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  11 November 2016
If you are waiting to see more render quality and speed examples you should look into Blender renders to get a better idea of what Cycles can do. It's the same engine from what I understand but they went in and customized things to get deep X-Particles integration. Nice to see they also added TFD support. Cycles is not as fast as other engines but the XP support is a big selling point for me.
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http://vimeo.com/user2975057/videos
 
  11 November 2016
Here is a two-hour live stream from one of the beta testers.
Should give an idea of render speed, quality, ease of use, and shows using it with X-Particles.

 
  11 November 2016
Originally Posted by LucentDreams: Fireflies are an inherent problem with pathtracers. Arnold requires fighting fireflies a lot too ws does renderman and clarisse.


Why is that? It is hard to understand from artist perspective why it is so hard to eliminate them in programming. Do you know more about it? Thx.
 
  11 November 2016
Originally Posted by ceen: Why is that? It is hard to understand from artist perspective why it is so hard to eliminate them in programming. Do you know more about it? Thx.


Simply put, imagine throwing 100 darts simultaneously at a dart board. One is likely to hit that bullseye or miss the board entirely.

The challenge is that we are sampling. The more samples you do the less fireflies you have at the cost of speed. If you render high enough quality to have no noise at all, you'd have no fireflies too. The thing is that the causes of fireflies are extremely hot )bright/intense) values for one random sample. Where does that value come from can vary though. In my experience, the two key places to check or direct and indirect spec. If it's in direct spec than the two likely causes are a texture light/ibl, or a bad shader setting. Texture lights usually have a floating point texture, but we also adjust their brightness with a multiplier. if a texture like one that has a sun, has a super strong value and you multiply it, it's going to create a super intense value. Now while the value overall might be quite acceptable for the look, that value may hit a certain reflection that is only sampled once and there for produce a fairly inaccurate result. In indirect things get even worse as that value might be influence by other things like bounces from other lights, and SSS sampling, and self illumination etc.

This is very easy to understand if you watch a progressive render carefully. When things are extremely low quality, you will nice the render is extremely high contrast, lots of super bright pixels and super dark ones. As the renderer refines all those values slowly sort of blend together.

Typically solutions to fix, first if your renderer has the control, Ray clamping, Ray clamping and camera ray clamping can help a lot, then adding a subtle blur to hdri's or actually cleaning up or clamping an hdri, although part of the reason you'd have such a high value in an hdri is to achieve that strong directional lighting effect. Adding glossiness (roughness) can sometimes help if you are already doing a fairly high sampling, as it may not be purely sampling that is the issue, but the high contrast refleciton of that bright value.

One thing that you hear VFX lighters discuss when talking about renderers, is it's ability to manage/resolve noise and fireflies. If you want to see fireflies, Try Mantra. Its a great renderer in many respect but the hours I've wasted fighting fireflies has been painful.
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Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
 
  11 November 2016
Originally Posted by LucentDreams: Simply put, imagine throwing 100 darts simultaneously at a dart board. One is likely to hit that bullseye or miss the board entirely.

The challenge is that we are sampling. The more samples you do the less fireflies you have at the cost of speed. If you render high enough quality to have no noise at all, you'd have no fireflies too. The thing is that the causes of fireflies are extremely hot )bright/intense) values for one random sample. Where does that value come from can vary though. In my experience, the two key places to check or direct and indirect spec. If it's in direct spec than the two likely causes are a texture light/ibl, or a bad shader setting. Texture lights usually have a floating point texture, but we also adjust their brightness with a multiplier. if a texture like one that has a sun, has a super strong value and you multiply it, it's going to create a super intense value. Now while the value overall might be quite acceptable for the look, that value may hit a certain reflection that is only sampled once and there for produce a fairly inaccurate result. In indirect things get even worse as that value might be influence by other things like bounces from other lights, and SSS sampling, and self illumination etc.

This is very easy to understand if you watch a progressive render carefully. When things are extremely low quality, you will nice the render is extremely high contrast, lots of super bright pixels and super dark ones. As the renderer refines all those values slowly sort of blend together.

Typically solutions to fix, first if your renderer has the control, Ray clamping, Ray clamping and camera ray clamping can help a lot, then adding a subtle blur to hdri's or actually cleaning up or clamping an hdri, although part of the reason you'd have such a high value in an hdri is to achieve that strong directional lighting effect. Adding glossiness (roughness) can sometimes help if you are already doing a fairly high sampling, as it may not be purely sampling that is the issue, but the high contrast refleciton of that bright value.

One thing that you hear VFX lighters discuss when talking about renderers, is it's ability to manage/resolve noise and fireflies. If you want to see fireflies, Try Mantra. Its a great renderer in many respect but the hours I've wasted fighting fireflies has been painful.


Kai,

So color mapping, such as used in V-ray, is more for issues relating to the internal space of the rendering engine, and conversion back to sRGB? Or does color mapping play some role along with aliasing controls and the ray caster controls?

Interesting. If I had a spare life I would like to learn in greater detail.
 
  11 November 2016
The particles shots are impressive.The other stuff left a lot to be desired.
I supposed if you're looking for a more or less dedicated render engine for XP, this is awesome.

I've tried the alternatives and they haven't succeeded.

VRay: Handles the particles; Can't render them w/ motion blur.
Octane: Slow with anything involving volumes.
C4D: Can't fully take advantage of Xparticles, because it lack a point renderer.

I'm definitely willing to give this a shot.
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  11 November 2016
As pnoland mentioned above, you should judge Cycles on the massive amount of work that has been done over the last 5 years by Blender users. Don't base it on the Cycles4D one!

As a starting point, check out the Cycles demo reels done over the last few years:







Tangent Animation have recently released a full animated feature done completely in Blender and Cycles:



One of my fave pieces done in Blender/Cycles that shows a 100% cg Sean Bean:



You may notice, they are all firefly free As Kai covered, fireflies and noise are intrinsic to a pathtracer and it is up to the user to minimise or get rid of them. In Cycles in Blender, you can turn off caustics as well as bias the glossy samples to minimise fireflies...presumably the same options are in Cycles4d?

It is good to see Cycles finally released for C4D, as it is a very nice renderer with a lovely material system. I haven't tried Cycles4D yet (waiting for the demo), but from looking at the video, it seems that Insydium have done a great job, especially if you are an XP user. My main reason for wanting it is partly because I already know how to use it( also being a Blender user) as well as being continually frustrated with Octane C4D...mainly with the buginess of the C4D bridge and the terrible material system...No problems with the quality of its' output, but then you would have to try very hard to get crappy output from any of the pathtracers on the market!

A couple of things that do give me some pause about jumping into Cycles4D just yet is that Redshift for C4D is just about to drop, as well as the current limbo state of Blender development. Most C4D users wouldn't realise that Blender is a transitional state at the moment and this will effect Cycles development for the next year or so. They have only recently started working on the 2.8 version with big plans to revamp many aspects of it. This could take at least 6 months to a year for a beta to arrive, and although Cycles is its own development branch (and it is used by other commercial packages such as Poser), it is developed mainly as part of Blender itself. When Blender was in the 2.7x series, there was a new version every 4-5 months, but the 2.8 stable version will take much longer, which means any new stable Cycles features could be a good year out. Plus the time that it takes for Insydium to implement them in the bridge.

Having said that, if you are buying it for what it offers now, then Cycles is a mostly mature product. Octane users will find that the material system is much more powerful and logical than Octane, but Octane does have the advantage of the DirectLighting system and is general faster as a renderer (from my anecdotal experience). The quality is excellent on both, and in the end workflow preference is the king. I do think that Insydium should label the displacement feature as experimental, since it is actually hidden away in the current version of Blender, as it is not deemed "production reliable" just yet.

I am also of the opinion that Insydium are being somewhat mean with the number of render clients included with a license, considering it is an open source engine. Won't effect me, as I mainly use GPU rendering, but it could irk some.

One final link is to the Cycles roadmap with some very cool things coming up in the future, such as Disney BSDF, denoising and light groups. Cycles future is bright :

https://wiki.blender.org/index.php/.../Cycles/Roadmap
 
  11 November 2016
I grabbed a license today...mainly for XP work.

And the licensing works great for my GPU-centric approach...5 GPUs in 2 PC s
 
  11 November 2016
@Zendorf : I totally relate to everything you say.

Main selling point for me is XP integration, but in general I'm still waiting to see how Redshift and the new Vray will fare (+ Cycles4D demo obviously) before commiting to any of them.

