After a successful launch and great feedback from the community and customers
last year we have been receiving a few questions about U-RENDER.
We want to take some time to explain what prompted us to develop U-RENDER.
Back in 2013 we were a small animation studio called Effects Garden that was
doing your typical run of client projects: explainer videos, 3D illustration
and visualizations with a share of architecture visualization projects mixed
in. Projects were running as expected. Where we ran into troubles with clients
was when we had to explain that changes that might take 20-30 minutes to make
would still need many hours of render time before we could deliver them.
This made frequent and late changes requested by our clients a chore to handle.
Clients could not understand what took so long to deliver. Their experiences
were mostly with 2D graphic design where changes are ready to deliver the moment
the designer was done. We were getting frustrated with this and looked with envy
at what game engines were capable of already.
So we decided to have a look at game engines. Unity was far from the shape it is
in today, so we turned our look at the Unreal Engine. We quickly realized though,
that moving to a game engine - whose sole focus at the time was to create games -
was proving to be a major pain and would require to throw out our complete pipeline.
Furthermore, we would have been forced to move to the game engine at a certain point
in the project and then make all our changes there. Going back and forth was not an
option. The pipeline would have become a lot more technical and would no longer be
artist driven. Changes to assets early in the pipeline - sometimes by the client in
the case of CAD models - would have required to run through the whole pipeline again.
This was not the future we envisioned.
So we took it even a step back further. Before starting the animation studio our CTO had
been developing industrial grade software for more than 15 years. So we were
contemplating the idea to develop a real-time renderer that smoothly integrates
with the host application - eliminated the need to establish a overly complex pipeline.
We started to define the basic concept and conducted a feasibility study with an
Austrian university. The following years we transformed our animation studio into
a software development company.
When we started developing U-RENDER in 2015⁄2016 we decided to build it on the industry
standard programming interface OpenGL. New APIs like Vulkan and Metal did not exist or
were in their infancy back then. OpenGL was mature, well supported across all major
platforms like Windows, MacOS and Linux and used extensively throughout the industry.
So we decided to go down the same route as well.
We finally launched the public beta in August 2018 after we had gone through our private
alpha in late 2017. From there we had launched into our Early Access in 2019 and now have
left that as well. Here we are in early 2020, with U-RENDER being the fastest renderer
available for Cinema 4D.
To accelerate development, our next step is to further grow our team of developers. We
are looking at a very different landscape than when we first started out. Our goal remains
the same: To disrupt the idea of what rendering means.
Continue with our Roadmap for 2020.