Raytrace or Luxology

For many years I have been using XM raytrace to generate aerial renderings of urban design projects.  My workflow includes the creation of an image-draped DTM, simple massing models of buildings and street trees, minimal materials. Some examples - http://communities.bentley.com/products/microstation/microstation_visualization/m/luxology-gallery/171980.aspx

http://communities.bentley.com/products/microstation/microstation_visualization/m/luxology-gallery/171981.aspx

The graphic quality is “real” enough for the design intervention not to look out of place in the context of the real aerial imagery. I’m happy with the results but keep feeling I should put my select subscription to work and try out Luxology.  

The example below is a test case comparing the two rendering techniques.  For the purpose of comparison I’ve set both to render low resolution without anti-aliasing and both to include open elements (in Luxology this is a modified version of the Exterior Good setup).  

The first thing to note is that Luxology took almost twice as long to render (2min 44sec) compared to Raytracing (1min 18 sec).  The first “out-of-the-box” Luxology rendering (V2) is quite obviously too dark so I have switched off Photographic Tone Mapping and adjusted the brightness/ contrast sliders in the second version (V3) of the Luxology renderings. I also switched on the “Auto Gamma Correct Color Maps” in the Light Manager. I have not managed to get Fog to work – mainly because I don’t seem to be able to make easy setting changes (like fog density) and hitting Raytrace current solution as I could in XM to see the effect quickly. Luxology seems to require many more tweaks and long waits to see improved results. The right-click to abort rendering is instantaneous in an XM raytrace, but “Cancel Luxology Render”  in the Luxology interface is extremely slow to respond. In fact, all interaction with the Luxology render window (calling up the Environment Settings, Luxology Image Settings, etc. ) seems sluggish.

I’m sure I’m wrong, and these are just newbie niggles, but here’s my question – should I stick with what I know (ie. XM raytracing) or persevere and get Luxology to work for me?

Thanks,

Max

This is the way it should look....