Which rendering software is right for you?

Mohsen Hashemi examines which render software might be best for your arch-viz stills, architectural animations, and commercial projects…

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Hello, a warm greeting and first of all, for more info about me and my background, I invite you to read my interview here. I’m sure it’s a common experience for all artists all around the world when sharing a nice album, there are many audiences that ask about render engines and which render engine you use. In the real world there are people that think the reason for a good render is the render engine, so I, as an architectural visualizer that sometimes does commercial projects and cartoons, will take a look at which renderers work best for my work.

Now I will divide my experiences on different project and separate the subjects as follows:

  • Architectural still frame
  • Architectural animation
  • Commercial project (product rendering)
  • Cartoon and game trailer

Finally, you will find it’s not so much the render engine you have to be concerned about, it’s your approach. And it’s the most important issue that I always raise to my students.

Architectural Still Frame

Here is the most famous subject for us in architectural visualization, and in different quantities most of us have the experience to work in this field. As time went on, I found this subject less and less difficult, avoiding for the kinds of error and setting as the render engines became more user friendly and easier to work with. I work with V-Ray, Corona Renderer and F-storm for arch-viz, and I find Corona is easier for evoking mood and creating lighting, and V-Ray best for PBR results. Also, if you have an applicable understanding for making realistic shaders and lighting behaviour, F-storm could really be an amazing tool for you.

Architectural Animation

So far I have made several architectural animations and my best results in terms of render time and setting is, for interior arch-viz animation; V-Ray. I always have less trouble working with V-Ray Adv especially when optimizing the light, textures and settings in 1920 x 1080. I can achieve a render time of about 6 minutes for each frame and here is the result for quality. (I used Ryzen 1700x , 32GB RAM).

For the exterior arch-viz animation, I found working with V-Ray RT with a simple setting best (all you have to do is make a nice lighting applicable denoise amount), and I will share with you part of the arch-viz animation I’ve recently done for my client. (I used only one 1080ti as GPU renderer and not the hybrid mode with CPU) and the render time for each frame was 5 minutes in 1920 x 1080.

Alborz Trade Center

Commericial Project (product rendering)

In some cases, for a commercial subject, the asset could be an object, or a scene, because the client could be a furniture designer or MDF or HPL provider, so depending on the demanded result, the render requirements could be different in terms of the quality, shaders, and lighting. Because some of the clients always love to see their product in an artistic environment, I absolutely recommend Corona Renderer because you can achieve 80% of the final result in the frame buffer image. Still, there are clients that prefer the clean sharp environment for their product and in this case I suggest both V-Ray and Corona because both of them have amazing results in this approach.

Cartoon and Game Trailer

Last but not least is my really recent experience of making trailers for animations and cartoons, which may change my future professional career from arch-viz to making movies. It’s about making a real shader for characters, in which I had a little experience, making armor and an environment for a vampire, and also doughy shaders for a game production.

This variety of shader is really joyful, and worked well with V-Ray with physical shaders and its vast access to huge types of materials, making the process very joyful and fun. And for animation, which is still in the progress, I will use V-Ray RT because the game environment is considered as open space, and I can play a lot with different kinds of lightings and simple settings. And here are some examples of what I’ve done on these projects; unfortunately the game trailer is not finished yet.

It’s always fun to work with different render engines and observe the pros and cons of them in different situations. But what is always obvious for me is, no render engine is the best and perfect. So, I’m not sure it is about  which render engine can achieve a perfect result, but more about the user and their approach.

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