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OTOY has released its first public beta version of the unbiased GPU render engine, the OctaneRender 2021.1 XB1.

Improved RTX support to fasten production

The version improves the performance on motion blur of animated mesh instances for “1.5x faster in production scenes” based on the support for hardware acceleration from the new generation of RT cores on NVIDIA's Ampere. On the other hand, OctaneRender 2021.1 has drop support for many Kepler cards with a model lower than 3.5.

1.5x faster in production scenes

In addition, the new version is now able to evaluate all shaders using RTX ray tracing, which helps to boost “most production scenes” in both Turing and Ampere devices with “1-5% faster”.

What's more about Geometry:

a. UV surface tangents are now interpolated to render smoother in stretched highlights.

b. Meshes can be combines with other SDFs using the Vectron operators.

c. Scatter on surface has been improved to provide more control for placing scattered objects.

Improved volume rendering

The new version has added support for light-linking, added support for user instance IDs, improved rendering of overlapping volumes and increased the number of volumes allowed to overlap in one location to 16 and enables in Cryptomatte AOVs to optimize the volume rendering. What’s more, the Legacy mode ("emulate old volume behavior") has been removed.

New materials and rendering optimization

New features in OctaneRender 2021.1 include a shader-based Boolean clipping system, which enables users to apply a clipping material to a volume, mesh or Vectron formula automatically by the real-time Boolean operations, opening many new possibilities for efficient geometry modification.

Clipping material

A new energy preserving GGX BRDF model that is available in the Glossy, Metallic, Specular and Universal materials and metallic layer and Specular layer nodes was added to this version to reduce the energy loss of general microfacet model.

Specular materials of the old GGX model (top row) VS the energy preserving GGX model (bottom row) with increasing roughness from left to right

The software’s hair BSDF model has also been extended with support for randomising hair roughness, and for the Zinke model for diffuse scattering, also used in renderers like Arnold and RenderMan.

Increasing diffuse contribution of a dark grey diffuse colored lobe

Algorithm has also be improved to reduce shading variance more with mesh emitters, enable a better AI light rendering with less noise.

AI light

New textures and better color processing

A range of texture nodes that can be used to convert nodes of other types to textures, alone with some projection node: “Color to UVW”, “Distorted mesh UV”, ”MatCap” and “Sample pos. to UV” have been added in the OctaneRender 2021.1.

Color processing has also been improved, with the option to assign color spaces individually to textures that is built-in Octane. What’s more, Octane is also enable now in an end-to-end ACES workflow via OCIO (OpenColorIO).

New color options

Support for custom AOVs and global texture AOVs

Otoy has also refactored OctaneRender’s (Arbitrary Output Variable) system, used to generate render passes, adding support for custom AOVs and global texture AOVs. An example has showed that render AOV nodes can be nested according to their own parameters and enabled or disabled as a whole.

Render AOV nodes can be nested and controled in one go

A new system of render AOV group nodes enables users to add an arbitrary number of inputs, then connect specific render AOV nodes to them, making it possible to create custom AOVs.

It is also now possible to apply a texture or OSL shader to an entire scene, including or excluding the environment, and render that texture or shader as an info AOV.

It’s the first version of OctaneRender that supports Windows and Linux only and the support for MacOS will be moved to the Octane X version of 2021.1 few weeks later. NVidia Ampere GPUs in this version is supported in at least 456.38 on Windows or 455.23 on Linux. Meanwhile, the support of dongles won’t work until it is fixed in version 2021.1 XB2.

For more details, please check a full list of OctaneRender 2021.1 XB1.

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