Open Letter

General discussion about the development of the open source Blender

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Yaroslav_L
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Open Letter

Post by Yaroslav_L » Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:55 am

Dear Ton and Conty. Each of us uses your programs in his own personal or commercial purposes. You really do great and very necessary job. It’s hard to imagine the professional raise of 3D artists-beginners with expensive commercial software. Besides many professional 3D artist after the usage of other (even commercial) programs chose Blender/YafRay…We like it for the simplicity of installation, not very exacting to the hardware and also the simlicity of usage with any operating system.
This is very good that during the last year, owning to Orange Project, Blender was supplemented with really necessary and handy instruments/possibilities. This shows again how important practice is in developing anything! Programmer draws few, and the 3D artist cannot improve the instruments. That’s why it is hard for the 3D artist to explain the programmer what exactly he wants from the soft, and it difficult for the programmer to satisfy the 3D artist requirements.
A very important thing in these relations is also that Blender and Yaf/Ray are freeware. How is it possible to ask for better if it is even for free? Sometimes we see the answer on the forum: look for coders if you need or give the theory… We understand such answers, but coders sometimes without understanding develop what functions normally and ignore the most important things!
For example, how is it possible to compete on web-galleries with works done in commercial soft? Especially when crackers propose CD/DVD collections of cracked hi-end 3D soft. You can find anything in the web!
This is why this letter appeared. We would like underline the most important directions of Blender and YafRay development from the point of view of direct users and real fans of this great programs.
First of all, let’s see why we need 3D modeling/rendering programs and what are the main demands to them.
1.Effects in movies. Demands – photorealism, sequence editor.
2.Architecture and interior design. Demands – photorealism, shader editor, real lights properties.
3.Industrial design. Demands – photorealism, handy solid- and low-poly-modeling.
4.TV commercials and already taped material montage. Demands – photorealism, sequence editor.
5.Computer games. Demands – photorealism, game engine.
It is obviously that almost the most important element in every point is photorealism. And if to analyze the lacks of Blender it is very poor rendering engine. Nobody takes seriously “wooden soldiers”. The point here is the quality of picture, and not the speed. But if to activate Ambient Occlusion in the scene with the glass objects we can forget about speed too.
If to speak about Yaf/Ray, it is very “dirty” render. It counts exterior scenes in more or less good way, but interior ones are too dirty and dark. And changing EmitPower, we automatically change the parameters of AmbientLight, Emit materials, glass doesn’t diffuse linght in real way… Besides, in two last releases of Blender nothing is done for some important possibilities of Yaf/Ray. For example, antisotropic materials for correct description of material.
Ton, if you have some misunderstanding with Conty, maybe it’s time to think about your own Global Illumination renderer? It’s a pity. So many things work. And work stably! Conty, you must understand, that this is for fans only to model from konsole, among whom there are few really good 3D painters! What’s the use from render if there’s nothing to model with? It would be great, guys, if you actively develop your projects together.
We need photo realism to make real competition to commercial soft! Blender raytracer and Radiosity are out of date. It’s a fact! The most popular light model today is GI. This is the way proposed by Henrik Wann Jensen – “global illumination using Photon maps”. This is what we need!
This lighting model helps in such questions as: ray tracing; radiosity; caustic; subsurface scattering or translucency; gloss or scattered reflectance; penumbra; depth of field; motion blur; antialiasing.
We’re sure that you know about this, but we want to show that we are not dull users too. Many of 3D painters are engineers by the profession.
Light. Supporting of “*.ies”-files. Suiting the modern requests, world leaders of light production (General Electric, Osram, Philips, …) provide 3D painters, designers and architects with the description of their real sources of light. It is “*.ies” – files, where in the form of data matrix the photometric body of light device is described. These files can be used for free in the programs of 3D modeling/rendering as an algorithm for the description of light source.
We know. It’s easier to speak than to write thousands lines of code. But you by yourselves have decided to take the roles of main coders and coordinators of your projects! If our small request is spread, who knows how many people will join us? And how many coders will try to help us? Anyway the development should take place! We want to prove with our works that free soft is not worse than commercial one. Give us only the possibility!
At the end of this letter, we would like to stress: do not take it as a whim or demand. We truly want to develop our favorite programs and everyone helps as he can! One with a piece of advice or artworks, other with idea or piece of code!.. We hope publicity will see this letter! Let everyone read it! Blender+ Yaf/Ray=forever!!!
________________
Yaroslav Lebidko
"3D XATA"
Interior design. Arch viz.
www.3DXATA.com

ysvry
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Post by ysvry » Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:57 am

for me as artist fotorealism isnt the holy grail of 3D. If i want that i can take a foto. For me ease of use and speed is more importante. wht ive seen in other 3d apps is that fotorealism comes at the prize of slowness.
also most of the so called fotoreal renders are recognised in thefirst instance as cg. just my 2 cnts.

