Dimension 5 Techs has updated D5 Render, its hardware-accelerated ray tracing renderer.
D5 Render 2.0 introduces a path animation tool for characters and vehicles, a new weather system with support for cloud and wind animation, and a new PBR grass material.
In addition, the software’s UI has been reworked, and the maximum resolution for still images raised to 16K.
Dimension 5 has now made the paid-for edition of the software subscription-only, although the Community edition remains free, including for commercial use.
A rapidly evolving RTX-accelerated ray tracing renderer for architectural visualisation
First released in 2021, D5 Render is a fast, increasingly powerful architectural renderer with integration plugins for a range of DCC and CAD tools, including 3ds Max and Blender.
As well as rendering scenes directly from a linked DCC application, users can import models in FBX, Alembic or SketchUp’s SKP format, apply PBR materials, and assign HDR sky lights, photometric lights and LUTs.
Other features include object scattering, a physical sky system, support for volumetric and particle-based effects, automatic exposure, depth of field selection, camera clipping, and integrated denoising.
The software supports DXR-based hardware-accelerated ray tracing on current Nvidia, AMD and Intel GPUs, and is capable of rendering 16K still images and panoramas, and 4K videos.
The community edition of the software is free for commercial use, and is not feature-restricted, with commercial Pro subscriptions adding access to product-support and a cloud-based library of stock assets.
New Path tool for animation and scene layout
D5 Render 2.0 extends the software’s scene layout capabilities, adding a Bézier curve-based path tool.
It can be used to draw out motion paths for animated stock assets like characters or vehicles, making it possible to set up animated scenes without keyframe editing.
The Path tool can also be used to distribute static objects like plants: for example, to lay out hedges.
New weather system and grass material
In addition, the release introduces a new weather system. The online release notes don’t provide much information, but the demo video shows both animated clouds and wind animation for vegetation.
There is also a new PBR grass material.
Workflow and performance improvements
D5 Render 2.0 also overhauls the software’s interface: according to the release notes, both to place key tools in more logical positions, and to leave space in the UI to add new tools in future.
Other workflow improvements include the option to copy and paste texture maps between materials; and to duplicate video clips, carrying over keyframes and parameter values from the original.
In addition, the maximum output resolution for still images and panoramas has been raised from 8K to 16K, and the maximum scene file size for animations from 50MB to 200MB.
The maximum number of scene objects has been raised from 100 to 1,000, and users can now view statistics like GPU usage, frame rate and poly count directly inside the software, helping to debug complex scenes.
Pro edition is now subscription-only
Dimension 5 has dropped the old $480 perpetual licence for the paid-for Pro edition of the software, which is now priced at $38/month or $360/year.
However, since the free Community edition isn’t feature-restricted, the subscription charge is effectively only for product support and access to D5 Works, the accompanying cloud-based asset library.
New features in the library include more granular asset categorisation and the option to favourite assets. There are also new models including animals, furniture, and particle-based assets like water features.
Updated 17 January 2022: D5 Render 2.1 is now available.
New features in the Pro edition include D5 Widget, a new extension module for the software intended to provide more advanced rendering options without cluttering up the main interface.
It includes color grading controls, a new Stage Light type, and work-in-progress VR support, making it possible to explore scenes in virtual reality via SteamVR-compatible hardware;
Changes to the core edition include support for rendering orthographic views, a new auto-save system, and a lot of smaller features and workflow improvements.
The asset library gets a new category of stock 2D characters, in addition to the existing 3D character models.
Updated 19 April 2022: D5 Render 2.2 is now available.
New features include a system for adding rain and snow effects to scenes. The effects are editable via simple slider controls, and include automatically generated streaks of rain on outdoor glass surfaces.
Other rendering changes include new Tint, Vignette and Chromatic Aberration post effects.
The Widget module introduced in D5 Render 2.1 gets a new Merge Project feature, currently still in beta, which makes it possible to merge up to 10 scenes into one.
Workflow improvements include a new layer management system, the option to customise keyboard shortcuts via the Prefence options, and support for HDRIs in EXR format.
The asset library gets a new set of decals, including road markings and damage and graffiti textures.
Dimension 5 has also released a new integration plugin for Cinema 4D.
Updated 17 August 2022: D5 Render 2.3 is now available.
New features include a Round Corner material for generating rounded edges on objects in a scene at render time, and new Ambient Occlusion and Outline render modes for non-photorealistic rendering.
The update also introduces new control parameters for the sun in the physical sun and sky system, for Cloud and Fog effects, and for the Grass material.
Workflow improvements include the option to switch between world and local coordinate systems, adaptive resizing of brush radius relative to screen resolution, and improved support for Alembic files.
The asset library gets a new set of interior parallax maps to create the illusion of depth in rooms behind the windows of a building, plus new static vegetation models, lighting assets and stock human characters.
Updated 22 February 2023: Dimension 5 Techs has released D5 Render 2.4.
It looks to be a significant update, introducing a new real-time Global Illumination system: a modified implementation of the Nvidia-developed ReSTIR algorithm that Dimension 5 calls ReSTIR Surfel GI.
Unlike the previous GI solution, it takes account of the skylight during caching, resulting in more natural lighting in interior scenes; and calculates indirect as well as direct illumination from emissive materials.
According to Dimension 5, its output is “very close” to path tracing, providing a better balance between render speed and visual quality. You can find more details on ReSTIR Surfel GI on the product website.
Other key changes include a new subsurface scattering material for semi-translucent materials like marble and skin; and a new Z-depth channel, shown in use in the video above to adjust environment fog.
The update also adds controls for camera focal length and render culling distance for vegetation; new corner radius controls for the Path tool; and support for AV1 and QSV video encoding.
The asset library gets over 480 new assets, including sets of Asian characters and dynamic water particles.
Updated 17 August 2023: Dimension 5 Techs has released D5 Render 2.5.
It’s another sizeable update, adding a new Caustics effect to simulate the lighting patterns created by light passing through transparent objects like bodies of water.
It’s currently limited to basic light sources, and to the Custom, Transparent and Water material templates.
Other new features include a Section Tool, for creating cutaway renders, and D5 Studio, a cloud-based workspace for storing effect and brush presets.
Experimental new render super resolution technology and Advanced Camera Tool
There are also two new beta features: D5 SR image upscaling, and the Advanced Camera Tool.
Like the alternative technologies, it speeds up rendering of large images by enabling the software to render at a lower resolution, then upscale the result.
In the initial release, D5 SR is not supported for EXR output, or on AMD or Intel GPUs.
The Advanced Camera tool can be placed in the scene independently of existing cameras. It supports picture-in-picture display, and a wider range of aspect ratios than standard cameras.
Other feature and workflow improvements
The asset library gets over 200 new assets, including interior parallax assets, 3D plants and Asian characters, plus support for car paint material parameters for 3D vehicles.