Inspire Render Honest Review

Everything related to Altair Inspire Render beta

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mrwip
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Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm

I don't think they have the knowledge or will to make it great for archviz.
Well, I don't really think either.. I won't spend too much time on this, as there is just too much things going wrong (navigation, interface, etc..).

There are so many point worst mentioning, but developing every one of them will take forever...

I'll end this with a few last remarks:

- Navigation :

Reverse mouse wheel zoom, free orbit, and moving grids are a nightmare if you are use to do archviz with any of the other tools present on the market. Again, don't tell us that we could change it in preference, the issue is how friendly it is when you first open it.

- Material system :

No material preview !! You rely on your interactive render, but it's not really powerful, so it's hard to manage material in a complex scene, or to build them without rendering.
No clear sliders to move values.
Poor and confusing UI, no clear hierarchy of things. Some values are on the right, some on the left, no clear separators between things. Texture thumbnails are really really tiny, and one click on the thumbnail does not displays it but offers to change it, which is counter intuitive. (note, while I was exploring this with an extra simple model, just one chair, Inspire shut down by itself...).
No more direct control over the material tilling in the material editor, you have to open an other tool do do that.
Apparently no more texture mixing like in the previous "texture lab", just a simple color mixing...

- Libraries

No drag and drop possibilities between the model library and the viewport, so it's impossible to easily and quickly place an object in the scene.
No clear (drag n drop) possibility to add a model from a scene to a library.

- Environment

No preview of the sky in "real time " mode, just an empty background.
No more (or very well hidden) control over the geographic position of the sun and sky, no sun position, time sliders and so on.

... So, I could continue, on and on,but it takes me time for no result, and I'm not enjoying it. I honestly tried to test this tool, and I would have been more than happy to be wrong in my intuitions, but, sadly, not : This software is definitely not a good tool for archviz. It's not robust enough or easy enough to use, it misses a lot of tools that where present years ago, it's often unstable and globally terribly slow. I know that you'll argue the contrary, but frankly, my opinion is now founded.

Sorry, but you guys just don't know what's needed to make a good Archviz tool, so please admit that Inspire is definitly, in it's current states, and by a long margin, not made for us.
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Fri May 29, 2020 1:01 pm

mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 10:11 am
And, again, huge disappointment, on the recent and supposedly better Inspire, there is a "creating rendering scene" loading for 2min48s !

It's a crazy 12x factor between the old application and the new, and in the wrong direction. And I'm not even mentioning that the geometry is messed up... again.
It's exactly what I'm saying and that's why I said inspire render is not made for archviz, it's not because I don't like the UI or something else. I can get used to something different. But here it's the core architecture of the software that seems to be made in a way like if it has to export the geometry and textures to an external renderer like a plug-in would do. I don't know how studio worked but it was really a lot faster and this on it's own makes inspire render unusable for architecture.

We want to render stuff in studio that can't be rendered in plugins, basically more complex scenes and animations. For both we need a snappy and reactive studio as otherwise we loose the whole purpose of using studio or inspire.
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claudio
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Fri May 29, 2020 1:23 pm

mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 10:11 am
Honestly, I feel kinda sorry for all this, and I'm not happy to spend time doing this, but it feels like this application I've never been really tested before, and that you guys seems to have no idea how your users are working with it...
First of all thank you for the time you put on this.
This is the feedback we need. Real use cases.

I admit we haven't yet worked too much on the huge scenes you are using for this test.
We did the tests with the scenes we had and make them all work.
There might be of course cases we haven't had the opportunity to test, of course.

Some data on my side.
The biggest scene we have is 900 MB:
  • It takes 1m:30s to import and display in Inspire Render, but only 35s to reload once saved in native .iRender format. TheaStudio takes 40s to load and display.
  • The OpenGL speed is a bit to its limit, slow to navigate. In TheaStudio 1.5 it is even slower, where geometry keeps popping for seconds after the mouse button is released. In IR it's fast to pan and move the camera on both.
  • Inspire Render takes 35s the first time to start IR, then each next switch to IR takes 14s, a switch to realtime takes 15s. TheaStudio takes 16s to start IR.
I'm not trying to discharge the feedback you provided, in fact, if you are willing to share with us the scenes you used, we are happy to fix every problem in them, and work more on the speed issues.
This actually is open to everybody reading this: if you have a scene that doesn't work properly when imported, feel free to send it to us.

We will treat every scene with confidentiality of course and never share them to anybody!

But the devil lies in the details and I trying to point out that it might not be all that bad, if you see at different angles.
Like the load times: of course we are importing a previous file format, thus it takes more time. But once you compare between native file format, it's not that different.
Same for the IR startup times. There is an additional time the first time (internal caching) but then it's about the same. And I can assure you, the programmer that did the caching worked a lot to make it work properly.
The OpenGL speed, I see it better in Inspire Render. And I'm personally not a fan of "popping" geometry when you move the camera. We can do better of course, and the challenge you guys provide make us excited to push this even further.

About the need for darkroom to be within the main application, we started an internal discussion on this. We might be able to provide a different way to fix your need.

In the end, and this is very important:
If the only feedback is complaining about how bad big corporation are, of how Altair has ruined an almost perfect product, we are not going anywhere. You will not have your rendering problems solved and we would have lost sales. :D
Viceversa, if you guys send us real, practical problems, we will work on them and provide a solution.

Hope to keep going forward on this together with you all,
-Claudio
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Fri May 29, 2020 1:59 pm

mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
- Navigation :

Reverse mouse wheel zoom, free orbit, and moving grids are a nightmare if you are use to do archviz with any of the other tools present on the market. Again, don't tell us that we could change it in preference, the issue is how friendly it is when you first open it.
I'll tell you again, is in the preferences, it takes nothing to tweak it to your liking.
If you prefer we can ask you everytime like Twinmotion...
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
- Material system :

No material preview !! You rely on your interactive render, but it's not really powerful, so it's hard to manage material in a complex scene, or to build them without rendering.
I always need a real object to setup my materials. How can you setup a material on a ball without knowing anything about its real size and in different light conditions than you scene?
You can "isolate" the object (press "i" with the object(s) selected) for superfast interaction.
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
No clear sliders to move values.
What?
The mouse pointer changes to double arrow when you move on values, how can it be more clear than that?
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
Texture thumbnails are really really tiny, and one click on the thumbnail does not displays it but offers to change it, which is counter intuitive.
In TheaStudio a click on the thumbnail didn't display anything too, so I'm not sure why this is so bad in Inspire Render...
About the size, well, other users on this forum complained that they were too big, so I'm not sure what to do now... :D
Clicking on it, if it's a texture from the library, shows you a bigger preview in the texture browser (that you can make even bigger).
In TheaStudio they were even smaller, unless you switch to TextureLab, which required more clicks, so not worse than before I guess...
Anyway, thanks for the suggestion, we can make a way to see a bigger preview in the next release.
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
No more direct control over the material tilling in the material editor, you have to open another tool do do that.
Correct, but you forgot to mention that the additional tool provides MUCH MORE features and is much more effective in positioning the texture than TheaStudio.
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
Apparently no more texture mixing like in the previous "texture lab", just a simple color mixing...
Correct, we're working on a graphical node editor to replace that, hopefully for next version.
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
- Libraries

No drag and drop possibilities between the model library and the viewport, so it's impossible to easily and quickly place an object in the scene.
No clear (drag n drop) possibility to add a model from a scene to a library.
Yeah... you're totally right.... We haven't had the time to do that too...
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm
- Environment

No preview of the sky in "real time " mode, just an empty background.
Only environment maps are supported in realtime, and only spherical projection.
There other things not supported in realtime too. That is an ongoing work...
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mrwip
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Fri May 29, 2020 2:06 pm

Claudio,

I already sent you test scenes in PM.

About the size of your test file, well, bad joke aside, size alone means nothing. I'm pretty sure that you tested it with a heavy engineering scene (like a detailed car or something like that, with a lot of polygons). But there are other things than just raw polys, and in Archviz it's all the rest that could be heavy and often slows down things : Did you have a lot of 4k pngs textures ? Many different external models as proxy to load ? Complexes multi layered materials ?

Please show us youR test scene, and we'll be able to discuss. You must admit that it's strange that you're getting such good results where we are having only bad ones, with similar hardware. And please stop believing that we see Studio as a perfect tool, it's not the point here, and not what we think.

Frankly we, as users, don't have any interest in showing you that the software is behaving poorly just for the fun of it, and you will not convince us by just saying "sorry guys, but on our side we believe that it's a fantastic and efficient tool".

