Adaptive vs Unifield Sampling


Hi Guys

I think it’s time to replace the Adaptive Anti-Aliasing Technique in Maya 2012. The new Unifield Sampling is much faster. Look the 2 test pics for comparison:

Adaptive Sampling 42 sek:

Unifield Sampling 27 sek:

What’s Your experience?


That’s generally my experience. In fact, Unified will continue to improve.

You can see more details on how it’s working/thinking by looking here:

The diagnostics will help you get an idea of how to tune a scene. Which is much easier with a simple control knob.

There is an economy here. More complex scenes will benefit much more from Unified than regular adaptive. Simples scenes will render more quickly in regular adaptive in most cases.

This is because Unified is doing much more work in the background that regular adaptive was doing. But once you reach a level of complexity or tiny details in your scene, the benefit is very noticeable.


My workmate struggled today with a simple white room - full of mirrors and basically many edges. He had a nasty AA error (tiny little aliasing) which wouldn’t even go away with 1/3 so I suggested to try Unified Sampling and BAM - crisp and sharp render and I don’t think it took longer than with Adaptive. So far I’m very happy with it.


Did you render the grass with scanline off?

Admittedly I do have some issues where edges meet. In my line of work that doesn’t matter but I know some have remarked it can be a problem.

Depth of Field should be easier to render as well.


Thank for the infos.

One question: the rendering image are sharper with Unified, too sharp maybe that become flicker in animation ?


In theory it should flicker even less even if it’s sharp. The samples are placed so that it’s more likely to strike and resolve smaller details than regular adaptive.

And in motion you should turn on motion blur anyway. Unified samples are still adaptive over time and motion blur should be much faster.


Did you render the grass with scanline off?

How i set it off?


In your render settings there will be a dropdown box under features. Change it from Scanline to Raytracing.

You should be able to render more and faster. This is most noticeable with heavier scenes, motion blur, or lots of hair, etc.


Use the nice Arnold rendering engine the same Technique?
a lots Fur with raytracing for faster Rendering :wip:


No, Arnold uses a non-adaptive oversampler. It stochastically samples pixels at the same rate across the image.

Vray and mental ray use an adaptive approach. This means Vray and mental ray should converge faster than Arnold.

Vray and Arnold omit a scanline option and are always pure raytrace. mental ray should default to pure raytrace but for legacy reasons Autodesk makes it default to scanline primary rays.

Change that in the globals.


Pixar REYES algorithm become Competition.


REYES is rasterization. mental ray can already do that, but raytracing is becoming more desirable and capable. Eventually rasterization will go away I think.

REYES samples triangles where raytracers sample pixels. There are benefits to both, but more modern algorithms (like Unified) and better hardware have eroded the benefits of rasterization.

You may also be able to get away with fewer local samples using Unified like ambient occlusion etc and simply increase the quality parameter as a sort-of brute force way to get a better render. If you don’t care much about a render hit, you can tune an entire scene this way.


Thanks for all your support and testing of this feature, Bitter. I’m close to “closing” my own boss on Maya 2012, it looks like we can get some nice speed gains finally from MR, and I really look forward to exploring this new feature. Looks very cool!


Depending on the features you most need, I would say run the 30 day eval for a bit because some things work very well for VFX which is the primary market for these improvements.

But some changes will mean less for other markets. This is sort of an evolution towards more powerful and simple rendering. You’ll notice Builtin IBL and Unified now follow a simple “Quality” knob for control. BSP2 also needs no tuning. iRay path tracing means no tuning for lights or materials. But removing some of that control may impact performance in ways you might like less.

The first Hotfix is more valuable if it gets some fixes I want.


Since time (2-3 Maya versions) mental ray had signifient improvements (not integrated, as usual…)

Unified sampling is a very good one! Noise on renders is no more a prob with that (the noise is more “clean”). Progressive and IBL are very cool too! User Data Shader is promising but there is many probs for now (mainly very professional things like “AD forget to give a .mi file”…).

IMHO, for now, Maya 2012 is not very stable. You should wait the first service pack.

But you can get it and test to be ready for productions once all this bugs will be fixed. :beer:


After a few test later i can say sometimes it’s faster with Unifield and sometimes it’s slower than mr 3.8.
I think mr 3.9 work different than the previews versions. For example, fur with detail shadow map is generally way slower in mr 3.9. For the most rendering time 12 cores or less works from the 24 cores. I hope that will improve in the future.


Also I didn’t notice any improvements in rendertime when I used the lens_bokeh shader and Unified Sampling. Almost as slow… :shrug:


Also I didn’t notice any improvements in rendertime when I used the lens_bokeh shader and Unified Sampling. Almost as slow…

Lower the lens shader samples and let Unified do the work.

For example, fur with detail shadow map is generally way slower in mr 3.9

One of the reasons to use Unified is now you can raytrace fur/hair easier.


u mean I should really lower the Boke Samples? Because when I’m using a Bokeh map with an MR texture I need at least 16 samples to get red of the “dots”.

But ok, when I’m not using a map I should lower it to - let’s say 1 sample and turn up Unified?
I’ll try!


1 might be a little low. One advantage of Unified is that you can control those effects using the Unified Quality knob instead of individually tweaking shaders on objects.

It’s less efficient in some cases but easier to use.