Confused about the different renderers

I’m confused about all the rendering options in Rhino - Rhino Render, Neon, Flamingo, Brazil. Why are there so many? Is the intention to provide rendering solutions at different price points? Are they compatible programs? Do they have similar UIs, going from simple to more advanced? Or are they all different, unrelated programs?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.

1 Like

Hi Alex,

They are all different products but some are more closely related and some more closely integrated with existing Rhino tools. Discussing the details will probably just make things more confusing unfortunately but here goes… The best integrated are the default Rhino Renderer which all Rhino installs will have and Brazil for Rhino which McNeel develops. Neon is now also a factor and both RR and BZ will use it extensively. Flamingo nXt will support more of the Rhino 5 UI and features too moving forward but was last released as a Rhino 4 plugin and is catching up to how things are handled in Rhino 5. The plugins like Vray, Maxwell, Arion, Air, Thea, Octane are written by other companies. There are some great products here. I like to compare rendering engines to markers… it’s not about the brand, it’s about drawing. Most if not all of these plugins have free evals. I think so many exist because there are many types of Rhino users all looking for different things. If you have a specific type of rendering or look you’re after, post here and I can give you an opinion on the best ones to try if you like.

Also the different engine are created for different needs.

Some user very seldom use a render engine and need basic render output only, this people could use the Rhino renderer or nXt.

Other people have no problem with longer render times, but like to get an easy to use engine and photoreal render output.
This engine doesn’t allow the user to grow over the years, the render speed will not be better by the knowledge of the user. There are no tricks. This engines are good for medium res and not so good for interiors

Other engine allow to choose between a handful of parameters to get more speed, but some knowledge is needed to keep the quality. Over the years the user will be better and better and for example he can easy render extreme large images based on short render times.

Some engine are universal to use - photoreal, graphic use, user shader tools, … and the prices are different. Some engine are using the graphic card only, other one allow to use several machines for rendering over LAN. Some are good for product shots, some are better for jewelry, … .

I would say renderers are more like cars. Some are comfortable, easy to drive, probably a bit slow around the corners. Others are cheap, but they get you where you need to go. Some are super quick, but if you don’t know how to drive them, you’ll end up on the grass. Some are better for the school run. Others are better for touring with the top down.

None of them are perfect for every application. That’s why we think it’s important that you get to choose.

1 Like

Since no one has recommended a particular rendering program I will be the idiot that sticks his neck out.

For me Vray is the program of choice. As explained above it is an engine that is photo-realistic, requires a decent investment in time and money, and can be quick or slow depending on the job and your knowledge of the program.

I think as far as quality Vray can match any other program. It has a real time rendering feedback function now ‘RT’ , like neon, and can utilize additional computers over your network so sky is the limit for power. I’ve got my fingers crossed for GPU rendering in the next release, but that is likely a meaningless statement to someone who is just dipping their toe for the first time. There are also lots of tutorials online, and the many 3ds max tutorials translate almost perfectly.

As the others hinted you need to make some choices. I would use the metaphor of a camera. You want a point and click that’s usable out of the box, or you looking to spend the time and money, get a DSLR with lenses and to take it to the next level?

Thanks for all the replies.

I expect that I will end up with a V-Ray for Rhino license in the future but I have V-Ray for SketchUp now and will be shelling out some $$ in the immediate future when the upgrade is released. I can’t afford to have two V-Ray licenses so I’m exploring what my options are. I expect in the long run to be replacing SketchUp with Rhino as my primary application so I will probably transfer the license but I want to know what my options are between now and then.

Your replies have been real helpful.

Confused as well . . . considering cost, is Flamingo nXt a best choice for architectural interiors?

Interiors are one of the most difficult situations for rendering. Bouncing light determinate the realistic look, difficult to calculate. The standard software for architecture viz is Vray (there was a long document about renderer at the web about this topic). The standard methods light cache and irradiance map allow to get a fotoreal look within a short render time. I like the fast preview of the whole scene during the LC pass.
Also at the moment GPU rendering is added to the VfR beta, that open new ways:

If you are rendering seldom than Flamingo nXt could be easier to use. But look at the gallery for interiors - doe’s it match your need? I don’t know which renderer is cheap and good enough for interiors. Best look around at the galleries. I use VfR daily and could live without it. :wink:

@andy is right, it’s like a car, you have many, you try, you check the cost, consuption, pollution, velocity, etc… and at the end you choose the right for you.

Do a ride, ask friends (us), read books, and, much important, try to clarify what you really need from a render engine.

The cheapest solution it’s Neon, cost zero, works fully integrated in Rhino, start from it.
Probably at certain point you will need more power, fastness, and you will be ready for a brand new car!