I've just shown you enough different real working situations where Inspire was weak (to say the least), so it's up to you now (if you have any intention of convincing us) to come with solid proofs that you're right (videos, tests scenes, user case studies, etc..).
Last edited by mrwip on Fri May 29, 2020 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mrwip
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Fri May 29, 2020 2:19 pm

Well, your last reply arrives before mine.

Okay, I honestly think that we'll never really understand each other, so, this really is a last post for me... Never ending fights are always useless.

The way you treat my remarks or demand clearly shows that you don't get the point I'm trying to do, so, it's pointless to keep on arguing about anything.

The response you're giving about navigation parameters is the perfect example for that. I try to explain, calmly, that all this kind of details are what makes people want to stay on a software, on the really first minute they're testing it. Knowing if you can change it somewhere in parameter is not relevant, it just makes a bad impression. The market is full of other tools, more and more capable and friendly, and if you don't get that immediate user seduction is the key, in 2020, well there is nothing we can do about it.

By the way, Twinmotion only asked it once, at the first startup, to helps you feel comfortable in the software, using your specific habits, not everytime...

Finally, sorry, but sliders looks like that, and two tiny arrows does not make a slider...
2020-05-29_16h09_55.jpg
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I wish you the best.
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Fri May 29, 2020 3:11 pm

Hello Claudio

Especially didn't take it the wrong way
But there are many of us who want to show you that your new software no longer meets our expectations.
Because it is more focused on technological parts and no longer on pure and hard Architecture as we had before with the studio.
Hope you find a solution soon enough
Your last message is still a little harsh especially the end and especially mocking, you have won new customers all the better, but with what trades, not architects, rather industrial ;)
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claudio
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Fri May 29, 2020 5:10 pm

The scene I used is an architectural scene provided by another guy in this forum, couple of months ago, I cannot remember who he was now...
It's a 1.32 GB model once uncompressed into .scn.thea, 200 millions triangles.
I work with 32 GB memory, i7-6800K @ 3.40 MHz, graphic card is an RTX 5000 with 16 GB memory.
I cannot share, even in rendered form, it's not mine.

Our work is the make the program, not the scenes :) . I don't have many scenes to show. I mostly have those kindly provided by users. And those are private, I cannot share.

Also, I thought you would have been more comfortable to see how YOUR scenes perform, not mine (which could be optimized in any way possible to shine).
That's why I keep asking for your scenes from the forum, so that you know what I am showing.

I have to point out that I did the tests using the upcoming 2020 version, that obviously contains improvements. I don't remember particular improvements in the graphics speed, but I cannot exclude too.

@MrWip, I apologize for appearing rude. I have a rather silly behavior in person, but that doesn't show properly in written form.

I tried the "School" scene and it is indeed very slow, at a 100 million triangles, so I believe there's something wrong somewhere, maybe in the import process. My wild guess is some instance not recognized (and thus duplicated instead of instanced). I would like to test this into version 2020, so if you are able to send me the .thea.pack of that too I can get back to you with more information.

About the sliders, I know what you mean, in fact in the 2020 version we added a feedback of the current value as a blue bar, (see attachment)
However, our "sliders" are almost exactly the same in behavior of those in Adobe products, that's why I was surprised of "not clear".

About the mouse, I just thought it was a minor hiccup, easily solvable. But sure, nothing stops us to show a dialog at the first run asking what your preferences are and once chosen, never show up again.

Please don't get me wrong. Serious problems I reach out immediately for the file or other info to fix it.
Allow me to reply some other problem is minor to me, that's in the realm of personal preferences/views/opinions... ;)
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Fri May 29, 2020 10:17 pm

Hard to not agree with mrwip. I don't want to start any new fight but many of us are stuck still to v1.5 due to many things that disappeared with v2. The original studio was a perfect tool where all cross import-export stuff could be handled along with preparing and maintaining library models for further use. Its lightweight and low ram consumption were one of the best features of it.

I will cite here gelbuilding from another topic "Inspire Render = $299/mth or $2399/yr" I guess someone added one more 9 by accident according to Novaedge annual price for a studio is $800 so I believe it was $239 and even if it is true user has to buy host app like SU/Rhino/C4D + Thea Plug for 249 eur per yr and $239 ( i guess at the current rate it would be near 215 eur so let's try 219 eur) it is 470 euro per yr and still cannot achieve the functionality of studio nor its speed...

