OTOY is probably one of the most underrated companies in all of the graphics industry. So, when they release a product like Octane Render 2.0, people should be taking notice. Octane Render 2.0 is a fairly large update to their Octane Render GPU accelerated renderer that can either run standalone or can be plugged into virtually any 3D creation application currently being used. Octane has made a long way from when it first started and we’ve actually used it in some of our benchmarks when reviewing professional workstation graphics cards.

The new version of Octane Render (now available free to students) brings in a lot of features that their community had been asking for through their large community forum as well as some features that movie makers have been asking them for as well. During their talk at Nvidia’s GTC 2014, OTOY mentioned that Godzilla would be utilizing Octane Render in addition to Boardwalk Empire and Star Trek Into Darkness all projects Steven Messing has worked on. Additionally, they also had Billy Brooks, who has been working on a movie called Space Station 76 which plays on a lot of the space cult movies of the past with a blockbuster cast. Billy talked about how heavily they worked with Octane in the production of the film. Billy’s experience comes from having worked on movies like Gi Joe, Life of Pi, Prometheus and Avatar, so he is absolutely no stranger to the importance of having a quality and efficient render program.

There is a whole laundry list of new features available with Octane 2.0, but the three most important ones are the addition of displacement mapping, motion blur and hair and fur.

With displacement mapping, objects rendered on Octane will have much better and more detailed surfaces which will allow mostly inanimate objects to appear more realistic.

With the addition of hair and fur into Octane 2.0, the renderer can now spend less resources trying to simulate hair and fur and ultimately do it less effectively and with more noise. With the addition of hair and fur support, Octane 2.0 will now have much more realistic looking hair and fur while still being able to focus more resources on rendering everything around the hair and fur. The optimized hair render primitive will allow for the rendering of hair or fur with a reduction of memory utilization by 20x compared to previous processes. OctaneRender 2.0 will also simulate the distribution and fluidity of movement of those primitives.

Motion blur support is well, motion blur support. You simply get the ability to add motion blur in places where there should be motion blur at a 24p frame rate. With the addition of motion blur, more movies rendered with Octane will get the more cinematic feel as opposed to the computer generated feel.

In addition to those three major improvments, OTOY has added the support of OpenSubDiv surfaces which is Pixar’s library for the fast refinement of subdivision surfaces using GPUs. This feature will be now added to OctaneRender’s user interface which should result in more natural appearing surfaces using Octane render. The addition of rounded edges will also allow artists to have the ability to easily and efficiently round sharp edges of objects without having to modify and reload their geometry. The process is done during rendering by special shader algorithms that recalculate normals near the sharp edges and corners to make them appear smooth allowing for the tuning of edge sharpness in real-time throughout rendering.

They’ve also added the support for random color textures for instances which is designed to make it easier to modify the colors of instances. They’ve also improved their sky rendering which will enable the use of textures as sky backgrounds and that OctaneRender will properly reflect the loaded sky texture across the scene using HDRI + Sun. They’ve also added two new rendering features which include region rendering and network rendering, which are both designed to help save time and resources. Region rendering will allow users to specify a region of a scene and partially preview it in real-time before trying to render an entire model or scene to see what it will look like. Network rendering simply allows you to leverage remote GPUs on slaves connected via the network to help better utilize existing GPU power across an entire office.

They also added support for new display types, specifically talking about adding support for rendering scenes directly into new display types like the Oculus VR and possibly even the Sony Morpheus if it ever comes to PC.

Last but not least, they added compatibility with Brigade, their cloud-enabled game render engine which will simply further integrate Octane 2.0 features into Brigade and vice versa. It will ultimately allow people to open scenes generated in OctaneRender 2.0 in any cloud instance running Brigade and to run through the whole scene in realtime to see what it will look like, animated or not.

According to OTOY, we can expect Octane 2.0 sometime this summer.