Thursday, October 06, 2011

Farewell Mr. Jobs

Today I learned of the passing of Steve Jobs. While I have not recently been a fan of Apple, the patent lawsuits between Apple and other companies has irritated me to no end, I do not think less of the man that helped bring about the PC industry, as well as bringing Pixar to the world.

When I was 16 I bought my first computer, a PowerMac, one of the first generation series even. At a blazing speed of 66 MHz, loaded with 8 MB of RAM and a huge 360 GB hard drive, I began to learn the art of 3D using the LogoMotion app by Specular Int. At the time I had no concept of real world 3D practices, however I managed to exceed the tool makers expectations of the software by creating character animation using this logo animation tool. I eventually ended up beta testing the next version, which I got for free upon release plus a tshirt!

Later on I learned about the obscure RenderMan software, developed by Pixar, in 2002. Prior to this I had no clue what was used to render out all of Pixar's films, quickly I learned that Pixar was instrumental in bringing about the visual effects industry via ILM in the early 90's. This is when I found that Steve Jobs bought Pixar from George Lucas in the mid 80's for a paltry $10 Million, Lucas was broke and needed money, something Jobs could afford and saw early on that this small division of LucasFilm could become great. I think Pixar as a company exceeded even Job's expectations, growing from a small software development company into a massive animation powerhouse that redefined feature film animation.

Steve Jobs brought the world many new technologies and new ways of thinking. He was a pioneer and a rebel.

He will be missed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Point Cloud Indirect Lighting in 3Delight from Blender

Matt Ebb uploaded a video last month which shows off point based indirect lighting using Blender, his own RenderMan exporter and 3Delight. We all know 3Delight is a commercial renderer, we also all know that at everyone can get a single free license for non commercial work, which allows us to use a production grade renderer with Blender and take advantage of it's power. As such, this is why Matt Ebb has focused on creating the addon for 3Delight specifically, rather than a general RenderMan script.

In this post Ebb writes :

"After fixing some cross-platform issues that people were having with the last few versions, here’s a new release of 3Delight/Blender. As well as the fixes, I’ve included some new stuff that’s been on the backburner for a while – a new point cloud global illumination method. When enabled, the addon will automatically generate a point cloud, and then use it in the render for indirect lighting and environment lighting.
It’s just doing one bounce of indirect lighting, in the future it should be reasonably easy to add more bounces via photon mapping in the point cloud generation stage. Eventually I’d like to make this a bit more advanced, with a more modern design for the lighting/shading pipeline and more control over baking pre-passes, but for now (especially since I’m quite short on time ) I’d rather get it out and working in a simple, automatic way so people can use it.
I’ve tested this on my mac, and in both Linux and Windows XP VMs, but as always, if you have any problems on your system please let me know."

Download the new addon here: