Fregtman

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May 19, 2011, 11:17:49 AM5/19/11
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You're right. Perhaps it's best compared against Arnold, which is
actually a raytracer (albeit a very optimized one.)

Enabling motionblur and Depth of Field only adds a few fractions of a
second to the rendertime. How's that for a fair comparison? :p

Steffen Dünner

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May 19, 2011, 11:21:41 AM5/19/11