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Render Performance Test Thread revisited (Vray)


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#1 R2D2

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 05:50 AM

So for the fun of it, open this file :

 

ftp://ftp.formz.com/pub/formz/formz/fz8/Forum_Files/Performance%20Test%20files.zip

 

Go to Vray settings, "render output" and set to widescreen 1920/1080.

Go to "raytrace" and set a time limit of 3.

Hit render and keep "vray base settings" in the preset pop-up selected.

...wait 3 min. 

 

 

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#2 Tech

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 11:39 PM

R2D2,

 

Can you share your opinion of the results and performance that you experienced with V-Ray for formZ? Are you happy with the quality of the image? Are you  happy with the performance as compared to other solutions you have tried on your machine?

 

Thanks!



#3 R2D2

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 04:41 AM

My Point was to compare Vray to Renderzone, to get a feeling of how they compare in time and quality, given a standard file.
So (I forgot to mention, sorry) also running the rendering in Renderzone for 3 minutes and comparing the two results.
(Before doing so, set image size for Renderzone to 1920/1080)

For me:
- 3 minutes with cpu only in vray produces an image that already looks much better than what I get out of renderzone.
- Renderzone does not even finish in 3 minutes - roughly needs 5 minutes and the image of course is the same quality we rendered out years ago.
- Adding the GTX cards for gpu/cpu hybrid rendering the result in Vray is a lot cleaner within the three minutes.

Of corse if using Gtx cards and Cpu one can see how many samples per pixel you get in vray in 3 minutes, check the output window.
(Where it says „sampling level reached: 271“, see image above. But this was not meant as a geek-scoring thread.)

So finally: rendering inside FormZ using Vray can be x-times as fast as RenderZone, and produce quality that is up to date while being (not yet but almost) fully integrated in FormZ.

Edited by R2D2, 28 December 2017 - 04:42 AM.


#4 Andrew West

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 08:41 PM

I had no interest in comparing Vray to Renderzone any more than I would compare a new Tesla to an old Ford wagon.  Sorry for the bad analogy.  However, I am currently comparing Maxwell to Vray as that makes a lot more sense.   I have been using Maxwell for about 3 years now so I am pretty familiar with it.  There was a pretty steep learning curve at first and a lot of watching tutorials about secret tips and tricks that were less than obvious.  Maxwell is a fantastic program if you know what you are doing and have A LOT OF TIME to wait for a decent render.  I might add that the investment in hardware and render farms can be a bit steep as well.  Over the last few years it has become faster and easier to use.  So now that Vray is almost here I thought I would put the two side by side on a decent size project and then check results. 

First off I find that once you know Maxwell or another stand alone engine it is always easier to learn another one if they approach lighting and materials in the same manner.  Vray is somewhat similar so it was only a few hours of poking around before I got up to speed.  If you are unfamiliar with how these programs work it might take quite a bit longer.

Next off is how well integrated the two programs are within Form.z.  They both have a tendency to crash the program from time to time but I have yet to really figure out whether it is Form.z that is causing the issue or the engines.  Clicking on lights too quickly or moving too fast in general can lead all sorts of problems.  So save often and get a good SSD to speed things up.  The material palette in Maxwell is better integrated and more intuitive but Vray is still a work in progress at this point.  There are a lot of little glitches in Vrays materials and some of the settings make no sense and have no real reference in the real world that I can determine.  However, the real strength of an integrated render engine is how well it takes the materials you set up in Form.z and converts them over.  Both programs do an excellent job with a slight advantage to Maxwell as they have had more time to work out the bugs and interface.  One big difference in the future will be the fact that there are so many materials that are already created for Vray.  Maxwell has a fair number of materials on the Next Limit website but every year that list gets smaller and smaller for some bizarre reason.  For me I tend to create my own materials so it doesn't matter as much.  I did read recently that using old materials from previous versions of Vray can cause a lot of performance issues but I have not yet tested that out. 

As for lighting that is where things get interesting.  Maxwell has never been quite as easy as they claim when it comes to converting native Form.z lights.  In fact it has never worked for  me so I always create my own Maxwell lights.  The best features of both programs is the ability to use HDRI images for scene lighting as that adds the most realism.  In fact that is what I have spent the last two days exploring with Vray.  For some reason Maxwell just handles HDRI illumination much better and I have yet to find out why.  I know that Vray users use this technique all the time so maybe I am still missing something important.  The other great lighting feature is the ability to use emitters.  Here Maxwell has a distinct advantage as emitters work wonderfully whereas in Vray they don't seem to have much of an effect at all.  The settings are way off of real world values and the sliders make no sense (to me). Both programs allow you to create hidden box or mesh lights that can add illumination in areas in the same way photographers bounce light around a room to evenly illuminate it.  One thing that Vray needs badly is some sort of shadow control for its sun light.  It only creates hard shadows at this time which is unfortunate since the sun renders faster. Perhaps they are working on that.

