Nerd Rant: Render Engines

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There are many render engines out there nowadays and it’s not easy to choose the right one. CPU or GPU, biased or unbiased. In this video we discuss the pros and cons of different render engines from our humble point of view. As a bonus we talk about LUTs and view transforms.

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  1. Nice discussion about Pro’s and Con’s of gpu rendering and Mantra. Its also nice to hear that someone is speaking about the need of propper diffusion of images to get away with the crystal clear sharpness of modern renderings. What i find most underrated, as a topic, is that nobody is really talking about OCIO – espacially about the Academy Color Enconding System (ACES). It helps so much to reduce the amount of work when you mix different cameras of real photography and it helps thousand times more when you mix cgi and real photography via vfx compositing. I believe, its absolutely essential for perfect delivery of modern cgi/vfx images today, but only a small amount of people are talking about it. About deep blacks and deep whites. The difference between a ACES image delivered in 10 bit and 8 bit is big. I believe what i have learned in the Color Grading Communities: that 8 bit flat looks are a thing from the past. Not only because modern TV’s or Smartphones all ready displaying 10 bit content(HDR), but also most influential artists and peoples around the world are producing selfies, “high end” filmic content – recorded on modern smartphones or hdr cameras. This has a deep impact on how we look at photos and films today an in the future. A lot of people render at 8 bit or deliver 8 bit content in a flat log-color look which is not the future anymore, because Instagram/Youtube and Vimeo have introduced 10 bit videos and the difference is really big also Netflix is distributing 10 bit Codecs. So maybe you guys can someday talk about that too, because i find it very important for Artists and small Studios to talk about that and to introduce ACES to the majority of Houdini Users because it will play a much much bigger role in the month and years to come. Cheers

  2. Sean S. says

    Which director were you talking about at 19:49— used max. diffusion “70s soft porn”? Fascinating part of your discussion. Thanks!

  3. arturo valle says

    now that you acept that mantra is slow in a public video, side effects wont invite you anymore to their conferences on vengance haahhaha :p

  4. Nicola says

    really nice to hear all these informations about different render engines. I’d love to know more about arnold, where is arnold compared to mantra, since they are (at the moment) both cpu engines? I understood arnold is faster than mantra for volumes for examples, do you agree?

  5. Michael B. says

    Great talk! When it comes to diffusion i think there is a change going on right now. Peter Jacksons Hobbit was far ahead of its time with the 60fps and people complaining it looks like soap opera. But actually it does look more real and less like film. We will not hold on to the classic anologue filmic look for too long when we can have it look more like reality – less blurry, more sharp, with higher dynamic range (human eye can do what like 20 f-stops?). Film always wanted to look more like reality – while at the moment it has stopped and with our new digital technology we try to look like old film. This is just like the times when we made synthesizers to emulate the sound of bells or church organs before we made more crazy and unparalleled sounds. We are in the process of getting accustomed to a high frame rate look by video games, youtube and flat screen tvs (every flat screen tv nowadays default setting is to kill all motion blur with that pixel perfect motion thingy).
    Now the question for the artists is: are we taking part in keeping this old stuff alive? Or are we on the forefront pushing a new look.

  6. Paolo Berto says

    Moritz, Manuel, it’s about time you both check out the new 3Delight NSI!

    It’s not available in Houdini (yet), but the integration in Maya and Katana is already done. Expect unbeatable quality (the very best sampling in the industry, by far), performance (simply the fastest renderer to render shots), and the most intuitive workflow (tiny parameterization and none of that artist-unfriendly bullshit). Oh, and did I mention the 3Delight NSI cloud? Gentlemen: fasten your seatbelts.

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