I've always been intrigued by Mantra and what it has to offer. On the surface of it, it seems to be the perfect rendering solution. One minute it can be a Reyes based renderer, the next it can be a fully fledged raytracer. Add to that physically based render solutions, and all the possible combinations that you can use, and you have some fantastic options available. But it does lead me to wonder about other render engines.
As ever, one thing leads to another and I came across this wonderful list. Rendering pipeline and how we are all approaching it, seems to be the hot topic for the VFX industry as a whole at to the moment. The full linear floating point pipeline seems to be the norm for now, but the move to physically correct unbiased renderering versus the old guard is a new area for discussion.
With the computing power we now have at our disposal, do we really need to cheat anymore? A lot of the renderers and techniques have relied on us cheating with generic BRDF's and simpler lighting solutions to enable the performance and speed we require to get the job done. With render farm sizes and workstations becoming more and more powerfull the average render time for a frame seems to be increasing, but with the need for less cheating the material/shader setup is much easier to apply. Is the balance now swinging to just doing it properly?