PhotoWorks & Photo Real Contest Winners Posted

The PhotoWorks Rendering Contest and Photo Real Challenge votes have been posted and winners selected.
Congratulations to Fernando Mota for winning the October PhotoWorks
Rendering Contest. You can see Fernando's winning entry at www.robrodriguez.com. For the November contest we have a model of the SolidWorks Chopper.
Congratulations to Marc Gibeault for winning the Photo Real Challenge. Marc used V-ray and 3DStudio to create the most realistic image of the stapler model. I've also posted the information with each rendering for those of you that want to compare the images in relation to software, machine specs and rendering times.
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Quite interesting results. It is revealing to see how each renderer handled the staples detail and the refelections. I am somewhat surprised at the slowness of Maxwell to get to a relatively noise free state. In a render I did with Indigo beta6 on my ageing 2.8ghz single pentium I got a fairly clean image in about 12hrs. I don't think any of the images used noise removal software post? I am not sure Jeff used Maxwell for that result in 2 hours though is that right?
I had a go at this contest using Blender and Yafray but I was late sending them in and because I was busy doing multiple things I didn't keep a record of the time spent. The Indigo one had a normals problem I did not pick up until the morning..my fault oh well. I would say my time was about an hour and a half and render time was about two and a half for each of the first two so all said and done it was about the same as the others I guess. For me ordinarily it would have gone faster to set up a render by importing one stapler and staple clip instance into Blender and set up a scene as I pleased. I found using the file as given and trying to matching the look of your example fairly hard. I see everyones setup was a little different though so perhaps I worried too much about that aspect. If you post another open contest Rob it may be a good idea to include some sort of marker object for the lights and camera so that we can compare more favourably. Well done Marc.
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On 29 Oct 2006 19:21:19 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Did not suprise me for my rendering as it was done with "multilights" on. This meant at the end of the 8 hours I could adjust the sliders for the 5 lights and spin out a jpg for whatever combination I liked. The downside of this is to create alot of noise that takes time to clear. I was also playing with alot of the fancy multilayered materials that are now available on the Maxwell Material site, and these tend to take longer to clear, compared to simpler materials that Jeff was probably using. I believe Jeff also used the "skydome" light which is very quick to clear of noise but can lead to a flatter image.

No quite sure what you mean Neil, but as a first iteration of a contest and its rules , well done Marc.

Jonathan
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How long do you think it would have taken to match Jeffs noise std with your 5 light set up?
I sort of understood this was a special one off contest on account of PW07 getting some promotion. I think Rob was doing SW a favour to show how useful/efficient/competitive an integrated renderer was...could be wrong about that... Perhaps the subject was not really that suited to showcasing Maxwells strengths.
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On 30 Oct 2006 03:50:46 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

How long have you got? :-)
Its the drawback of Maxwell - computers are just not fast enough for it !! I await the multicore chips etc, because the license allows 8 cores ( I think) to be used at once.
The set up times for a scene are just so quick that I prefer to use it (and my blood pressure is reduced when not using PW)and then let the render go over night .
If I wanted to really optimise it I would have perhaps 3 lights at the most and reduced the multilayered components - and then perhaps 20hours would have been realistic. But if I use a de-noiser software on the image it gives a pretty acceptable image after 10 hours. I don't think Maxwell is there just yet for people who want a quick crisp noise free render. However for those with a need for a good lighting in rendering that will for a brief moment make the client go wow! - is that a picture? - then maxwell gets that foot in the door.

Possibly but it was fun to see, - but I think I just have to agree to disagree with Rob as far as PW is concerned. Rob has found he can handle using it. I just have given up - I just use it for quick 'cartoon' renderings combining the renders with the visible edge showing - these images are great for concepts and explaination sheets. but I now just leave PW turned off .

