LuxCore vs Mitsuba vs Cycles round 3


Because of release of new Luxrenderer,  I made quick test of Cycles vs LuxCore 1.5 (blender exporter is in zip file)  vs Mitsuba 5.0 on CPU rendering.

My specs are

  • CPU: InterCore i5-4670K @3,4Ghz,

Scene setup is the same:

  • 128  PathTracing samples on CPU device.
  • Sobol sampler
  • ray depth 6
  • light – HDR env probe
  • material setup is the same (contains most used materials – diffuse, glossy, metalic, glass)

And here are the results (btw. description on image is wrong, It should be CPU not GPU):

LuxCore Cycles Mitsuba path tracing
LuxCore Cycles Mitsuba
path tracing

As you can see in image above, Cycles is fastest, but render has more noise than Mitsuba. LuxCore is slowest, and has more noise than both Cycles and Mitsuba. But still new LuxCore 1.5 renders are a lot faster than old LuxRender.
One more test in darker place. LuxCore quality is getting closer to cycles in darker scenes:
Mitsuba Lux Cycles

GPU test – tile size set to 128. Cycles Cuda vs LuxCore OpenCL on NVIDIA 660GTX. CUDA are always faster than OpenCl on Nvidia, so maybe results could be different if we compared LuxCore on AMD GPU, but I do not have one.
Cycles vs LuxCore GPUSummary:

CPU SPEED: Mitsuba wins giving faster renders with less noise.  Cycles takes second place and Lux third (new luxCore 1.5 is way faster than older LuxRender – up to 10x!,  but still not as fast as Cycles). Another advantage of Mitsuba are additional integrators eg. Photon Mapping is great for indoor scenes, caustics, etc. Lux has also other integrators than PathTracing, but usually is not as fast as above.
GPU SPEED: Cycles wins, but maybe LuxCore on AMD GPUS will bee faster? Will have to wait and see. But on my NVIDIA 660GTX Cycles is faster with Cuda, than Lux with OpenCl, but that is to be expected. Cuda>OpenCL on Nvidia. Mitsuba do not have GPU support.

LuxRender – easy to setup lightning, quite easy setup of renderer, has realtime vieport rendering, easy and good looking sun&sky lightning, node based materials (soon) gives lots of flexibility (but not as much as Cycles), renderpasses, displacement,  strands.  But no fast/easy solution for SSS.

Mitsuba: easy to setup render – just set number of samples and you are good to go, easy lightning, good and easy sun&sky setup, basic renderpasses, basic sss.   But it lacks lots of features: no vieport rendering,  just basic strands support, no node materials, no displacement.

Cycles: it is most powerful but hardest to learn into IMO. Some features works only in ‘experimentl’ mode.  It supports: complex node materials, realtime vieport rendering, fast sss (best of all above), renderpasses, fast but complex to sun&sky setup, displacement, motion blur.  There are lots of sliders to adjust render speed vs quality, but they are not user friendly and you may find yourself wasting a lot of time adjusting those. Mitsuba is way easier here – just one slider ‘number of samples’, gets the job done in 90%  of cases.
Also you may find that Cycles gives bad looking glossy reflections for hight values of roughness eg see here. There is node setup that solves that, but again it is not easy to fix. So I could say for Cycles ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ :D.


12 thoughts on “LuxCore vs Mitsuba vs Cycles round 3

  1. This is a totally pointless test. The whole *point* of luxcore is to be focused on GPU, and you tested these in CPU? You go on to say that your GPU sucks? What exactly can be learned from these “tests”. Unless a miracle happens, people are likely going to dump cycles in favour of Luxcore – its faster (GPU to GPU), and offers a great UI unlike the convoluted mess that is Cycles.

    1. In my post, there is CPU and GPU comparison. In both test cycles was faster. This was tested with same hardware and scene setup. I you presume, that LUX is faster, on some kind of hardware then prove it. Otherwise it is your comment, that is pointless, and that is only your opinion, not based on any kind of data, that lux is faster. About my GPU, it is not that fast, but still it rendered my scene 3x faster than CPU.

  2. It is so much curious that even Mitsuba being the “winner” in terms of speed and cleanliness so few people are using it!!!

    Surely must be some (maybe several) explanations for that, but I personally think it’s a great pity… Mitsuba is fast and gives good results.

    Thank you very much for your “rounds” of comparisons, bartoszstyperek! 🙂

  3. Mitsuba has no gpu rendering, so cycles or lux can beat it on gpu. And mitsuba lacks some of features – no render passes, only simple material are available, no realtime preview. But on the other hand is has PhotonMapping so it can render very quickly eg. interior scenes, that are very hard for path tracers. I like Mitusba because it is quickest/easiest to setup, and gives great renders out of the box. But lack of real time preview and ability to customize shaders is painful.

  4. Hummm… yeah, indeed. Something that also is missing in Mitsuba is the hability to resume renderings… not all rendering will finish in a reasonable time, so this is also an important feature, in my opinion… However, Cycles has not also such feature!! 😀

  5. So, would you say that cycles is more flexible, but Mitsuba is easier and can give more realistic results? If so is there any benefit from using luxrender?

    1. Lux is easy to setup (not as easy as Mitsuba) but easier than cycles. And it has nice sun&sky lightning (in cycles you have to manually setup sun color, match sky rotation to sun rotation and basically it tends to look CG in cycles). Also it has a lot of features – eg. material nodes, displacement, realtime vieport preview (mitsuba lacks all of thoses). So to sum up there is no good free rendering engine:
      Cycles -fast (GPU renders seems to be faster than LUX), lot of features, but not user friendly, sun&sky lightning complex to setup, bad looking glossy reflections for hight values of roughness eg see here.
      Mitsuba – easiest to setup, fastest on CPU, great render out of the box. Supports Phothon Mapping great for inddor renders. But no realtime viewport preview, bit to simple material system, no GPU rendering.
      Lux – easy to setup (not as easy as Mitsuba but easier than Cycles), powerful materials (will support nodes soon), realtime vieport preview, gives good lightning out of the box. But seems slowest of them all.

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