This Daz3D Octane Tutorial shows how to render Daz Content using OTOY Octane Render. We will explain in detail how to install and use the Octane render. Octane is an unbiased rendering engine. It is a standalone engine, meaning that it is not built-in to the Daz Studio. But you can install it on your own. In this article we are going to look into the Octane renderer and answer why someone would use it instead of Iray?
Daz3D How to Install Octane
Installing Octane is not a difficult task. You just need to visit the website and download the setup file from there. This setup file can be found on the OctaneRender 2020 for DAZ Studio page. Also on this page you can find information about frequently appearing problems, how to fix them and the release notes with the latest changes in Octane Render.
But before installing everything you will need to sign in on the website to receive a Prime/Free Tier license. Gladly, developers have created a step by step manual on how to create an account and receive a licence.
With the Account created and setup file downloaded – all is left is to install, Simply run the setup file, agree to the terms and don’t forget to check if the installation path is right. Mine needed to be changed. And then press the Install button.
After Installation will be done – it will automatically check whether you have the license active. It should be active if you did everything correct. If not – it will help you to activate it.
And it should be installed. Now is the time to open Daz Studio and check whether we did everything correctly. For this go to the “Help” drop-down list on the top bar and open the “About Installed Plugins”.
In the appeared window find OctaneRender and make sure that it is checked and status is Loaded.
If everything is right – means that you have installed OctaneRender correctly and it is ready to be used.
Daz3D How to Use an Octane Rendering Engine
The installation is done. Now we should be able to use OctaneRender. To do this, we need to open a new window. It can be found in the “Topbar > Windows > Panes(Tabs) > OctaneRender”
The window that appears is the main OctaneRender window. Here you set up absolutely everything regarding Octane. As such, it would be a good idea to dock this window somewhere, because we will use it a lot while working with Octane.
Let’s begin our introduction to Octane by trying to render something simple in it. Create something really simple. I have made a scene constitution out of two primitive objects with simple materials applied.
Now frame your scene in the viewport the same as you would do if you would render with Iray. Then press the “Open Viewport” button in the OctaneRender settings window. This will open the same viewport as you set in Daz Studio, but rendered with Octane. Should look something like this:
Your render may differ a bit. But as you can clearly see – mine turned out a bit wrong. There are no materials that I have added. That is because the materials available in Daz Studio are made for Iray and do not work with Octane.
But worry not, because there is an easy way to convert Iray materials into Octane materials, so they would be visible on renders. On the main OctaneRender tab – Preferences, there is an option to turn on “Automatic material updates after content loads” under General Settings.
What this does is if it is turned on – each time you add a material or object with materials – they would automatically convert into Octane materials. The problem right now is that I have already added materials before turning this on, so it does not work for them.
Not a problem, though. Because I can convert materials manually with ease. Just change to the “Materials” tab in the OctaneRender Pane. You would see your materials there written in blue. This means that they are not converted. To convert them – press on the “Missing” button and select “Create as auto material(s)”
This will automatically convert every missing material. Now on the render I can see the result. The materials did show up this time on the render.
Daz3D Octane vs Iray Rendering
Of course the main reason someone would install and use Octane is if it proposes something more than the built-in Iray. Let’s have a look and try to compare them a bit.
To do this right I have decided to create a simple scene with the default assets and render them both in the Iray and Octane. The scene is like this:
First is the Iray render. Nothing unusual here, regular render using HDRI:
Now the same scene is rendered with OctaneRender. Using the same HDR image:
They look quite different. Mainly that is because they never meant to look similar. I can clearly say that the Iray render turned out better. After all it is the renderer of Daz Studio and all the objects meant to be rendered in it.
That is to say, the Octane still looks quite good and does not lag far behind. Colors are not so gentle and warm. Overall I would say that it looks sharper. Let’s go into more detail about differences between the two rendering engines.
First Octane advantage over Iray that I want to mention is that it supports Vulcan. This means that the GPU’s from AMD that can’t use Iray because it is an Nvidia technology – should be able to use Octane. Though, I could not test it, so can’t be sure.
Vulkan API logo – source Wikipedia
The main advantage of the OctaneRender over the Iray is the speed. It renders quite faster than Iray. Depending on the scene and your hardware it can render in seconds something that Irays renders in minutes. For me it rendered for around 30% faster than Iray.
