Maxwell alternative? >> FR2? >> AR2.5?

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Old 12 December 2005   #1
Maxwell alternative? >> FR2? >> AR2.5?

I know there has been a "Final Render2" thread and a "Final Render2 vs The Rest" thread, but those are now over 30 pages long, and full of LENGTHY "opinions", some of which are targeted at specific people or are just "bashful" remarks.
I just spent the last hour trying to cover both threads and found no real substance.
With the receant events with Maxwell, it seems that that product is off the list for now, at least for us "daily users" or simply for us Mac users, well, maybe even us all Cinema users, until a they have released which Im sure will be a very, very, good final product.

But for now, may I ask from all of you any thoughts on what a good render engine to use might be? Lets not get critical with "well it depends what you are doing", or "they all have their strengths and weakness"

I guess Ill restructure my question: How easy, in comparison to Advanced Render 2.5, is Final Render 2 to use? And secondly, with a "bridge" between software with the use of final render 2, how much learning does one have to face in order to get a seamless workflow with a cinema > final render setup? How much of your work in Cinema has to be recreated in Final Render 2.
Is it worth the money and time spent learning to get FR2?
I hope you see what Im trying to acheive here by this thread, hopfully short blunt awnsers from those with the experience.
I appreciate all your comments.

Last edited by howzit : 12 December 2005 at 06:50 AM.
Old 12 December 2005   #2
First off, is there even an OSX build of fR-2 yet? Might be but I'm not sure.

As to the other questions, well ... it depends. I think fR-2 is very worthwhile if you do a lot of GI renders, and particularly GI animations. In that regard it's quite a bit faster than AR. It also has very nice, fast motion blur (though there's a bug that needs fixing there). fR-2 also has bucket rendering, so if you have multiple computers and would like to be able to split up still images between them, that's a big plus. fR's integration with Cinema is quite stellar, but you would have to rework the lighting and probably the materials in your existing scenes to match your results from Cinema.

If the above doesn't set off your bells, you're probably better off with AR. I haven't done a lot of direct comparisons, but AR feels faster for non-GI renders, and the raytracing quality is every bit as good. AR has much deeper lighting controls and a more mature, if less flexible, material system. And of course AR works with all plugins and modules.
Old 12 December 2005   #3
Thanks Adam,
I have seen the comment about "less material flexability" here and there,
Seeing all the materials and stuff (finished works) posted here on the forums, what more flexability could one need? Ranging from bacterial/microscopic organism shaders through Sketch and Toon, plastics, gravel, plant life, glass and prisms, cloth, ceramics, and even fur, cinema materials seem to work. The only missing thing I can think of is photo real skin?

So on the score board so far, we have:

FR2 ::.........
1) Very very fast GI rendering capability

2) Vast material capabilities

3) Superb motion and depth blur

4) Bucket Rendering

For AR2.5 we have

AR2 ::.........
1) Very good ray tracing

2) Viably competetive speed with light rendering (non GI)

3) All modual compatability

4) Shallow learning curve

5) More lighting (actual lights themselves) functions/option

Old 12 December 2005   #4
yes, for me a merge of FRs GI, AA, MB, shadernodes with all the rest on AR would be a killer app.

the integreation of FR is very well, but AR still has some advatages.

as i said, just for me personal i would like to see cebas and cinema merge to one system. will not happen i guess, but lets see what c4d10 brings on the renderside, and maybe FR will be interated even more into c4d.

maxwell, might really take at least 6 mo nth more until it is a usable app. to bad as it does have potential.

Old 12 December 2005   #5
Originally Posted by howzit: For AR2.5 we have

AR2 ::.........
1) Very good ray tracing

2) Viably competetive speed with light rendering (non GI)

3) All modual compatability

4) Shallow learning curve

5) More lighting (actual lights themselves) functions/option

For your Information:
AR gives you the ability for GI, Caustics, Enhanced Glow, DOF, Ambient Occlusion, Subpolygon Displacement and SKY.
Raytracing and all Lightsource options are a part of CINEMA 4D!
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
-Isaac Asimov, Foundation
Old 12 December 2005   #6
Originally Posted by Monkey_03: For your Information:
AR gives you the ability for GI, Caustics, Enhanced Glow, DOF, Ambient Occlusion, Subpolygon Displacement and SKY.
Raytracing and all Lightsource options are a part of CINEMA 4D!

the limitations of DOF, glow, etc are much more limiting in AR though.

they are not seen in transparency, reflections etc but adding Zblur really beefs up the AR DOF comparison to FR a bit but FR DOF is REALLY excellent.

Dann Stubbs - Value Priced C4D, VRAY, Cycles4D Render Farm
Old 12 December 2005   #7
Originally Posted by howzit: Lets not get critical with "well it depends what you are doing", or "they all have their strengths and weakness"

I guess it depends on what you are...oh, sorry.

I agree with Adam, that the biggest reason to use fR2 is complex scene GI, especially animation. I haven't rendered an animation with it yet, but there are tools to make it a faster, better process. In fact, there is no usable method or mode in AR2.5 to produce GI animation. Maxon wants to pretend otherwise, but I can back that statement up with real experience in producing architectural animation. So I will have to test fR2 to be sure, but from what work I've done with it so far, it looks to be the solution I was loooking for.

