Oh yea. Octane for Carrara

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,114
    edited December 1969

    I could, but you wouldn't like my answer! :)
    You see, after reading your previous post, I am fairly convinced to just stick with my wonderful Carrara PR render engine. It's fast and reliable, and I've got the lighting, shaders, output, etc., all down to how I like to work. Speed was the one consideration that was making me look towards Octane. That gone... I'll save my cash for more content and Carrara 9.

    But... yeah... I could help you make some excellent skin in Carrara's PR engine, shaders, and lighting ;)

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    If you're using Octane, I assume it can handle SSS? Carrara doesn't use SSS maps, but Octane may, so if you have any textures with those maps I would give it a shot. If not, you may be able to fake it using a spec map.

    My little trick is to simulate SSS by dropping the color map of the figure in the glow channel and setting the brightness slider below the map's thumbnail to around 10%. Holly has suggested using a spec map with a color multiplier in the glow channel to drive the effect.

    PhilW likes to use a very slight reflection on the skin. I don't recall the intensity exactly, but somewhere around 1 to 3% if I recall correctly.

    Excellent info. Thanks man, I'll give it a try. Yes Octane does have SSS but I'll try all these ideas to see which renders quickest / looks acceptable.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    I am fairly convinced to just stick with my wonderful Carrara PR render engine. It's fast and reliable, and I've got the lighting, shaders, output, etc., all down to how I like to work. Speed was the one consideration that was making me look towards Octane. That gone... I'll save my cash for more content and Carrara 9.

    Fair enough. I'm not convinced that it matches this for quality of output vs speed however. I've seen near photorealistic results from talented Artists in ideal lighting conditions (ie. bright rooms or outside), but it is my understanding having experimented with GI, you can easily wait 45 minutes and then some for your frame.

    These are coming out at 8.5 to 12.5 minutes, on a single graphics card. At some point my ebay sales will allow me to double up with a second card. Then the rendering speed comes down to an average of around 5 minutes a frame (at 1920x1080 btw), which is slow but workable.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,114
    edited December 1969

    I can often beat those numbers with Carrara's GI... but I don't use GI for my animations. I use a much faster method of designing light for each scene. You now how nuts I am about saving to my browser... I have light rigs saved for different scenes. But it's two that get the most use - my character highlighting cheat rig, and my artificial GI starter setup. That Artificial GI starter setup was made so that I can always rely on a consistent 'base' light rig - so that all of my outdoor scenes start at the same base level. Then I can tweak it from there, depending on the scene itself... and the character highlight rig make the characters Pop, with the greatest of ease - and each light in that rig is linked to its specific character. It makes for a really nice and quick setup. Time to set up light designs is the big factor that tends to keep people from doing that over the automated GI stuff. But like Jeremy Birns points out as a professor in the field of lighting, light designed as rigs, somewhat like the way I have been doing it all along, gives us so much more control over how to change each part specifically. I guess often a client or director will give a partial approval, but only 'if' you can make this brighter, and that more purple-looking, etc., where in our designed lighting, we can very easily say "I can have that done in an hour", but not so easily if GI and IL are calculating the entire illumination for you.

    Granted, however... once you get used to your GI, etc., you can use many cheats and tweaks to provide nearly any change... I'm certainly not trying to 'diss' GI, IL, or Octane... or anything else, for that matter.

    I guess I'm just saying that I really love the look that I've designed, and the speed that Carrara delivers that to me - which is often about a minute or less per frame, for a full scene with only two characters. More figures can increase this, but when they're in the background, Carrara can whiz through m y background folks - often without adding much time at all. So I've been really impressed with Carrara's output.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    Yes, whichever tool you choose it's down to your experience and knowledge as an artist. Thankfully that gives an edge to those that invest the time.

    I've not found a one size fits all approach. Then again I've only seriously lit 15 scenes (si fi funk 3-9). I don't count the pilot and 1 and 2 as I didn't know about lighting back then - which is why I'm keen to do a decent lighting job on them now (esp. 1!)

