DAZ Studio 4.15 has been released, as 18.104.22.168 (7th January 2021). My last detailed consideration of DAZ Studio changes was back in November 2020, when I looked at…
What do I get if I move from DAZ Studio 22.214.171.124 (approx. midsummer 2020), to the very latest version 126.96.36.199.. (just released yesterday)?
… and I decided not to make the leap.
Ok, so what’s new in the latest 4.15 (Jan 2021)?
* It newly integrates the latest iRay 2020.1.3. Back in November 2020, iRay 2020.1.2 was a mystery. But it now has a DAZ-specific changelog along with one for the newly integrated iRay 1.3. Notable 1.2 additions were: bugfixes; “performance optimizations for some material paths”; “general improvements to volumes and materials featuring sub-surface scattering (SSS), both in performance/convergence and quality”. 1.3 has bugfixes and “fixes 3D textures being wrong with motion blur.”
So, sounds like 4.15 is mainly a useful upgrade for those using complex materials and motion-blur animation.
* Additions to the scripting API. The sub-link for this at docs.daz3d.com is current non-responsive, even when using an alt. DNS and/or a USA VPN. But the main changelog states… “Made additions in various areas”. I assume “additions” means new additions, not changes to existing scripting items that might then break old scripts. Perhaps these additions are part of the fixes needed to get DAZ working on the latest Mac OS, at a guess?
* Various in-scene opacity and tinting changes. Also “added support for visualizing an iRay Section Plane node in the viewport”. The latter appears to be about spaces that allow light through walls, such as glass windows?
All in all, then, there’s no outstanding reason for me to jump six months forward to the latest 4.15, and some drawbacks re: some of the small UI and labelling changes of render-engine and Viewport draw types. I’ll wait for the next version.
Looking at the official iRay Dev Blog, it has a new question about NPR and an interesting answer. This makes a future DAZ Studio look more interesting for me…
Q. Will iRay Toon be coming to DAZ Studio?
A. Unfortunately we cannot speak for DAZ. I’d hope that this will make it into a future release though.
This is, apparently, not the same “iRay toon” which some third-party DAZ Store products claimed to do circa 2015-18. It sounds like something official and currently known to the iRay devs and insiders. Of course, if it’s iRay then it will not be rendering in real-time (as with Poser 11 and the Comic Book Mode). Unless, presumably, the user has a $700 NVIDIA 30-series card and a PC able to keep up with it. It would make sense for NVIDIA to be developing such a thing for their forthcoming Omniverse releases, so I guess that could be it.
Also revealed by the developers on the blog is that…
In the next major release of iRay, we will also improve the filtering of normal maps and bump maps dramatically.
… which at a guess might even mean a boost for rendering speeds? A further guess would be that these changes could have to do with making a ‘iRay Toon’ render mode run sufficiently fast?