Cycles now available



BTW website says demo ‘coming soon’


I wonder if Cycles will work with external GPUs - thinking of getting an iMac to work on and would love to have that option.

IIRC, Maxwell Render’s GPU solution does not work with external thunderbolt boxes and does not work on Mac at all.


What is going on in that demo reel? For instance, the sequence of the plane, all those dots?


The dreaded fireflies; it is a bit odd to include that sequence with the demo reel, as it does not instil confidence…

Hopefully just a bad render with not enough de-noising/subsampling…


Hmmm, I don’t see an option for X-Particles users to get the discount they had mentioned. The coupon code must be coming in an email at some point…


It is listed in the Discounts option on the Cycles 4D purchase page (xp15):




Seems to me that the best way to trigger bad memories among animators is to offer up such a huge number of fireflies as an example of what to expect from a render engine.


As much as Xparticles is a huge bonus and must have plugin for C4D, I am holding fire on Cycles until I get better ideas of render times and picture quality especially using Mac Pro hardware. Obviously OpenCL will be nowhere near as fast as Nvidia Cuda, but I really need some benchmarks before I take the plunge. The fireflies are cause for concern and especially in a promotional video but in my experience with Modo at least this can be negated if you use geometry to light your scenes rather than lights. Counter intuitive I know but I have found this to be the case. Either that or lights just get masses of rays which ups the render times. Also as much as viewport feedback is vitally important and has become commonplace for many, I need to get ideas of render times especially for animation. No point in having a fast viewport if the render takes 5 mins a frame and you only have a single machine. I know I am asking a lot but for my work I need something fast and high quality. This is why recently due to faster turnaround times I have moved over to rendering with Element3D in After Effects. Yes it’s no Arnold but the speed and quality you can get out of it for Broadcast work is a big selling point. Coupled with Substance Painter the PBR workflow for me at least is the way I would like to see C4D heading. But that’s a whole other story.

If any of the Beta testers have Mac Pro specific render times, optimisations, anything to give us an idea of what we can expect with our rigs that would be great.


I gotta believe the fireflies thing was an oversight when adding that clip to the reel, that it was the artist’s error in setting something up rather than a limitation of the product. That said, if there are other examples like this from when showcasing samples, maybe it is a thing.

The good news is I think those guys are pretty quick about updating (what in this context we’d now call) the Cycles “core” so we’ll see. I’m still tempted to buy this puppy and try it out (waiting for Toolfarm to offer it on their secure cart page).

Still not 100% clear on how the maintenance thing works. Are they saying if you don’t buy that and a release comes out 6 months from now, you’d have to pay a full upgrade fee basically? That would go against their normal practices with XP but seems like nothing stays the same anymore when it comes to software licensing.


I adore x-particles and the price of this is trivial— but man, I hate Fireflies.

Several other scenes seem quite noisy.


(you can only be offline for 30 days).

Or what,my license invalidates?


Only the local license, as with X-Particles it will then ask you to connect to the internet to verify your license. Once done, it can go offline again.


When is the demo coming out? keen to try this engine.


Fireflies are an inherent problem with pathtracers. Arnold requires fighting fireflies a lot too ws does renderman and clarisse.


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.


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.



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.



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.