One of the most important items to be aware of when using SU Podium is the preset you choose to apply.

Render presets remove the complexity from configuring the various parameters of the render engine, and provide several base configurations specifically designed for different lighting scenarios. At its simplest, all you need to do is choose your preset and click 'Render.' In practice it isn't always so simple. However, in most cases there is a simple solution for any unexpected issues that crop up. In this web page, we'll explain the different types of presets in SU Podium, and give you the information you need to choose the correct option for any given situation.

A quick preset primer - Speed vs. Quality

There are currently three main preset "categories" in SU Podium: Exterior 2.0, Interior Bright 2.0, and Interior 1.0.5. There is also a "neutral" stand alone, default preset.

  • Exterior: Use the exterior presets when rendering exterior images.
  • Stand alone Default: Default is not tuned to be used for exterior or interior scenes. It can be used for both. However, in many cases, it has better quality than exterior_default for exterior scenes.
  • Interior Bright: The interior_bright 2.0 presets are simply brighter versions of the standard interior (1.0.5) presets from older versions, with increased global illumination levels.
  • Interior 1.0.5: These were the standard interior presets for interiors and are the fastest interior presets but not as bright as the Interior Bright presets.

Each of the preset categories is broken down into five types—we'll go into more detail below, but for now remember this: podium presets are all a compromise between render speed and render quality:

Preset Type Speed Quality
Preview (only in v2.5) Fastest Lowest
Default Fast Moderate
Fine AA Slow Best edge anti-aliasing
High Slow Best
QMC Slowest Good to best (Read more about QMC below)

The "default" presets are fast and produce reasonably good images—these will give you a far more accurate lighting result than the "preview" presets (which have been removed from V2.6), so we typically recommended that you use the "default" preset type for test renders.

Read more about the preset types:

Preview (not in V2.6), default, fine AA: These are named according to the quality of the render they produce, "preview" being the lowest quality, and "fine AA" having the finest anti-aliasing smoothing. As you increase render quality, render times slow down considerably due to the greater number of calculations required to render the image. Use preview or default (recommended) for test renders.

Fine AA is only different from default in that it increases the accuracy of the edge smoothing.

  • Fine AA - The "fine AA" presets should be used in situations when the the default preset is not doing a sufficient job rendering fine edge detail in your model. Classic examples of this is include cabinetry, shadow-gaps, cables—any instance where a model includes very fine detail. If details are too small or gaps too fine, the default preset may not resolve the detail adequately.
    The fine presets are identical in lighting quality to the default presets, but are configured with higher quality anti-aliasing settings. Finer anti-aliasing will slow down your render considerably.
  • These three settings cover most of the bases, however for very high quality renderings or to remove blotches and artificats, you may need to use the "High" or "QMC" presets.

    The High and QMC categories are presets that each produce the highest quality images. But you pay for the highest quality in render time. In most cases the standard presets will give you the best combination of speed and quality, but if you find blotches, blemishes, artificats in your renderings you will want to use High or QMC presets.

    • HighThe "high" presets increase the number of samples for lighting (global illumination), reflection quality, and anti-aliasing. These quality improvements will add a significant amount of time to your render but will result in higher quality images. For exterior scenes, the higher quality may be very subtle. For interior images, you will usually need to use the high presets for your final image—for exteriors "default.pps" or "exterior default." will often be adequate. High preset will usually remove any unexpected blemishes, blotches or artificats.
    • QMC - QMC is an unbiased rendering preset—for the moment just think of it as a brute force solution that gets the job done very accurately but takes longer to get there. QMC is slower than the high presets, however it is also far less prone to blotches. The high presets use a "biased" rendering algorithm (faster, but more random), and can occasionally produce splotchy lighing. Because QMC fires photons uniformly into your scene, the QMC preset can eliminate this issue in scenes that are prone to blotches.
      However, QMC presets are constrained by time which means in many cases the finished rendering looks grainy. So it's recommended that you use a resolution that is twice as large as you need and then in post processing, scale the QMC rendered image down to the size you want.

    Preset Examples - Comparisons and Usage Page

    The above link contains a sample render for each preset and some usage statistics to give you an idea what kind of result each preset will produce. If you'd like to follow along, we're using the following models in these renders: