I have been evaluating some render engines for the project.  This page will be used to accumulate my findings about features that I care about in this project.

Blender Internal 2.4x

+ Pretty fast with Approximate Ambient Occlusion

– No GI.  Areas that should be shadowed are not.

– Linear workflow difficult

Blender Internal 2.5x

+ Addresses many of the deficiencies in 2.4x.

+ Linear workflow is a big improvement in quality (nearly as good as Yafaray).

+ Environmental lighting.

+ Much faster than 2.49

Yafaray 0.1.1

+ Good sun/sky

+ Good sun shadows

+ GI

+ Linear workflow automatic

– No tangent normal mapping

– Procedural textures cannot be used as stencil mask

– Image files need to be directly addressed (not relative)

– Some extra work to use Blender particles (for grass).

Yafaray 0.1.2

+ Now with tangent normal maps


+ GI

+ Linear workflow

– Slow renders

– Requires absolute paths to files

– No normal maps

– Procedural functions mapped to global coordinates


+ GI

+ Physical camera simulation

– Does not support Blender procedural textures

– Requires no space in paths

– Normal maps supposedly supported but I found problems with level control and results

– Exporter is a one-man operation (risky)

– Still very much a work in progress

– Costs $300


I considered using Vue to generate and render environments.

+ Easy to add trees and bushes

– Renders look more like an oil painting than a photograph

– For this project, the terrain generator was of no use because the detail that I needed in the acequias would make the file too big

– User reports indicate this tool is very buggy with minimal support

– Overpriced.  $900 for the ‘Infinite’ version.


+ Good GI

+ Fast

+ Biased and unbiased render

+ Physical Camera controls

+Physical Sun/sky with time/location parameters

+ Support for tangent normal, displacement and bump maps

+ Physical based material system

+ Supported Blender 2.5x exporter

+ Good support from company and user forum

+ Standalone studio for setting up scene, rendering and material development

+ Animation support

+ Roadmap that includes GPU rendering and Environments

+ Reasonable cost (<$300)


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