The speed of Octane can be compared to the real-time renderers such as new Filament that is new to Daz Studio and we have Daz3D Filament Tutorial about. Another popular real-time rendering engine is Eevee from Blender.
Though Octane is not a real-time renderer. I would say that it is something in between Filament and Iray. Meaning that it renders fast enough and at the same time the quality of renders are quite good.
Next – Materials. This one is a big difference. Because again, the materials were originally created solely for Iray and you can’t expect them working good on other Rendering Engines. Even after convertione, here is how a bunch of shaders look in the Octane:
And here is how the same shaders look rendered in Iray:
Octane can’t even compete here. Basically half of the shaders were not even working in Octane. And that was to be expected.
Though it is not that bad. You can find the settings for each individual created material in Octane.
And thanks to these settings you can try to improve on the auto converted materials. With a bit of changes they already look better:
Besides, there are a lot of materials available in Octane and for Octane itself. You can find them in the Materials tab, the “Live DB” section.
These materials can be applied to any object instead of converting the Iray material. And they work much better than converted ones. Additionally, this does not mess with the original Iray material. Meaning if I render this in Iray, it would look like the Iray render from before.
Daz3D Octane Lighting
Now about lighting. It is a bad topic for Octane. Same as with materials – lighting sources such as Spot Lights and Point Lights in Daz Studio were created just with the Iray in mind. This is how a simple scene with two spotlights through the window looks in Iray:
And no wonder that the lights simply don’t work in the Octane. Additionally there is no way that I have found how you could replace these lights or convert in some way.
This means that the only way of producing light in Octane is by using Sun-Sky lighting or HDRI’s. So you can’t use three-point lighting and other techniques that we looked into in the Daz3d Iray Lighting Tutorial, because there are no light sources available.
Daz3D Octane Animation
Special attention deserves animation in OctaneRender. Because of its speed it would be a really good idea to render animations using it. Especially as animations are constantly moving and you would not notice the difference in detail level as much.
I have mentioned that in comparison to Iray – for me Octane renders 30% faster. This does not sound as significant when comparing a single render. But when you render a 30 FPS animation, where each frame takes an hour to render – these 30% would come up to a time save of 9 whole hours per second of animation.
In the end, after this comparison we can see that Octane has a lot of limitations and problems. But, depending on a scene, these problems can be not so important and outweighed by the positives, such as high rendering speeds.
Daz3D Octane Render Kit
When we compared materials in Iray and Octane – we saw that they are different and even after conversation Octane could not handle most of the Iray shaders. To help with this problem an Octane Render Kit was created by Daz Originals & valzheimer.
Source Octane Render Kit
It is a kit that adds a bunch of Octane materials to the Daz Studio. This means that you can find a material for OctaneRender right in the Daz Studio with no need of conversion or something else. And the best is – this product is totally free at the moment and anyone can just take it for yourself.
After you add and install this product – you can find the new shaders in the “Surfaces” tab, “Presets” section.
The result of these materials applied look dramatically better than the converted materials. There are reflections, bumps, textures.
Additionally you can find that there are even materials for Genesis 8 figures to change their skin to look better and more realistic. A few presets are available for different skin tones and glossiness.
Source Octane Render Kit
In addition to the Octane Render Kit you can be interested in another product – Tropical Bundle for DAZ Studio plugin OctaneRender by Andrey Pestryakov. It is a couple of preloads of the tropical island sets that are optimized to be used with OctaneRender.
Additional tips to resolve some problems that you can meet while working with Octane.
If you try to convert Iray materials and Octane just stops working – it seems that there is a problem in the settings for you. I had this problem and to fix it – opened a System tab in the “Octane” window and increased both the “GPU Render Priority” and “Out-of-Core Memory” settings. This helped me to fix the problem.
If objects and figures look much worse in Octane than Iray – it may be that there is another problem in your OctaneRender settings. In the “Preferences” tab of Octane settings there is a “Use base geometries” option. It should be turned off, because it will lower the quality of your objects.
In the end, we can see that there are both some big cons and pros of using Octane in the Daz Studio. But is it worth it? I would recommend you to try it for yourself, especially if you are interested in animation. Anyway it is totally free.
The only thing that is worth mentioning still is the stability. Sadly, Octane is not as stable and I had some problems while working with it. But it is a third-party add-on, so there are no wonders that it is not working as good as built-in parts of Daz Studio.