View Full Version : Third Party Render Engines

04-12-2007, 09:15 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions for 3rd party render engines for Lightwave? Maxwell looks good, but I would rather hear from people who've been using things before I make my call.


04-12-2007, 09:28 AM
What are you looking for in the render engine?

04-12-2007, 09:31 AM
Something fast, but that doesn't require me to learn to code to use it. Basically I need to be able to use relatively high GI settings, but not take hours to render something of print quality.

04-12-2007, 09:32 AM
Kray is supposed to be a very fast engine for Lightwave. I've seen some impressive results with it, but I haven't tried it myself

04-12-2007, 09:48 AM
I have Kray and its lightningly fast with GI. It is also very flexible in its setup though it takes a little effort to learn it settings.

I don't know maxell personaly but I've heard Kray is faster then maxell but maxell uses a sientificly acurate rendering methode.

Fprime also seems to have a nice and fast GI engine but I heard it had some troubles with outside GI.

Kray (http://www.kraytracing.com/)

Fprime (http://www.worley.com/E/info.html)

04-12-2007, 10:05 AM
FPrime and Kray are fast. Maxwell is sloooooooow.
But, people are willing to wait for the results with Maxwell as they are astonishing.

FPrime is able to read nodes in 9.2 and I really have never had any trouble with it.

04-12-2007, 10:07 AM
Also, there is no learning curve with FPrime. There are hardly any GI settings but it is remarkably flexible and powerful.

04-12-2007, 10:16 AM
not forgetting the render enhancments in lightwave 9.2 itself...they've soeeded up the renderer quite a bit you know..and it have new capabilities.

04-12-2007, 10:46 AM
LW 9.2 render engine: balance between speed and physical accuracy. Goes along way, multipurpose, superior features to the others

Maxwell: More physically accurate (photorealism), easy to set up, but takes time converting, very slow, does not support many advanced LW features

Fprime: (http://www.worley.com)Amazing real time feedback, for final renders can be much faster or much slower than LW, depending on the situation, but the unique way it works usually gets your images done with better quality on time, supports almost every LW feature

Kray: (http://www.kraytracing.com) Incredibly powerful GI render engine, faster than any of the others by a long shot, but a learning curve to set up, great competitor to Vray, like maxwell does not support all of lw's advanced features. Website looks a bit primitve, but this is actually a VERY advanced render engine, targeted at GI use mainly, superfast blurred reflections, advanced caching for animations, and so on.

Fprime and Kray are the most popular ones, sometimes even used at the same time due to their different nature (Fprime as the previewer for Kray output).

04-12-2007, 10:59 AM
One note on Kray: its output *can* be different from Fprime's output, but it also can be the same.
If you use tonemapping Linear and same GI settings (number of bounces and multiplier), Kray's results are very similar to Fprime's.
So you can just use Fprime to setup a good lighting, then use Kray to render... usually i do this but i sue 2 bounces in fprime, when i step to Kray i raise bounces.. pic will look similar but with better diffure lighting.


04-12-2007, 11:54 AM
9.2 and Fprime is a pretty killer combo - but for reality Maxwell is king.

Maxwell was really easy for lightwave users to set up - ONCE you learnt the work arounds.... however the new lightwave plugin is being written by one of Nextlimits top programmers you can see a preview of it here - scroll down a bit.


To make beautiful GI in maxwell, you build geometry - add triangular lumigons configured as maxwell light sources and pass to Maxwell - you build surfaces in their proprietary interface.

The time to get Great GI in most apps (including LW) is User time, tweaking knobs, moving lights, faking stuff - In maxwell you put the lights where they should be - and render - it comes down to CPU time, LOTS of cpu time.

With the wide range of great surfaces available for free, this is aspect is further being de-skilled.

When the new plugin appears - it makes the best hash of automatically converting Lightwaves basic Layered/textured surfaces into Maxwell equivalents.

