Incredible Program! I Have Some Feedback

  • First of all, you guys are my heroes (you weren't lying when you said you'd found Dr. Photon). I've been using Enscape now for a couple months, and the quality surpasses everything else out there now by leaps and bounds. I feel like I'm in the future - real-time GI, accurate reflections, all at the push of a button. I've used Lumion for a few years now, and while I still love it, it doesn't hold a candle to Enscape in terms of visual fidelity. Props to you guys for raising the bar - I'm willing to bet Lumion's latest update with the live-sync feature for Revit was a direct response to Enscape. It still lags behind greatly on the VR and lighting performance fronts however.


    I have a few comments on the latest alpha releases - for one, I can tell you've really bumped up the quality of path tracing and reflections - the GI is even better than before (getting closer and closer to photo-realistic every release). I notice you've consolidated the GI option into the Rendering Quality dialog however - so it appears to automatically switch on when going from medium to high now. While I love that the ultra quality is even better and hope you keep it that way (though understandably performance does suffer a little - my Titan Z was really working hard), my only concern would be that there aren't quite enough in between settings to strike the right balance between speed and performance. I haven't tested it with making videos yet, but in the last version of Enscape, I was able to turn the quality down to medium while keeping on global illumination, and the quality was very close to ultra (with just a little added graininess) while rendering 2 or 3 times faster. In a crunch, this seemed like a worthy compromise, and I worry that we might have to choose between amazing and slow, and mediocre and fast now (but perhaps the new high setting accomplishes the same speed to performance balance?)


    I have an Oculus Rift headset, and must say the VR performance is excellent. I can't wait until the Sketchup version is out too. The new hand controllers are great and really add to the experience. I'm still dreaming of the day we can have GI in VR though. In fact, I'm guessing it was just a glitch with the latest release, but when I enabled the headset while already inside Enscape, it stayed in ultra mode, giving me full graphic quality inside the headset. The frame rate was terrible, with lots of stutter and black smearing, but the visual quality was so incredible, I was able to put up with it for awhile just to be able to look around slowly and really feel like I was there. It made me realize just how much the lighting and reflections add to the feeling of presence, and has me dreaming of 4k headsets with foveated rendering and Volta gpus. The future can't come soon enough! (at least in that regard)


    One problem I've noticed in the latest batch of releases (since 1.8.2.8) is that some of my lights are now flickering. I suspect this is a result of two surfaces being very close together - the same issue that happens when you're far enough away from a surface and it begins to flicker because the faces are too close. It happens with more than one of the light fixture types I'm using though, and wasn't happening before, so hopfully it's something that can be fixed.


    And another issue that still seems to be present at larger scales is light bleeding. Even in the latest alpha, there's still light creeping through the edges of my roof in the gym. (see attached images for the the latest release vs. older version. You can also notice how much the lighting quality has changed with the new version - much more sunlight is coming in, or perhaps the power of interior lights has been turned way down relative to the sun). Enlarging the roof or overlapping it with the wall doesn't solve the issue., although it goes away when you get closer. I'm sure this is another optimization where you have to choose the best distance to stop, but for large interior spaces it seems like it could definitely be improved.


    Also, great job with the grass on the latest release. It looks good (I like the thickness and variation - does the color derive from the grass material color, or is it independant? The only thing it could use is a little reflection, but I'm guessing that would have some serious performance cost) . One issue I noticed though is that it shows up even where I have building pads in the terrain, which shouldn't be happening. Perhaps this is a result of it going on the Earth material as well as the grass material?


    Thanks so much for all of your hard work to make Enscape even better.

  • Thanks for this great review, TowerPower! We're happy to hear that you like Enscape.


    does the color derive from the grass material color, or is it independant?

    The grass color comes from the grass texture that is assigned to the grass material. The issue you observed probably comes from grass growing "through" geometry. You have to remove the ground/grass surface underneath.


    I agree, the light leaking can still be improved and will remain an open topic for us for some time. At least it shouldn't be very noticeable - that's the goal! We'll also think about a better solution for the quality settings, to make it more tweakable.


    Thanks for sharing these images! They look great - I can almost hear the echoes of playing sport teams while looking at it :)

  • Having used the Sketchup alpha a few times now - it seems my dream is closer to reality than I thought :thumbsup: Global illumination on ultra settings was working beautifully even in VR, impressive! Is that something you guys changed recently, because as I recall, it would automatically turn off global illumination when you enabled VR mode previously (in Revit). I spent some time looking at my old Sketchup models from college, and it was amazing to be able to finally visit my projects in person. I can't thank you guys enough for giving me that opportunity.


