We all know that the first look we usually get of a new vehicle online is often not even a real car, but rather a graphic rendering by computer software. While the tech is good enough to make a near-perfect rendering of a car these days, each rendering program is different enough that it often results in significant changes to the car’s appearance, for better or worse.
This video from Damian Mathew, who claims to work with automakers on high-end 3D visualizations on his YouTube channel bio, covers how two rendering programs, Octane and Cycles, produce two very different versions of a model of the new Toyota Supra.
Each program processes data based on the vehicle through different filters and shaders, which is the part of the software that executes the coordinate and color instructions for the image being rendered pixel by pixel.
In Mathew’s profession, the goal in the visualization is “realism,” so natural color, believable glass transparency, reflections and material textures matching as close as possible to what someone would see on the car in real life in a similar lighting environment.
The Supra is Mathew’s first example of the difference between the two rendering software programs, and he claims to like the final result of the Octane program over Cycles despite plugging the same available information into both.
He cites the way the sunlight reflects off of the Octane model, and the true color value of yellow paint job is better reflected in Octane’s rendering as well. Octane’s windshield and windows have more reflection and transparency depth compared to the darker Cycles rendering, which is described as “disgusting filmic” in the video.
To me, the key visual difference in the Cycles rendering is that the contrast is all over the place. The headlights and windshield should have similar shadow and transparency, but the windshield is way darker for no reason. Additionally, with the sun to the left and such long shadows, the side of the car in shadow should be darker in the Cycles rendering, something more like the Octane result.
Mathew claims he played with the Cycles settings to get a closer match to the Octane and couldn’t get it to be satisfying, as well as trying another program, Asus, which also couldn’t beat the Octane render. The rest of the video begins to go into the settings on exactly what level of control you have over the image, which is a bit over my head.
But it’s interesting to see that companies should carefully consider who and what programs they’re trusting to accurately render their vehicles. Especially something with as many complex curves, angles and shadows as the new Toyota Supra.