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Bunkspeed Pro 2014 Review

Bunkspeed Pro 2014 introduces new rendering power, materials and simpler workflow. Craig Clark puts it to the test in this software review!

Product: Bunkspeed Pro Suite 2014

Company: Bunkspeed

Website: www.bunkspeed.com

Key features:

• Latest version of NVIDIA iray render
• Fast blending between fast preview and final rendering
• Rapid workflow featuring drag-and-drop throughout
• Fully customisable interface per user and restricted distributable layouts
• Material library that adheres to true physics, including new subsurface scatter, back scatter, thin film and enhanced metallic paint materials
• Option to use CPU, GPU or Hybrid CPU+GPU
• Turntable, panoramic, and VR rendering

Review score: 4/5

Release date: August 2013

Price: Learning edition: $3,495.00 US

Education license: $95 US for Bunkspeed SHOT EDU Edition. Visit www.bunkspeed.com/shop/education for more info

System requirements:

• Dual-Core CPU (Minimum)
• 4GB System Ram (Minimum)
• Cuda 5 compliant display card (an NVIDIA K500 graphics card was used for this review)
• 1GB disk space

The interface in Easy mode is very much like the old Hypershot layout – it’s much nicer for the creative aspects, such as setting up camera shots etc

Introduction

Bunkspeed has been around for quite a while now – indeed, longer than some people may be aware of. Basically, things changed back in the Hypershot days, and when Hypershot came to an end it created somewhat of a fork in the road. From that fork, Bunkspeed emerged. Evolving from Bunkspeed SHOT, things have come a long way to the Bunkspeed 2014 PRO Suite I’m trying out today!

For anyone that is unfamiliar with Bunkspeed and its products, they are essentially all about speed. We all need to get things done quickly, and no matter how big and beastly our workstations are, even if they had one million cores they still wouldn’t be fast enough for the work we need to get through on a daily basis! Well, the good folks at Bunkspeed continue to help us out by making software that does things faster than we ever expect it should.

Anyone who liked the simplicity of the Hypershot interface of old will like the new Easy interface mode

In the Bunkspeed PRO 2014 Suite, speed is tackled primarily with the latest version of NVIDIA’s iray renderer. One of the biggest user changes is the new Fast mode. In this mode you can see at least 4-times the speed of the accurate mode (for some scenes up to a 50-times speed increase!). It’s been optimized to provide excellent performance on single GPU systems. This isn’t always the best option for every scene, but it undoubtedly gives a great boost to less powerful systems. When you actually watch it in action it gradually layers in different aspects of a scene, such as reflections, shadows, refractions and so on.

The accurate mode is also improved in general performance, but definitely favors as many GPUs as your budget will allow. Coupled to this directly is the material library, which will be instantly familiar to anyone using Bunkspeed products. However, new materials include subsurface scattering (liquids, rubber, translucent plastic, etc), back scattering (fabrics such as velvet), thin film (soap bubbles, oily surfaces, iridescent materials), and enhanced metallic paint, which now gives you control over the type of flake shading – including the ability for that deep-flake metallic paint that changes hue by incidence angle.

Anyone who liked the simplicity of the Hypershot interface of old will like the new Easy interface mode too. Hit the spacebar and your viewport occupies most of the screen, save for a small toolbar at the bottom and a self-hiding one at the top. I’m a big fan of this mode; it definitely aids my creative work!

Bigger organisations will also appreciate the option to create presets with read-only palettes and libraries, ensuring their users adhere to specific items, and cannot make unwanted changes.

What you have is a process of creating photorealistic renders that is very very fast indeed

What hasn’t changed is the company ethos behind Bunkspeed where ‘workflow is king’. The fewer interruptions you allow, the more you can maintain the fast turnaround from import to render. Even the import stage itself is geared to this idea, allowing live updating of CAD data after import – meaning that if you have a CAD model imported and you need to make a revision, when you save the changes to your CAD model, PRO will automatically read in these changes as well (you can override this feature if you need to, though).

What you essentially have is a process of creating photorealistic renders that is very, very fast indeed – typically much faster than rendering within other mainstream 3D packages. This, in part, is assuming that models are going to carry real-world shaders and materials. While fantasy and science-fiction rendering is very much possible, it’s hard to see why software like this would be used for that, typically.

The only real bottleneck with Bunkspeed PRO 2014 is your wallet. At $3,495.00 US, it’s going to be a serious investment. And to take advantage of its epic speed, you need the right hardware to leverage it. My system was a modest Quad-core machine (Q6600 CPU with 4GB of system RAM) fitted with a loaned NVIDIA K5000 video card (costs around £2,000 GBP in the UK). Due to my hardware setup, the software reacted slower to inputs, but any serious user with higher-spec hardware will definitely reap the rewards.

Related Links

Bunkspeed PRO
Request a Bunkspeed PRO trial license
Bunkspeed Gallery
NVIDIA K5000
Craig A Clark


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