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Leon Atkinson (Renderguy) will be at BlenderCon this year and will be showing off some of the latest exciting developments. Yes, showing it off on screen for everyone to witness because there is no way to fully explain the details in words, the Aqsis team reports a demo for the conference is under development, it is being prepared specifically for BlenderCon to announce the new plans for Aqsis and to show how beneficial they could be to Blender users.
The very core of Aqsis is being re-engineered with a focus on speed, it is at the prototype stage now, but is functional enough to form the basis of the BCon demo. There also will be interface changes, the migration away from FLTK to QT4 for instance, which is actually pretty neat since a lot of the pipeline tools are already in QT4 as well, or in the process of switching. Other changes like multithreading for instance are a very recent addition to the new core.
They are preparing a more detailed press release for after the conference, so keep your eyes open for that. If anyone happens to be at BlenderCon and able to record a video if you could let us know so we can post it here.
This also coincides with a point release, Aqsis 1.6.1 which will mainly be a bug fix release
Some of the rumors going around the underworld is that Larry Gritz is trying to get Ptex implemented into OIIO (Open Image Input Output), which Chris Foster has expressed great interest in using for Aqsis, thus Aqsis would get Ptex for free. That won't be until later though, possibly in version 1.8 or the fabled Aqsis 2.0.
Piece by piece the developers are building up towards a very powerful rendering application.
On the other end of the conference spectrum is the paper "Blender to Renderman : Building a Pipeline for Production Use" written by myself. I had originally been planned for a speaker spot, however due to complications I had to back out and asked Ton if submitting a paper would be ok since the topic was pretty much the same (possibly even worded better on paper than with spoken word haha) so...... my first publication of sorts and it is appearing on this years BlenderCon page.
Strangely enough is that this year's Halloween is also during BlenderCon, so one can only imagine what will go on during the weekend, wouldn't it be cool to see the BlenderCon attendees dressed up as zombies and walk the streets of Amsterdam?