Well. many attempts later, my personal conclusion is this: Reality default skin materials are simply too complex to render with LuxRender openCL. At least this is true for my setup (24GB RAM, AMD R9 390 8GB GPU).
It's not a hardware limitation, it's a problem in the software stack (possibly limited to AMD, I don't know.) The openCL kernel compiling step uses so much system RAM that a scene with 2 figures needs 20+ GB, which is beyond what my system can handle. Even a scene with one figure is vary taxing. The compiling step takes a long time (can be 20 min or more) and it uses a lot of RAM (12GB is not unusual). It's extremely frustrating, because once the scene actually starts rendering, I get a decent image in about 5 min. (It's not a complex scene.)
I finally got around to systematically trying to reduce scene complexity, and found that, on my system at least, removing SSS and all bump maps brings it down to tolerable levels. openCL kernel compiling step goes down to less than 2 min (1 figure), and even using 2 figures (with clothes) is now possible (5 min kernel compiling, <8 GB RAM)
Lack of skin bump maps is not noticeable, unless for closeups. Lack of SSS changes the skin tone, but that can be largely mitigated in most scenes. So my advice is, if you're trying to render with openCL, remove them.
Here we discuss topics that are common for all versions of Reality, without distinction of platform or host
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