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Thread: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

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    Default Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    First - please do not turn this into a bash Maxwell thread, despite all the known issues it has served me quite well. That being said....

    The time needed for a completed Maxwell render of interior scenes - which is what I work on mostly - is starting to take its toll on me as the viz demand has increased exponentially in my office. I am considering trying to learn Vray because it seems to perform quite well. Even though the final output in my opinion is still much more CG than Maxwell, it is still quite nice and perfectly acceptable for what I do.

    I'd like to hear - ideally from users of both - about their experience.
    - although from the moment you hit the render button until you have a completed image from Maxwell may be longer, is that time offset by doing lighting set-ups and material tweaks in vray?
    - are the actual render times that much faster on vray, I see some images that look great, but had 6+ hours of rendertime -- or can this be optimized significantly
    - how long did it take to produce a clean, acceptable, fast image from the time you first started using vray

    I jumped into Maxwell as soon as I started doing viz work, and the material system makes sense to me, whereas vray and other biased renderers seem to have an endless amount of parameters to adjust, same for lighting set-ups.

    Would love to hear your thoughts/experiences. Feel free to recommend other software also.

    Also, keep in mind I have a quad Xeon Woodcrest on order that should be here next week -- I can't wait to see the effect on my Maxwell rendering times.

    Thanks

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    I've used both. Vray more than Maxwell, but I'm getting into Maxwell more lately.

    First, I think the whole biased/unbiased issue is somewhat overblown and misunderstood. Unbiased just means that the engine is not taking certain steps that most engines take to increase speed at the expense of accuracy. An unbiased renderer does produce an accurate image, but usually one that's been approximated by a biased engine is as good as you need.

    Vray does have more parameters to work with, but they're not that hard to grasp. It does take longer to set up, and for me the time I spend on set up could be better spent on designing. That's why I'm getting back into Maxwell - I've got a bunch of MXM files, I assign those to a model imported from Sketchup, turn on the sun and sky and hit go. Usually I don't need to do test renders, because the exposure is adjusted on the fly, and I have enough computing power now to get Maxwell to run in reasonable time.

    Vray has the ability to be very fast, and the material setup doesn't have to take very long - it's pretty much the same as most other software except Maxwell - but there are situations where it can be slow. For example, a project I did this summer had an unusual lighting scenario, and doing it realistically in Vray (using the actual lights) was giving me over 24-hour renders, so I ended up faking it. Maxwell would have actually rendered the scene faster, and I would have spent a lot less time setting it up.

    They're very different, and each has its uses. Try the Vray demo and maybe get Chris's DVDs, and see what you think.

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    thanks Andrew, as always very insightful and helpful. I was actually just over at the Fryrender site -- looks quite promising with ridiculously short rendertimes. I just wish they offered a demo version. I just grabbed the Vray demo, I'll try to play it this weekend -- I've also heard Chris' videos were quite good.

    would love to hear others experiences.

    Sean

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    Yes I saw that fryrender recently and it looks like same thing as maxwell, yet faster! So, now you know that if you got patience you can get same quality in less time for half of the price in preorder, just you will have to wait about the same time as with Maxwell for thing to develop. However, that seem functional enough for some thigns, so perhaps you could try. And about demo, well as you remeber, Maxwell also did not put the demo untill v1.o release. Probably cause of pyracy...
    But to return to the main question - Maxwell vs. Vray
    I am Vray user. I use it for production work and it served me well for that matter. I mostly do interiors, so I know what you are talking about.
    I think that Vray is as clean and fast as one render engine can be.
    That does not mean that it is best one. But clean and fast result is much easier to get with Vray than with any other render engine I tried.
    Material setup is mostly simple and lean on the Max workflow for that.
    Lightning setup ask for some reading between the lines to avoid time consuming situations and sometimes, that means faking. When you got lot of lights you should replace them with luminous geometry (which is simillar to Maxwell) and you get fast results. If you put all the lights you will render for 20 hours or more.
    All in all, with couple of good tutorials you will get the hang of the lightning in Vray easy. It is one of the easiest really. Though it often ask for tweaking and testing before final shot.
    But after two dvds by Chris Nichols (not good - the best) you will know all you need to know to make excellent result with Vray.
    Basically, Vray is all about optimization and they develop it with each new version.
    That means you can now get same qualitty in less time than with early versions. And they offer several methods to get good quallity/speed ratio (irradiance map, QMC, photon map, light cache...)
    But all that speeding up actually depends on the actual scene.
    As for the qualitty of the renders and how far it could go, you should check the work of the Olivier Campaigne, one of the last year AVC winners.

    But let me put it this way, I would gladly use both Maxwell and Vray if I could. Thing is, I am also kind of bored with Vray, would love to try something new. I did some tests with Maxwell and it is certainly much better for exterior renders and not so slow at that. And you could make couple of boxes look great with that Maxwell phisycall sky.
    If you can, use the Vray for interior production work and when time alows, take Maxwell and make some kick-ass images with it...

