All release notes since the release of 3Delight for Softimage version 2.0 in January 2011:
3Delight for Softimage 4.0
New Path Tracing Algorithm
Images can now be rendered using our new super-fast path tracing (in addition to the REYES algorithm). It is not uncommon for images to render ten times faster compared to the previous major release. All the usual quality settings that have been the trademark of our rendering technology, such as pixel filter types and filter support, are recognized by the path tracer.
Progressive rendering, coupled with the path tracer, allows for modifications of lights, materials and cameras without reloading the entire scene.
Physically Plausible Materials
Three easy to use materials are provided. The 3Delight Material is a general material that can simulate a large variety of standard surfaces (metals, plastics, ...etc.). It uses a "dual-layer" shading model so it can simulate coated materials (car paint is an example). 3Delight Glass and 3Delight Skin are also provided to render glass and skin.
Ray Traced Subsurface Scattering Algorithm
In addition to our point-based subsurface scattering we provide a first version of a highly efficient ray tracing version. The advantage is there is no more waiting time before getting the first pixels of the render (time to first pixel is greatly reduced). In addition, subsurface scattering produces sharper images.
Vastly Improved Image-Based Lighting
Our novel image-based lighting algorithm produces extremely high quality renders, meaning that noiseless images can be achieved with fewer samples and, most importantly, without having to blur environment maps.
- Overall responsiveness of the plug-in has been improved. Scene parsing of large particle clouds is an example where performance increased tenfolds.
- Materials have been optimized and are now much faster with multiple bounces of reflections/refractions (speedups of up to 4x have been observed).
Thanks to the new path tracing algorithm, we are able to provide a simpler and more artist friendly workflow in 3Delight for Softimage. Photons have been deprecated in favor of path tracing, providing results that are both faster and more accurate. Image-based lighting is now an automatic feature of the rendering algorithm and doesn’t necessitate separate controls.
Free License Upgraded to quad-core
The free license can now take full advantage of a quad-core computer (previously it was limited to dual-core). In addition, users of the free license will now have access to the more frequent updates we offer to paid customers. This will enable to follow more closely all the improvements added to 3Delight for Softimage.
Online documentation has been improved and is now available through a new Wiki.
3Delight for Softimage 3.0
3Delight for Softimage now contains all the features previously available in the Studio verion only. This includes:
- RIB export and import capabilities.
- Automated network caching for textures. This unique feature will dramatically reduce network traffic on renderfarms.
- RenderMan shaders support. RenderMan shaders can be attached to geometry and will override Softimage shaders.
- Arbitrary Clipping Planes. These planes can be used to cut out scene elements using planes that have an arbitrary orientation. Helpful for complex compositing tasks.
Softimage 2011 Compatibility
The software has been upgraded to support the latest versions of Softimage. Most visible updates include support for new Softimage shaders as well as support for new light features such as flat light and soft shadows.
In addition to the point-based and ray-traced methods to compute color bleeding, 3Delight for Softimage now offers to achieve the same effect using photon mapping and final gathering. The advantage of the new method is much faster renders at the cost of a small pre-computation step.
Added support for ICE primitives, including particles and strands. Particles can be motion-blurred using velocity vectors for better results when using ICE caches.
ICE volumes are supported through the standard ‘Binary Alchemy’ shaders.
Objects can be instanced using ICE.
Light Volumics are supported using the standard Softimage properties.
Softimage Texture layers are fully supported.
Render Time CSG Operations
Geometric primitive can be intersected or subtracted from each other to achieve complex CSG effects at render time.
Arbitrary Clipping Planes
This feature allows creation of clipping planes that are not necessarily aligned with the camera. One such clipping plane can carve a half-space of arbitrary orientation.
Per-object properties have been organized in smaller and more specialized properties that are easier to manage. And many of the less frequently used global 3Delight properties have been moved into custom preferences. The most important new per-object properties are:
- Global Illumination controls for falloff and decay.
- Per object ‘hit mode’ properties enabling a finer control on shader execution for ray hits.
- Per object quality controls.
- More responsive renders and render abort actions.
- Scene caching for faster re-rendering. A scene can be saved, automatically, into RIB archives which are then re-used for subsequent renders. This greatly reduces scene parsing time.
- More refined shader recompilation adds to more responsive rendering experience. 3Delight for Softimage automatically tracks most used shader parameters and make those compilation-independent (no need to re-compile shaders each time you modify a parameter).
- More efficient ray-traced ambient occlusion (up to 30% faster).