The Realism Challenge - Biased VS Unbiased Showdown

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,566
    edited December 1969

    I'm with Holly. If I can get the look I want without global illumination and the subsequent time hit, then I'm happy. The trick is being smart about your lights. The nice thing about Carrara is that you can throw a ton of lights at it, and it still renders quickly. The light settings and types of lights Carrara comes with are also very flexible. The large amounts of lights and their flexibility within a scene gives you the luxury of thinking about how to simulate a GI look. D/S and Poser may also have this ability, but since I don't use them, someone else will have to speak about them.

  • daveleitz68daveleitz68 Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JWvgETOo5ek#!

    I saw this video referenced in a Blender Artists forum post just now. The poster was essentially making the point that maybe real time technology is already where we want to be in terms of creating CG still art and animation. Perhaps waiting for more than a few minutes to render a complex scene is old and outdated. Why are we still doing things the old way when "real time" rendering is now pretty advanced?

    @ Rashad: That was an interesting article. Thanks for sharing. Nice render you did, too!

  • araneldonaraneldon Posts: 620
    edited December 1969

    To be honest I don't really understand the point of this biased vs. unbiased debate. They are different tools.

    That said, I happen to prefer bouncy light and so far none of the examples of "faking it" have been quite good enough. It can be extremely difficult to achieve in some scenes.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,566
    edited December 1969

    araneldon said:
    To be honest I don't really understand the point of this biased vs. unbiased debate. They are different tools.

    That said, I happen to prefer bouncy light and so far none of the examples of "faking it" have been quite good enough. It can be extremely difficult to achieve in some scenes.


    It can be. But it is possible.

  • RoguePilotRoguePilot Posts: 0
    edited February 2013

    To me, (purely personal opinion to follow), there is a key problem when rendering a figure in an unbiased renderer.

    For architecture, cars or product renders I really like the look of the unbiased renders, a well lit scene can be beautiful and extremely realistic.

    Conversely, the most perfectly lits scene with a figure in it will have the same level of realism but will reveal exactly what that figure is, which is a manikin with a photograph of skin plastered to it. They all look like posed cadavers to me.

    That is not the fault of the renderer, rather it's a direct consequence of the current level of figure modelling and their texturing. The unbiased renderer simply reveals the truth of what it is.

    A biased renderer can be pushed to hide this limitation. Even there if you push the reality too far you will end up with a similar effect and if you get the skin to look perfect another element in it will probably break the illusion.

    I tend to render with postwork in mind, where I push towards a more 'airbrushed hyper-real' style (hyper-realism as applied to painting not as others sometimes mis-use it to mean photo-realism). My galleries are in my sig if you want to see what I mean.

    I don't normally post photo-realistic but I'll make an exception here. In this render you can sort of see how the illusion breaks on some elements. Given a choice of which way to go I'd rather pull back on the realism to get all the parts to gel together.

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    Post edited by RoguePilot on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited February 2013

    To me it's kind of like asking, "Is an SLR camera better than a point-and-shoot one?" The instinct is to answer "yes," and it's not hard to find lots of hard data as well as visual evidence to back up that theory. But just as one shouldn't dismiss the point-and-shoot camera,* there are plenty of reasons not to discount the biased renderer. Some of the same reasons as in my camera comparison, including that it's quicker, easier to learn (and arguably easier to master as well), less expensive...and of course sometimes lo-fi is preferable to perfect realism.

    *In the hands of a professional or skilled amateur, any tool can yield spectacular results. Diverse point-and-shoot cameras like the Polaroid series, the iPhone, and the Holga all have their devotees, and each is responsible for many great looking images.

    As far as I'm concerned, DS4.5 with 3Delight (which is what I used for the renders below--no postwork aside from cropping) is more than "good enough."

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,566
    edited February 2013

    This image is unedited, except for converting it to .jpg for the forums. It's an attempt at simulating the look of GI. There are some issues with the scene and it's lighting which prevent it from looking "real." I think I've got the well and the building on the right lit well. I still need to light the two buildings on the left a bit to get rid of the deep shadows. I may have to do something with lighting on the pine trees as well.


    I posted this to show that even an amateur like me can get some good looking lighting without rendering for two days. For those interested, I have twenty lights, nineteen master objects, sixty-one master shaders, a total texture map surface of 24,015 pixels by 24,015 pixels at 2.15 GBs.

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    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • foleyprofoleypro Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    DazStudio 4.5 and the Garabaldi Hair/fur Plugin...

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  • HellboyHellboy Posts: 683
    edited December 1969

    I’m partial to Unbiased engines.
    I don’t care about realism, but for me it’s definitely a lot easier to get better results.
    Regarding realism, some of the stuff I have done in LuxRender has been mistaken with a photo without even trying to do something realistic.

  • MistyMistMistyMist Posts: 15,173
    edited December 1969

    arch vis renders?

  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited February 2013

    I like rendering with what I feel like at that moment! For me it's not so much about realism, but a lot to do with the tools. Because I don't sell cars or diamonds I don't care if my art is "photoreal".

    I average out about 60/40 in favor of biased engines based on my renders over the last year. Last night I was deciding if I should render a piece I am working on with 3DL or Octane. Both have advantages, and I haven't decided yet. (ultimately it may come down to the speed of the render, Octane speeds past 3DL for images that look similiar. If I cut corners than 3DL can speed past Octane. Will depend on how I feel when I am done with the composition. I dislike 8+ hour renders, especially when I am planning on multiple render passes. So lately I have been using more Octane for that reason.)

    Now I am just going to spam some renders. I would put more 3DL renders in the mix but most of the good ones I have are nude, so here are some of my pieces that shouldn't cause a commotion as the characters are clothed. But I do appreciate they are edgy to some.

    Can you tell which one is 3DL?(no not Mara the blue demon girl, she and her stylized hair were rendered in Octane) And yeah I know I shouldn't be doing stylized stuff in Octane *sigh* but I do anyway. As I said, not shooting for realism.

    ***************BIKINI CLAD FANTASY PINUP ART WARNING***************

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    Post edited by larsmidnatt on
  • MistyMistMistyMist Posts: 15,173
    edited December 1969

    wow :wow: lars, especially the lighting on that 2nd one is gorgeous.

    i've been trying to figure out the CUDA and GPU thing.

    I was wondering what hardware you're using for your Octane renders?

    Thanks.

  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    lets toss in some landscapes..

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  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited February 2013

    wow :wow: lars, especially the lighting on that 2nd one is gorgeous.

    I was wondering what hardware you're using for your Octane renders?

    Thanks much.

    I was originally testing the Octane demo on an old 8800GTS with 768mb ram. Not enough ram for a scene, but enough to load up a character and experiment with settings.

    Once I realized Octane could replace Lux I purchased a 660ti with 3gb of ram. Cpu is just an i5 with 8 gigs of ram, so not much special there. Will upgrade the RAM in a few months or maybe sooner, but works fine with up to 4 characters and a stonemason environment. The only reason I want to upgrade is for using LAMH OBJ hair in Octane. Otherwise I don't actually notice my hardware holding me back, but I mostly render pinups.

    And before Octane I did use Lux/Reality for a few months. But I can't go back to Lux at this point. Not a quality issue, just a speed issue. Even on a network of machines, was too slow for me. Here are a few renders from my Lux Days.

    Sorry for all the ladies, but that's all I render :) I do actually render their legs sometimes too LOL.

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    Post edited by larsmidnatt on
  • HellboyHellboy Posts: 683
    edited December 1969

    They all are beautiful, but I like your LuxRender images more.

  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited December 1969

    Hellboy said:
    They all are beautiful, but I like your LuxRender images more.

    Thank you.

  • Rashad CarterRashad Carter Posts: 1,034
    edited December 1969

    Although Lux got its feet into the water first, I'm still convinced that Octane will probably take over and overcome Lux. Clearly, the quality of the renders will not be the deciding factor, but speed and flexibility will be. Octane is so much faster than Lux, literally hundreds of times faster for the same output. Plus, Octane utilizes procedurals which though many people dont appreciate, procedurals allow you to do a lot UV maps wont allow. The future for Octane is much brighter than that of Lux, at least in the long run.

    Lars, all of the images are great. If I had to pick one and say it was 3DL I'd say it is the middle one where she seems to be standing in front of a castle or something. Something about the shading in that render seems..incomplete, as if the light does not scatter in a physically accurate way. I could well be worng, so please let me know if I am off.

    In the second series the girl on the right with the gold trimmings...yummmmmmmmy!

  • prixatprixat Posts: 606
    edited December 1969

    I've been seeing how far I can get without caustics.
    Ray depth increased from 4 to 6 when I introduced the transparent sphere.
    UE2, GI(Bounce), 3Delight in DS.

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  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited February 2013

    .
    Lars, all of the images are great. If I had to pick one and say it was 3DL I'd say it is the middle one where she seems to be standing in front of a castle or something. Something about the shading in that render seems..incomplete, as if the light does not scatter in a physically accurate way. I could well be worng, so please let me know if I am off.

    In the second series the girl on the right with the gold trimmings...yummmmmmmmy!

    Thanks for the kind words. I won't argue with yummy :)

    But I should have said is that my images are indeed "post worked" so it does make it a bit harder to guess which may or may not have been Octane because I destroy the evidence LOL. I do things in post that sometimes remove realism for style, and in the middle image you mention I darkened the backdrop and raised the exposure lighting on the character in PS.

    The blue eyed blonde was the 3DL render :) I did a couple of passes on that, one using pure white UE for the base and another render for shading that just had some spot lights(and no UE). It takes too long for me to tweak UE + spot lights in a single render, so tend to split them up and blend in PS.

    I've been seeing how far I can get without caustics.
    Ray depth increased from 4 to 6 when I introduced the transparent sphere.
    UE2, GI(Bounce), 3Delight in DS.


    Very cool. I don't think I can do GI(Bounce) on my rig and ever see it finish...

    Post edited by larsmidnatt on
  • cwichuracwichura Posts: 1,000
    edited December 1969

    Although Lux got its feet into the water first, I'm still convinced that Octane will probably take over and overcome Lux. Clearly, the quality of the renders will not be the deciding factor, but speed and flexibility will be. Octane is so much faster than Lux, literally hundreds of times faster for the same output. Plus, Octane utilizes procedurals which though many people dont appreciate, procedurals allow you to do a lot UV maps wont allow. The future for Octane is much brighter than that of Lux, at least in the long run.

    Octane is limited by its requirement of a fast NVidia GPU with a lot of GPU memory. It is also a path renderer, which makes some scene constructions very hard for it to "find the light". But for a lot of things, it works just fine, as demonstrated by some of the examples posted here. But just as biased vs unbiased both have their places, so do different renderers like Lux and Octane. Render speed isn't the deciding factor for everyone, and there are things that Lux WILL render better than Octane, simply because it supports other rending modes like BiDir and SPPM. (Is Octane a spectral renderer? If not, then that's another advantage Lux has for certain types of scenes.)

    Lux also has extensive support for procedural textures; current versions of Reality just don't make this available to the user. Reality 3 is supposed to finally expose Lux procedurals to the user, though.

  • greyson5greyson5 Posts: 70
    edited December 1969

    here's one I made earlier with poser 9

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  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited February 2013

    cwichura said:

    Octane is limited by its requirement of a fast NVidia GPU with a lot of GPU memory. It is also a path renderer, which makes some scene constructions very hard for it to "find the light". But for a lot of things, it works just fine, as demonstrated by some of the examples posted here. But just as biased vs unbiased both have their places, so do different renderers like Lux and Octane. Render speed isn't the deciding factor for everyone, and there are things that Lux WILL render better than Octane, simply because it supports other rending modes like BiDir and SPPM. (Is Octane a spectral renderer? If not, then that's another advantage Lux has for certain types of scenes.)

    Lux also has extensive support for procedural textures; current versions of Reality just don't make this available to the user. Reality 3 is supposed to finally expose Lux procedurals to the user, though.

    Yes having an Nvidia card is a limitation to some, but not all.

    Technically everything but 1.1 version of Octane runs on cards like a 8800GTS, a 6-7 year old card. (1.1 just came out, you can still use 1.0 if you want) The faster the card, the faster the render. Since speed is not a big deal for everyone, there are a lot of people on older cards in the Octane forum. Typically GTX200 series though, not really much older. Vram required also depends on your needs.

    Octane is a spectral renderer.

    Octane team is good about adding features and functionality.

    But I'm not here to campaign for Octane. I tried not to even reference Lux or Octane in my original post LOL. But really I had no choice.

    And when we say things like "will render better" is that "will render more accurately" or "I like this better".

    At least one person here thought my 3DL render was the best lit one, lol. And I don't have any problem with that. My toons are actually a lot more popular than my pseudo realistic works, so I think that "better" is not really that important (unless you are selling luxury cars and wedding rings).

    Post edited by larsmidnatt on
  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited February 2013

    greyson5 said:
    here's one I made earlier with poser 9

    Pretty nice, the only thing I would comment on is the eyes. I have that problem sometimes too, hard to get the reflection right without over doing it. I think she could have a pinch more reflection in the eyes, but I could be wrong. (or a personal preference)

    Post edited by larsmidnatt on
  • Hiro ProtagonistHiro Protagonist Posts: 315
    edited December 1969

    There is more than a pinch of reflection in these eyes. The shape on the cornea is actually the curved mesh light that comes with Reality, which is the sole light in the scene. Luxrender renders needn't take "2 days", by the way. This took less than an hour, although to be fair it is rather simple.

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 2,366
    edited December 1969

    Another Reality/LUXRender

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  • HellboyHellboy Posts: 683
    edited December 1969

    I like to render in both 3Delight and LuxRender. I prefer LuxRender all the way. But 3Delight is very cool.

    Here are the most realistic things I have done with each engine.

    Hulk: DAZ Studio
    Guy : LuxRender

    I’m not sure about the Hulk one, but some people thought it was a photo and others asked me if it was LuxRender, so here it is.

    The other was a bit of a surprise because I didn’t have any hopes for it. I was just testing the Rob Elite texture. But people seemed to like it, and that was nice.

    None of them have postwork. Only the black guy in the contact between the hand and hip. But that little bit is not hiding or changing the actual render, so here it is.

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  • larsmidnattlarsmidnatt Posts: 2,747
    edited December 1969

    Luxrender renders needn't take "2 days", by the way.

    You would think I know considering I used it non stop for three months!

    But seriously, no one realistically disputes that its a "slower" render. And yes it people say they let their renders cook for days. I prefer to render at print resolutions, so 3000x4000 pixels. And it's not going to happen in an hour, even on my network with all guns blazing sadly. For 1920x1080 wallpapers it was usually 4-8 hours, and that is with me doing a bunch of speed tricks. Sure I didn't hack it like some folks do, I know some folks get even faster renders on similar machines, but speed is not Lux's strength. That's the point.

    Lux is a powerful renderer. When I was in college I remember how much people had to pay to get something almost as cool that was still biased. Granted that was 10 years ago and we have come a long way. Lux is great, especially for free. And Reality is a good value and a great way to get into the door with Lux.

  • cwichuracwichura Posts: 1,000
    edited December 1969

    And when we say things like "will render better" is that "will render more accurately" or "I like this better".

    More towards the first, but still not quite an accurate statement. There are lighting situations where path just can't "find the light". This basically means that no matter how long you let it bake, you're going to have areas with tons of noise/not really fill in. Or you have missing caustics. Things like that. Other rendering strategies like BiDir and SPPM can handle these scenes better, since they can "find the light".

  • HellboyHellboy Posts: 683
    edited December 1969

    It depends on different thngs. I have 20 minutes renders.
    Actually that one I just posted was ready in 20 minutes. I did left it a couple of hours because I was busy with something else anyway, but at 20 minutes looked already acceptable to me, it didn't changed that much with the extra hours.

    Other stuff took a pair of days, but it had water and fancy stuff. I don't mind long render times myself. I'm usually not in a hurry to get images done, so I take my time. :)

  • prixatprixat Posts: 606
    edited December 1969

    I'm saving a lot of time in 3Delight by using Point Cloud Occlusion, scripted rendering.
    Since it doesn't take such a big penalty for every extra depth of ray tracing.
    You usually can cut full GI, UE2 render times by about 60%.

    I think I first heard about that script when Hellboy mentioned it in passing a few months ago, thanks!!! :coolsmile:

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