So Claudio if someone took his time to make tests and provide useful feedback it would be cool to listen to that voice instead of saying above.
mrwip wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 2:06 pm
Please show us you're test scene, and we'll be able to discuss. You must admit that it's strange that you're getting such good results where we are having only bad ones, with similar hardware. And please stop believing that we see Studio as a perfect tool, it's not the point here, and not what we think.

Frankly we, as users, don't have any interest in showing you that the software is behaving poorly just for the fun of it, and you will not convince us by just saying "sorry guys, but on our side we believe that it's a fantastic and efficient tool".

I've just shown you enough different real working situations where Inspire was weak (to say the least), so it's up to you now (if you have any intention of convincing us) to come with solid proofs of what you're right (videos, tests scenes, user case studies, etc..).
None of us want to burn time for making bad jokes here many of us use this software to pay the bills and everybody want to improve their workflow and have stable pipeline, and if nobody said that yet strict it just does not suit our needs and is targeted probably somewhere else than this community.

Thea evolves in glacial pace and somehow many of us still use it so don't be surprised that we complain when "new" long-awaited solution barely can handle what its predecessor could do without a sweat. Take into consideration that your competitors aren't asleep and if our voices won't be heard sooner or later everybody will go in their own direction leaving this place totally empty.
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Sat May 30, 2020 3:52 am

claudio wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 5:10 pm
Our work is the make the program, not the scenes :)
If you don't have anyone from your team working in real life with the software you're designing you have to rely only on the usersfeedback to improve the new software you've just created. I'm sorry to say this but I don't feel like you're listening a lot to what the users are saying when they test your software.
claudio wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 5:10 pm

I have to point out that I did the tests using the upcoming 2020 version, that obviously contains improvements. I don't remember particular improvements in the graphics speed, but I cannot exclude too.
This and the above shows that clearly the software isn't finished yet, there are big improvements and bugs fixed between each release. That's totally normal and fine as it's quite new, the only thing that's more difficult to understand is why was it released this soon out of beta stage. I'm only talking about our archviz side of things, not from product viz where it maybe works great.

When testing with big scenes you clearly see how much is going wrong and that it's a workflow not fully tested yet.

How will we be appealled to pay 500€ per year to be able to beta test a program that's not finished (for archviz) and will take us a lot of hours to provide feedback for. This is time we give for free to you and that we can't work on clients stuff (paid hours). I already offered to help you beta test this couple of months ago, I've even send you at least 2 scenes that had a lot of bugs in it. Then.you released the software to sell and stopped the beta. While I just provided you with scenes with big bugs in it, that just showed that the software still needed to be polished.

I'm sure as mrwip showed from his test that this is still the case many months later and that the archviz workflow is still not possible in inspire due to not the UI (that's another discussion) but to plain and simple bugs or lack of responsiveness of the inspire software.

From my understanding of working in this field for so long, a successful product launch from my eyes as user:

1. Long closed alpha stage with selected people form your team who test the software you're developing

2. small alpha/beta phase with selected people from the community and powerusers who give valuable feedback from the real-life scenarios and make stresstests (as mrwip just showed.earlier for.example). Software gets improved at a super fast pace to incorporate all the feedback. When everyone has thoroughly tested the software then only it goes.to the next stage.

3. big beta team where everyone gets to test the software and gets excited about the software, the word is spread out everywhere and everyone gets to test the software. At this stage it should already be a completely polished product and the large betateam helps you find the latest bugs that needs to be fixed before the final launching where the projectt becomes a commercial product.

This is what I understand from it and I'm no expert, just been part of a couple of betas before. I just feel there were a couple of steps that were skipped.with inspire, and ok I can understand that maybe there was an outside pressure to release it fast but then at least take into account what the testers as MRWIP are saying now, I feel like you prefer arguing then trying to really understand what real life problems we're facing when using your software. If you don't then what's the point of providing feedback? And maybe I'm wrong but form the number of.posts on this part of the forum it feels like we're the only ones still testing/caring.

It's not the message that we want studio back that's important, the comparison between inspire and studio it's just a way to show you how much the real-life scenarios are way less optimised then before. We are all good at learning new software so we would love to learn inspire render if it fits us, but for the moment it doesn't.
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