From the announcement:
After many months of effort from the whole team, the latest stable release of Aqsis is now available for download.
While on the surface this version might not look like a huge update, it has involved a mammoth effort from everyone involved, not just developers, without input from all areas, identifying problems, suggesting usability enhancements etc., the updates would never happen. The result is a much faster, (even) more stable, and more usable product.
Apart from the main changes, involving major architectural overhauls to gain significant speed improvements, some important new features have been added. These have been in direct response to requests from people using Aqsis, and so represent valuable updates that should improve Aqsis' usability in a production environment.
General optimisation and performance has been the primary focus for this release, with improvements including:
- Avoiding sample recomputation at overlapping bucket boundaries.
- Refactored sampling and occlusion culling code.
- Enabled "focusfactor" and "motionfactor" approximation by default, for depth-of-field and motion blur effects respectively.
- Improved shadow map rendering speed.
- Faster splitting code for large point clouds.
In addition, key feature enhancements have been made with improvements including:
- Multi-layer support added to OpenEXR display driver.
- Side Effects "Houdini" plugin.
- New RIB parser, supporting inline comments and better error reporting.
- Matte "alpha" support, for directly rendering shadows on otherwise transparent surfaces.
- Refactored advanced framebuffer (Piqsl).
- Texturing improvements.
- Enabled "smooth" shading interpolation by default.