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Check out the new features coming up in Redshift 3.0

Friday, May 31st, 2019 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Redshift Rendering Technologies co-founder Rob Slater previews some of the new features due in Redshift in a presentation at Siggraph 2018. The firm has just released the first experimental builds of Redshift 3.0.

Redshift Rendering Technologies has released the first experimental builds of Redshift 3.0: its first major update to the GPU renderer since being acquired by Maxon earlier this year.

The update introduces early support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing via Nvidia’s new RTX architecture, increases the renderer’s maximum trace depth, and improves support for AOVs.

The experimental builds – they aren’t feature-complete or production-ready, so they’re effectively alphas – are available only to existing users, and cover all of Redshift’s host DCC applications.

(Full disclosure: the first build actually shipped last week, but we didn’t manage to cover it at the time.)

In current builds: early support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing on Nvidia RTX GPUs
Major changes in Redshift 3.0 include preliminary support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing via Nvidia’s new RTX hardware architecture, available in its Quadro, Titan and GeForce RTX GPUs.

The implementation is currently “not on 100% parity” with the existing ray tracer, but supports “the majority of features” and results in an increase in render speed in most scenes.

According to Redshift, the “typical worst-case scenario” is simply that scenes do “not render that much faster” with the new implementation than the legacy ray tracer.

Future builds of Redshift 3.0 will also support NVLink.

The technology enables users to pool GPU memory across two supported GPUs – currently just Nvidia’s high-end Quadro cards – making it possible to render much larger scenes without a major performance hit.

You can read a longer discussion of the development work in this forum thread.

In current builds: increased trace depths, better handling of AOVs
Other changes include support for higher trace depths when rendering: Redshift now supports up to 64 diffuse, reflection, refraction bounces and 256 transparency levels.

As well as improving the visual quality of renders, the engine’s rendering core has been sped up “by a good few percentage points” to handle the increased number of calculations required.

The update also improves handling of Arbitrary Output Variable (AOV) render passes, with lighting-related AOVs like diffuse and specular now being visible through transparency and refraction effects.

In future releases: automatic sampling, OSL support, new real-time rendering mode
Other upcoming features include a new automatic sampling system, partly implemented in the experimental builds, and described as “one of the [highest]-priority items” for future releases.

Redshift is also working on support for Open Shading Language; “full” support for OpenColorIO, including for texture maps; and better handling of Deep EXR images, including support for VDB volumetrics.

Work is also continuing on RedshiftRT, a new ‘real-time’ render mode.

In practice, that means renders will complete “several times faster” than normal, not literally be generated at 30fps, and advanced features like ray traced DoF and motion blur “will very likely be missing”.

Redshift says that it hopes “to be able to at least tease something in the next few months”.

Updates to Redshift for Cinema 4D
In the wake of the Maxon deal, Redshift’s Cinema 4D plugin is also set for some significant updates, including better preview rendering and scattering workflow, and better handling of C4D’s native scene scale.

Redshift also plans to support Cinema 4D’s native noise nodes directly within the renderer: not just in the Cinema 4D edition, but on all of its host applications.

Pricing and system requirements
Experimental builds of Redshift 3.0 are available to registered users of the software for Windows 7+, Linux and macOS 10.12 and 10.13. Redshift hasn’t yet announced a commercial release date.

Integration plugins are available for 3ds Max 2013+, Cinema 4D R16+, Houdini 15.5+, Katana 2.5v4+ and Maya 2014+. There is also a plugin for Softimage, although it’s no longer officially supported as a host app.

The current official release, Redshift 2.6, costs $500 for a node-locked licence; $600 for a floating licence.

Read a full list of features in Redshift 3.0 on Redshift Rendering Technologies’ forum
(Note: you need to be logged in to view the thread)

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