Jonathan
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Hi Guys,
The Photo real contest was done for myself than anyone else. After Mark posted the SolidWorks competition with the camera I thought it would be a great idea to do something similar but have "real users" do the renderings. Jeff Nordhues approached me with a model and an image and that is what really set the contest into motion. My only disappointment was the lack of entries.
I've been a Maxwell Render owner since the beta release at which time about the discounted seat and then received the 1plus license when 1.0 was released. Maxwell is the first rendering Software I felt created a true photographic image (or had the ability) and the images at the Maxwell site typically left me saying, "WOW". I purchased Maxwell because I wanted to be able to create "WOW" images but I've been very disappointed with the software. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't taken the proper time to learn Maxwell and how it works but Next Limit isn't exactly making things terribly easy for Maxwell users. The plug-in for SolidWorks is very limited in my opinion and the best way to do a SolidWorks rendering is using Maxwell Studio. Of course using Studio requires a whole other software learning curve and the manual Next Limit provides with Maxwell is really no where near as informative as it needs to be. As I try and use Maxwell I continuously become frustrated by the amount of time required to achieve any sort of decent results.
I had similar issues with PhotoWorks when I first started learning the software and similar to Next Limit the Documentation provided by SolidWorks for PhotoWorks was limited and the user was really left to learn things on their own. SolidWorks has improved this over the years but they still have more to do. Part of the reason for starting my website was to help others that wanted to learn PhotoWorks and ran into the same learning issues I faced. PhotoWorks had improved over time and I'm able to achieve good images with the software but I do feel like I need to achieve more realism with my renderings and I'm not sure the level of image I'm trying to achieve can be done using PhotoWorks. The nice thing about PhotoWorks is its speed and integration with SolidWorks. Now that I know the software I can quickly turn out a good quality image.
The contest was a way to see what could be created using all types of rendering software in the hands of capable users. It was also a way to compare the effect of machine specs, set-up time and save time versus rendering packages. In this respect the contest was somewhat successful (some what because we could have had more software represented) and I'm interested and surprised with the results. Frankly, in my opinion the 20 hours of processing time for a Maxwell image is just too long. Jeff did complete a decent image in 2 hours, he also sent the same image after 40 hours that was totally noise free but even he agreed that was a very long time to process the image. Marc had the winning image and it's done in an acceptable time. Marc informed me the longest part of his processing time was matching the camera view set forth by SolidWorks and the rules. Apparently it's not possible to carry the view over into 3DS so he needed to recreate the view which took almost 2 hours.
Maybe at some point we can run another contest and we'll have more participation. Of course everything I've said is my opinion only and I'm sure everyone has their own.
Thanks for participating in the contest.
snipped-for-privacy@SPAMuko2.co.uk wrote:

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On 30 Oct 2006 07:16:02 -0800, "Rock Guy"

Speaking for myself - you just hit an unlucky period when alot was on, but then that is no real excuse as it was not too much time to set up and render overnight. A 20 hour render is another matter as it holds up my machine when I need to use it.

Agreed - Their terminology and the quirky interface of Studio is very frustrating.

Its getting better - but I have to agree - working in the plugin is just for tests.

Best to start by attaching materials in the plugin and then edit or change them in the studio. Leave the lighting till the studio, then if using the sun, twirl the world around untill the Compass rose and sun on the model view is in the correct orientation. I often end up in antarctica !!
After that just render and fiddle with the exposure in the render module as it is rendering and remember to hit the refresh button.
Stick to none textured materials until you are confident in selecting the projector props and fiddling with them and their quirky terminology and seemingly non -world units,scales and orientation numbers.

Agreed - I can live with 8 hous as I can set off the image over night and with two machines get two images. However things can only get better as we get faster and faster machines. As far as PW and all the other photorendering software - they have to concentrate on improving their interfaces so that it takes only 10 minutes to set up. Now that is the problem for them and I am not sure if this is acheivable without lots and lots of predefined scenes or a range of very sophisticated wizards . Maxwell on the otherhand only have to improve their documentation and quirky terminology, but essentially they have to just wait for for faster machines.

Jonathan
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Not too much to add.
My reasons for buying Maxwell were the quailty of the renders, the bonus is I find it a lot easier to set up than PhotoWorks. I agree the real negative is the time taken to achieve noise free images.
A link below to a stapler rendered in Maxwell, it certianly shows what can be achieved by the software with a good model and lighting.
http://pworksatisweb.hp.infoseek.co.jp/img_for_maxwell/gallery/stapler_01_mw.jpg
John Layne www.solidengineering.co.nz
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whilst im not disputing maxwell is a good renderer it doesn't really do anything any other renderer cant achieve in far less time i'm a mental ray advocate and have found maxwell quirky to say the least but thats based on bias assured that what you know is what you stick by
i noticed maxwell released for maya so maybe it will have its uses there when i tried it as a solidworks plugin substitute for photoworks it wasnt MY cup of tea no im not comparing photoworks to maxwell but for the pain in set up i wasnt interested its far easier to convert my model to a format maya understands and use mentalray
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Thanks Neil, I too found the most time-consuming was the camera setup, trying to match exactly the example rendering. -Marc
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My own two cents:
I've been using maxwell in place of photoworks since 1.0 came out. Everyone comments a lot on the time to render although it's totally a non issue for me.
For me the advantage is all about the setup time.(apart from the wow factor of realistic lighting (and the ability to use any geometry as an emitter) )
Trust me I know that studio is not super easy to figure out, but once you do figure it out the workflow is incredibly fast. I can export my mxs file, open in studio and be rendering often time in less than 10 minutes. I have a couple standard studios setup in maxwell so I just do the render with multilight on and worry about light levels after the render is finished.
In this way maxwell saves me time, lots of it (I've spent half a day before tweaking lights and materials (oh, and the floor @#$) in photoworks.
I have 4 computers in my office (2 are dual core) and I just let them run, with reasonable resolution (like 1600 x1200) I can get a render done in 2-3 hours.
After the time savings - the other advantage is client reaction - 'wow'.
I think it's interesting that so many people focus on the render time - the whole 'keep the quality the same but make it 10x faster' is illogical'. 10x faster means use photoworks - I still use photoworks for animation for eg. In other words pick the right tool - and don't yell at a hammer when it doesn't do a good job turning your screw!
Zander mgibeault wrote:

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Do you accept entries for nature photography
http://www.forestwander.com
Rob Rodriguez wrote:

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