To finish our tough cases study we’ve used this famous scene from Thomas Anagnostou that he kindly gave away some years ago.
This scene traditionally requires dozens or even hundreds of hours to converge, and yet most engines are missing some light components (like the cyan/turquoise ray of light reflected inside the most-left prism). Arion doesn’t miss any components and converges this scene, almost noise-free, in just a few hours of computation with ONE computer*.
This is a really tough case for any raytracer. And Arion is no exception to this rule, as it is a difficult case for it too.
But in Arion v2.0.4 the combined forces of the spotlight feature, the power of multi-GPU rendering, and the brand new sampler, it is possible to get this render done with an amazing accuracy, and much faster than before.
In case that you wonder where that slight chromatic aberration in the fog is coming from: the ball is made of dispersive glass (abbe = 50) like it would be in reality.
Both images below were rendered for the same time on the same hardware. They really show that in such highly complex lighting situations the new sampler can help tremendously.
Click on the image to view it full size with raw unresized noise levels.
Here is another example of our new global illumination sampling strategy. It helps greatly to solve complex lighting situations. For the same rendertime as the regular sampler, less noise will be visible in the tough components such as dielectrics, sub-surface scattering, rough glass etc.
Both renders below were rendered for the same time on the same hardware and the same Arion build:
The rendering core keeps now a single spectral floating-point accumulation buffer that can be cast to any output bit-depth on demand. This has some nice implications that bring improvements over previous Arion builds:
– The MAX LIVE framebuffer is now floating-point and does not have any numerical precision loss due to gamma correction management.
– The auto-saves and final render saves from MAX LIVE and Arion stand-alone are now 16-bpp RGB instead of 8-bpp like before.
This all means better output quality and color restoration, which can be really important in post-processing/compositing.
Besides, we have resurrected support for OpenEXR, so now it is possible to use .exr texture maps and save renders in .exr. There will be more news about this (OpenEXR) soon.
We have been developing an alternative sampling approach in the background every now and then. In version v2.0.4 we are bringing it to Arion and MAX LIVE for free.
Although standard path tracing is faster in terms of raw speed, this new sampling technique is much more efficient with highly complex light paths such as caustics. It does not replace path tracing, but is an optional setting you can enable in those situations which need it. It will be highly appreciated by architectural visualizers as it can finally solve the infamous ‘pool caustics’ problem.
It’s the first time that this sampling technique is available in a commercial, fully-featured GPU rendering engine, and we hope you’ll appreciate it and use it to your advantage.
Here is a meaningful example of a situation that was impossible or ‘taking forever’ to render before: