Material library in a subscription world

Started by quigley, May 28, 2022, 03:27:45 AM

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Ever since Luxion announced the move to subscription, with the reason being they can add more value to the platform, we have started to look at other options for rendering. Specifically, ones that offer subscription, and specifically ones that offer packages we can top up to see what you get for the money.
Our rendering needs are approximately 50/50 product/AEC exterior and Keyshot was the platform we chose for this right back in Bunkspeed days. Because it was quick and easy. We dudn't have to spend hours tweaking materials and lighting to get a great render suitable for selling the design concept.

That last point is critical to us. We don't do state of the art CGI visuals. We design products and visualise those products to sell the concept to the customer, or the customer's customer. Keyshot was quick and easy and back then there was nothing like it.

Move on to today and KS11.

The other day we had to render an AEC structure in a grass pitch.

Go to the materials library and use the grass get a brown surface with a few spikes of green. For the galvanised texture on the structure itself, the various HDRIs we tried just washed out the material and made it look white. There was more. The tarmac material. Others as well.

Thinking about this, we moved to Keyshot because the materials were drag and drop simple with some straightforward editing, with parameters that made sense. At the time we used Modo and it was total pain as every single material needed tweaking.

We have lost that simplicity. We have added features without thinking about the core design centric user base. Sure, the materials might be more advanced, but the default values are terrible, and I need to dive into YouTube to figure out how to edit the material graph to make simple changes. That is not progress.

Same with HDRIs. Initial versions of Bunkspeed and Keyshot used carefully balanced HDRIs. These days you drag a default Luxion supplied HDRI into the scenes and scenes go overblown or dark. We continue to use the original sets supplied all those years ago, alongside our sets created in HDRI Studio (before Luxion copied that and broke off the live update).

So here's the thing. We've run scenes in Keyshot then Twinmotion. We've tested VRay again (with Rhino). The competition is now doing what Luxion did all those years ago. They are supplying ready to use materials and lighting. Honestly, we can get incredible exterior images in Twinmotion in seconds. The assets available are (frankly) mind boggling. VRay have seriously worked on their libraries.

So Luxion, we don't want to drop Keyshot. We really don't. But if you are going to force us into a subscription model that might triple our annual costs, we expect some rapid and extensive changes.

More stability. KS11 crashed to the desktop on CPU yesterday. That never happened in 8/9/10.
More relevant, more drag and drop high quality materials-we don't have time to tweak obscure settings for 30 mins. Settings need to be model size. I import a 1mx1M Solidworks model (via step now as the plug ins can't deal with assembly  cuts) and the materials settings apply to something 1mmx1mm it seems.
Higher quality, balanced HDRIs, so we don't have to spend 30 mins fiddling and adjusting before finally reverting to "Gravel Pit"!
So for KS12 that is the focus for us.
Return to the core. Ease of use. Reworked material and lighting libraries. Hugely expanded help system-employ those Keyshot experts out there to do 2 min videos on each function and material, that would be a start. Do a deal with Poliigon to license their product and build Poliigon materials for Keyshot. We subscribe to them and their content wipes the floor with Keyshot content
for real world scenes.

Finally, sort out GPU vs CPU. I occasionally look at GPU (we have RTX cards) but the results are meh compared to CPU for AEC type scenes. So I stick to the 54 core dual processor we bought to run Keyshot.

Is this critical. Yes. But it cones from a place of genuine concern for a much loved product. I've met a lot of the Luxion crew over the years and I know you are all product folks. Now you need to be user centric product folks-like you did at the start.


I think you make lot of very good points regarding materials. I don't have specific answer for you, at this time, other than I agree with the workflow problems you raise and will escalate the comments. In terms of stability, KeyShot 11 is more stable than the prior versions, and in all of our tests, each version has gotten more stable than the last, for number of reasons, the main one being a doubling of our QA resources since KS 8, but I realize that when a user gets a specific crash that won't seem like the case, but we are rolling out more advanced analytics in 11.2 to ensure we're getting good, consist data on overal stability.

I would ask that you always submit the crash logs when you can. We really do look at all of these and use that data to find the biggest issues to fix.