Rendering Time vs Quality

You always have to choose between those two: time or quality. This also applies to rendering in Boxshot. To make the decision easier, Boxshot offers some options that let you tailor the rendering process to better fits your needs.

The tutorial below applies to the Professional and Ultimate editions of Boxshot, as Boxshot Home only has Draft rendering option and cannot be configured that much.

Rendering Passes

Boxshot renders scenes in passes. At each pass Boxshot computes a color of each pixel of the output scene and merges it with the previous color of that pixel.

Each pass provides a very noisy result, for instance here is the scene rendered with just one pass:

Scene rendered with just one pass in Boxshot

However, combined together multiple passes make a nice and smooth image without much noise. Here is the same scene rendered with 50 passes:

Scene rendered with 50 passes in Boxshot

Notice the shadow is much more smooth and overall noise level is lower. By default, Boxshot uses 100 passes for draft previews and 2000 passes for production images.

So far it is pretty simple: the more passes you render, the better is the image. But here comes the downside: each pass takes time. If a simple draft rendering takes 10 seconds, the production rendering of the same resolution will take 20 times longer: 200 seconds or 3 plus something minutes. The numbers get even worse for higher resolutions and you may well expect an hour or two of rendering for a complex high–resolution scene.

It sounds like that some form of control is required…

Rendering Quality Modes

Boxshot offers four rendering modes to make your life easier:

Rendering quality modes in Boxshot

The modes are:

The first two modes are basically presets with pre–configured number of passes to render. You can change the defaults in settings.

The Manual mode lets you render as many passes as you want. The noisy images above were rendered using the manual mode with 1 and 50 passes configured.

Time–Based Mode

The time–based mode is different. Instead of rendering the specified number of passes, it renders as many passes as possible until the time runs out. This gives you more control on rendering duration at the price of possible quality issues. However, with enough rendering time Boxshot will most likely deliver a quality enough image anyway.

Do not expect the time–based mode to do magic and render a 8K image in 2–3 minutes, though. Boxshot still renders the same passes as in other modes, it is just limited by time now. Consider giving at least 15 minutes for 4K image and 30–60 minutes for 8K image for better results.

It might also be a good idea to use the render later option for queueing up long jobs and doing them later when the computer is not used.

Note on GPU Rendering

Boxshot GPU renderer performs multiple passes at once and sometimes does more than a single pixel in one pass. Because of that it is better to use it with the time–based mode in production, instead of configuring the number of passes to render. This way you will likely get better results, compared to the same time spent on CPU rendering.

Again, as Boxshot performs multiple passes in blocks in GPU rendering mode, it may take some time to finish the block for high–resolution output. When the GPU renderer is used in time–based mode, Boxshot won’t stop until it finishes the current block of passes. This means it may take a little longer to finish the scene, but usually not more than 2–3 minutes for high–resolution images.

Note On Realistic Lighting Option

The realistic lighting option lets you speed up rendering by cutting some computationally–heavy corners. If combined with time–based rendering option, consider using lower rendering time there.

Manual rendering mode with the specific number of passes might work even better for non–realistic lighting.

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