The noise and fireflies in the webcast were pretty frightening at first ( I mean the guy has 4x970 ti or something and it still wouldn't resolve noise very well on a simple platonic and an hdr, what happened there?), but the XP demo really got me thinking. So I'm on the edge (as a specialist particle renderer?).

Noise and fireflies being intrinsically a problem for path tracers, I really thing that at some point, no matter how good your sampling algorithms are, all pathtracers should come with a denoiser like Renderman or Vray/altus. Nice to see that Cycles has one on the way. I'm pretty sure Solid Angle is working on one too.. (they already had a "blue noise filtering thing" in demo at some point I believe).

(Ironically, Poser's renderer (now based on cycles) used to be called firefly!!)

Previews are important, but final frame render time is too for me. With Octane (and only one mid-range card) or Arnold (and a sinlge workstation), that was my main gripe. It took seconds to be "almost there" and then "much longer" to be clean.

My other question mark is that Radeon Prorender (now licensed by Maxon) is going to be added in Blender too. I wonder if this might slow down cycles development if forces are split between the two (or benefit both if technologies can be shared...).

A few hundred euros isn't going to kill me, but I never like to bet on the wrong horse...
 
  11 November 2016
Originally Posted by EricM: @Zendorf : I totally relate to everything you say.

The noise and fireflies in the webcast were pretty frightening at first ( I mean the guy has 4x970 ti or something and it still wouldn't resolve noise very well on a simple platonic and an hdr, what happened there?), but the XP demo really got me thinking. So I'm on the edge (as a specialist particle renderer?).





Fireflies has nothing to do with complexity of a model.

So a platonic and an HDR, it could be the hdr is shite, it could be they aren't sample clamping, or they simply chose not to add enough samples, which would be unfortunate for the demo. If you were listening dureing that section though he talks about the hot pixels slider in Octane, which would be their dumbing down oif sample clamping which is what he immediately starts covering within cycles. Its the same way as we address them in Arnold, Prman, clarisse and Mantra.


Also, Blue noise is just another way of distributing the noise equidistant, it doesn't eliminate noise. I actually wish maxon would add blue noise as a distribution option in the cloner. It is soooo handy for object distribution although slower.
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Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
 
  11 November 2016
@EricM it is interesting to note that the longterm plan for Cycles is to integrate the denoising code alongside adaptive sampling for the pathtracer. This should enable some smart reusing of samples to gain a decent speedboost. Don't hold your breath though, as it won't be happening anytime soon!

By all accounts, Redshift is the fastest GPU renderer on the market, with lots of clever biasing options. I haven't tried it yet but am hankering for the C4D demo, which can't be far off. Having said that, I will be grabbing a Cycles4D license at some time in the next year because I really dig the Cycles material system and it should be fun to use alongside XP.
 
  11 November 2016
Originally Posted by LucentDreams: I actually wish maxon would add blue noise as a distribution option in the cloner. It is soooo handy for object distribution although slower.


You can sort of fake it with a high clone count and a Push Apart effector in Hide mode.
 
  11 November 2016
material system feedback

I am interested in opinions on the nodal material system in Cycles 4D. It looks a bit clunky to me but I have not used this kind of system before. If you want to share a file with a non-Cycles 4D user can the textures be easily converted?
 
  11 November 2016
Originally Posted by LonChaney: I am interested in opinions on the nodal material system in Cycles 4D. It looks a bit clunky to me but I have not used this kind of system before. If you want to share a file with a non-Cycles 4D user can the textures be easily converted?


Really? In the videos I saw it looked like one of the better ones I've seen so far.
__________________
Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
 
  11 November 2016
Absolutely! The node based material system in Cycles is one of the main drawcards of using it. It is both easy to use and powerful. For those that find nodes a turnoff, I guess that a material system like this will always be unpalatable. After fighting with the material system in both Vray and Octane in C4D, the node system in Cycles looks like welcome relief to me! The Arnold system also likes nice, but I have never tried it.

It is a shame that the Cycles4D devs didn't copy the way it works in Blender where you can setup materials either with the menu based system or nodes. The really clever thing is that you can start a basic material via the menu system and then auto convert this to nodes, which is convenient. Half the time you are just doing a basic fresnel mix of a glossy and diffuse shader, so you don't really have to delve into the nodes.
 
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