Finally have gotten to CGI Rendering…
Not meaning that we’ve never done any 3d modeling or VFX yet; but finally we have had the chance to sit down and shine some input on the different programs and renderers that are out there.
Personally, we typically use Autodesk Maya for any CGI that we create [second place is 3ds Max Design]; we have been using it for some time now and hell, we like it.
But on to actual information related to the title at hand…
Instead of rendering images on our “Iron Horse” workstation or on a farm (Render Farm), I actually decided to use one of our laptops that we use in the field at times [for scripting, live view, story boards, etc]. I did this mainly because I have seen many indie filmmakers using laptops vs workstations due to portability reasons; so please keep in mind that any listed render times are for reference only [the times will be different but the ratio between the different renderers should be close to the same].
PC Laptop Specs and Information:
After digging out one of our most basic laptops [easily purchased from any department store for approximately $500], I then downloaded Cinebench from Maxon specifically for this segment (benchmarking information follows).
Windows 7 Laptop, 64 bit OS
1.60 GHz, Intel Dual Core Processor
6 GB DDR3 Ram
Intel HD (onboard) Graphics; 1366 x 768
Cinebench CPU Score: 1.03 pts
Cinebench OpenGL Score: 5.64 fps
Now after running these tests and chuckling to myself about this laptop’s lack of power [approx. 1/10th of the ability of our Iron Horse workstation), I took one of our UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter models into Maya and started running the renders.
Obviously, there are several different renderers out there, the ones that we will be touching today follow;
Maya: Software, Mental Ray, Vray, FinalRender
Although we are mainly using Maya for this run through, you have the Software & Mental Ray options for 3ds Max Design and can also obtain the Vray plugin as well as iray, although I am not sure about FinalRender for 3ds Max Design. All of the renderings were rendered out at 640×480 @ 300 dpi resolution, settings were tuned to Production (High) quality and the scenes are identical.
Maya Software Render
Honestly, the Maya Software render kind of surprised me [since we rarely use it]; it took over 16 minutes to render, a lot of the colors are there but there is no Ambient Occlusion, the shadows are not fantastic and I am not a big fan of the glass.
Maya Mental Ray
As for Mental Ray, I will have to look into the settings and modify a few things. There is a lot of noise through out the image and it is starting to get blown out (over whitening). I like the shadowing on this one more than software and it did render out in a little over 8 minutes (half of the software time) but the noise in the image is driving me nuts.
Although the Vray image isn’t horrible, the image is getting blown out, the shadows are off and the AO has quite a bit of noise in it. I personally like the look of the glass objects with Vray and don’t mind the 10 minute render time if there wasn’t so much noise.
I don’t have many complaints about FinalRender (aside from the obvious watermark). The color looks good and so does the environment; there is some noise in the shadows which bother me and a render time of 24 minutes isn’t awesome either.
Other platform solutions
I was planning on putting the render from Bunkspeed on here, but lets be honest…it’s taking FOREVER on the laptop! As I am writing this it managed to complete 2113 ‘passes’ and has also taken 3 hours (thus far). I will be posting raw renderings from other platforms (such as Cinema 4d, Bunkspeed and 3ds Max (possibly also Softimage) in the future. Hopefully posts like this will help spread the information flow in lieu of rendering for others [including beginners]. I also plan to start posting renderer settings and values for entry, mid-level, and professional production quality as well. If anyone wants to help me add to this plethora of information, let us know.
Due to some light confusion and some emails, let me explain something;
The above renders were setup in a manner with settings that could be used by others with basic PCs. Ultra high settings that output a nice quality photorealistic end result (something that would take 45 minutes to an hour on our farm) is not being compared at this moment. The reason why I mainly did this is because I figured that most hobby users and amateur modelers would not like to wait around for 12-14 hours for just one frame.