If by hardware rendering you understand rendering with the assistance of a
graphics card, then here are my two cents:
I remember Lightwave 5.5 used to have an OpenGL rendering feature. Not sure
of the quality, though, as I haven't used it.
3dsMax (afaik) doesn't have hardware rendering (in the true sense, but there
is a preview renderer).
Softimage, to my knowledge, doesn't have a hardware renderer.
I am pretty certain that image quality will be rather poor compared to a
true "software" rendering, because there is always a matter of speed vs.
accuracy of the process. In any case, with most cards today (with the
exception of NVidia's FX batch), you get 32-bit precision which is fast, but
weak considering that serious rendering is done at 64-bit double precision
and resolutions that require at least some form of bucketing, lest the
memory consumption (and the bandwidth requirements on the bus) become too
high to handle.
Then there is a matter of volume-rendering, global illumination,
motion-blur, anti-aliasing, etc.
Therefore I think hardware rendering isn't quite there yet for production
rendering, but can be invaluable in the pre-visualization stage, where you
need results fast and don't care much about the quality.
I could be wrong, tho :)
Quote:> Have any of you used this feature? How fast is it compared to software
> rendering? How is image quality? How hard is it to use? What are the
> graphics cards for it?
> Do other 3D apps like Softimage, Lightwave or 3DS Max use hardware
> If so, how does it compare?