The differences between each rendering method, and when to use them
BRIO now has 2 rendering engines to choose from to create your 3D scene: the default Real Time engine; and the new Ultra Render engine, which produces highly realistic results using GPU path tracing. With the addition of Ultra Render also comes the option of light baking, a technique that allows you to reproduce the high quality look of a path traced scene in the real-time engine.
The right rendering option for you will depend on how you intend to share your scene, as well as the graphics capabilities of your computer.
Real Time Rendering
RT is the default render engine. As the name implies, this engine renders graphics quickly, allowing for animations to be viewed in real time, and letting you see changes almost immediately as you work.
When to use Real Time Rendering:
- If your computer has a GPU of less than NUMBER NEEDED
- You want your scene to be viewable on mobile devices, or you plan to share it widely online
- If your scene contains animation
- If your scene is interactive (viewers will be navigating the 3D space and viewing from various angles)
Ultra Render uses GPU path tracing, a rendering technique that simulates the behaviour of real-world lighting to create highly realistic results.
How it works:
Put simply, the ultra render engine traces light along a path from the camera lens to where it hits a surface. It then calculates all direct and indirect light contained in that path the same way it would be processed by the human eye. This technique produces extremely realistic light, shadows, and reflections. It is also more effective at rendering translucent materials.
However path tracing takes longer than real-time rendering and requires much more computational power. Plus (since the engine traces paths from the camera lens to a surface to create the render), the engine will need to re-render the scene in the viewer every time the camera is moved or the scene is modified. For this reason, Ultra Render is best for rendering high quality still images rather than interactive scenes.
When to use Ultra Render
- When your computer has a GPU of over: NUMBER NEEDED
- When you are only sharing your scene with viewers who are also using high powered computers (such as an internal design review)
- When you are rendering a still image (ie. product shot) and want photorealistic lighting and textures.
Ultra Render Workflow
Light baking is a technique that will allow you to achieve the realistic look produced by path tracing in a way that can be viewed in the real time render engine. This means your scene will have nearly the same photorealistic quality, but will be viewable on a wider range of devices, allow for interactivity, and perform much faster.
How it works
Without light baking, lighting is rendered by calculating the effects of a light source on its surroundings it in real time. This is an expensive process for your computer, especially in scenes with multiple lights.
Light baking calculates the effect of lights on the textures in your scene, then creates new textures with those lighting effects mapped on - ie. added shadows, changes in colour, etc. It then replaces the textures in your scene with these new textures, or “lightmaps”. Now surfaces will look like they have light cast on them, when in reality the lightmaps have simply created an optical illusion, and the lights can be deleted from the scene without impacting the appearance.
Scenes with baked lights look more realistic and perform faster. However, this method works best for static scenes as opposed to animations, since light maps are fixed and capture only one postition.
When to use light baking
- You want your scene to perform well on all devices, including mobile
- When you want to present a highly realistic interactive 3D scene
- You to publish an AR scene with ultra render quality
- Your scene uses minimal to no animation