Maybe I’m just being dense, but is C4D R9’s sub-poly displacement different in any real world way from displacing a HyperNURBS-subdivided model? I mean, as far as I can determine, “sub-poly displacement” seems like nothing more than a HyperNURBS subdivision list box that has been moved to the Material Editor. What is the difference, in practical terms, between putting a displacement map on a low-poly object with Sub-Poly displacement set to 4, and placing that same low-poly object in a HyperNURBS with render subdivisions set to 4?
I was curious, so I loaded up my standard Zbrush displacement test (Pixolator’s funky head) scene and tried rendering it in the R9 demo both ways. The first image places the low-poly object into a HyperNURBS with 4 subdivisions. The second image has no HyperNURBS, but uses sub-poly displacement in the material, with 4 subdivisions.
Visually, the difference between the renders is negligible. The sub-poly method seems to produce more noise and artifacts, but is also slightly more accurate in certain portions of the object geometry (the top of the ear, for instance). But both differences are so slight that you’d be hard pressed to notice them at all short of pasting one image on top of the other in Photoshop and switching back and forth between the two layers. The difference that DOES matter, at least to me, is render time: the sub-poly method took 23% longer to render than the HyperNURBS method.
So what am I missing? What is the advantage to using sub-poly displacement?