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Redshift Impressions


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More in my series of Renderer R&D (more like ADD :wackywink:).  This time, with the Redshift alpha.  

I have to say, so far this is my favorite third-party renderer (with Cycles4D a very close second). It still has a few things that are missing, but again, it is in alpha and the Redshift team seems very responsive to issues and requests (as long as they're reasonable).  It is mind-blowingly fast, and the automatic out-of-core switch (i.e., starts using computer RAM once VRAM is exhausted) is absolutely brilliant.  

Really, really excited to continue experimenting with it, but I feel like between this and Cycles4D, my rendering toolkit might be complete. 



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19 minutes ago, SIgor said:

Great looking renders, thanks for sharing. How complicated are those materials to make? 

Thank you! 

It's no more complicated than with any other node-based systems.  Each system has its own quirks in workflow but for the most part, it's all  pretty much similar across the board.  If I were to compare it to another renderer, I'd say Arnold is the closest match.  They both use Xpresso as their shader node environment, which can be a plus (or a minus, depending on how you feel about Xpresso).   

There are a few weird things, especially related to scaling (for example, some of the shaders and light scales sometimes require you work in the .0001 or 1000 ranges), so once they take care of that, I think it'll make things a lot easier.  

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I'm using redshift on a job for the first time and I love it. I've got cycles as well, and I usually use Octane. For anything glassy / specular / refractive then redshift wins in a huge way, it's just so fast. Cycles is the winner for anything xparticles related (and the volume shading is awesome) but it's a bit slow I find. Octane is my preference purely for the look, I think it makes the nicest pics straight out of the renderer. A simple light and a white material and octane makes you look like a genius. However as soon as you've got specular materials, anything with hotspots.. octane takes ages to render.

Sigor - I know what you mean about nodal materials, or workflow in general. I could never get that comfortable using Nuke as a compositor for example, I much preferred AE and layers. Redshift has a nodal interface that looks like Xpresso (if that appeals to you), cycles and Octane have their own versions. Cycles (to me) is the most complicated but also possibly the deepest.

Redshift offers a lot of control over optimisation, and it's a bit like Vray in that if you know what number to make 0.5 instead of 2 suddenly your render will be way quicker.. Personally I hate having to swim through heaps of settings to make a render work. I love octane because it's super simple - but that can work to it's detriment as well when you want to speed things up.

Anyway, nice work on these tests Nerv! Keep em up..

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Thanks @grain

@SIgor I totally get it.  For the longest time, I hated nodal workflows.  And I still do in certain respects (I'm TERRIFIED of Houdini for example).  But for materials it's started to make sense. I think there's something very powerful in being able to send a single pattern, texture, color, effect, etc. to multiple nodes, and have them all update procedurally at the same time, as opposed to having to update each channel separately each time you want to make a change.   It does shave off a lot of time when doing look dev.  Plus it allows for special tricks.  

Yes, there's a learning curve at first, but once you get past the initial transitional pains, I think the payoff is great.  


For what it's worth, at least Redshift gives you a handful of "ubershader"-like materials to start with.  So if you just want to use a standard material, or a car paint material, or skin material, or hair material, etc. - each with their respective parameters - and you don't have any intent to add any special patterns, noises, effects, etc. you may never even have to dive into nodes.  That's a big plus. 

Cycles4D requires more work.  You really have to build your materials from the ground up.  But it does allow for much deeper interaction between parameters.  For example, the way you can just play with volumes like with any other shader is absolutely brilliant.  No other renderer (in my experience) does that.  And, of course, the integration with X-particles is unbeatable (helps that both are made by the same people). These two facts make it worth the (very low) price tag.


I do have a special place in my heart for C4D's native channel flow, which is why I was excited about Corona.  I think they're just missing the mark by ignoring things such as point / particle rendering, and HAIR!  What kind of arch-vis-oriented renderer doesn't do hair (i.e. grass)?  

That said, the prospect of them getting it together and providing a fully-featured renderer is exciting.  It also makes me excited about what Maxon might be able to do with ProRender.   


At this point, though, it might be too late. I feel like I'm in too deep now with nodal flows, so going back to channels may eventually feel like a downgrade.  We'll see. 

Maybe now it's also time for me to give Houdini another shot.  :shudder: 

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A little off-brand for me, but I was somewhat inspired by the Realistic Rendering webinar thread and decided to take a stab at a car render in Redshift.   Decided to go a little old school and use a model of my favorite childhood car: the Lamborghini Countach.  I think it offers a good combination of curves and angular edges for specular and shadow work. 

The car model is from CGTrader. Materials were made from scratch in C4D + Redshift.  

It's missing a few things, like logos on the car and on the tire sidewalls, but I think the point comes across.   I could have also "grunged" the car up a little bit, but decided to go for new and squeaky-clean instead.  

Took about 20 minutes to render on a single GTX 1070.    


First image is straight from the Picture Viewer.  No post. 



Second one is with some light post work in Photoshop.  



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On 2/22/2017 at 4:10 PM, SIgor said:

I dont know why, but I dont like node based stuff. I dont enjoy it at all. But who knows, maybe RS changes my mind once is out and ready to be tested. :)

Well, it's like using for the first time a pen with a tablet instead of a mouse. Hard for a couple of hours, but when you get to use it, you don't want to go back.





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13 hours ago, virtualzapp said:

Well, it's like using for the first time a pen with a tablet instead of a mouse. Hard for a couple of hours, but when you get to use it, you don't want to go back.





Maybe I will give it a try once RS is out! :)

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It's not without its quirks.  Like, for example mapping certain procedural noise patterns has been sort of a nightmarish experience.  Sometimes it'll work perfectly in tune with texture tags.  Other times the texture tags seem to have no effect (especially when trying to change projection types).   Makes mapping bump and displacement a guessing game.  

Here's one from tonight.  Far from what I originally intended, but following a long exercise in frustration as outlined above, I decided to just get rid of everything and strip it down to the bare essentials.  

Le sigh... I need to go to bed now.  



It did render out in like a blink of an eye, though.  


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