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by d.sign
    And you could make couple of boxes look great with that Maxwell phisycall sky.
    If you can, use the Vray for interior production work and when time alows, take Maxwell and make some kick-ass images with it...
    Thanks Branko -- you confirmed exactly what I was thinking about using Vray for production work and Maxwell for the true money shots. I have also seen some of the animation work done with Vray and I know that is not possible with Maxwell at this point -- and I would love to start showing the bosses some walk-throughs (they're easily impressed).
    I know Olivier C. was interviewed on this site, really beautiful images. I've been having a string of luck getting purchases approved at work, so maybe I'll try to put in for VRay and Fryrender pre-order, as well as Chris' DVD's. Might as well keep an aresenal of tools at my disposal.
    Just downloaded the Vray demo, getting familiar with it will be my project for the weekend.
    Thanks for your detailed, insightful replies.

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by thickly
    Thanks Branko -- you confirmed exactly what I was thinking about using Vray for production work and Maxwell for the true money shots. I have also seen some of the animation work done with Vray and I know that is not possible with Maxwell at this point -- and I would love to start showing the bosses some walk-throughs (they're easily impressed).
    I know Olivier C. was interviewed on this site, really beautiful images. I've been having a string of luck getting purchases approved at work, so maybe I'll try to put in for VRay and Fryrender pre-order, as well as Chris' DVD's. Might as well keep an aresenal of tools at my disposal.
    Just downloaded the Vray demo, getting familiar with it will be my project for the weekend.
    Thanks for your detailed, insightful replies.
    Chris' DVDs are the single best thing I've seen. I'm trying to learn VRay amongst having CRAZY deadlines right now with one architect who is using us for design/build, but paying us well for it. I just haven't had time...point being, if they are willing to buy the renderer, the DVDs will increase your production time. WELL worth the money.

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    Actually, I think you may get the dvds by Chris as speciall add on if you order from VisMasters store, check that before purchasing...

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    I've been using Maxwell for over a year and I've tried the Vray demo, ease of use is Maxwell's biggest asset over Vray. Since I have very limited experience with Vray I can't comment on how quickly it is to set up but I know that it's going to be a longer process than Maxwell. Other than that I don't think Maxwell has much to offer that Vray can't do. That's not to say that I think Maxwell is worthless but it's single biggest problem is it's speed and NL seems unable to do anything about it. If I were faced with a decision between the two I would definitely go with Vray, but if you can afford both then you will probably find a use for Maxwell when time allows.
    I make fake things for real people to convince them fake things are real.

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    Veteran Member manta's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    Trying to be as objective as possible, and all things being equal there are a couple points I'de like to make...

    Maxwell can give you 99% photorealism, and when I say can give, I mean I've seen many examples of this, but I've also seen many that didn't, and I thought to myself "how is that possible" I won't mention any names or examples, but I was really shocked that it could produce something pretty awful really, not photorealistic at all, and they were'nt going for NPR...I tryed Maxwell myself and did not find it easy at all, just as difficult as any other renderer...but in the hands of the right person, it will do amazing things...

    Vray will give you 90% photorealism, which is more than adequate to portray an idea, if someone needs more information than that, then they're just crazy anyway...I think there is even a way to make vray unbiased, but its going to be very slow...

    But vray has two very important things that Maxwell dosen't...
    Displacement mapping and the ability to do animations...there might be a third, but I'm not sure about plugin support, does maxwell support things like dreamscape, RPC's or tree storm ???

    Again, I'm not trying to bash Maxwell, just pointing out its limitations, and I don't see how I would be able to choose it based on that, I need a renderer that can do everything

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    Default Re: Maxwell vs. Vray Experiences/Advice

    I can see how having an easy to use, simply push a button and get results every time. Unfortunately this type of thinking will hold you back. There is no such thing as a perefct render software. They all need finessing, and they all require post work.
    If you are not rendering in passes, yet relying on the software to crank out the image for you, then you are waisting time and limiting your work. I have seen work done in Cinema 4D with heavy post work in Photoshop that easily blows away the best Maxwel and Vray Renders.
    I used to worry that the software would advance to the point where anyone can just hit render and get good results. We are pretty close with Maxwell. However, when you use the software as a crutch to disguise a lack of artistic ability or experience, it will show. Everyone's renderings all start taking on the same character.
    try to be different and push the envolope. Don't worry so much about which program to use, they are only as good as the user behind them. Also, versatility is the key in this business. If I have to look at one more bedroom or living room scene in an applicants portfolio, I am going to get sick. I would rather hire soemone who can compose and manually light an office tower in the scanline then a person that can purchase a bed off turbo squid, make 4 walls, and hit go on Maxwell.

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