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LuxCoreRender team releases LuxCoreRender 2.2

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Veteran physically based open-source renderer now supports Blender 2.80.

The LuxCoreRender team has released version 2.2 of the open-source physically based renderer, adding a new PhotonGI cache system to speed up global illumination rendering, a new Disney BRDF material, and integrating Open Image Denoise, Intel's AI-driven render denoising system.

The update also makes LuxCoreRender compatible with the current version of Blender again: BlendLuxCore, its Blender integration plugin, now supports Blender 2.80, and work has begun on supporting all of the materials, lights and camera settings from Cycles inside the renderer.

The main image for the story was created by architectural studio ARCHVIZBLENDER using Blender 2.80 and an early build of LuxCoreRender 2.2. You can see more images from the same project here.

So what is LuxCoreRender?

Formerly known as LuxRender development was rebooted last summer, giving the software a new website to match its new name LuxCoreRender is a powerful, physically accurate renderer.

Before Cycles, it was one of the key solutions for rendering photorealistic images in Blender, and even now, it has its own strengths and unique features: for example, a hybrid OpenCL/C++ rendering system that makes rendering much faster when using both CPUs and GPUs.

New in LuxCoreRender 2.2: PhotonGI cache, Open Image Denoise

In LuxCoreRender 2.2, rendering with global illumination should also be much faster, thanks to the new PhotonGI Cache. Described as a “V-Ray-like solution”, but based on photon mapping rather than the approach taken in V-Ray’s Light Cache GI engine, it gives a rapid approximation of brute force GI.

It consists of separate caches for direct lighting, indirect lighting and caustics, which can be be enabled in different combinations to render fast but noisy animation previews, or noise-free final images.

The caustics cache also renders caustic effects “nearly for free” with path tracing.  The complex patterns of illumination that result when light strikes a curved surface they are often seen when light passes through transparent materials like glass or water caustics can be tricky to render in other renderers: in the past, they have been described as the "one weak point" of Cycles.

Other major features in LuxCoreRender 2.2 include a new Disney BRDF material. Based on the same Disney research paper as Blender's own Principled BSDF shader, it is designed to mimic a wide range of real-world materials using as few shading parameters as possible.

The update also integrates Open Image Denoise (OIDN), Intel’s AI-based CPU render denoising system, which is due to be supported natively in Blender in Blender 2.81.

It is also now possible to set the transparency of the front and back faces of an object independently, which can be used to make objects in a scene ‘invisible’ to certain lights, as discussed in this forum post.

There are also a number of bugfixes, plus smaller features like new texture types and AOVs, so for the full run-down, check out this forum thread or the online release notes.

New in BlendLuxCore 2.2: support for Blender 2.80

But for many Blender users, the big change in LuxCoreRender 2.2 will simply be that it is compatible with Blender 2.80. BlendLuxCore, its integration plugin, has now been ported to Blender 2.8x.

In addition, the LuxCoreRender team have begun work on the Cycles scene reader, a development project to make all of Cycles' materials, lights and camera settings compatible with LuxCoreRender. You can see a detailed list of Cycles features currently supported, plus those in progress and those that are unlikely ever to be available, in this overview of the project on GitHub.

System requirements

LuxCoreRender 2.2 is currently available for Windows and Linux: the Mac version hasn't yet been updated from version 2.1 BlendLuxCore 2.2 is compatible with Blender 2.79b and 2.80.

About Author

Jim Thacker

I've been writing about Blender since the mid-2000s when, as editor of 3D World magazine, I commissioned a series of on-set diaries from the Blender Foundation's first open movie. Since then, I've worked with ArtStation and Gnomon, ‘development edited’ books for Focal Press and Design Studio Press, and am currently editor of industry news website CG Channel.

9 Comments

  1. A wonderful free render that has a proper light behavior for. Strongly advice to try and use it.... its totally different quality in the terms of photorealism than cycles. At least renders doesn't look soo flat. Devs do a really great job!

  2. I am struggling with this. Windows won't run it, as it quarantines pyluxcoretool.exe every time and says it contains win32/Ludicrous.Q

    Has anybody else had this issue?

    • Installed it on 20 ubuntu machines and 10 Windows machines for a studio, didnt have a single issue running and testing it on any system. Also they use a great security system on their network so if defender could detect the threat on your system, it would also be detected on one of those systems.
      My assumption is: either you've downloaded it from an untrusted source or you're just plain lying. If you've downloaded it from an untrusted source, it might contain malware. I suggest you to download it from the official sources.
      If you've downloaded it from an official source and still having issues, I think that there's something wrong with your system itself or that you're lying.
      If you think that there's something wrong with your system, I suggest you to do a full system threat scan using a good antivirus and antimalware software. Then try installing again. If it fails again, I'm afraid you're going to have to try reinstalling Windows. I used the setups from the official source and all of them installed, ran and passed tests on 10 Windows 10 Pro systems flawlessly.
      If you're lying and trying to spread false news, all I can say is shame on you.
      P.s. I'm not accusing you of lying. I'm just making assumptions. If you're really having that issue, there's most probably a problem in your system, since all Windows systems I installed LuxCore 2.2 on showed no such symptoms. I suggest you to perform the scans I mentioned above and also (If you've downloaded the setup from official sources) make a post about it on the LuxCore Forums (just Google it).
      Regards,
      Sid.

      • Hey Sid. I downloaded it from the official website, and I am a huge fan of Blender and all things to do with rendering. I have used LuxCore before. I was probably rendering long before you were born!

        It was installed on a VM install of Windows with no software other than Visual Studio and everything needed to compile Blender from the source code. I am not implying that there is a virus in it. It is most likely a false positive from Windows defender. I was simply wondering if anybody else had reported this. I looked on their forums and found no mention of it at all. I will try it on a fresh install of Windows to rule out other factors.

        I admire your standing up and defending the software, but I assure you I have no malicious intent other than asking if others have encountered this.

        • Hey. I didn't mean to be harsh or anything. I've just seen a lot of people online who get jealous of free software and try to spread false news about it.
          I was just talking with some people in the LuxCore Discord server (invite link is in a post on the forum if you want to join, its open to everyone) and they also suggested that it might just be a false conflict with the antivirus software.
          One person suggested using VirusTotal to check the file that's giving you issues.
          I don't really have a good experience of VMs so I can't really help you with that. I do really recommend that you try installing it on a proper Windows install. It might just be an issue in VMs.
          Hope you get it working.
          Regards.

          • Thanks Sid. No worries.

            I tried the file with VirusTotal, and it didn't find anything. I am going to try it on a fresh install, and if I find a problem, I'll leap on to the Discord and ask there. I am 90% convinced it's a false positive. Thanks again.

          • In case anybody reads this far, it was a false positive of Windows Defender. Updating the virus signatures stopped the problem I was having, and VirusTotal declared it to be clean.

            Carry on, and enjoy this awesome render engine.

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