There are some migration issues for rendering existing scenes in fR2. And that can be a PIA to deal with, but its nt all that bad, at least for my arch-vis work. However, any project I make from here on out will be easier since I know in advance what I'm up against.

I had to re-render a number of images last week with a few material changes on a building. I was trying to use fR2 instead of AR, but I was going to have to change too many alpha-channel'ed materials (one of those ways the renderers work differently) and learn how to do displacement in fR2. So I just used AR.

But while working I had a window rendered in a few sections, some with AR, the others with fR2, on the same screen. They looked remarkably similar. The fR2 one looked better because of smoother GI samples.

In short, if you do much with GI then go for fR2. People who do other types of work can speak to non-architectural uses.
Ernest Burden III
Acme Digital
Old 12 December 2005   #8
great, thanks for all your info.
just wanted to clear up one thing. So with FR2, the shading and texturing done in Cinema is just "blocking it out", becuase you have to redo it in FR2? Or is it more of the lights you have to redo? (which are less advanced than AR2.5)

basically, we have boiled it down to that fact that GI work is best handled by FR2 (for more than just speed, but also DOF e.t.c, e.t.c). My main concern is the translation of shaders and textures and lights, it seems, to me, that most of it has to be reassembled in FR2, and from the screen shots Iv seen, it looks like those node systems (Xpresso looking). So how come there is so much talk about "Tight Intergration" when it has to be redone (lighting and shading) again once in FR2.

Sorry for the questions, but I am not as advanced as most of you (you all seem to be high end users). And I am beggining to get good results with the Cinema shaders which are really easy to use. I am afraid of spending more sleepless months trying to figure out this node based shading system (in FR2). And although it seems render speeds on FR2 are awesome, would time spent trying to hook these node shaders up (and resetting lights) not negate the whole point; because what time was saved rendering in FR2 was infact used in resetting up the lights?

Maxon has spoiled us with ease of use, and once you get the hang of it you can work very quickly, so a new wierd looking system is a little intimidating for new users I guess is what Im trying to say. I can just see 1am with a dealine the next morning, "why wont this light work!!??" "i have hooked up all the NODES, but still no lights!!"

Old 12 December 2005   #9
fR 2 has very tight integration. The lights are identical apart from deep shadow maps, area lights and tinted falloff (so if you use area lights a lot then you'll be redoing your lighting far more than if you use omni's and spots).

The shading can be done using c4d's materials system if you want, and it supports a great deal of C4D's shaders, but there are some that aren't supported, so it depends what you're using as to whether you'll have to redo your materials (i believe there's a list somewhere of what is and isn't supported). Depending on your shading complexity etc many scenes will just require you to turn on fR and go. If you use the final render material instead then you'll use a node based materials system. This is slightly faster to evaluate during rendering than normal c4d materials in final render and is more flexible, however it is also harder to use.
The Third Party | Homepage | My Reel
"You need to know what you're doing before you start, and to start because you need what you're doing."
Old 12 December 2005   #10
Just to add that the documentation for fR's shader tree is rather lacking, and there aren't enough samples included to help you get started. Edwin has said they're working on more training materials and video tutorials, so hopefully that'll be addressed soon.
Old 12 December 2005   #11

I know that there has been a great deal of disappointment with Maxwell's renderer. But, I would like to keep it as an option until they get their act together.

1. Provided that Maxwell gets it together, has it's renderer been promising? I mean earlier versiion for c4d users?
2. I know that there are some who have and are using the latest version, how does it compare to FR?

Clearly, if Maxwell cleans up its latest version, the issue will not be quality for me. I've seen some remarkable stills with both, but the issue of SPEED will be an issue. I don't have multiple cpu's to my disposal (only 1 PIV) and would like to know which of these will give me the fastest renders on average. Also, how they render animations....

Any insight? Help?

Thanks all. Will need to make a decision by late january or early february to purchase.

Thank you.
St. Petersburg, FL

Last edited by soccerrprp : 12 December 2005 at 03:14 PM.
Old 12 December 2005   #12
Oops. Not thinking straight this morning.
St. Petersburg, FL

Last edited by soccerrprp : 12 December 2005 at 03:15 PM.
Old 12 December 2005   #13
Although GI seems to be the craze at the moment, it isn't why I got fR.

My attraction was :
1) a truly nodal material system
2) a seamless external render engine integrated within c4d
3) an extremely simple distributed render system

If you use fR or mental ray I think it gives you a better appreciation for what is going on for the render engine. You are basically 'programming' your materials. I personally don't particularly like the default material editor in cinema, so fR was a way for me to address that.

Regarding Maxwell... its in an entirely different league IMHO. What attracted me to Maxwell was its beautiful shadows and 'realistic' approach for lighting. Because it is entirely emitter based, adding bounce cards and such allows you to mimic real-world photography (not that you can't do that in AR, it seems a little more intuitive in MW). Also basing the materials off of brsf curves basically ensures you are mimicing known materials.
Old 12 December 2005   #14
Forgot something: if you do a lot of animation fR-2's motion blur could justify the purchase all by itself. It's really fast, really good, real 3d motion blur. Well, once the get a shadow bug fixed it will be.
Old 12 December 2005   #15
most definatley the render time for motion blur in AR is way too long.
If a way inhanced speed coupled with an ever better quality motion blur, then i agree that that alone could justify it
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