hdRstr, a new add-on from developer Stefan Krake, allows artists to work with tens of thousands of area lights in the viewport of Maya or Houdini. The tool, which is based on RTXDI, NVidia’s illumination system for GPU ray tracing, can be downloaded in an open free beta version. With hdRstr it becomes possible to edit complex lighting setups interactively in the viewport. The primary aim is to provide a high-speed preview for a lighting setup and get a good approximation of the final lighting of a scene in real time.

The software uses Hydra Render Delegates and supports key features of Pixar’s USD of which Hydra is the rendering framework. In Maya, it can be used as a replacement for viewport 2.0, even for non-USD workflows, providing that you have the Maya USD plugin installed. A commercial release for the Maya version of hdRstr is scheduled for October 2021. You can read more about the software on Stefan Krake’s website