    That is a great book. I've read about 30% of it so far. Thanks for pointing that one out.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,116
    edited December 1969

    Continuing to use Carrara is certainly one way to go, as it means that everything is compatible, and you are comfortable in the environment. Rather than using full GI, I would be tempted to try the Ambient Occlusion mode for animation. For indoor scenes, setting the occlusion distance to around half the height of the room is about right and generally gives nice shadows (remember to kill that Ambient Light! And I find that using Gamma Correction gives much more realistic results).

    The direct lighting kernel in Octane is also basically an Ambient Occlusion model, and again you need to be careful to set the Occlusion distance appropriately. You can get some very nice renders with either the sunlight model, which includes sky lighting, or by using either an environment texture or even just a white or light environment color, and one direct mesh light. I haven't done any reliable direct speed comparisons.

    Octane does support SSS, generally you need to set up a Mix material, there are examples in the Octane library. Having said that, it does add noticeably to render times and the time to smooth out the grain, so it may be of limited use to you in animation.

    Whichever approach you take, you are always going to be faced with the old "Quality vs Speed" issue, which is always an issue with any 3D work. Of course, the quality that you can achieve in a given time has increased enormously over the years, but it is undoubtedly still an important factor, and you may need to make compromises in order to render within realistic timescales.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    and you may need to make compromises in order to render within realistic timescales.

    That's where it's at right now. Being realistic as an Octane rendering animator on a single machine, single graphics card - you can't compete with the big boys - so how to you fake it to a level that is better than before?

    Exploring now ...

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,114
    edited December 1969

    Right. I love that they're making a Carrara plugin. If I get the chance (enough disposable funds) I'll likely buy it to support the cause.

    Yes, Phil, I am tempted to go AO Sandwich. The only thing stopping right now is that I absolutely love the look and speed of my current setup. But I'll never consider my options exhausted - and will continue to try new things.

    I really didn't mean to sound as negative as it sounds when I read it back! LOL

  • DustRiderDustRider Posts: 2,536
    edited April 2014

    Like Phil said, using SSS for skin with Octane will increase render times. But, you can get pretty good results using just the glossy shader type for skin in Octane. The skin in the image in this link (warning - nudity) http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/index.php?image_id=2488025 was done with just glossy for skin. The attached "bust" image used a mix material of glossy and diffuse, using the SSS mat for the Bree texture set in the transmission node of the diffuse material (still needs more work). It is slower than a simple glossy material, but not as slow as some of the more complex SSS setups out there. I think the "DAZ Skin" in the Octane live Library is the one I used as the basis for the "bust" shaders. You'll have to re-apply your own texture mats, as those included are just simple tile-able skin textures, but it's easier than starting from scratch.

    The other image is an interior render I've been playing with. It's only lite with sunlight through two windows, rendered with the Direct Lighting kernel. Using the Direct Light kernel in this image actually increases the "ambient" light. The Path Tracing kernel makes the figure stand out more, but makes the background darker.

    I think the thing to keep in mind with interior scenes is that the light in Octane responds like real light, on film, in a camera (think SLR, and manual settings). our eyes adjust to lower light conditions very well (as do digital cameras), but the film in the camera needs "assistance" to do so, either via adjusting the camera settings, or adding additional fill lighting (or both). Of course, for faster renders in unbiased renderers, additional lighting typically slows the render speed down. However, set up properly, you'll need fewer samples to get the image to clear up, effectively speeding up render times.

    A great place to look for tips on speeding up render times can be found in the Luxus threads here, the Reality forums at RDNA, or in LuxRender specific forums. Speed is a much more important factor for a larger segment of LuxRender users than it is for the majority of Octane users, so that's why there is a lot more discussion on the subject with Lux. Most of those lighting optimization tricks will be directly usable in Octane.

