An unofficial manual for the upcoming LuxusCore plugin for Carrara, that brings GPU accelerated rendering and realtime render preview into Carrara.
Table of Contents 1. What is LuxusCore? 2. Beta installation for Windows x64 only, free (Updated 2015-03-01): 3. First project and rendering 4. Shaders
5. Lights 6. FAQ (Updated 2015-03-01) 7. Example LuxusCore renders 8. Animation 9. Benchmarks 10. Other
1. What is LuxusCore? LuxusCore is based in the LuxCore engine of the upcoming Luxrender 2.0 (not released at the time of writing).
LuxCore supports GPU accelerated rendering and realtime render preview into Carrara.
It works on both AMD and NVIDIA graphics using the OpenCL language, so you need to have updated graphics drivers.
More about supported graphics cards can be found in the LuxCore wiki here.
Also runs on CPU, useful for laptops. Reported to be faster on CPU than the older LuxRender versions.
2. Beta installation for Windows x64 only (free):
Download from http://sphericlabs.com/preview/win64/LuxusCore.zip
It works until the end of the month*, at which point it must be updated or deleted, otherwise Carrara will not start the next month. *Updated 2015-03-01 to work until 31/3.
Unzip to C:\Program Files\DAZ 3D\Carrara8.5\Extensions
Note 1: Path may be different if you installed Carrara elsewhere.
Note 2: LuxRender is not needed this time, unlike Luxus for Carrara. LuxusCore works both with a clean installation of Carrara and also if you already have the older Luxus plugin installed.
3. First project and rendering Start Carrara and load a default scene to quickly check that LuxusCore is working:
File -> Open Preset -> Global Illumination -> Skylight
Edit -> LuxCore IPR
Now the IPR render window should open and the realtime GPU preview rendering should be running.
The very first time you may get the same configuration dialog as when choosing Edit -> LuxCore Config
where you choose GPU or CPU rendering and the method for rendering. The screenshot shows the recommended settings for GPU acceleration, all graphics cards are selected, the CPU is not:
Now delete the default scene light and add a LuxusCore light: Insert -> LuxCore Sun-Sky. Uncheck “Do Sun” and to run the same type of scene as the preset, but using LuxCore setting instead.
In the Render Room, you can choose Rendering -> Renderer -> Photorealistic -> Luxcore via Luxus to get the full render options.
As you can see from the Render Room above, the native Carrara render on the left has a Glossy material. In the current version of LuxusCore this is not automatically translated.
A workaround is to build the shader as a new LuxusCore shader.
Glossy and Glass shaders for LuxusCore are available in SphericLabs simple test scene, get it here: http://sphericlabs.com/scratch/LuxusScene.zip
4.1 Transparency shader
Transparency with LuxusCore materials for example eye-lashes:
> LuxCore Mix
>> LuxCore Null
>> LuxCore Matte or whatever material you desire
>> Amount is 0.0 for Null, 1.0 for Matte, or put a carrara texture map in there for something like eyelashes.
(You can swap the order of Null and Matte if you want 1.0 for fully transparent.)
4.2 Emission shader Should be as simple as turning up the power on the emissive channel, but here is a matte material that is emissive.
Its not very powerful, so if you have a sun in the scene, you might not be able to even see it emit light. http://sphericlabs.com/preview/Emissive.zip
5. Lights Lights are available in the Insert menu, grouped with the other lights, currently available are LuxCore Infinite and LuxCore Sun-Sky.
LuxCore Infinite supports EXR’s, so you need to browse for them.
Carrara’s own spot, bulb, and distant lights are currently translated into LuxCore. Although it looks like it is not responding to changes during an IPR render. You will have to stop and start the render to reflect changes.
Mesh lights have to be done via the luxcore materials and work great. Make anything a LuxCore Matte material and turn up the power on the Emission channel. Here is a screenshot. As a heads up if you make a plane and make it emit, it will emit out of one side of the plane, not both.
Q: What rendering engine is LuxusCore for Carrara running?
A: LuxusCore is using PATHOCL that can run on GPU or CPU. The Feb 2015 version also has: Light and Bidirectional for CPU rendering.
