Inspire Render first thoughts

Everything related to Altair Inspire Render beta

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dbalex
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Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm

I'll put all my findings in this topic and I'll update it as I find and test more stuff. But I must say there is quite a lot that must be refined before making it usable in production.


Here are my first notes so far:

1. Opening scn.thea files is very, very slow

2. zoom is inverted

3. orbiting doesn’t stay level, you orbit on all axis > very weird and makes orbiting impossible

4. If you click on ‘render image’ it takes forever to start and makes the whole software unresponsive, like if it has crashed I tested it on my test scene and it takes exactly 1m14 seconds before even starting to render, this is waaaay too much for a dedicated render software, it should just start rendering almost instantly like in thea studio v1.5 if I remembre correctly. For a plugin inside a modelling app I can understand the need to export and all that takes time but for a dedicated external render studio this is really not normal and makes real world usage very unproductive.

5. can’t stop rendering while realtime rendering

6. can’t render image sequence for realtime rendering

7. First frame of realtime render is wonky, after that it’s ok

8. realtime preview looks nothing like the render:
Realtime preview quality is not on par to what we have in every other software on the market (blender, unreal, lumion, twinmotion, …) but even worse, it’s so bad it’s not even usable as a preview. See image below. Also Inspire Render should render pixel perfectly every scene that get's imported in it from a theaplugin. See the differences between the darkroom renders below.

test inspire.jpg


10. inverted textures are not supported

11. No way to work on materials: the material lab we have now is not something usable. I would say take the one from sketchup, or cinema 4D or the old one from studio v1.5 but reinventing the wheel for every app thearender is integrated in seems like counterproductive for me.

12. ...


I’m really sorry to say this but this software needs a lot more internal testing before releasing, this should be an alpha version, I wanted to dive in as you added animation support (thanks for listening :thumbup: ) but I’ll wait a couple of versions before taking the time again. This is really not very functional, maybe for small scenes but try to work on real archviz scenes imported from sketchup and you’ll soon realize all the quirks and bugs that make it not usable for the moment. All the scenes I import have bugs, like if the sketchup to inspire workflow was not tested before.


positive:

1. Love the camera list tab by the way, and the return home, very handy.
2. Looks like it can handle a lot of poly's, will have to test this more to be sure

It can be turned into something very powerful, it just needs a lot of tweaking and finetuning before
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panagiotis
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Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:23 am

Thank you for your review. We appreciate it. :clap:
claudio
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:07 pm

Thank you dbalex for the time you put into testing and reporting.
Here's my reply to (most of) your items:
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
2. zoom is inverted
3. orbiting doesn’t stay level, you orbit on all axis > very weird and makes orbiting impossible
That is a preference setting.
You can choose from a list of applications (there is SketchUp too) or configure each key combination as you like, see below:
Preferences - MouseControls.jpg
There are TWO orbiting keys in the default configuration:
  • Middle-click: free rotate (also called "arcball") that rotate on all axes.
  • Shift+Rightclick: also called "turntable" that does what you're looking for.
In particular, the option "Zoom in by wheel" specifies the direction of zoom.
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
5. can’t stop rendering while realtime rendering
Do you mean rendering an animation with RealTime?
It usually takes not much to render an entire animation, but we are going to add more in the whole animation environment in the future.
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
6. can’t render image sequence for realtime rendering
That's also going to be improved.
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
7. First frame of realtime render is wonky, after that it’s ok
What do you mean exactly?
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
8. realtime preview looks nothing like the render:
Realtime preview quality is not on par to what we have in every other software on the market (blender, unreal, lumion, twinmotion, …)
RealTime quality is very much related to material complexity.
As of now, RealTime only supports single layer materials with optional coating.
Also, some advanced materials properties are not yet supported.
The current Global Illumination solution is NOT ray-traced so it has limitations in indoor scenes, with complex indirect light. It works much better in outdoor scenes.

Overall, with properly defined scenes and materials, RealTime can be quite impressive as can be seen in the two animation demo videos.
You are certainly aware that working in real-time means doing a lot of tricks and compromises. This happens for every engine, even those you mentioned, where materials are much simpler than Thea's and fine-tuned to look ok.

However, we are going to work actively on this to improve RealTime support, including making use of RTX technology.
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
10. inverted textures are not supported
There is an "Invert" checkbox in the texture editing panel.
Or do you mean when importing .scn.thea files with inverted textures?
dbalex wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm
11. No way to work on materials: the material lab we have now is not something usable. I would say take the one from sketchup, or cinema 4D or the old one from studio v1.5 but reinventing the wheel for every app thearender is integrated in seems like counterproductive for me.
Can you elaborate more on that?
Our test shows that the material editor to be quite nice, and test subjects includes old time Thea users as well as other (non-Thea) users.
The reason why each Thea plugin has a different UI is because we need to integrate into the host application UI, style and user habits.
For the Inspire Render product, we have our own company UI style and we also worked to make it more usable for both casual and expert users.
If you could elaborate more on what it is that makes it unusable, we can work on it.

Thanks,
-Claudio
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:45 am

Render RT is working.
RT.jpg
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dbalex
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:19 pm

I'll respond to your long post when I have a bit less work Claudio :thumbup:

@foreignerxx: You're using interactive rendering, right? This one is working, I was talking about the realtime render, the new one.
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:34 pm

Here are two examples of scenes using default materials from the Material Library.
The images are intentionally NOT optimized for RealTime, just the same scene and the same materials rendered in Thea and RealTime.

The important goal we're pursuing is to seamlessly switch from one render to the other without having to customize anything.
RealTime for quick previews and demos, Thea for final production rendering.

Of course the quality of RealTime is not on-par with Thea, but hey.... We have an awesome renderer to keep up with, it's not an easy task at all! :lol:
MaterialBalls-Thea.jpg
MaterialBalls-RT.jpg
ClassicInterior-Thea.jpg
ClassicInterior-RT.jpg
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:23 pm

If you area after RTX realtime rendering, you'll eventually get close for sure.

For me, realtime would be better used for fast architectural presentations so, having something that would allow us to tweak it's rendering options, like exclusively ambient occlusion rendering, or exclusive direct lighting, or even material overrides like clay rendering, would be great.

I would also like to know if this realtime engine will be ported to Thea4SU, eventually.

That would be such a boost!
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Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:36 am

JQL wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:23 pm
I would also like to know if this realtime engine will be ported to Thea4SU, eventually.
As much as i would like this to happen, I wouldnt think it would though... what would be the USP for the standalone version ala Inspire Render then???
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Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:49 am

A standalone studio has it's own market not exclusive to sketchup.

Not many would buy Thea studio because of real-time render capabilities as you have other software for that like unreal, twinmotion, lumion, enscape, etc.

Thea4su purpose has been, since a long time, replicating all the features from Thea studio.

I don't know if it's possible, but if it would be I don't see a reason real-time wouldn't be ported. It would give an edge against competing SketchUp products, and there are a lot.
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