Xtra
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 2:34 am

Post by Xtra » Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:34 am

To be honestly, I don't like Blenders render engine as well. In opposite to everything else in Blender the renderer seems to stuck a litte bit. I know that Ton is working on it doggedly, but AFAIK this work is related to some internal structures. And, like Yaroslav_L, I'm a fan of photorealistic images, interiors etc., so over all I'd agree. Blenders render engine is somewhat outdated.
YafRay may be an alternative. I think, it has potential, but development is dead atm and the shaders are a little bit too simple.

Toon_Scheur
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 6:20 pm

Post by Toon_Scheur » Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:13 pm

I see what you guys are getting at:

You don't only want photorealism, what you mean is physicaly correct. For that you should use Maxwell renderer. Furthermore, a great deal of images that are physically correct rendered, doesn't look photorealistic. Photorealistic means what we learned to accept to be a picture taken with a photographic device. An out of focus photo taken with a bad camera on cheap film without no flash in the dark is photorealistic obviously.
Practically, photorealism is what pleases the eye and on the same time fool us to believe that it could be physically correct. For that not only the render engine should meet some basic criteria, but the artist should use a good light rig, good textures etc. to achieve that. And in that aspect, Blender as well as all modern renderers (comercial or free) are cappable of doing that. Most physically correct renders I've seen from Maxwell look rather surrealistic than photorealistic.
Wasn't Toxic and WinOsi a physically correct renderer too? Correct me if I'm wrong.

But I know what you mean by your open letter. You mean that for scientific and commercial purposes, there might be a need for a physically correct render engine to simulate and aid in the production of for example lamps, reflectors and such. That is comparable to fluid simulation. But I think Blender is more artist oriented then scientific/ CAD oriented and I doubt if it would branch out in that direction some day.

pgregory
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 11:09 pm

Re: Open Letter

Post by pgregory » Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:33 pm

Yaroslav_L wrote: We need photo realism to make real competition to commercial soft! Blender raytracer and Radiosity are out of date. It’s a fact! The most popular light model today is GI. This is the way proposed by Henrik Wann Jensen – “global illumination using Photon maps”. This is what we need!
I disagree strongly, and my point is backed by the fact that not one of the current breed of CG feature films uses full GI.

I would in fact go as far as saying quite contrary to your request that "This is what we need!", what in fact is needed is a better understanding of lighting approaches. Too many people now think of GI as the "holy grail", that with the click of a button it can compensate for all the bad scene layout and lighting in their scene. This is absolutely not the case, it just obfuscates the issue, and results in all scenes looking the same, i.e. stifles creativity. Additionally, when moving from simple stills to full blown animation, GI becomes even less of an enticing option, when you consider the performance implications.

I would much rather see Ton's expertise go into making Blender a more stable and feature rich tool, not to mention cleaning up some of the many rough edges in the current system, than waste his time working on yet another GI rendering solution that will only be used to produce more car images, or glass images, or images of polystyrene tanks.

Just my two penn'orth.

Paul Gregory

Yaroslav_L
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Location: Ukraine

Post by Yaroslav_L » Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:36 pm

to Toon_Scheur:
you think that
VRay
Brazil
MentalRay
Final Randerer
Iguana
POV-Ray
Radiance
Toxic
VirtualLight
Maxwell
Turtle

are scientific or CAD renderers?
No! They are just Global Illumination renderers!
Good GI renderers!
________________
Yaroslav Lebidko
"3D XATA"
Interior design. Arch viz.
www.3DXATA.com

Yaroslav_L
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:59 am
Location: Ukraine

Post by Yaroslav_L » Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:43 pm

to pgregory:
No cars! No Glasses!
You ca saw some of my scenes on YafRay and Blender gallery
or on my web page
www.3DXATA.com.ua

Blender for me - not hobby or not only hobby - it's my job!
P.S. Sorry for my english
________________
Yaroslav Lebidko
"3D XATA"
Interior design. Arch viz.
www.3DXATA.com

rcas
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Contact:

Post by rcas » Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:44 pm

I would like to see GI in Blender as an option, for me it is the only thing missing. Have a new light source for Photons (much as Yafray adds) and add some GI specific features on it.

