June 9, 2024 Hana Trieu

Is Thea Render or Indigo Renderer better for you?

Thea Render and Indigo Renderer are two powerful GPU render engines, each with unique features. Thea Render is known for its versatility and state-of-the-art unbiased GPU engines. Indigo Renderer, on the other hand, prides itself on its ability to produce high-quality, photorealistic images through accurate physical light simulation. In this article, we will compare these two rendering engines to help you choose the one that fits your needs better.

Thea Render and Indigo Renderer Overview

Thea Render

According to Altair Engineering, Inc., Thea Render is the most versatile 3D render engine featuring state-of-the-art unbiased and GPU engines.

Image Credit: Jean Thiriet

Thea Render is packed with two render engines – unbiased and GPU (Presto). The unbiased engine produces accurate and stunning photorealistic images. The GPU engine – Presto, runs on both CPU and GPU to generate interactive photorealistic images. Both engines operate within the same framework and switching from one to another is simple with just a click.

Thea Render’s key features: 

    • CPU and GPU accelerated: get immediate feedback on production quality due to Thea Render’s fast, interactive response.
    • Adaptive tracing: solves difficult lighting scenarios like caustics.
    • Volumetric and SSS: optimized volumetric scattering techniques solve Sub-Surface Scattering (SSS) with full accuracy.
    • Beveled edges: smooth out the edges of an object.
    • AI denoising: supports NVIDIA and Intel AI denoisers, providing GPU and CPU accelerated denoising for interactive and production rendering.
    • High performance and accuracy: Thea Render uses innovative techniques and algorithmic optimizations to help achieve high performance. Also, all paths of lighting transfer are explored to give high accuracy. 

Thea Render is available under a standalone application and an integrated plugin. Thea Render plugin for SketchUp helps explore all possibilities in architectural visualization, while Thea Render plugin for Rhino is a great solution for product and automotive.

Source: thearender.com

Thea Render v4.0 Pre-Release was just introduced on May 22, 2024. Highlighted in this version is an all-new render engine. Not only built for improved performance and quality, but this engine also works out-of-the-box by utilizing hardware ray tracing cores on all modern NVIDIA, AMD, Intel discrete, and Apple Silicon GPUs.

Indigo Renderer

Indigo Renderer is an unbiased raytracer photorealistic GPU and CPU render engine that produces ultimate image quality by accurately simulating the physics of light. Simulating the physics of light accurately, Indigo creates many realistic effects that otherwise need to be manually created. Because of this, it takes far less set-up time than traditional biased or ‘global illumination’ render engines. 

Source: indigorenderer.com

The latest stable version of Indigo Renderer is 4.4. This version brings a new multi-GPU engine – Indigo’s OpenCL-based GPU engine. This engine provides industry-leading performance on NVIDIA and AMD GPUs. With a single modern GPU, Indigo can now render approximately 10x faster than before. By supporting multi-GPU, it can quickly render great 4K images and animations. 

Indigo Renderer offers a bundle of features. Among these, accurate light simulation is the key one making Indigo famous for producing natural-looking renders.

Source: indigorenderer.com

Other key features include Multi-GPU rendering, Physically accurate camera, Light layers, Aperture diffraction, Realistic materials, Effective compositing tools, Seamless networking, Orthographic camera, IES lighting, and more. 

A comprehensive comparison between Thea Render and Indigo Renderer

Thea Render vs. Indigo Renderer

Pricing and Free trial:

    • Thea Render for SketchUp and Thea Render for Rhino plugins are available under Floating Lease Licenses, priced at $280/year and $675/3-year. Currently, these plugins are also available to try. The trial versions include 3.5 and 3.2. 
    • Indigo Renderer ver4 is priced at $835. This is the GUI license for one PC with unlimited cores or CPUs. This license is also valid for Indigo Renderer ver3 and includes two free node licenses. Indigo’s early (pre 2.0) versions were available for free. Glare Technologies also offers a free trial of the current version Indigo versions, but it has limitations of 0.7 Megapixels maximum resolution, Indigo logo, not for commercial work, and no support.

CPU and GPU rendering:

Firstly, Thea Render

Thea Render version 4 has two GPU interactive and highly photo-realistic engines: Presto and Nitro.

