Octane render plugin for 3dsmax review

Evermotion 2012-12-04 13:53 article  > Review

Settings overview

What I will be testing here is plug-in for 3dsmax but if you are not a max user you can still use the standalone version. The plug-in is also available for many other 3d software and even more to come, just check the list below:
  • Autodesk 3ds Max
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Smith Micro Poser
  • Autodesk Softimage (coming soon)
  • Daz3D Daz Studio
  • Newtek Lightwave
  • Maxon Cinema4D
Installation is very easy so no special philosophy here.
After installation you can enable it as all the other 3dsmax renderer plug-ins, then short activation procedure and done, we are ready to test it.
During the test I was working on only one graphic card GeForce GTX 570 which is not the newest card but still working quite nice with the Octane. It's recommended to have two cards so during the rendering you can do normal work in Windows without any hang ups because the renderer is really pushing the graphic cards to its limits. On the other hand as long as you work on low geometry and with no hi res maps there are no slow downs in the system at all. The 3dsmax version I have used is 2012.
Quick overview of the basic settings.

Like you can see there is not much to set-up which is of course a big plus so even someone that is pretty new to rendering should have no problem to work with Octane. I will skip the obvious settings and features and concentrate on the really cool feature which is for sure the Live DB – in short a huge material database full of materials submitted by the community.

If you still are unable to find a suitable materials for your project you can always use the material converter and use some of your materials created for MR or V-ray.

It works quite well, but don't think like converting your scenes into octane materials will be like one click and done, don't get me wrong the converter is fast and good, it will help you a lot but will never get the work done for you.

I have done a quick test on one of our Archmodels, you can see the test below – not bad, but I had to remove the multi sub material because the convert does not support it. Other than that it's really usable tool.

Next one are the actual rendering settings: Kernal type – gi calculation methods. These settings are actual the key element for your renders and projects. Depending on the chosen Kernal type you will find there additional settings like specular, glossy depth and AO settings.

The main difference between them is the calculation speed and photorealism – the most realistic is the path tracing, the fastest is the direct light, the PMC is something between them. I can not tell you which one is the best because it depends on the result you want to achieve, so basically its a project dependent thing. If you are interested in some technical details about it you can find everything in the manual attached to the max plug-in.

Camera and lights

There are 3 types of lights and an octane camera for your disposal.

Standard light, IES and octane daylight system – so nothing new here, but everything that you will need on the other hand.

If you don't want you don't need to use the octane camera but then you have to use the camera settings from rendering settings.

Octane in action

The last time I have used this plug-in there was some problem with export time, yes export – although it's a 3dsmax plug-in the geometry need to be exported or rather loaded into your video card memory. So it is a good idea to keep your models simple or at least optimized, the same for textures – don't forget its a gpu based rendering engine so if you do not have at least few gigs of memory on your video card forget about large scenes with lots of full res textures.

I have made another test on a much complex model with a lot of textures – so something that can take a while to upload to the video card memory. I have used the material converter again and again and it has done a pretty good job.

The export took about 1 minute – the geometry contains over 2,5 mln of tris and there are almost 100 jpg textures. No bugs no missing textures – what can I say, the export has been really improved since the last version.

There is also no problem with particle system, just a quick test.


There are 4 material types for our disposal: Diffuse Material, Glossy Material, Mix Material and Specular Material

So Diffuse for clay renders, Glossy for all kind of materials, Specular for glass, Mix – to combine two different materials.

The material set-up is really easy and you can do everything with these four materials types.

There are also a lot of octane maps. I will not explain every map here but if you are interested to go more into the technical aspects just check this manual

Pictures are telling more than words

If you are not convinced of this software quality and power just take a look at the Octane Render gallery Specially the commercial, Animations &amps; shorts section. Here is my favourite one:

Documentation, support and tutorials

Along with rendering software you will of course get a lot of support. As for the Octane Render itself the documentation is really good, you can find everything there from basic settings overview, exporting, material tips to even tips for using your Zbrush normal maps. There is an additional pdf for each of the plug ins.

You can also find a nice series of tutorials on You Tube

Octane Render Tutorial Series: Link


The Octane Render has only few competitors on the market that can stand up with him. By making the fully integrated plug-ins for 3d software even less than few. The strongest side of it is the simplicity and speed. The plug-in is also very stable. I had not even one crash during the tests. And don't forget about the price – it's only 199€ so I think every freelance artist can afford it. It's perfect for product presentation, simple architectural visualizations and animations. The video cards are getting better and better every year, cheaper as well so I think gpu based render engines are the future of rendering – I hope one day all the rendering will be done in real time, but still we need to wait a bit because if you are an artist working on huge complicated scenes this software is not for you, other than that it's awesome :)...can't wait what will be the next update.
In the near future, OTOY will launch a remote cloud rendering service, which will enable users without high-end GPUs to experience the full power of Octane without having to worry about GPU memory and power consumption.

There is a demo of the standalone version as well as the 3dsmax plug-in available on the producer site: https://render.otoy.com/downloads.php

So check it for yourself it's really worth a try.

The Octane as a standalone renderer is available for windows, Linux and Mac OS.

Author: Evermotion
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