Seriously fast. I've been a Vray user exclusively for the past 3 years and always thought it was pretty quick in relation to its photoreal quality compared to C4D's native render engine/s. Octane blows that speed out of the water, and that is on my old 2008 Mac Pro with some new mid-range graphics cards. I'm talking moving around the lit scene in real time, making light and material adjustments on the fly and if you let it stand still for 2-3 seconds you get a decent image that would have taken Vray a minute or so. So far even 'final' quality type renders (albeit at low resolution) have not yet exceeded a few minutes.
SIMPLE RENDER SETTINGS
After wading through, and still never REALLY understanding a lot of Vray's jargon, this basically gives you a global quality slider and few extra tweaks to samples for specific areas like glossy reflections and lights. There is a 'preview' style render (Direct Lighting) that utilises some kind fo Brute Force GI to approximate, and a choice of two 'final' settings (Pathtracing/PMC) that seem very similar, the latter being better suited to handling more subtle phenomenon like caustics from what I read.
THE END OF GI FLICKER
It's unbiased, there is no guessing of where light samples need to be (which, from what I can assimilate from opinions on Maxwell, in the past meant perfect but slow renders). But as I mentioned, and will probably continue to mention, octane is fast.
NEW MATERIAL PROSPECTS
The physical 'thin film' sure would have made my life a lot easier for this MTV Live bubble's project. More on the materials in the next post, because this area is the trickiest to transition to in terms of the learning curve.
Things to note: image sequences are supported in the texture node. Some of the little texture workflow functions work but not all (Vray also is missing some integration here), for example 'removed unused materials' is fine, but 'remove duplicate materials' doesn't work.
IT (MOSTLY) WORKS
Mograph is fine, render instances are fine, all generators and deformers seem to be solid. Apparently Xref's are supported, though to what extent I'm not sure (in terms of materials being imported etc) but Xref's historically don't agree with me.
I've not tested everything extensively, but because of the way it exports geometry first and 'voxelises' every frame I see no reason why anything shouldn't work. This for me is the main selling point to use the integrated plugin for C4D. When you work quickly and iteratively I can imagine constantly baking and exporting to the standalone wouldn't be great for workflow but now we get the speed directly in our cozy C4D UI!