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When you say its slow, what are you comparing to? Ray-tracing is a complicated computing task.
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Ray tracing is CPU intensive. The more cores it has available, and the faster they are, the faster it'll run.
Don't forget you also need plenty of memory (and fast memory) to keep up with those cores.
BTW - professional ray traced images may take a day or more to complete.
Are you setting it to Draft or Final? You can try removing some of the more expensive operations, such as soft shadows, refraction, >100% opacity, texture maps over 1024px. If Final Raytrace quality, you could also go to the 3D prefs. and set the High Quality Threshold down to 1 or 2 to see if that helps.
Thanks for your answers.
I'm working on rendering some of our 2D samples in to a 3d scene and chose a final resolution of 2100x1500 (in case these were to be put on a postcard in the future). It sounds like this may be a bit much for a destop PC to render out quickly.
It would be nice to know whether there's a significant advantage to upgrading some of our CPUs in order to determine whether it's worth the cost. I suppose that would require exploring some benchmarking sites to see their findings. We have 8GB of RAM (64-bit systems), so I don't know if increasing that would help either.
I don't think I like the lights with hard shadows, so I don't think I'll remove their "softness" for my scenes, but I'll look in to the other suggestions to increase rendering speed.
Maybe the optimal workflow would be to set-up several 3D scenes, create an action to render and then stamp the 3D layer and save, and then batch-process the files overnight.
Thanks for your help!
If you want an honest opinion: Just buy yourself a proper 3D program! No matter how much hardware you throw at PS, compared to a highly optimized raytracer like VRay, modo or interactive, graphics card accelerated renderes using CUDA like Octane, it will always be a lose-lose proposition. I will refrain from lengthy explanations of specifics as no doubt it will only result in the PS engineers hijacking this thread and telling you the opposite and how great their program is, but I've done 3D for 17 years and PS just isn't meant for it...
That's a good point. I think our exposure to 3D graphics thus far doesn't justify the costs of adding a 3D suite, so we're just trying to get the most out the tools we currently own. I've used Blender to create a few needed shapes, so I think that suits our needs for the moment. But as you suggest, looking in to a dedicated 3D suite may be more cost effective than upgrading a CPU to run Photoshop's 3D engine.
Chris made some good points, I run a Mac Pro :
Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro4,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.26 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 8
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per processor): 8 MB
Memory: 12 GB
Processor Interconnect Speed: 5.86 GT/s
Ray Trace screams on all the cores. Granted 3D scenes will vary with complexity. One example of complexity is many lights, or meshes with opacity (eg Glass effects). That is not say Vray is not superior since it is a much more mature technology and that is not say we will not catch up
And finally, I would take anything Mylenium says with a grain of salt as it seems he (unfortunately) only lives to insult Adobe Photoshop Engineers who do know something about 3D.
Mylenium likes to complain (especially about 3D :-), but he generally knows what he's talking about and provides helpful answers in the forums.