Of course, this is hard to achieve in a Hybrid Render such as Blenders Internal one, so the best solution will have to be a better integration with other existing Render engines.

Ton's current work is in building a good API that can be reused by any other Render engine, allowing for a easier integration with other existing Render engines out there.

As someone mentioned in another post, it would be great if other engines could be easeally added to a future "Render passes" system, so we could mix right from inside Blender several other Render engines passes and the Internal Render, this would be the best solution of all.

Just be patient and wait for Ton to finish the Recode, then will be the time to ask for more features and ask other developers for integrations with other Render engines.


For now all we can do is wait for the Master to unleash the code.


-- Rui --
How to use a Blender:
Put your model, rig, animation and textures in the Blender, turn the Blender on and wait for it to Render, then turn the Blender off and show it to your friends.

pgregory
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 11:09 pm

Post by pgregory » Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:47 pm

Yaroslav_L wrote:to pgregory:
No cars! No Glasses!
You ca saw some of my scenes on YafRay and Blender gallery
or on my web page
www.3DXATA.com.ua
Yeah, I saw them, all lighting setting related work, i.e. "how does my office look with this lighting?" etc. Have you ever produced an animation with Yafray or any other GI solution? Mores the point have you ever produced an animation of more than a few minutes in length with a GI solution?

What you are requesting is a solution for a very specific market, you seem to want to use Blender for lighting simulation, which is fine, but to ask Ton to produce a complete physically correct rendering solution for that purpose, which is likely to be only a very small part of the target audience of Blender just doesn't make sense.

If your job involves lighting simulation, then there are very good rendering solutions available to do that, but it is a very niche market and Blender should not tie itself to that market.

Again, just my opinion.

Paul Gregory

ShortWave
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Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:39 pm

GI renderers...

Post by ShortWave » Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:48 pm

I'm going to venture to say that you're missing a key point here.

The fact that "renderer X" supports "feature X" is by no means an indication that said feature is a NECCESSARY feature for all cases. I suggest you re-read the thread again.

I agree with Paul's argument whole-heartedly. GI is by nature both a serious performance hit, and also a crutch for those who don't understand how good lighting actually works. Spending time in #blender on freenode like I do (daily), I've witnessed far too many scenes suffer needless attacks of GI when it simply wasn't neccessary, and was extraordinarily expensive in terms of rendering time. For production needs, GI isn't a "must have" by any means. "Photorealism" for STILLS (where every element of said still can and will be inspected by the viewer) and "photorealism" for ANIMATION (where far more emphasis is placed on the "subject" or "hero" object(s) in the scene, and less on surrounding matter) are two vastly different topics, requiring two vastly different methods of thinking...lighting...etc.

Just MY two pence.

Toon_Scheur
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Post by Toon_Scheur » Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:30 pm

Yaroslav_L wrote:to Toon_Scheur:
you think that
VRay
Brazil
MentalRay
Final Randerer
Iguana
POV-Ray
Radiance
Toxic
VirtualLight
Maxwell
Turtle
I don't know about all those other renderers. But I've read (IF my memory serves me well) on the Maxwell and Toxic websites that the proces will converge to a physicaly correct solution. I think WinOsi does that too, albeit their approach is more brute force and naive, hence very long render times. OK, maybe it is all just marketing, or maybe you understand it better than me.

I think the lighting model is just half of the equation. Shader development is the other half. All the G.I. in the world won't help you if you don't have decent shaders (anisotropic, sss and what not).

I'm not opposed to G.I. , and yes Blender has already G.I.: radiosity. G.I. is a very loose term for different approaches. Be it photon lamps, radiosity etc. There are some nice G.I. acceleration techniques.

BUT, a BIG BUT: G.I. has its disadvantages. Yes, it will look like photorealistic, but do you know how many strange stunts Holywood light technicians pull out to light up a scene/ stage. Hidden lights in drawers, massive fill lamps and gel filters everywhere of all shapes and such. Those are the things you need to do if you want to make a shot artisticaly atractive. With G.I. you'll get the same pit falls. You have less room to fake and enhance things. You say the holygrail of CG is photorealism? I think the Holy grail for a light technician is a lamp that doesn't cast shadows. Now, how ironic can that be?

