The newest version of the popular rendering engine for Autodesk 3ds Max includes support for Nvidia GPUs and improved 3D stereoscopic rendering.
The Chaos Group is shipping V-Ray 2.0 for 3ds Max. This is a rendering product that has gained a lot of traction in the last few years especially in architecture and
game development. The company is based in Sofia, Bulgaria and they are tinkerers always updating their software, and enthusiastic 3D fans who got their start as a CG production studio. Chaos says the big news is that the V-Ray RT, and V-RayRT/GPU will be integrated into the V-Ray 2.0. Previously V-RayRT was sold as standalone technology to enable users to fine tune a scene with fast feedback.
As for the tinkering part, the Chaos Group are among the first to put OpenCL to work in a shipping product. They’re saying that the new GPU enabled version can render 10-20 times faster with a graphics board with OpenCL/Cuda rendering.
V-Ray has had stereoscopic viewing and with this version Chaos has added new tools to set up the stereo rig and shade maps to enable faster rendering for stereo images, depth of field and motion blur using the VRayStereoscopic helper.
The new product has new shading technology including car paint with metal flake simulation, wavelength dependent ray tracing, textures that measure distances to arbitrary mesh objects; new lighting tools including the ability turn rectangle V-Ray lights into textured spot lights. There are new HDRI tools, support for OpenEXR textures, improved interaction within 3ds Max.
The Chaos Group says they have not added support for MetaSL shaders which are available in 3ds Max, but the company says that the ability to create or download materials from the MetaSL Material Library will become a part of the next major release.
Although the company is taking advantage of OpenCL, this latest version is an early effort and the Chaos Group is recommending Nvidia’s Fermi Graphics Boards for best performance. However, OpenGL support means that ATI’s Stream products will also add hardware acceleration. Something else to note about the RT tools is that users who intend to depend on this feature are going to want a lot of memory on their graphics board since the entire scene has to fit on the GPU’s RAM.
What do we think
The masses, at least the masses who render, have been clamoring for software that takes advantage of all GPUs. Their motivation is obvious. They want to use off-the-shelf gaming cards for these tasks and, that day is coming just like it has come for CAD in general. We’ve been impressed with the Chaos Group’s work. They are clearly headed towards products that smoothly put the GPU and CPU to work in appropriate situations and their work is likely to push the use and development of OpenCL. – K.M.