Jump to content
anicg

Mantra as the sole renderer for production?

Recommended Posts

Does anyone use mantra as the sole renderer for production?

Let me rephrase: If I choose to use Mantra for production, am I missing something? am I limited?

In which situation do you think I shouldn't be using Mantra?

Obviously I didn't mention another renderer to avoid the A vs B. There is just A, Mantra.

Edited by anicg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there is only one option there is no choice then. And if there is no choice, there should not be any hesitation :)
The only thing you can potentially miss with Mantra is a speed. There is no other render which integrated with Houdini so nice, hence it's super flexible and powerful, but in some cases, other renders can do the same job much faster. This means a lot depends on particular project details and you can`t estimate abstract situation.

In my experience of Mantra vs other engines, the expectation was to get faster renders with Redshift. I spent several days to adapt my scene from Mantra to RS (there were super simple material and lighting setup: sun and sky, one shader but heavy geometry, MB, DOF and volumes). The crowds were a bottleneck, it was almost impossible to work with crowds and RS in my case, so I return to Mantra and close this question for that project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I definitely have choice and options, but I'd like to make it early on, and not keep moving (following trends), hence the question why not Mantra. So it's just speed? any numbers to get an idea?

Edited by anicg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, anicg said:

numbers to get an idea?

It depends on the hardware dramatically. I have no relevant numbers but what I heard from other guys it's minutes vs hours (after investing $$$$ in GPU rig).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many small and middle size studios use Mantra as its core rendering engine (bigger houses uses it as an effects renderer afaik). Yes, it tends to be slower these days - probably anywhere between 20 and 50% compared to its main competitors (Arnold, VRay, PRMan)*. Other than that it's complete, reliable and probably the most flexible solution you can get without digging into SDKs - specially considering the money  (1/10 the competitors' price). Slower render time doesn't have to hurt much - depending on your show - if you consider how easy is to render multi level of instances, procedural objects like crowds, procedurally dressing complicated sets and other similar scenarios. You can save a lot of user time using Mantra. On the other hand, if your show has three cartoon characters without hair, Redshift will give you comfort without pain - other than computers magically hanging or refusing to start due to momentarily 'unsupported GPU' just to render again fine right after that... 

*  - Redshift is not good comparison though. It outperforms anything else today available -  being the only 'somewhat' production ready GPU based renderer - in case 'somewhat' is your case.

ps I would be cautious in front of multiply interiors shots or lots of SSS materials in case of Mantra. Also as any path tracer it becomes multihours adventure with displacement + motion blur + multibouce GI. You better have decent farm in such case (Altus denoiser might also help). 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I could have only one renderer in production it would be Mantra. It's an extremely powerful, flexible, and reliable renderer. It has been my primary renderer for many years. To give my answer some context I've also used mental ray, Octane, Modo, Cinema 4D, RenderMan, 3Delight, Maxwell, and Arnold. I can see the value in GPU renderers but the cards don't have enough memory for it to be reliable and worthwhile for visual effects work. Even the most expensive cards have only 48GB of memory which is a joke when you're working with large simulations and complex scenes. I could see a GPU renderer being better than Mantra for certain industries with lower memory requirements (architecture visualization, product renderings, stylized animation) but definitely not for visual effects.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/5/2019 at 8:14 PM, lukeiamyourfather said:

If I could have only one renderer in production it would be Mantra. It's an extremely powerful, flexible, and reliable renderer. It has been my primary renderer for many years. To give my answer some context I've also used mental ray, Octane, Modo, Cinema 4D, RenderMan, 3Delight, Maxwell, and Arnold. I can see the value in GPU renderers but the cards don't have enough memory for it to be reliable and worthwhile for visual effects work. Even the most expensive cards have only 48GB of memory which is a joke when you're working with large simulations and complex scenes. I could see a GPU renderer being better than Mantra for certain industries with lower memory requirements (architecture visualization, product renderings, stylized animation) but definitely not for visual effects.

I know this is an old post, but If one buys a 32 core processor (or maybe more) and 128 gigs of ram, Is there a difference in speed between Mantra/Renderman/Arnold/Vray? I assume 3Delight is faster than all, but nobody uses it in production that I see (not that I would know.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Kvothe said:

I assume 3Delight is faster than all, but nobody uses it in production that I see (not that I would know.)

3delight is heavily used in production, and I dare to claim it's probably the *best renderer on the market these days. They are just not big on marketing nor advertising (and never were).

* - considering price/quality/versatility ratios. 

Quote

I know this is an old post, but If one buys a 32 core processor (or maybe more) and 128 gigs of ram, Is there a difference in speed between Mantra/Renderman/Arnold/Vray?

All mentioned will be faster than Mantra. The difference will be small or big depending on a case. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, symek said:

3delight is heavily used in production, and I dare to claim it's probably the *best renderer on the market these days. They are just not big on marketing nor advertising (and never were).

* - considering price/quality/versatility ratios. 

All mentioned will be faster than Mantra. The difference will be small or big depending on a case. 

I wish there was an easy way for me to make the right career choice in what renderer to invest in for practicing rendering sims. Some people say renderman, some arnold, and now you say that 3Delight is actually a legitimate option. I'm so lost. I guess I'm just glad I didn't pull the trigger on Redshift, bc CPU seems like it will be optimal for my needs once my new computer is built. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kvothe said:

I wish there was an easy way for me to make the right career choice in what renderer to invest in for practicing rendering sims. Some people say renderman, some arnold, and now you say that 3Delight is actually a legitimate option. I'm so lost. I guess I'm just glad I didn't pull the trigger on Redshift, bc CPU seems like it will be optimal for my needs once my new computer is built. 

All of them are legitimate options, that's why you've heard of them :) 

If you're going to render on a single computer for personal projects, GPU rendering might not be the bad idea, albeit it will cost you some mental health. Also, you don't have to choose the best one, just good enough.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, symek said:

If you're going to render on a single computer for personal projects, GPU rendering might not be the bad idea, albeit it will cost you some mental health. Also, you don't have to choose the best one, just good enough.

haha well thanks! I guess I was hoping that getting a 32 core or 64 core CPU with lots of RAM would be good for CPU rendering. Now I really regret not getting the RedShift sale the other day, it was 350 instead of 500 for the initial license fee. I guess I made a big mistake? I could use Octane, it's just when I apply to jobs in 18 months, I thought I should be able to say I am experienced with a renderer common in production . I seriously always make the wrong decision.

Edited by Kvothe
context

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can Always get the redshift demo to learn a bit and see if it can fit your FX needs.
The demo is fully functional. Just renders with a watermark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Kvothe said:

I could use Octane,

That's what I would call non-legitimate option form VFX. Don't bother.

Quote

it's just when I apply to jobs in 18 months, I thought I should be able to say I am experienced with a renderer common in production .

Good thinking. Download free version of Renderman for Houdini or/AND free version of 3Delight (free for commercial use too btw), mix it with Mantra and you're more than OK. Being flexible about rendering is essential for VFX. Unlike animation, VFX tends to play on many drums.  

Quote

I seriously always make the wrong decision.

and yet you've chosen great Houdin's forum! :) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, symek said:

That's what I would call non-legitimate option form VFX. Don't bother.

Good thinking. Download free version of Renderman for Houdini or/AND free version of 3Delight (free for commercial use too btw), mix it with Mantra and you're more than OK. Being flexible about rendering is essential for VFX. Unlike animation, VFX tends to play on many drums.  

and yet you've chosen great Houdin's forum! :) 

Thank you for all of your advice! I will do as you say, and definitely upgrade my CPU later on this year. I'm quite happy that I found this forum, and I appreciate your help immensely. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/3/2020 at 6:18 PM, Kvothe said:

Now I really regret not getting the RedShift sale the other day, it was 350 instead of 500 for the initial license fee. I guess I made a big mistake? I could use Octane, it's just when I apply to jobs in 18 months, I thought I should be able to say I am experienced with a renderer common in production . I seriously always make the wrong decision.

Ok...several things:

First of all, get out of your head the idea that one renderer is all you need to focus on. In today's production world, especially as a newcomer you better be familiar with several render engines.

Secondly, if your goal is to work for a high end VFX studio, then GPU renderers aren't really a thing. For feature films most of the larger studios use Arnold or Renderman....so learn those!

With ever-changing and ever-evolving technology, when it comes to render engines particularly, you're better off with a subscription service. I would go with the $20/month Octane subscription over purchasing Redshift. In addition, Octane looks arguably better than Redshift with less effort (but ultimately they're both limited as explained in previous posts).

I think GPU render speed is overly hyped for the most part. People will compare Redshift on a 4 RTX 2080ti machine vs. Arnold running on a 6-core Intel and declare that Redshift is the winner, not taking into account the fact that they're comparing $6k worth of GPU's (and one hell of an electric bill) vs. a $400 CPU. If we level the cost playing field, and compare 3Delight running on a 64-core Threadripper vs. Redshift running on two 2080ti's, then 3Delight will be faster...particularly on scenes with volumes and huge amounts of polys. On a recent test that I did between Redshift running on two 1080ti's vs. 3Delight running on a 9900k 8-core, the difference in render times was only 1 minute. If I swapped CPU's to a 16-core Ryzen then 3Delight would have come out on top and with a better looking render.

And finally...don't get hung up on technology too much. Ultimately if you're good at what you do, you'll find work regardless of what render engine you use.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Midphase said:

 

I think GPU render speed is overly hyped for the most part. People will compare Redshift on a 4 RTX 2080ti machine vs. Arnold running on a 6-core Intel and declare that Redshift is the winner, not taking into account the fact that they're comparing $6k worth of GPU's (and one hell of an electric bill) vs. a $400 CPU. If we level the cost playing field, and compare 3Delight running on a 64-core Threadripper vs. Redshift running on two 2080ti's, then 3Delight will be faster...particularly on scenes with volumes and huge amounts of polys. On a recent test that I did between Redshift running on two 1080ti's vs. 3Delight running on a 9900k 8-core, the difference in render times was only 1 minute. If I swapped CPU's to a 16-core Ryzen then 3Delight would have come out on top and with a better looking render.

And finally...don't get hung up on technology too much. Ultimately if you're good at what you do, you'll find work regardless of what render engine you use.

 

Well that's really something. I was under the impression that 3Delight wasn't really used in studios, but now that I've heard otherwise, Renderman non-commercial and 3Delight are what I use until I have more CPU horsepower, then I'll integrate some Mantra in there. Hopefully I can find resources to learn Renderman and 3Delight. Your anecdote on 3Delight is crazy, why don't more people talk about this?

And as far as "if you're good at what you do," unfortunately I am not. And it will be a while until I am, if I ever get there. Using Houdini makes me question my intellect, it uses parts of my brain that I haven't touched in years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×