Check out cloud-based real-time ray tracer Felix Render
Online architectural rendering service Felix Render has been on something of a roll this year.
The cloud-based platform makes it possible to assemble and render complex architectural scenes using a non-destructive workflow, viewing scene changes in an interactive ray traced view.
Although the service has been around for over a decade, recent updates have been steadily adding significant new features, so now seems like a good time to take another look.
A cloud-based service for rendering complex architectural scenes, even on low-end machines
Established over a decade ago – we covered it way back in 2012 – Felix Render has been used by many of world’s leading architectural practices including SOM, Zaha Hadid Architects and Daniel Liebeskind.
It is intended to let users render complex architectural scenes even on laptops and low-end machines.
Developer Stack Software claims that it “offers a quality similar to that of the most professional tools”, but with ease of use “similar to that of the most ergonomically aware real-time software”.
Import building models, then texture and dress them using shared asset libraries
Felix Render operates as a desktop client that connects to the platform’s servers, with processing and rendering taking place in the cloud.
Users can import building models in standard 3D formats, including 3DS, Collada, DXF, FBX, OBJ and SketchUp’s SKP format, and apply materials from a shared online library of over 10,000 materials.
The scene can then be dressed using assets from the object library, including rocks, vegetation, 3D characters and vehicles, either positioning them manually or using the new vegetation paint tools.
Workflow is non-destructive, with users able to reuse cameras, objects and materials from previous scenes.
Real-time ray tracing on up to 1,200 GPU cores in the cloud
Felix’s render engine is based on open-source physically based renderer LuxCoreRender, and makes it possible to see the effect of scene changes in real time in a ray traced view.
The platform supports up to 128 light bounces and up to 100,000 light sources.
Users can perform up to 20 concurrent renders, rendering at up to 50 Megapixel resolution, and rendering on up to 1,200 CPU cores in the cloud.
Limited written documentation, but starter tutorials on YouTube
Although Felix Render has limited written documentation, there are introductory tutorials on using the service on YouTube, including a video ‘manual‘.
Signing up for an account on the product website gets you email newsletters with details of new features, with updates currently being rolled out roughly every couple of weeks.
Price and system requirements
Felix Render’s desktop client is compatible with Windows and macOS. Export plugins are available for Revit and Rhino, with legacy plugins available for 3ds Max and AutoCAD.
Free accounts are limited to 15 minutes per day of interactive rendering and two render credits – roughly equivalent to a single 2K render – per day. Extra credits cost €20 for 20.
Pro accounts cost €36/month (around $40/month) and include 72 credits per month, with additional credits charged at €0.50 each.