Arnold toon shader test

I am starting to test Arnold Renderer in Houdini Solaris. it took me a while to figure how to makes it work in Solaris context. I’ve need to create beauty render pass and render product with contour sampling.

its work pretty good, there some crashes from Solaria. the live render navigation is difficult to navigate, because it take 2nd sample round to generate hatches.
the shading is yet quite simple, but i will start to generate more complex toon shadings.

marble rendertest

Inspired by great Marble renders and Shader hack by Lee Griggs. I’ve decided to recreate some tricks with different render engines, a little render Comparison.

The basic idea, using a glass shader for outter shell and an inner sphere with textured volume to fake depth. this way, you will save a lots of work with actually modeling the inner part of a marble. Spectral renderer don’t use this kind of trickery they can actully the inner part as real glass medium (using textures).

I’ve use Cycles (Blender), Renderman, Arnold, Octane and Indigo Renderer. I’ve tried to create a Marvel in Redshift, but i could make it work with single texture and 2 spheres. For Redshift you need actually model a marvel to get realistic rendering.

the spectral rendere engines was the fastest by far. that’s because with spectral render I used a medium instead of volume for interia, that’s saves a lot of render time.

here is quick test with single glass object with Indigo and Cycles :

this here are glass spheres with regular solid texture spheres inside:

arnold6 USD tests

I am testing new Arnold6 native USD support. Fist time to pixel is super fast, 2-3 seconds on arnold6 CPU with 1 million splines USD asset 8 sec. on Arnold6 GPU in Houdini and Gaffer.

Its a shame, that’s Autodesk HtoA plugin is is unusable. interactive rendering does not takes any updates, except shader values changes and light exposure changes. Also, Arnold6 GPU have big render artifacts with spline render mode set to “Thick”. what it look likes a cool shader, are actually render artefacts.

also arnold6 GPU renders 5 times slower then CPU version as soon i turn on SSS or transmission. ( quadro RTX5000 vs Xeon 6 core at 2.4 GHz )

testing new Arnold 6.0.3 GPU renderer update on particles


Recent HtoA 5.2.1 made it possible to actually use Arnold6 GPU in Houdini, i tool it on a test ride with particles. (5 million particles).

the setup is quite simple, pure diffuse shading only AA samples. I’ve chosen a darker frame to test the sample quality.


CPU 2 minutes on 6 core Xeon

GPU 1 minute (Nvidia Quadro RTX5000), same sample count the CPU render above but more little more noise.

GPU 1:30 minute, increased the sample to get a noise free render.

the Arnold GPU render it getting slowly faster the Arnold CPU in some cases, there is still long road ahead to for the GPU renderer speed to catch up with competition.

star simulation with OpenCL

birth of a massive star. for my little #astrophysics exploration, i’ve created a star simulation using openCL in houdini. its based on nbody #physics model, only driven by #gravity. using #nvidia #quadro rtx 5000 #NVIDIAStudio. #arnoldrender

the colours are not quite right, I am trying to integrate kelvin colour temperature.  the current colour is based on density and speed.  

In this simulation, I assumed  48% amount of negative gravity to fill the mystery of dark matter. I used 1 million nbodies for the simulation.  for the steps, I am planning to add finer particle streams to get more details.

atmossphere volume in arnold

rendered with Arnold in Houdini. I’ve tried the atmosphere volumes the first time. easy to setup. The render time was quite slow on the volumes, typically for volumes, but much faster then render the screen envr with VDB cloud. I’ve used a mesh light for inner character illumination. 

it’s a shame I could not use Arnold 6 GPU, because its missing features. Volumes would boost get huge speed boost with volume raymarching on a GPU. I had to use a denoiser from Affinity Photo in dark areas.

with Arnold 6 GPU it does not drop any errors, you have to wait 1-2 minutes if data is loaded to GPU and starts the rendering or not. even a wrong file pass to an Hdri image makes Arnold GPU drop out, you sitting and wait in front of a black screen and don’t know if it will render or not.

About Render Engines part 1

This is a quick overview of current render Engines for Houdini and General in terms of MotionGraphics and VFX usage. 

There are different RenderEngines out there, each one is unique and uses different method to solve a problem. I am looking into Arnold, RenderMan, Vray, Octane and Redshift. For comparison reason I added Indigo Renderer engine.

There are different way to render a scene with benefits and shortcomings. lets start with most common one.

image by Glare Technology

Pathtracing (PT)

to be precise Backward Pathtracing.  In backward ray tracing, an eye ray is created at the eye; it passes through the viewplane and on into the world.  The first object the eye ray hits is the object that will be visible from that point of the viewplane.  After the ray tracer allows that light ray to bounce around, it figures out the exact coloring and shading of that point in the viewplane and displays it on the corresponding pixel on the computer monitor screen. that’s classical way, which all of the Render engines uses as standard.

Metropolis light transport (MLT)

This procedure has the advantage, relative to bidirectional path tracing, that once a path has been found from light to eye, the algorithm can then explore nearby paths; thus difficult-to-find light paths can be explored more thoroughly with the same number of simulated photons. Metropolis light transport is an unbiased method that, in some cases (but not always), converges to a solution of the rendering equation faster than other unbiased algorithms such as path tracing or bidirectional path tracing. MetroPolis is often used in Bidirectional mode (BDMLT).

Path Guiding

Mix between Path-tracing and MLT, unbiased technique for intelligent light-path construction in path-tracing algorithms. Indirect Guiding that improves indirect lighting by sampling from the better lit or more important areas of the scene. goal is to allow path-tracing algorithms to iteratively “learn” how to construct high-energy light paths.

link to latest Siggraph paper

BiDirectional Pathtracing ( BDPT )

Regular backward Pathtracing has hard time in indoor scene with small light source because it take lot’s rays and bounce to find a tiny light in a room, just to see if a object gets light by the light.

with Bidirectional, rays are fired from both the camera and light sources. They are then joined together to create many complete light paths.

Spectral rendering

image by Silverwing

Unlike most renderers which work with RGB colours, Spectral renderers uses spectral colour throughout, from the physically-based sky model to the reflective and refractive properties of materials. The material models are completely based on the laws of physics.
This makes it possible to render transparent materials like glass and water at the highest degree of realism.
Spectral renderer are pretty good in simulate different medium atmospheric effects like under water or earth air atmosphere.

Biased Rendering

hat Biased Render Engine actually means is pre-computing a lot of information before sending out rays from the camera. In more simple words, It uses an optimization algorithm to greatly speed up the render time but doing so It is not strictly just modeling the physics of light but it is giving an approximation

here is an example what Spectral rendering able to do:

Indigo renderer Planet-scale atmospheric simulation

Unlike other rendering systems which rely on so-called practical models based on approximations, Indigo’s sun and sky system is derived directly from physical principles. Using Rayleigh/Mie scattering and data sourced from NASA, Indigo’s atmospheric simulation is highly accurate. It’s stored with full spectral information, and allows fast rendering and real-time changes of sun position.

some examples of Atmosphere simulations by Indigo Forum user Yonosoy.

image by Yonosoy.
image by Yonosoy.
image by Yonosoy.
image by Yonosoy.
image by Yonosoy., even complete Planet athmosphere simulation is possible