    Not that this will help SiFi's conundrum in getting acceptable render speeds, but it may help as a general frame of reference. In at least some of the big CGI animation studios, 1 hour per frame on the given allocation of render farm slaves, is now the norm (yes, with those huge render farms, it's taking an hour per frame, but they are rendering a lot of frames in other shot sequences at the same time). So, for example, if your looking for results comparable to the latest Disney, Pixar, etc. film, it's pretty difficult for us mere mortals to compete. Even though 5-10 min. per frame may be too slow, if your getting results in quality even somewhat close to what the studios are producing, you're really doing extremely well. Just look at all the SSS, "real" hair/fur, and the incredible detail in each frame in Monsters University for example (or the little short before it) - just think of the render times one frame would take on your average high end PC.

    SiFi - have you tried making light reflectors/umbrellas in your scenes, like those used for soft fill in a photo or film studio? These may help, and won't slow render speeds like more lights will. Maybe using one interior light, with a couple of reflectors in place of a 3 point light system would work? Doing this in a biased renderer typically doesn't work very well, but I know it is commonly used in LuxRender.

    Bridged_ArkAngel_DL_A_sm.jpg
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    Bree_Texture_Test1sm.jpg
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    Post edited by DustRider on
  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited April 2014

    Dustrider,

    Excellent quality reply. Thanks very much.

    Not just a reply - more like a tutorial!

    Also congrats on those two pictures and the one over at rendo - nice skin sir!

    Re: Skin. That's good info. I'm now hovering 50-50 on whether to even go there (I'm just a couple of days into this new world and already I'm twitching needing to push on before funds and time run out).

    As usual I'm probably going to have to stagger my learning, doing a best case (without skin upgrade) for the episode 1 re-render, then I'll look into it for the ep 2 re-render (there is a scene in the lift(elevator) when the skin is just horrible so I really want that fixed!).

    This is all practice for episode 10 which is a series of internal scenes including an elevator! So ideal practice.

    re: Lux forums - what a great idea! If I come up with anything that dramatically saves time I'll share it.

    atm each scene is pretty hit and miss in terms of rendering time, but I'm now accepting that smoke and mirrors is here to stay, and it's best compromise time.

    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,116
    edited December 1969

    I should add that in order to see the effects of SSS on skin in Octane, you need to use at least the Path Tracing Kernel, it does not show in the Direct Lighting model (which also does not include some refraction situations, caustics etc). I would agree that you can get good results with just a glossy material and using the Direct Lighting kernel for speed on rendering an animation. If you can make the movements in an animation realistic, this makes up for any slight deficiencies in render quality.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    I should add that in order to see the effects of SSS on skin in Octane, you need to use at least the Path Tracing Kernel, it does not show in the Direct Lighting model (which also does not include some refraction situations, caustics etc). I would agree that you can get good results with just a glossy material and using the Direct Lighting kernel for speed on rendering an animation. If you can make the movements in an animation realistic, this makes up for any slight deficiencies in render quality.

    Thanks Phil. Yes so SSS is out of the question short term due to speed. However lets let the whole Moore's Law thing play out for a while and then we can revisit these options :D

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,116
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    I should add that in order to see the effects of SSS on skin in Octane, you need to use at least the Path Tracing Kernel, it does not show in the Direct Lighting model (which also does not include some refraction situations, caustics etc). I would agree that you can get good results with just a glossy material and using the Direct Lighting kernel for speed on rendering an animation. If you can make the movements in an animation realistic, this makes up for any slight deficiencies in render quality.

    Thanks Phil. Yes so SSS is out of the question short term due to speed. However lets let the whole Moore's Law thing play out for a while and then we can revisit these options :D

    Yes, in a few years, we will be able to do all this in real time! Well, maybe more than a few, and I am sure that our demands will increase as the technology allows!

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited April 2014

    Hey everyone I'm learning on Octane right now.

    I'm learning that I suck at it. lol.

    Totally different mindset needs to be applied per lighting situation, even if a similar idea. I am talking about shots other than the straightforward sunny daytime outside shots. They are fast and easy.

    I'm tackling night time outdoors and day and night indoor shots. I'm getting some acceptable looks, but the one that has been killing me all day is the wide shot of a street scene at night, lit mainly by street lamps.