    • Presto is an advanced engine written from the ground up for fast and interactive rendering. It is optimized for simultaneous GPU + CPU rendering. For the CPU, an Intel SSE3 CPU (or compatible) is required. For GPU, it requires NVIDIA CUDA GPUs (Compute Capability 3.x / 5.x / 6.x / 7.x / 8.0 / 8.6) with the latest graphics drivers, and AMD GPUs (Beta support for select GPUs) with the latest OpenCL and graphics drivers. 
    • Nitro is a GPU-only render engine that uses raytracing cores for improved performance. It supports all GPU vendors from NVIDIA, AMD, to Intel and has native support for macOS. Supported GPUs include NVIDIA RTX 20 Series or newer & GTX 10 SERIES, AMD RX6000 series or newer, and Intel Arc GPUs A310-A770. 

Secondly, Indigo Renderer:

Indigo Renderer supports CPU rendering and GPU rendering. It uses multi-threaded to take full advantage of the multi-core CPUs. GPU rendering is based on OpenCL, meaning both NVIDIA and AMD GPU(s) are supported. 

Indigo requires an SSE4 CPU, and either an NVIDIA GPU supporting OpenCL 1.1 (GeForce 9800 GT or newer), or an AMD GPU supporting OpenCL 1.1 (Radeon 4xxx or newer). For GPU acceleration, it’s recommended to use:

    • CPU: Quad-core or greater Intel or AMD 
    • GPU: Either NVIDIA GeForce GTX5xx/Quadro 4000/Tesla C2050 or newer, or AMD Radeon 5xxx /FirePro 3DV3800/FireStream9350 or newer

Supported OS and DCC apps:

    • Thea Render integrated plugin is available for SketchUp and Rhino. It supports SketchUp versions 2017–2024, on Windows (8.1/10/11) and macOS (11/12/13/14). On the other hand, Thea Render for Rhino is only available for Windows (8.1/10) and compatible with Rhino 6, 7, and later versions. 
    • Currently, Indigo Renderer is officially available for Cinema 4D, Blender, 3ds Max, SketchUp, and Revit on Windows, Linux, and macOS. You can still use Indigo with other software by exporting your model as a .dwg or .obj file and importing it into Blender.

Thea Render and Indigo Renderer: GPU Rendering

Thea Render GPU rendering performance

Thea Render Benchmark Results for GPU (data from thearender.com)

Currently, the best single GPU for Thea Render is the NVIDIA RTX 4090. It achieves the highest performance in the above benchmark, with a score of 37111 samples per pixel. 

Thea Render supports multi-GPU and can effectively utilize multiple GPUs to accelerate rendering. It scales well with multiple GPUs. As shown in the chart, the 2x RTX 3090Ti configuration achieves a score of 47394 samples per pixel, which is higher than the single RTX 4090 score. 

Indigo Renderer GPU rendering performance

Indigo has a multi-GPU render engine, which can speed up renders of 10x, or more, without losing the high image quality. It uses OpenCL, meaning GPU rendering works on both NVIDIA and AMD GPU(s).

IndigoBench Multi-GPU Results (data from indigorenderer.com)

NVIDIA GPUs generally perform better than AMD GPUs for Indigo Renderer. At the time of writing, the best-performing NVIDIA GPU for Indigo Renderer is the GeForce RTX 4090. 

As a multi-GPU render engine, Indigo scales well with multiple GPUs. The performance increases as the number of GPUs increases, with the 6x GeForce RTX 4090 configuration achieving the highest performance of 390.1 MS/s for the Supercar Scene and 192.99 MS/s for the Bedroom Scene. 

In conclusion, if you’re looking for the best single GPU for Thea Render and Indigo Renderer, the NVIDIA RTX 4090 is the way to go. Additionally, both render engines scale very well with multi-GPU for better performance. Therefore, if you’re looking to maximize performance, using multiple GPUs will provide even better results.

Render faster in Thea Render and Indigo Renderer with iRender

iRender powers up your creativity with unlimited GPU rendering resources. Our GPU render farm houses the most powerful 3D rendering machines. Configure from 1 to 8 GPU with top-tier RTX 4090/RTX 3090Threadripper Pro CPUs256GB RAM, and 2TB SSD storage – iRender’s machines can handle any 3D project demands.

Once renting our machines, you will own them as your personal workstations. Therefore, you can install and use any render engines, plugins, and/or other 3D software of all versions (even the newly released ones). 

Try our new beast – GPU Server 9S, with 8x RTX 4090s, powered with AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ PRO 5975WX @ 3.6 – 4.5GHz and take your Thea Render and Indigo rendering to the next level!

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Enjoy a FREE TRIAL to try our RTX 4090 machines and boost your multi-GPU rendering now!

For additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or mobile: +84915875500


iRender – Thank you & Happy Rendering!

Reference Source: thearender.com, indigorenderer.com 

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