Arion voxelization major speed upgrade

The next version of Arion will feature a brand-new, coded from scratch voxelization (warm-up) engine that saves a lot of time for your rendering jobs. The gain is even more dramatic during an animation as each frame benefits from that improvement.

It also features a new voxelization disk cache that makes the warm-up of scenes almost instantaneous as long as the geometry remains unchanged. This improvement is quite dramatic for fly-by animations, where only the camera moves, or when rendering repetitive tests where only the camera or the materials are changed.

And if that was not already fantastic in itself, the new voxelization routines render faster than before in almost every scene.

See it by yourself in the chart below:

scene Triangles 1.6.0 vox. time 2.0.0 vox. time 1.6.0 RAM usage 2.0.0 RAM usage 1.6.0 rendertime (seconds) 2.0.0 rendertime (seconds) Thumbnail
Fairy forest 174.117 1.3 s 0.2 s 170 170 146.9 121.9
Audi R8 2.759.052 10.0 s 4.2 s 890 820 50.2 31.6
Sibenik cathedral 78.760 0.5 s 0.1 s 90 80 109.3 126.7
Factory car model 12.000.682 61.0 s 17.8 s 2420 2120 36.5 24.6
Enterrador 1.095.592 4.9 s 1.9 s 270 220 126.9 82.6
Prairie 5.568.808 28.8 s 10.1 s 1100 1000 659.8 280
red = slower green = faster blue = tie
Sibenik cathedral model copyright Marko Dabrovic
Enterrador model copyright Jose Manuel Linares
Fairy forest model copyright nVidia

.rcs load times improved (stand-alone)

Arion 2.0 features a very efficient disk I/O cache that speeds up .rcs load times significantly.

scene Triangles 1.6.0 .rcs load time 2.0.0 .rcs load time Thumbnail
Fairy forest 174.117 2.0 s 2.0 s
Audi R8 2.759.052 8.3 s 4.2 s
Sibenik cathedral 78.760 0.2 s 0.1 s
Factory car model 12.000.682 35.6 s 12.8 s
Enterrador 1.095.592 2.9 s 2.2 s
Prairie 5.568.808 18.1 s 6.1 s
red = slower green = faster blue = tie
Sibenik cathedral model copyright Marko Dabrovic
Enterrador model copyright Jose Manuel Linares
Fairy forest model copyright nVidia

Full motion blur in Arion 2.0

The upcoming Arion release, which we can officially say now will be Arion 2.0, supports all sorts of real camera and object motion blur.

Thanks to the LIVE plugins, Arion 2.0 can be thought of as a fully-fledged hyper-realistic and very fast animation render engine. Actually, animation is one of the areas where we have focused most of our attention during the development of Arion 2.0.

You can read about our new motion blur in The Arion Knowledge Base, which is the new compilation of documentation for Arion and the LIVE plugins that we’ve been working on lately.

Motion-blurred Megatron by Luima Morillo

The new motion blur in Arion 2.0 supports both pivot-based and deformation motion. Remarkably, it is built-in to the roots of the engine so deeply, that all the other features in the engine get motion-blurred naturally. For example, you can have motion-blurred instances, motion-blurred emitters, …

But the best of all: it renders very fast and, like everything else in Arion, is supported by both the GPU and the CPU cores.

Instancing

Because memory economy is one of the most important aspects in production rendering, RandomControl is proud to announce the introduction of geometry instancing for the first time ever in a hybrid GPU/CPU render engine.

Our state-of-the-art implementation of geometry instancing runs at an incredible speed on both the CPU and the GPU. Actually, for scenes without heavy mutual intersections, instancing runs as fast as if instancing was not being used.

Instancing in Arion supports all sorts of arbitrary affine transformations (i.e., position, rotation, scaling, shear, axis flipping, …).

Particle Flow and point clouds support with 3D Studio Max

Arion’s MAX LIVE supports 3dsMax native instanced copies but, more importantly, it supports point cloud data through Particle Flow. This allows you to comfortably scatter objects in your scene, while keeping the memory usage almost as low as if only the source object was being rendered.

Easily scatter any number of instances in MAX LIVE with Particle Flow.

Photometric light data (IES) and spotlights

Arion now supports IES photometric data profiles right from the emitter material properties. This new feature is compatible with existing .RCS and .FRY scenes as an IES map can be set anytime for an existing emitter.

With the new Arion it will not longer be necessary to model complex spotlight housings (which lead to unnecessarily noisy indirect lighting) to recreate the usually complex caustic patterns caused by light fixtures and wallwashers. Load an IES file (or even a custom gradient map) anytime, and there you go!

And to become a definitive time saver, you also get a 2D preview of your IES file and the light pattern it will produce in Arion’s Map Editor.

From left to right: Standard emitter, cone spotlight, cone spotlight with narrowed focus, frustum spotlight, frustum spotlight with narrowed focus, gradient mapping, IES emitter, projector map.

Additionally, Arion’s emitters have raised the bar beyond support for IES profiles by allowing you to define a geometric shape for light spread. You can for example select a cone or a frustum and define the emission angle (hotspot and falloff).

And there’s even more. Arion emitters support projection maps now. With them you can efficiently simulate light projectors, light passing through stained glass, obstructed emitters, etc…

All these unique features in the world of GPU acceleration not only provide much more comfort when defining a light setup, but also lead to a significant reduction in terms of noise and much faster render times. Now it is not necessary for you to make complicated geometrical constructs for your housings, and neither it is for the engine to compute those extra light bounces that would be necessary to focus light emission otherwise.

Support for nVidia’s Kepler architecture in Arion and our upcoming LIVE plugins

We are pleased to announce the inclusion in the Arion code of a Kepler-specific branch, effectively providing explicit support for Kepler graphics cards. Arion, and also our upcoming Arion-based MAX LIVE plug-in now support computing capabilities sm_10, sm_20 and sm_30, ranging from the old GeForce 9xxx cards to the newest Kepler models available.

We expect to release a new version of Arion (v1.6.5) very soon, so users can benefit from this upgrade and some other core fixes.

Thank you for reading.

Arion 1.6.0 gymkhana – From a raw model to a photorealistic render

This video tutorial shows the basics of the most important workflow features of Arion 1.6.0 in a complete session recording using a raw .OBJ file.

Please refer to the help panel inside the application (click on the “?” button) if you need information about the shortcuts to use the software. It’s pretty straightforward!

Thank you very much for watching.

New Participating Media (fog) video tutorial

This RandomControl Arion tutorial explains how to use the Participating Media (fog) features.
Please fullscreen the video and use at least 720p resolution to correctly see the settings.

Get the file arion_fog_start.rcs here: http://www.randomcontrol.com/downloads/tutorials/rcs/arion_fog_start.rcs

Underwater caustics with RandomControl technology

The new RandomControl BRDF material technology, which as been introduced in Arion 1.5.0, is a technical and mathematical achievement. This image above that uses very small directional spotlights to lit the scene has been rendered in Arion using ‘simple’ unidirectional path tracing in a little over 3 hours of render time. This may sounds like a lot, but for an unbiased rendering engine, it’s a fraction of what any other engine on the market is capable of.

Now I’m letting you imagine what fryrender will be able to do with that technology in bidirectional path tracing!