The long awaited 1.0 version of Luxrender is finally here!
For those who don’t know, Luxrender is a program that takes images from 3D graphics programs, and renders them in “unbiased” style, which means they come out with real-world, photo-like quality. Numerous programs can output to Luxrender. Blender and SketchUp are two free ones. Daz3D can also output to Luxrender, but, while Daz is free, in order to use Luxrender you need Reality, which does cost money. IMHO, it is well worth it. Coming soon: a version of Reality for Poser, another 3D program which currently outputs to Luxrender via Pose2Lux, a free program created by the wonderful SnarlyGribbly! The Poser Reality will also cost a few dollars as well, but will have much more functionality than Pose2Lux.
At any rate, it is faster (which is welcome, since unbiased rendering engines by nature take a long time to generate high quality images), and has improved GPU rendering (which mean it can use your graphics card to speed things up even more).
Note to fellow Mac users: to use the GPU rendering features, you have to be running Mountain Lion.
You can find info regarding Blender, Poser, Reality, Pose2Lux and Daz on this blog. SketchUp is a Google program, and you can learn about it in any search engine (even Google).
You can get the new 1.0 Luxrender here.