 

Now for the kicker: TIME vs QUALITY.  I did a test render on both programs and while the images are both acceptable they are both very different.  I find that the Maxwell image has more atmosphere due to the better use of the HDRI light and it was easier to control.  However, the Vray image rendered out to a similar quality took 14 minutes.  The Maxwell image took 8 hours and 7 minutes.  These were both at fairly low res by my standards.  Both are attached to compare. Neither of them are close to what I would consider finished pieces.

 

So here is my take on this so far:

Maxwell has been around a lot longer within Form.z and has most of the bugs worked out.  It has a slightly better material editor once you know how to use it and better control over certain types of lighting for now. It is also impossibly slow but getting a little better.

Vray is a work in progress still and has some issues to work out before I would consider it for a mission critical project.  It gives very acceptable results in a fraction of the time.  I am sure that once I spend more time with it I could get very similar results to Maxwell.

 

Final conclusion: I personally have been waiting for Vray for over ten years since it was first suggested as an addition to Form.z.  It looks like the wait is almost over.  There is no such thing as a perfect piece of software and I know they will work this out over time. The time savings and acceptable results of Vray are well worth it in order to stay competitive in this field. 

 

I will post more as I more familiar with Vray.

AW

 

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#5 R2D2

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:07 AM

This was not meant to be about „whats the best rendering engine“.
But the car analogy is not so bad. FormZ has had the RenderZone engine integrated, now it has a revamped new engine integrated.
But it will still be one car.
Speaking about Ford to Tesla sure you can not just add 1000 Batteries to a Ford to make it a Tesla.
Thats been a weakness of maxwell when I tried it and gave up after a while, all the extra lights, msi, mxm, mxs files and finally still rendering for hours in extra maxwellrender app to get a decent preview. No doubt maxwell can produce fantastic quality - it just needs too much time to get there.
Thearender was great but not as good regarding integration as Vray already is. (Thea rendering even felt a bit faster)
For me handling the whole car being „one thing“ outweighs the (if that holds up, I dont know) extra quality maxwell „can“ produce.
My guess is this will also be important for new users interested in buying a FordZ too.
Back to comparing I ´d be interested to see what maxwell does in 3minutes out of „open and render“ the sample file.

#6 Andyb

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 03:42 PM

The time difference between maxwell and vray is really alarming to me, wow!

 

As a maxwell user I'm finding it really hard not to switch. I'm just not convinced that vray will stick around, I mean, I must of seen about 3 vray images on this site. I had expected to see a lot more pretty images that would sway me.

 

Do you have any more comparisons or finished images, Andrew? or anyone else?



#7 Smarttec

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 12:52 AM

In this test between Maxwell & Vray. I notice a different kind of warmth to the Maxwell vs Vray exposure but there is significant 'noise' in the Maxwell one. Did you use the 'Denoiser' in Maxwell Render 4?

For that matter did you use the 'Denoiser' in Vray?

Rob



#8 Andrew West

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:34 PM

Rob

I have tried repeatedly to use the Denoiser effect in Maxwell but it destroys my image.  In particular it blurs my wood texture maps on my furniture and turns the stone pattern to something resembling melted plastic.  So that effect only really works on smooth objects without maps.  In Vray the denoiser works as expected and it helps the image a lot.  You are correct that the Maxwell image is warmer and has more atmosphere.  As stated previously the environment light in Vray is  not quite working as expected.   I hope they get that figured out since I use it a lot. 

The lack of images on this site is due to the fact that they have been working out a lot of issues with the software.  No one has been producing finished renderings en mass yet.  I aim to correct that shortly as I have 12 images that I have set up in Vray and can output a few tests soon. Just need to work out a few issues first.   I will keep you posted.

Andrew


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#9 Andyb

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:49 PM

Andrew

 

I have also had problems with the Maxwell denoiser. I find that I need to get a high SL level (say 15-18) and the denoiser on top of that just cleans it up a little further, stop at SL 15 for example and the finished render will be around SL 18. I don't see it as a time saver really. Although I'm a total noob. 



#10 Andrew West

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 03:31 PM

I think it is a time saver if you do certain types of work.  Like product and automotive.  If you use a lot of texture maps it doesn't help.  Vray on the other hand uses it quite well.  I am getting really smooth noise free images in about 7 minutes compared to 8 to 9 hours with Maxwell. 



#11 Andyb

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 07:02 AM

That time difference can not be ignored. 



#12 nano

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 07:22 PM

The difference in the images you provide (Andrew) is interesting - i specifically note the reflections in the windows and the added suspended lights & skirting board detail in the Vray image.

 

With the type of work i do the renderzone images have been adequate for me but very slow to get more complex scenes working (for more complex detailed objects i can just transfer the objects into another render system.)

But the significant speed of VRay and the consequent through-put seems a huge boost to using formz.

The vray system needs more integration into formZ but seems pretty good so far for v.1 - and assuming the obvious range of bugs and crashes expected at this stage it still seems to me to be a huge step forward in rendering quality v time..

 


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#13 Smarttec

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 08:12 PM

Rob

I have tried repeatedly to use the Denoiser effect in Maxwell but it destroys my image.  In particular it blurs my wood texture maps on my furniture and turns the stone pattern to something resembling melted plastic.  So that effect only really works on smooth objects without maps.  In Vray the denoiser works as expected and it helps the image a lot.  You are correct that the Maxwell image is warmer and has more atmosphere.  As stated previously the environment light in Vray is  not quite working as expected.   I hope they get that figured out since I use it a lot. 

The lack of images on this site is due to the fact that they have been working out a lot of issues with the software.  No one has been producing finished renderings en mass yet.  I aim to correct that shortly as I have 12 images that I have set up in Vray and can output a few tests soon. Just need to work out a few issues first.   I will keep you posted.

Andrew

 

Your probably right I know there has been some issues with the current v4 Denoiser and I have been in discussion about those comparative renders ( Maxwell vs Vray ) and about the Denoiser with a person with considerable experience with particularly Maxwell Render as well a Vray and he made the following comments;

 

About this user, you can reply to him that there are really two bugs with the Maxwell  denoiser right now. One is an outright bug, the other is more a bad implementation because they don't (yet) give us control over how heavy we want the denoising to be.

The bug is easy to get around. You can tell him to simply press the "Re-denoise" button in Maxwell Render, after the render is finished and has already denoised the render once. Let the denoiser run again, and he should get a much less smeared render.

About render times, I can say that his final Vray render will not take 14 minutes, or close to that. In his scene, what he should do first of all (for both Maxwell and Vray) is to create more realistic materials that have reflections. Almost every real world material has a bit of reflectivity, especially the wooden table, the dark painted (what looks like) metal beams, the floor, the ceiling, the window sills...everything. Once he has finalized the materials, he should run another test in Vray with settings that don't make the reflections look noisy, or blur the definition of shadows too much. Of course it will be faster than Maxwell but not by such a huge margin. He could get a very similar test render with Vray for this scene in 3 minutes if he wanted.

 

Once Maxwell has MultiGPU, additive materials work on GPU and the denoiser issues are fixed, I think people will take another look at Maxwell. There is no other renderer that is as good out of the box at archviz, jewelry and product design, and even VFX. An interior archviz render like this example should only need about SL (Sampling Level) 13 (which is actually rendered twice, the denoiser works by comparing noise in two different images), and then the denoiser does the rest. A typical interior render needs about SL 18 to have acceptable noise (which would still need a bit of denoising in Photoshop), SL 14 is reached approx. 16X faster because each SL level takes twice as long to reach as the previous one (SL 13 rendered twice is equal to rendering something to SL 14, time wise).

So a good working denoiser means already about 16X faster render + you can buy a box of 4 GPUs for about the same price as a high end computer, and in my tests so far the GPU renders even a complex interior about 3X faster than on my CPU, thus 4 extra GPUs would get me 12X faster renders + 16X faster from the denoiser - around 28X faster rendering, for a relatively small investment.

Regarding the Maxwell material library, there are fewer materials there now because it has been curated by NL staff so that only good materials are left and also those that have proper textures.

 

I know 



#14 Andrew West

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:20 PM

In response to the advice above.  Whenever possible I try to create my own Maxwell and Vray materials and give them reflective quality if the client asks for that.  Always a time consuming process collecting all the materials for a particular architectural project and creating new materials for it.  Then the client makes numerous changes and color adjustments along the way.  It would be so helpful if both Maxwell and Vray played nice with Form.z in the material palette.  That still isn't the case yet.

After three years of using Maxwell exclusively I still have not found a way to speed up the render process significantly.  I have read all the tips and tricks concerning materials and render settings.  I have invested $6000 into a high end machine and another $800 into a good graphics card.  In the end I still find that my renders take overnight at best.  Do I like the Maxwell image more?  Absolutely.  Can I wait 8 to 12 hours for a decent render? Absolutely not.  My clients make constant changes to these images and I need a render engine that can adapt to those requests and spit out something presentable in under 15 minutes.  Enter V-ray.  Now if we can just get the bugs worked out all will be well.

 

PS.  The GPU render solution for maxwell is still limited in resolution so it is not an option to increase speed.  Unless of course I am missing an update on that.


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#15 Andrew West

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:46 PM

12 minute test render with 5 minutes of Photoshop post process. 

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#16 Jaakko

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:26 PM

I agree with Andrew. The material palette could work better, be more robust and faster.

15 min per picture (fairly complex interior) is still acceptable.






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