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finalRender R3

Hybrid Rendering

finalRender R3 introduces a new true hybrid rendering technology.  Besides the standard Raytracing algorithm, another special "Scanline-Rendering" algorithm has been added to the core rendering engine of finalRender.  The main advantage of such a hybrid approach of using two rendering technologies at the same time is improved rendering speed and better image quality.  Both rendering technologies have their advantages and disadvantages.  Combining the best of both technologies leads to a much better and more robust rendering solution than before!

What can I expect from such a Hybrid thing - is it Faster?

Yes and No.

In every day productions, a noticable speed increase should be visible when using the Scanline rendering option, especially, scenes without heavy secondary (raytracing) effects which perform at their best as compared to pure raytracing scenes.  Renderings finishing 10 times faster can be easily seen in scenes with the Scanline option turned on.  However, be aware of the fact that in some situations, a Scanline rendering approach may not be faster, or in the worst case, it might be even slower than raytracing!  Scanline rendering can be much slower and uses more memory with instanced geometry or with scenes showing many overlapping high poly objects, for example.

So what's Scanline Rendering ?

Scanline rendering is the algorithm of choice for all real-time based or hardware accelerated rendering applications.  Several flavours of "Scanline rendering" methods do exist, Z-Buffer and A-Buffer rendering methods, for example, which are used nowadays to render complex 3D scenes.  3ds Max's own core renderer is a highly optimized Scanline renderer even though it is aged now and people tend to move more and more towards true raytracing engines.  3ds Max's own scanline rendering system is still the choice of renderer when there is a tight budget and a high volume output needed at the lowest possible cost.

In its simplest form, a Scanline renderer would use a Z-Buffer to render pixels.  A Z-Buffer is an array that stores the current Z-Depth (distance to the camera) of each pixel.  As polygons are sent to the Z-buffer, only those nearest to the camera are rendered (shown in their color).  This Z-Buffer rendering is done per scanline, hence the name Scanline renderer.

Which method is used by finalRender ?

finalRender R3 uses a special bucket based rasterizer algorithm to implement the full advantage of a Scanline rendering system in its raytracing environment.  It is beyond the scope of this manual to explain in detail the coding methods which are used by finalRender, however, the basic methods are explained below.

The main rendering process can be divided into 2 main steps (in reality, there are many more steps).  The first step is finding the closest pixel to the camera inside of a bucket, then coloring it (shading) based on its polygon or face color.  Pixels behind the closest one do not need to be processed because they are hidden.  After this first "rasterizing" step is completed, the second step, "Raytracing" is started.  By shooting rays into the scene, starting at the position of the first (primary) position (nearest Z-Buffer value) reflections, shadows or GI are calculated. As described, finding the first hit on a surface visible to the camera is done by a Scanline rendering approach (Z-Buffer); all further calculations are done through the raytracing approach.

 Find below some renderings showing the full power and new strength of the hybrid rendering approach.
 

Scanline Rendering means Speed !

Note: 
To illustrate the outstanding thin geometry rendering, all images shown below are zoomed in 2 times! 

Shown below is a rendering of a Benchmark scene used to stress and test any rendering technology.  The image consists of extremely thin objects at large distances with a very low color contrast towards its surroundings.

 



Rendered in 4 seconds with finalRender Scanline option enabled (Zoomed 2 times)

 



Alpha channel of the exact same rendering in 4 seconds with finalRender Scanline option enabled - The images shown above, illustrate the clean and smooth Anti Aliasing along the fine detail cables on the bridge model. Note the render time as well as the Alpha channel.

 



Rendered in 20 seconds with the raytracer only option (Scanline turned off)

 



Rendered in 20 seconds with the raytracer only option (Scanline turned off) - By using the raytracer only option, the thin lines in this scene are not captured well and show large gaps when using the same quality settings as the Scanline rendering option.  To capture this fine detail and low contrast objects, the raytracer needs to shoot a huge amount of rays resulting in a much higher rendering time.

 

 

Rendered in 34 seconds with increased Anti Aliased settings.

 

 

Rendered in 34 seconds with increased Anti Aliased settings.

Conclusion

To obtain the same render quality with raytracing, as shown in the first image, the Anti Aliasing render settings must be tuned up very high, which increases render time dramatically!  This simple test already shows an increase of more than 8 times when compared to the Scanline rendering option.

 

 

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