A Tale of Two Softwares

Bunkspeed and Luxion

Back in my days at Ark, I modelled and rendered a mechanical dragonfly in Lightwave, which many people have seen. I recently got around to bringing it in to other renderers, namely Bunkspeed Pro Suite, and Luxion Keyshot Pro. This has been a slightly torturous process, namely because there seems to be several ways of getting the export and import process done, but there is always a caveat that catches you out.

I had been playing with FilmBox, because the Lightwave scene is pretty complex, and exporting the individual components as OBJ files and then saving each transformed from Layout was just too laborious to consider. FBX seemed like the perfect tool for the job. Indeed getting the actual geometry out of Lightwave and into Keyshot for ProSuite worked flawlessly, however it seemed that materials were being re-assigned so that only one was created per model layer from Lightwave. The only solution would be to split surfaces in to separate layers, but that would then require a lot of reloading and parenting in Layout. Again, not really an option.

Just as an exercise in interest, I thought I’d show a little comparison of how it looks in, and render with both softwares.

Bunkspeed Pro Suite

The interface is very dark (black actually!) with all the main elements nicely integrated (should you wish you can moce and detach elements). This includes all the property panels for materials and cameras, as well as the main scene tree explorer. In addition there is the library of materials, textures, environments, and backplates. As well as locally stored assets, when logged in to your Bunkspeed account you have access to cloud based assets. This is a very strong feature as Bunkspeed update the cloud library with new assets. When selecting to use cloud assets, they are downloaded and integrated in to the local library for speedier access in future.

By default ProSuite switches automatically between performance preview mode and full quality iray render. It’s a system that keeps things moving quite nicely and usually doesn’t need changing. You can however force the use of preview or quality modes full time as required. This screen shot shows the performance preview mode. When it comes to rendering there is a definite lower threshold to the weight of geometry that can be rendered, which I believe is owing to the use of the GPU and GPU Card Ram (my nVidea Quadro4000 is 2gb). ProSuite definitely loves you more if you have multiple big CUDA compatible devices.


Luxion Keyshot

Keyshot has had a very similar interface for quite some time, and to be honest it’s not a bad thing. It differs to Bunkspeed’s product in having separate floating panels. It’s a very clean and simple interface as a results. Like Bunkspeed ProSuite, Keyshot comes with a very comprehensive library of materials, environments, and backplates. Unlike Bunkspeed, it’s purely local, with no cloud library to call on. One thing I find easier in Bunkspeed is a tablet rather than a mouse. ProSuite has specific tools for camera rotate, bank, dolly, and pan. A small matter, but noticeable all the same.

Keyshot uses two distinct display modes. Full preview render, or simple performance render. You toggle between the two modes. Less elegant than Bunkspeed’s method, but in some respects more responsive in action. My screen shot of Keyshot shows the performance mode rather than full traced mode. Ram is less of an issue with Keyshot as it uses your system CPU and Ram meaning larger scenes are easier to handle. the GPU is utilised for added bloom and vignettes (useful as these can be toggled on and off without the render being interrupted).


On Balance

This little comparison covers just using the main software on the most basic level, and doesn’t touch on the off-line final rendering. On general usability, there actually isn’t much to choose between the two packages, and that is one of the things I really love. They effectively originate from the same ethos. Luxion developed Hypershot and ceased licensing it to Bunkspeed, at which point it became known as Keyshot (v1.9). Bunkspeed subsequently licenses iRay from nVidia while Luxion progressed the development of Keyshot.

There are some things that I find easier in each package. Automotive rendering I find easier in Keyshot, and jewellery rendering I find easier in Pro Suite. The joy of having both is being able to be selective. So do I have a preference? Actually, not really, I’d be hard pushed to recommend one over the other. I will follow up soon with a little more detail on each package.

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