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Interview with Andrei Izrantcev, Developer of V-Ray for Blender

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AndreyRenderStreet interviewed Andrei Izrantcev, who was recently hired by Chaos Group to further developer V-Ray for Blender.

Marius Iatan writes:

“My users keep me motivated. A lot of the development was done only because of user requests.” - Andrei Izrantcev

Last month the official version of V-Ray for Blender was announced. Andrei Izrantcev, the man who started the project and is now lead developer at Chaos Group, tells the story of bringing together #b3d and V-Ray.

The interview reveals how Andrei's personal initiative became part of a dedicated project inside Chaos Group. He also talks about the exciting things to come and about the next phases of development for the integration.

"The power of open source is the power to change – you have the opportunity to create or change the solution to suit your needs. With V-Ray 3.0, Chaos Group is moving towards universal render licenses and V-Ray Standalone is also included in many of our products. This means that owners of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max or Maya can try V-Ray for Blender right away."

Andrei also explains how he switched from being a 3D artist to being a software developer and how the Blender community motivated him and kept him focused for the entire journey.

The full interview is hosted on the RenderStreet blog, who are rolling V-Ray for Blender, currently in Beta.

11 Comments

  1. The interview says Blender lacks a compatible "API for rendering"... well with the recent addition of the OSL open shader language, it should be easy to construct one in Python?

    • ????? ???????? on

      Vray is production proven renderer used for a lot of films and commercials. It is very optimized and versatile. Also it uses biased algorithms which makes rendering speed a lot times faster than unbiased cycles. Moreover vray is adapted for production pipeline a lot more then cycles. Cycles renderer is awesome for it's price but it can't compete with vray or mentalray at the time.

    • Brian Lockett on

      If we're to grow as the Blender community, we've got to stop being so pessimistic towards other (commercial) products opening their doors to Blender community, merely as an available option--especially when we're trying to open our doors to more users from elsewhere, and when we've still got a bit of a ways to go with some of our own hometown options.

      Just because you've found strength in an alternative doesn't mean VRay's necessarily on the path to being obsolete. VRay's still a heavy contender in the 3D realm, especially with the areas of arch-viz and product visualization. I fail to see how Cycles' strength is somehow playing against VRay when only Blender utilizes Cycles.

      While Blender's usage grows among professionals (particularly freelancers and small businesses), it's still a minority in the industry, and not everyone uses Blender. Just because Cycles presents a similar product, it doesn't mean it's necessarily going to hurt VRay's market. And I fail to see how Cycles' success is rendering VRay towards being obsolete, if that's what you're claiming.

      In any case, it's nice that Blender has official VRay support, because since most of its relevant industries do not use Blender, this inclusion allows Blender professionals to play well with others using VRay but not Blender.

      You say it one needs a lot more tweaks to get the same results you get with less work using Cycles, but doesn't that depend on the user and the scope of the project? Cycles is speedy and straightforward to use...to someone's skilled with Cycles in Blender. One's adeptness in tools typically comes down to one's preference of workflow.

      I'm sure someone adept at VRay can look at Cycles' heavy reliance on nodes and needing to re-render every changed effect instead of simply selecting regions to re-render and say, "I'd rather just have menus with dials and button, and selective re-rendering--it's faster for me." Plus, VRay supports presets--Cycles isn't quite there.

      By the way, as much as I love Cycles, and will say that it can hold its own very well for most usages, it's still got quite a little ways to go before truly comparing to the some conveniences and points of quality that VRay offers.

      Cycles is growing stronger by the month, but it still falls behind on rendering glass and shiny surfaces as nicely as VRay (Cycles produces far more "fireflies" than VRay), and other subtle effects are currently handled noticeably better in VRay than Cycles such as caustics and light sampling. Cycles isn't terribly far, but VRay still has some strong advantages that we won't see in Cycles for quite a while.

      VRay handles reducing noise far better than Cycles currently does, and offers tweaking with ready options (such as "Max Ray Intensity"). You can select just one area and re-render that selected area that apply tweaking to just the selected area, saving you tons of time removing noise without needing to re-render the entire scene or editing out noise in Photoshop.

      Cycles might get there in time, but that's just the thing--its development takes time. Time is money, and it becomes even more so as freelancing and small businesses grows rapidly. Having the competitive edge now is worth more than waiting months for a product still establishing its foundation.

      While Cycles is catching up to establishing basic features (it's just now getting volumetrics, for instance), VRay has all the basics covered, and has long moved on to advanced features. Again, Cycles is a powerful development, but it's still very much so in its infancy.

      Another strong difference is, again, the lack of presets with Cycles. Presets are powerful. Presets bring time-saving relief. Thankfully, Cycles is rather straightforward to use once you learn it, but still, it suffers from a lack of production-ready presets and simple rendering quality controls without the need of using nodes. Nodes can be powerful, but sometimes, even as an experience user, you just simply want a no-fuss preset in button form.

      VRay supports ready presets for material, lighting, camera, and rendering options, and makes creating custom presets very easy. It's very artist-friendly, unless Cycles, whose heavy usage of nodal logic may seem a be daunting to those not technical.

      And what's more, VRay's presets are communicable to other VRay users--they can share presets easily. Blender doesn't even have a decent material preset system yet, so naturally, Cycles currently lacks a solid system of such presets.

      This isn't at all to put down Cycles. On the contrary, this is to commend the progress that Cycles has made and at the gradual pace it develops, but to realize that it doesn't hurt to have VRay officially available as an option. Some people prefer VRay, and having VRay is an important option available for Blender community, especially for those migrating to Blender from elsewhere.

      If we're to be more inclusive to new users, we should be more inclusive to new options.

      • Alexander Weide on

        Sorry to say. I was vray user for 4 years in my last company i was working in. I accept your opinion. I accept the point that vray could now be a part of some production pipelines. And sorry to say i believe that you dont using cycles very much. Because you would know that fireflies are not a problem anymore. And you would know that cycles is the fastests renderer out there. And sorry to say. A biased renderer is not faster than a unbiased one. Because the bias process needed to precalculate or so. It took a while... In that time i got a ready image in octane or cycles or even in houdini photorealistic renderer. I accept your opinion. And deeply hope you will learn alot more about vfx, rendering and cylces. I do this stuff since 16 years. And sorry for my words. bb

        • Brian Lockett on

          "And sorry to say i believe that you don't using cycles very much. Because you would know that fireflies are not a problem anymore."

          Are you truly going to claim that Cycles doesn't produce noise ("fireflies") when rendering glass and shiny surfaces?

          Even with clamping and sampling options, shiny surfaces, transparent materials, and bright light sources will still produce some noise at times.

          Though, my point wasn't that VRay doesn't produce fireflies (it does), but that one isn't not required to re-render the entire scene over again just to better rid the noise artifacts.

          While there are several points to consider, this alone might be enough reason for some people to prefer VRay. It's nice to have VRay as an available option for those people.

          "And you would know that cycles is the fastests renderer out there."

          Do you have any presentable data or a credible source for that claim? Otherwise, you're making an unsubstantiated claim and I cannot readily accept such alone as fact.

          Honestly, your claim is unlikely, considering that Octane Render utilizes real-time GPU-rendering very efficiently, even more so than Cycles does.

          Octane Render was built from the ground-up to best utilize GPUs and has kept their lead as the top GPU-only renderer.

          Cycles, while fast, wasn't built for GPU-only, is technically a hybrid rendering engine, and continues to undergo optimization with GPU rendering.

          "And sorry to say. A biased renderer is not faster than a unbiased one. Because the bias process needed to precalculate or so."

          a) I never argued that a biased renderer is faster than an unbiased one. Why bring up the comparison?

          b) The speed of the rendering depends more on the technology used--not just the method.

          There are GPU-based unbiased renderers like Octane that are faster than many CPU-based unbiased renderers.

          There are CPU-based biased renderers like Keyshot that work faster than some GPU-accelerated renderers like Indigo.

          They all choose their rendering method for various reasons. It depends more on the utilization of the technical these days--not just mere rendering method.

          c) When rendering for the same amount of time, an unbiased renderer tend to produce much more extra noise that takes longer to get rid with rendering.

          Biased or unbiased, either option has their advantage and disadvantage.

          d) VRay is a biased rendering engine, but features an unbiased Bidirectional Path Tracing rendering solution as well.

          "It took a while... In that time i got a ready image in octane or cycles or even in houdini photorealistic renderer."

          Again, that's your experience. Some people may work just as comfortably and swiftly using VRay and find Cycles just as clumsy as you apparently find VRay.

          Again, not everyone likes dealing with node-based rendering systems, and esp. with some people migrating to Blender, some might appreciate seeing a more familiar face like VRay available to use.

          And deeply hope you will learn alot more about vfx, rendering and cylces. I do this stuff since 16 years.

          a) Don't guess my experience. You have assumed too much here.

          b) Don't appeal to authority. Your 16 years doesn't giving your argument any weight here against my point.

          I think you've missed the entire point of my addressing your comment. My comment wasn't seeking to change your opinion about VRay and Cycles.

          My comment was pointing out the needless attitude of shooting down VRay being a variable option available among the Blender community.

          Even if you don't like or use VRay, it doesn't mean that its merely being an available option is not something good for the Blender community overall.

          This inclusion of Blender among VRay users can only be good for Blender. But Blender users are often among the most unwelcoming software users out there.

          • Alexander Weide on

            Sorry for my points. But iam honest to you all here at these post. i get a hearth attack when i hear that vray is the best renderer out there, that is not true. and in your post i got this feeling. I was working with more than 12 renders in the past. and in my point of view is renderman alot better than other ones. but, cycles is straight forward and thats a fact... every tool produces fireflys. you have to know how to deal with it. For me as a Artist is not only importing to get a good result. The Time of the whole process is more important. Because my clients want to pay only for work not for testing. Vray got a big problems with materials in my point of view. If you use one Material and one light setup in one shot, you have to tweek all the shaders in the other shoot. because of new lighting... Thats unrealistic. A Material dosent change in real world if light changes. Look at the great work of alot of Artists on Blendswap, these materials work in every scene without adaption or correction of shaders for different light situation. In Vray you can also build shaders that a working in many cases, but you have to setup a texturing and shading scene. like library..But most time this dosent work for every shot. So you loose alot of time by tweeking shaders and Lighting. And that dont want to pay a normal customer. A Customer ask. How much time do you need and if the client make changes during the process you cannot tell him that you have to rework the shaders. He will laugh about you. And in my Past years i got so much projects with vray at my last facillity. I was supervisor and can tell you that we needed 70% of the time to tweek shaders and so on. Shading in Cycles is very easy and complex. like the shader system in Houdini Mantra, very similar to it. Most Artists dont want to understand how a shader work, so most Vray artists push up the quality density for the lightmap and so on... and wait more than 10 Hours for a HD Frame... i only can laugh about it. Because blender do the same in 1 Hour. That means you got 9 additional Hours to get a better Picture, not in cases of rendering quality but in design and mood quality. That is a true fact. If you will work with Houdini Mantra you will notice the same. Houdinis renderer is very similar to Cycles, and look in the industry Mantra is the Backbone of every big Hollywood production.

            Conclusion:
            Vray is a System that produces very good results too. like all other good renders. But the time you need to tweak things is not good in todays daily business.

            Vray is not a photorealistic renderer -> because it dosent work like a the camera tracing like a real light photon in the real world. Its a Gaussian Rendering Algorithm so you need alot of things to get a good result in short periode of time.

            Cycles works like real, like octane or Mantra, Arnold or IRay. And that is the future. Look at the Render engine Arnold. Its the most used Renderer in Hollywood. And look at these results awesome. Arnold is one of the first unbiased renderer's and a lot of Studios are using it. Ask why?

            I know alot of guys who are working or where working in the business with vray. Most of them are stunned by Cycles!

            wish you a nice day and please look across the border. I accept your Opinion about Vray. and please accept my ones too...

            and one tip you will kill 99% of all fireflies if you are working with clamps. That makes your Rendering faster and with less noise. i prefer 3-10 clamp not more, because your eyes cannot see a difference over 3 thats fact. A Plasma monitor can show you a white value of 3 and not more.

            next big tip, use a compositor with a denoise system like the denoise solution in Nuke. Safe a Grainy Sample image with 1 bounce in cycles and use the sample source in Nuke to get the right denoise algorithm so you get rid of every noise. believe me. So you can turn down the sample amount and safe alot of Rendertime. and Rendertime is money

            wish you nice day bb

            your last comment is not true. I face alot of Max users everyday here in germany, clients and so on. They tell me. Max is the only solution every other software is shit. i am open for every know development! i was learning more than 12 software packages in the last 16 years. Blender user since 10 years with a 3dsmax break for 6 years. but went back. The only thing that counts is the result not the tool i nevery said that vray is not a good renderer ... its a very good one, but in daily business not the best one... that is my experience.. and dont want to troll agains any new development. Sorry if you thought that.

  2. That's very good to hear that the two best aplications have a promising future together! I love cycles but vray has many years of development behind them and is simply unbeatable.

  3. Vray needs to port their program to Cocoa for OSX if they are serious about being a renderer for all platforms.
    How long has it been that only the 32bit version gives you the buffer window for OSX?
    I agree Vray presently is an awesome renderer, but for almost $500, they need to make it a one click install. Not days of terminal commands only to find out the version they gave you will not work on OSX.
    Other programmers are not sitting on their hands, so they better get their act together.

  4. The more rendering options we have, the better it's for our productivity. As Andrei said, "The power of open source is the power to change, you have the opportunity to create or change the solution to suit your needs". Perhaps, availability of vray will make somebody change their approach to the rendering in some cases (complex interiors, for example). In the end, it's a win-win situation for Blender users.

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