I think the alleged non realistic behaviour of non G.I. solutions gives the artist more room to manouver. And as I said before, photo realism is achievable with or without G.I. or some super yet to be developed fully physical correct method.


The human eye and mind are more intrepetative and artistic, they're not measurement instruments.

And finaly, I think the most succesfull movies are non photorealistic (hyper realism as Pixar once named it) like Toy Story, Incredibles etc, as opposed to Final Fantasy The Spirit Within.

By the way, I've seen your site. Very impressive :shock: :!:
You guys should work in Bevery Hills or something. The images are almost photorealistic. What makes something look more real are scrathes 'n smudges textures, and asymetrical lighting. We are building a house right now, and I'm gonna steal some of those ideas... so THERE :wink: :P :wink: :P

Xtra
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 2:34 am

Post by Xtra » Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:54 pm

The problem with conventional lighting is, that it's very difficult to get something that doesn't look flat and CG-like. GI is not meant to replace the artists experience or abilities! In fact, it's not easy to get a good lighting with GI only, but what you get is a good start. Long time ago I found a really well made image of a restaurant interior and the guy who made it didn't use GI, but nearly 50(!!) spot and point lights. Well, and now imagine you have to balance all this stuff to get a good result! No, GI is nothing 'special', it doesn't serve a niche market, it's a standard feature of all modern render engines.
As for me, I wouldn't need a pyhiscally correct approach (but it would be nice, though), but a good working GI solution should be implemented. Not all users of 3D packages do animations all day long.

However, I think when I want to get a render engine that fit all my needs and wishes, I'd have to pay a lot of money (I already bought a commercial 3D app and I'm not very satisfied with it as well) and I won't do that since it's nothing more than a hobby. :)

LetterRip
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Post by LetterRip » Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:39 pm

1.Effects in movies. Demands – photorealism, sequence editor.
2.Architecture and interior design. Demands – photorealism, shader editor, real lights properties.
3.Industrial design. Demands – photorealism, handy solid- and low-poly-modeling.
4.TV commercials and already taped material montage. Demands – photorealism, sequence editor.
5.Computer games. Demands – photorealism, game engine.
Sequence editor has recieved massive improvements thanks to Peter, his improvements will be committed after 2.41 release. It will also recieve Tons node based compositor work.

The biggest single market for 3D software is for creating elements to use in 2D illustration work. Thus multipass rendering is very important as is the High Dynamic Range format support that was added. Another important area would be caching of certain calculations for fast relighting. Also the ability have a pass that stores UV coordinate information for easy and fast replacement or tweaking of object textures in post processing.

For game creation - I'd suggest things like 'hard edges' multiple UV sets, good light and texture baking, improvements in the modeling tools (especially ngons, beveling, and connect tools). Are all much more important for game developers than would be photorealism.

For movie effects and compositing into tv footage - improvements in the the particle tools, and especially work to add volumetric particles and shaders for smoke and flame are desirable. The photorealism needed for movies though is in matching preexisting shots, something which the type of photoreal rendering you are refering to isn't required since the lighting will mostly need to be faked. Shader improvement can certainly be important - there is definitely a need for things like SSS shaders.

Okay, that is enough for now, the point is photoreal isn't nearly as important a consideration as you seem to think it is.

LetterRip

Yaroslav_L
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Location: Ukraine

Post by Yaroslav_L » Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:48 am

Yes, we can draw with pencil too!
But we have computers.
All modern 3D programs have Global Illumination renderers!!!
It's a FACT!
Look at some of web gallerys.
www.evermotion.org for eximple.
We can find more pictures made with MAX, Maya, Houdini, Softimage...
How much pictures made with blender you see? Zero!
Why?
Bacause we can't made quality picture! I don't wonna talk about "wooden soldiers" or two cubes in white room...
________________
Yaroslav Lebidko
"3D XATA"
Interior design. Arch viz.
www.3DXATA.com

ZanQdo
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Post by ZanQdo » Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:19 am

duh I don´t have the time to read all of that but I I think we need two things, a fast and "fake" hibrid render engine like Blender internal and a more fotorealistic GI engine, having just one of them would be bad. I´m very exited about the new engine being integrated in Blender, Sunflow, it looks very mature and has all what I have allways wanted, even in this early state of development (0.5) It also has progresive rendering suport!

http://www.elysiun.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=59555

great isn´t it? check at the quality of the DoF and motion blurr, go sunflow! :D
:-) Hosting for your test builds:
GraphicAll.org

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