    I'll get to the point. If you are having trouble getting rid of unwanted fireflies, check your materials. Try to use 100% octane materials and watch that problem virtually disappear. Also Try Direct, PMC and and HDRI map. According to my (early) testing, any one of those might be better, and not necessarily much slower (for outdoors scenes).

    So far I've got away with Direct on a building close up (but camera outside), then I've had success with HDRI outside and PMC. HDRI with correct textures came in a 7 mins a frame vs PMC without Octane textures at 35 mins! - I render just to the point where the missing dots don't seem too intrusive.

    Still very hit and miss, but some of the looks are very interesting, considering that to get a similar effect in Carrara I'd have to use After Effects. Also I think Octane handles the light scattering over surfaces better than Carrara with GI on.

    Just the ramblings of someone struggling to get out of nursery school on this one!

    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on
  • IamArtistXIamArtistX Posts: 118
    edited December 1969

    I had to learn the same things when I started to use Luxrender, only thanks to PhilW's Lux shaders that I stuck with it, I am still trying to get my head around the Lux shader plugin for Carrara, Will probably have to go through it all again if/when I get Octane for Carrara :p

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    I had to learn the same things when I started to use Luxrender, only thanks to PhilW's Lux shaders that I stuck with it, I am still trying to get my head around the Lux shader plugin for Carrara, Will probably have to go through it all again if/when I get Octane for Carrara :p

    Any titbits of info you can throw to a noob? I'll do a series of tutorials when I reach a certain level of proficiency, but that might be some time away.

  • IamArtistXIamArtistX Posts: 118
    edited December 1969

    Main thing is to forget everything you thought you knew about lighting a scene :p I have only really just started messing with it, I am reading through here - http://www.luxrender.net/wiki/Frequently_Asked_Questions - to get a few ideas - they may be useful to Octane, we could always poke Phil until he agrees to do a few follow along tutorial videos :D

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    Main thing is to forget everything you thought you knew about lighting a scene :p

    Ha Ha. Figured that one out already. Wow, talk about back to school.

    re: the lux link - thanks I'll have a look around.

    There seems to be a void to be filled here, practical advice on unbiased rendering for those of us without killer cost-a-car-or-small-house rigs.

    Phil any plans?

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,114
    edited December 1969

    Not just FAQ, but the Luxrender site, all over, has some really good information, if I recall. I bought Luxor with more intentions of supporting the cause than to use it. I want to use it on some stills one day... but stills are always on my back-burner... so I tend to stick with my tried and true Carrara PR render engine. Never lets me down, and I know how to shade/light it... well... "Know" might be a bit strong of a word.... ;)

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    well... "Know" might be a bit strong of a word.... ;)

    You qualify for the word "know". :) Great work on the scenic products btw.

    Yes that FAQ was useful if any one is following this thread looking for clues. I'll check out the rest of the site. I'm also looking at info from Blender-->Cycles users. Cycles seems pretty similar. I guess all unbiased renderers share a lot of common ideas.

  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    well... "Know" might be a bit strong of a word.... ;)

    You qualify for the word "know". :) Great work on the scenic products btw.

    Yes that FAQ was useful if any one is following this thread looking for clues. I'll check out the rest of the site. I'm also looking at info from Blender-->Cycles users. Cycles seems pretty similar. I guess all unbiased renderers share a lot of common ideas.

    More than that they seem to share a common developer... I was reading that one of the people who developed Lux was lured away to develop Octane.

  • Philemo_CarraraPhilemo_Carrara Posts: 1,171
    edited December 1969

    More than that they seem to share a common developer... I was reading that one of the people who developed Lux was lured away to develop Octane.

    And I've read that Brecht van Lommel, Cycles initial developer, has been working on Octane before joining the blender foundation :-)
    It seems to be a very small world.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    All useful info. Therefore studying all of them should help the student of unbiased rendering!

    I'm heavily into experimental mode atm. Thrown away the rulebook (if there is one) and purely searching out speed with PMC render.

    I'll come back when I have control of my environment - still hit and miss atm (starting to lose hair now and it's not down to age!)

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited April 2014

    OK!

    I think we are finally making some progress on night scenes. I can do washed out (one hue) slow rendering outdoor night scenes no problem, but full colour at night?

    This is by far my best mid to long range outdoor night effort, and it's fast! Still a WIP (fireflies to remove, the lampost emissions are lost for some reason and more)

    Anyway the gist of the idea is that octane does really well in small enclosed scenes, so reduce your scene! I reduced this to 2%, stuck 3 emitters in a 3 point lighting set up around the mini city and funneled the emissions out the end of a box (all enclosed bar one side).

    This is 3000 samples at 11 mins 30 secs! 2000 is 8 mins something. When I sort out why the fireflies are happening 2000 willl be enough. That pretty good for a GI look (Its the direct kernel).

    more to come ..

    Night_light!_11_mins_30_secs_Direct_Light_3000px_9.01_FINAL_.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 1M
    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,114
    edited December 1969

    I agree, Steve... That's looking very nice!
    For some reason, however, I thought that Octane was going to be faster....

  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited April 2014

    I agree, Steve... That's looking very nice!
    For some reason, however, I thought that Octane was going to be faster....

    Yeah....but it does look pretty...
    Post edited by wetcircuit on
  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Guys.

    It is blisteringly fast in those carefully constructed demos.

    Put a single sunlight in your scene, say 1 or 2pm and it flies. That is not reality for most projects. Start to require ambient occlusion (light bouncing around the inside of a room), or horror of horrors - a night scene, and it gets tricky unless you have the budget for multiple expensive graphics cards (Titans for example).

    You can always cop out and light it as day then filter it, but it's not the same result.

    However to be fair to Octane it's permanently in GI mode, so now compare that with Carraras native renderer and it starts to look fast again.

    I'm used to around 1 mins 30 secs per frame for Carrara renders (for animation) faking the light the whole time (not GI). So it is a culture shock. I was enticed in by the idea of cloud rendering. This is not with us yet for Europe and DAZ/Carrara. It's also going to be more expensive than I thought.

    However it's still scaleable. I'm currently ebaying to raise money for another Graphics card. I'll at least half my render times that way.

    We are still not at the "make art button" stage. he he.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    From OTOYs website.

    Coming in a future release of Octane..

    The best bits were render passes (AO, Depth etc), integration with after effects and

    "Out-of-core rendering – Scenes that don’t fit into graphics memory will be supported through out
    of core rendering, storing currently unused source data in host memory while swapping it into
    graphics memory when required."

    Very nice upgrades. Octane continues to catch up in features, whilst providing excellent images.

  • Sci Fi FunkSci Fi Funk Posts: 1,182
    edited December 1969

    More Success!

    Continuing the miniaturization idea, now abandoning more than one light per scene we can composite in After Effects much quicker. I render out a 3 point lighting set up (yes that's 3 lights but there is no Stacking of lights like streetlights) darker than normal. Then I render out just the street lights.

    I add them in After effects.

    Total rendering time at 1100 samples is 8 mins from 11 mins something, AND it's a way better image. At 2000 samples (the recommended average for Direct lighting its up to 15 mins which is the image you see here). However with moving cameras, youtubes compression and some "smoothing" in post - I reckon 1100 samples will be ok for these dark scenes.

    So we are down from 11+ mins a frame to 8 mins, with proper street lighting and I haven't spent any more on hardware yet.

    Can it go any lower? I'm going to try.

    Night_light!_15_mins_Direct_Light_2000px_9.01_ms-sec_FINAL_just_3pl_Comp_.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 1M
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,114
    edited December 1969

    I agree, Steve... That's looking very nice!
    For some reason, however, I thought that Octane was going to be faster....

    Yeah....but it does look pretty...It sure does... and this new one! Eee Gads! Bravo Stevo!
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