    I'm guessing the much slower performance in the Revit gym project above (which is probably actually simpler than some of the Sketchup models I was viewing) is due to all the interior lights. I know those can really bog down performance (at least in traditional renderers). There's a question - is there an option to turn off all your lights? I know Revit has this option in the render settings, but I wasn't sure if Enscape uses it or not ( the problem might be the emissive materials, which would be harder to turn off than the light sources).

  • Hi TowerPower we changed the settings regarding global illumination (GI) in VR mode a couple of months ago.

    I think it was the version 1.7, when we started to enable GI in ultra quality.


    We currently don't have an option for disabling all light sources in Enscape. So you have to change it in Revit/SketchUp.

    Could you give me a process for the wanted option "Disable Light sources"?

  • I did some tests to see how the new Revit version's improved lighting and reflections compare to the prior one. It's quite literally night and day. It's apparent that you've switched over to full path tracing - spaces without lights now appear totally dark, and the contrast ratio has gone way up. The lighting is reaching photo-realistic levels, albeit with certain noticeable quirks at times, but overall very impressive for being real time. Meanwhile the reflections are also vastly improved. Gone is the image of the sky reflected on interior windows (from a generic reflection cube that's the same everywhere). Reflections are now surprisingly accurate - not mirror perfect, but close enough that they really bring the space to life (especially in VR).


    Here are some Cornell box tests I did for comparison. You can see the huge difference in lighting and reflections. The new version still has some kinks as a result of the various tricks and optimizations going on under the hood, but it's impressive nonetheless. I look forward to more of your software wizardry guys as you continue to raise the performance bar!


    Old vs. New


    I'm tempted to go out and buy a 1080ti now just to be able to get an improved frame rate in ultra mode (mainly for VR). Given that Enscape only uses one gpu at a time like the vast majority of programs, my Titan Z is only half used. According to this website, the 1080ti would be over twice as fast. That's probably still not enough to get to an acceptable frame rate on ultra settings given all the black smearing I experience now, but who knows. (I still need to test how much the frame rate goes up if you hide all the lights - perhaps that's the trick).

  • I did some tests to see how the new Revit version's improved lighting and reflections compare to the prior one. It's quite literally night and day. It's apparent that you've switched over to full path tracing - spaces without lights now appear totally dark, and the contrast ratio has gone way up. The lighting is reaching photo-realistic levels, albeit with certain noticeable quirks at times, but overall very impressive for being real time. Meanwhile the reflections are also vastly improved. Gone is the image of the sky reflected on interior windows (from a generic reflection cube that's the same everywhere). Reflections are now surprisingly accurate - not mirror perfect, but close enough that they really bring the space to life (especially in VR).

    Thanks a lot for investing this effort to create a cornell box comparison :) Looks nice indeed. We're not very far away from releasing the improved lighting and we made many tweaks in terms of quality and performance in the mean time. We aim for similar performance as the current release.


    Thanks again for the kind words, we're happy that you like it :)

  • My pleasure :)


    I assume you're also planning on implementing the same rendering improvements within the sketchup version eventually? Out of curiosity though, how many of the performance tricks are unique to Revit? It seems like having model family categories such as windows, doors, furniture etc. would allow you to filter out what you decide to show in a reflection image more precisely than you can within sketchup, where everything is treated as dumb geometry. Or perhaps it's the same with Revit and you filter things out with other parameters such as size, distance, and detail level? Hopefully it's the latter and that means there's nothing preventing sketchup from benefiting from the same performance gains.


    On further testing I see that it's not actually full path tracing yet - the time of day/sky image still affects the overall illumination levels, even in rooms that have no exterior windows. It's just much less noticeable than it was previously, so you had me fooled ;)

  • I assume you're also planning on implementing the same rendering improvements within the sketchup version eventually? Out of curiosity though, how many of the performance tricks are unique to Revit?

    Almost none, the feature set will be identical. The only reason why Enscape for Revit/SketchUp have different features is that the release dates are slightly different. But we might also synchronize those in the future the reduce confusion.


    And yes: There's still a slight approximation here and there, but for that, it's instant instead of minutes to hours :)