Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Blender artists are a passionate lot, I've discovered.  They all got in a discussion about what it would take to get Brecht Van Lommel some more help on Cycles (the renderer slated to eventually replace Blender's internal renderer), and decided to proposition a few renderer developers who they thought might have the know-how and the freedom to help.  I'm honored I was on their list, and I am excited for the chance to dig into Cycles.  I've been working on my own renderer RenderSpud for quite some time, but I couldn't pass up the chance to contribute to a software package I admire so much.

After quite a bit of discussion about what features to tackle, and their requests to donate to the cause, I set up a chipin event for it.  No sooner did I do that, I got a handful of donations, so it's definitely game on for me.

I still need to put up a formal proposal for what I'll be doing and how long I estimate each feature might take, but for now here's the high-level overview of what I'll be working on.
  • Environment image importance sampling (lightprobes, and maybe more should be affected).  Backgrounds in Cycles can produce a lot of noise in the rendered images, so this should help reduce it quite substantially for some scenes.
  • Bidirectional path tracing integrator.  This should help reduce noise in indoor and indirectly-lit scenes, but it's quite a bit of work (and difficult to get right).
There have been other features discussed, and certainly at least two more will be added to the list.  The features are intended to be a blend of what the Blender Foundation and project Mango need, and what the artists are requesting for their work.