The available render engines in the full LuxCore: * LIGHTCPU: * PATHOCL: * PATHCPU: * BIDIRCPU: * BIDIRHYBRID: * CBIDIRHYBRID: * BIDIRVMCPU: * RTPATHOCL: * PATHHYBRID: * BIASPATHCPU: * BIASPATHOCL: * RTBIASPATHOCL:
Q: Does replicated replications work?
A: Yes, check the test render by SphericLabs below:
Q: What does the “bias” options do?
A: Check this Luxrender forum post for more details and renders.
Q: What Carrara shaders are translated into LuxCore shaders?
A: Translation of Carrara shaders is certainly limited. Right now it simply looks at the values of the standard multichanel shader and does a guess. It can certainly be improved. Also, internally saved textures will not work at all at this time.
Q: What are the known problems with LuxusCore?
A: Can’t use Carrara hair objects, plants objects or terrain shaders.
Q: What happens if I use a graphics card with 2GB RAM and another with 4GB RAM?
A: Each graphics card needs its own copy of data to render. So if you have a 2GB card and a 4GB card, then you are limited to 2GB if you want to render with both.
Tip: Use only the 4GB for complex scenes with lots of textures. You can check memory consumption with GPU-Z from here.
Q: How do you set the camera? As in Exposure, White Balance, Depth of Field and Tone Mapping.
A: It can be done via the config settings, DOF would be via the scene settings. It will be exposed in a nice UI later.
Q: There is a graphics glitch, what can I try to change that may help?
A1: Try the CPU renderer that is supposed to be more stable first. In the Edit/LuxusCore Config, select CPU/Path, if that still fails, try CPU/Bidir for complex scenes (interiors). More info about the settings is available in the LuxRender wiki here.
A2: LuxCore uses accelerators, these speed up ray casting and figuring out what rays hit and where. The default is for LuxCore to choose the accelerator:
accelerator.type = AUTO
Try these in the config settings: accelerator.type = BVH accelerator.type = MBVH accelerator.type = QBVH accelerator.type = MQBVH More about accelerators in the Luxrender FAQ.
One of the major benefits of LuxusCore and LuxCore, is the possiblity to render high quality animation quickly on a desktop with a fast graphics card or four.
Right now, the good news is that animation rendering works, the bad news is that you need to manually write the settings (while an UI is being developed).
In the Render Room, enter this data in the Config Settings box, to get an animation of 25 seconds or rendertime per frame and using the SOBOL sampler for faster rendering: batch.halttime = 25 sampler.type = SOBOL
If you are running a simple scene on a powerful desktop (or want higher quality), like SpericLabs scene with a translation of the box on multiple graphics cards, try these settings for 256 samples per pixel and the better Metropolis sampler: batch.haltspp = 256 sampler.type = METROPOLIS
The first frame does show some more details, like the number of samples, which is useful the guess the render time, at least 100 samples is a good starting point.
Both rendering to AVI with uncompressed frames and Sequenced PNG files works. Rendering progress is visible, both the rendered frame is seen and the frame counter is visible.
8.1 About Samplers
-Sobol is better than Metropolis when it comes to rather simple lighting, like outdoor sunlight.
-Sobol is “dumber and faster” than Metropolis.
-Metropolis is better in more complex lighting situations (caustics through glass, light through a small window etc.). It is the default sampler for LuxCore.
-More about samplers at the Luxrender wiki.
LuxusCore Carrara Animation Test 04 by Joe Pingleton:
Benchmarks are useful to check if your rig is setup to run properly.
Test scene: 1. SphericLabs simple test scene, get it here: http://sphericlabs.com/scratch/LuxusScene.zip. Default resolution 640×480 in Render Room. Settings: OpenCL/path/unbiased Results:
CPU Core-17-2700k@4,7GHz (overclocked): 2,0 Ms/s
GPU AMD Radeon 7970 (stock): 8,35Ms/s
GPU AMD Radeon 7970 (stock)x3: 25,0Ms/s (perfect scaling, exactly 3x faster)
Same results in with Crossfire mode on or off.
If you have anything to add, please post in the Carrara Forums, DAZ3D forums or comment here and we will add it to the manual.