Bring it on


04-12-2007, 11:59 AM
Interesting. If i dont have to mess with custom interfaces and if i can use MY materials, i could just think to give it a look in a near future.
This assuming Next limit wont charge huge amounts of money like i think they do now (right?) to let me use all my 16 CPUs, since they are all needed.


04-12-2007, 12:33 PM
Your surfaces will not translate directly - Just mapped with basic settings - you will have to bake anything that uses procedurals.

Sadly 16 CPUs will require 4 licences.


04-12-2007, 12:49 PM
is a maxwell liecence liked to core's or cpu's?
example can a 8 core macpro run with one liecence but use all 8 cores?

04-12-2007, 01:29 PM
Maxwell is licenced per core sadly - a permanent bone of contention. Their network rendering is really good now at distributing a frame - so lots of fast single core machines are better.

I wanted to run a render farm for Maxwell - so I bought 3 licences when they were cheap, pre-release - then they had the initial launch disaster - and sought forgiveness from those beta users buy giving 2 for 1 - So I am lucky - I can render on 24cores, just as well as I have my components for my 8 core monster arriving Saturday - And I have enough cores lying about to take up the slack. Can't wait to really get into it now I have some time.


04-12-2007, 01:40 PM
Uh, and then there's the upcoming Fryrender of course, which is a Maxwell clone as far as I can tell, and Poetry in Motion, LW's own never-ending-story interactive real time render engine and scripting environment... but when either of those gets released is anyone's guess.

Paolo: I used Maxwell: there's no way it even remotely comes close to Kray's render times. Seriously. You'd cry. :) Don't get your hopes up I'd say.

04-12-2007, 02:32 PM
Tom, i'm sure you're true.. i was thinking about something like Maxwell or fry to have a wider range of possibilities, but i want to give it a try before.
Sure Maxwell is not a big contender - one license for 4 cores is ridiculous, since they know well Maxwell need at least a dozen processors *to start to begin to allow to think* it can be a productive tool. Let's see what future brings.
In the meanwhile, it looks like i'll write here some interesting Kray news in next future ;)


04-12-2007, 04:28 PM
There is also the Free Sunflow:-


It is planning to introduce Spectral rendering ala Maxwell

kevinmacphail is writing a converter for Lightwave - please support/encourage him.


Pretty hot renders in the gallery too... here are a few features

Photon Mapping, Bucket renderer, Instancing, Multi-threading, Progressive refinement renderer, Normal mapping, Physically based sun/sky system, Irradiance caching, "Instant GI"......

Not bad pic of features.....

I havn't tried the workflow yet

Workflow for Kray, last time I tried was pretty good - I believe it has some good presets for GI too now - and it is the drip of water in a cave where Maxwell is the Stalacmite.

Don't give up on Lightwave though - with 9.2 excellent new materials and GI - and not forgetting you can render everything - you can get more done tan ever before in-house.


04-12-2007, 05:11 PM
(...) Kray (...) is the drip of water in a cave where Maxwell is the Stalacmite.

come again??? :D

04-14-2007, 03:35 PM
come again??? :D

Yuh, I didn't really get that one either...

So... does that make Fprime... the bats?

04-15-2007, 12:15 PM
A drip goes from 0 - quick at a rate of nearly 10m/s^2 - also, it starts of slowly - but as the cache build up it gets very quick - eventually reaching a terminal velocity determined by computer and scene complexity.

A stalacmite - well a stalacmite renders at about 10,000years / metre - the drop only contains a subset of the staclacmite - but contains essentially the same stuff - but watered down. A Stalacmite it the real Hard-core render - but boy does it take a long time to finish.

It was a pure thought - I guess I'm the only one here on my wavelength.


04-15-2007, 01:54 PM
It was a pure thought - I guess I'm the only one here on my wavelength.

What about the bats though? fprime?
The air inside the cave? native?
And the little boat with the film crew? Pim?
The tourist box office with overpriced t-shirts saying "My friends saw Rendercave and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt"? Fryrender?
And the kittens? kittens?

04-15-2007, 01:57 PM
whoosh....over my head!:D :lwicon:

04-15-2007, 03:33 PM
Fprime - a whole team of artists (quick ones) that are given the task of projecting near as damit what the cave might look when fully deposited.

The air inside the bus of the processor & ram interconnects.

PIM - Is a guided tour of the environment under lights that flatten detail.

Fryrender is the Bat using sonar to see and get close to what is about (Fprime, PIM, Maxwell, LW9.2) without actually touching it - collecting bugs on the way.

The tourist office with the over priced t-shirts - MAYA

Kittens? - Standby; uses eats power and sleeps.


04-15-2007, 04:09 PM
The tourist office with the over priced t-shirts - MAYA


Kittens? - Standby; uses eats power and sleeps.

And are fuzzy. Don't forget the fuzzy!

04-15-2007, 06:36 PM
Nextlimit SOOOOOO misses the boat with thie "per node" render engine pricing.

Currently I can use all 4 of my render nodes on one license but the 8 core comps at work, and soon @ home this summer ( barcelona AMDs woohoo) will make me need another license just to get the speed increase.

@ Eden we bought 2 licenses of realflow4 just to use all 4 cores in the dual opteron system. Soooo expensive. Nextlimit would have soo many more customers buying much more sotftware if they weren't so stingy with thier core licensing.

They really should just make one license allow what ever amount of cores you have in a single box.

Maxwell render is badass but it does take alot of the craft out of the rendering. When computers get good enough to do maxwell quality in realtime you may not see a big demand for 3d generalists. It will take the emphasis on technical knowhow away and put the focus back on your sense of composition and creativity.

9.2 in final form will do most of what people need.

then this would be my order of purchasing.

F-Prime3 - yeh. waaay useful, no one has been disappointed overall.

Kray - Fast GI no 9.0/9.2 specific shaders/materials (yet) no networkl render.

Maxwell - difficult to setup custom textures if you use more then one layer image maps. Once exported into Maxwell you just set up your lumigons and press render. Watch the render in progress and adjust your lights and exposure and you'll have a photograph. VERY SLOOOOOOOW render times very high quality justifying your rendertimes. :D

16+ cores computers will make maxwell a viable production tool but then Nextlimit have to quit being so bogarty with the license nodes. I think Fry render will beat them to this and give people a nice alternative.

I own all of these renderers although I chose Maxwell before Kray. Having used both I now see that I use Kray much more often then Maxwell. Fprime... use it everyday. LW .2 native... Everyday.

04-16-2007, 04:42 AM
Tech knowledge is a part of our work, not an undesiderable plus.
That day, our incomes will be decimated by enormour market restrictions.


04-16-2007, 04:51 AM
When I first heard about Maxwell a few years ago, I felt a bit fearful for the future but you have to accept progress is a fact of life, especially where computers are concerned.

No offence to anyone intended but the guy in the architects office who knows a bit of Max has always been there and as yet hasn't breached the high quality marketing image sector (certain exceptions apply of course but generally speaking).
Even if he now has Maxwell there are still things that can't be automated like an eye for aesthetic appeal and a finger on the pulse of current trends which is supposed to be where we come in.
I think it'll stay that way for a long time.

04-16-2007, 05:00 AM
sure, but you'll agree that market will restrict for use when all studios will get Schetck-up + Maxwell. Our income doesnt depend only on high-qualtiy work, but also on some "sales-work" for realestate. This kind of work will disappear soon.
It's good because overall quality will grow, and so will improve also how Viz work is perceived by the market. It's bad because somehow it will reflect on our incomes. Btw we'll be able to push further the range of our services (i.e. realtime), but pure rendering tasks are going to be lower next years.


Captain Obvious
04-16-2007, 05:11 AM
I once left something rendering in Maxwell for about 46 hours on four eight-core Xeon machines (that's a total of , and it was still noisy. It was a 5k by 5k image for print, though, so the noise levels were acceptable.