carlfoxmarten: (podium)
As a follow-up to the previously-mentioned issue with the 64-bit version of Blender and Ubuntu Linux taking longer to render than the prior 32-bit versions did, I ran another test today.
This time, I made sure no other foreground applications were running, made sure the screensaver was set to blank-only, with fading disabled, and waited long enough for the usual boot-time systems to settle down before launching Blender and rendering the scene in question.

From a render time of around 42 minutes on the old 32-bit system, today I got a render time of 64 minutes, which is only about a 50% drop in render speed.

Still, it's rather disappointing that it's a drop and not an increase, and the amount is somewhat alarmingly high.

One thing I noticed is that something was hogging the CPU at random intervals during the rendering process.
I'd be moving the mouse cursor around in a circle, watching to see what would happen, and it would stop for about half a second at random intervals somewhere between one second and ten seconds apart.

I'm going to try installing the official nVidia shader compilers and see if Blender uses them to see if there's an issue with the bundled compilers.
So far, they haven't fixed the random CPU-hogging...

With further testing completed with the new compilers installed, nothing appears to have changed.
Same rendering time, same CPU-hogging intervals, same results (which is always important), so I'm not quite sure what's up yet.

I haven't checked the system logs just yet, so there might be information left that I haven't found.
carlfoxmarten: (podium)
Apparently that wasn't such a good idea.

I'm still checking on things to make sure that I haven't missed anything, but it looks like my renders are now taking longer than they had with the 32-bit version.

A 1280x1024-pixel render of my Paper Lanterns scene used to take around 40 minutes running on 32-bits, but the exact same scene running on the exact same hardware using the 64-bit OS and Blender version takes 75% longer to render!

I'm relatively certain that I'm using the same drivers, well, as "same" as can be with the 64-bit versions over the 32-bit ones...

Not sure what to do right now.
Lowered performance, especially by this large a margin, definitely warrants a further look.
Only problem is: What do I look into?
carlfoxmarten: (Default) so old.
"How old is it!"
It's so old, it's started gasping for breath!

Okay, not really, but it is getting old.

I've actually started looking at replacing it, and through that I've found out just how bad it actually was.

Through my search, I've found a website that specializes in comparing the performance of graphics cards.

My current graphics card is a ATI Radeon HD 4350, and has a score of 229.
Sounds alright, eh?

Well, not really.

The store I usually buy computer parts from has a nice variety of cards available, and they have a good-looking nVidia GeForce GT 610 for about $60, which has a score of 280, which is a bit higher than my current card.

For twice the price at $120, I can get an nVidia GeForce GTX 550, which has a score of 1184, much, much higher than either of the other two.

Note in this case that I'm only looking at nVidia cards because Blender doesn't currently support hardware acceleration on AMD/ATI cards just yet.

The only potential problem is finding the money to buy it...

Art update

Sep. 6th, 2012 12:13 pm
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Despite all the bad things that I've been talking about recently, I've been in a frame of mind that makes my artwork come more easily.
(there was a stretch of a month or two, or maybe even three, where I hadn't posted anything, and suddenly I posted two or three pieces in a day!)

So here's a quick list of the latest ones I've posted:

Beach Walk

An idea I had for my Facebook cover picture. Took an hour or two to model and texture and about three hours to render.

Tram Station

Somewhat inspired by Riven's magnetically-levitated trams, this is a concept of what I hope to use in a game that's been sitting on the back burner of my mind for at least ten years.


A small section of a much, much larger library. Though it might actually be too much for Blender to handle, as the user interface is starting to bog down a bit...

I have further ideas, but long render times are keeping me from doing much about them right now.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Blender, the 3D modelling, texturing, rendering, etc., software I use is in the process of having its rendering engine replaced.

The new rendering engine, called Cycles, is an "Unbiased" rendering engine versus the old "Biased" rendering engine (a quick definition doesn't seem forthcoming in the wilds of the web, but suffice it to say that Unbiased starts with a poor approximation and constantly refines it, while Biased makes a set of initial guesses that it never questions again), and supports hardware acceleration on nVidia CUDA-capable video cards, even allowing interactive rendering while the user is editing the scene.

Unfortunately, I'm using an ATI video card that only supports OpenCL, so I can't take advantage of this until the developers add support, which means that my render times will still be fairly long.

Anyway, the new Cycles engine won't be included in Blender for a few months yet, as it needs to support almost everything the current rendering engine has, as well as (I hope) support for ATI cards.

For now, though, it's enough to be able to play around with a new rendering engine and see what neat and interesting things you can make with them, especially with such realistic lighting.

There is an example in my DA gallery of how nicely the new engine works:

Those are two copies of "Suzanne", the official Blender mascot, with different textures and a light-emitting plane above them.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Ever since the Blender Foundation started the complete rewrite of Blender, they've been doing some awesome things with it.
Increasing realism, improving speed, vastly improving texture support, the list goes on.

One thing that has remained the same throughout is the compatibility.
Blender is (or should be) well known for its backwards and even forwards compatibility between versions.
Open a file saved from 2.49b with a really old version (say 2.14) and everything the old version supports will be loaded.
The same goes for the other way.

Now, the version are never completely compatible, but they tend to leave the parts they don't understand alone, so you just might get away with saving a recent-versioned file from an old-versioned Blender and have almost everything remain the same.
(not sure about this, so don't quote me on it)

Even across the rewrite (which is about 99% new code), files can be saved and opened back and forth across versions.

The main differences between versions is the exact features supported.
This is where most of the reason for new releases are, and the rewrite is no exception.

As an example, one of my latest scenes ("Pillared Hall") as rendered in Blender 2.49b on the left and 2.5 alpha 2 on the right:

Note that I did change one or two things about the pillars' texture, but other than that, nothing else was touched.

A rather dramatic change, no?

There was a bit of a longer wait for the second image, but I think it's worth it for the better quality image.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I'm currently procrastinating over another programming assignment due this Wednesday (a video player for the blind), so I though I'd post an image I'm working on.

A water well inspired by the Myst series of games:

I've learned just how much extra realism I can get by enhancing the highlights, and it's so easy to do in Blender that it's become one of the first things I do when I start a new scene.

Oh, and I finally got my grade back for the Tetris game I wrote.
105% for (almost) full marks.
(I hadn't added support for 45 degree rotation)

I'll probably get about as much for the 3D Tetris game I just finished writing for the second assignment...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I know it's kind of strange, but it is possible for an open-source software community to have a bias against particular companies.

Especially when they have a track record like this one does...

Read more... )
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Since I still hadn't quite been content with the way the underground tunnel looked, I decided to add some extra lanterns along the shelves on each side of the waterway.
Unfortunately, that didn't look right, so I moved them to the top of the tunnel and made them look similar to the way that some of the Myst-ian lamps look (not sure which game, though).

The result looks quite nice:

I don't think I'll change it much except maybe tweak it to work in Blender's game engine.
(after playing a couple of adventure games created in/with the Blender game engine, my interest has been rekindled. Namely the Zark adventure games, Voyage of the Golden Arm and Into the Titan)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
For awhile now I've been working on an underground tunnel, similar in type to the underground cavern I created.

I've managed to get it to a point where it actually looks good now, though there are somethings that should still get tweaked.

It took about ten minutes to render this, though that includes the time taken to run the radiosity stage as well as render the image.
(which means that it doesn't take half the time for an image half the size, which makes it more worth-while to run test-renders at higher resolutions)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
After downloading and playing around with LittleDragon's Krystal model and accessories, I created this scene:

Also available on my DeviantArt gallery.

It works quite nicely as a desktop background (on my desktop anyway).
Feel free to use it as such.

Everything but the Krystal model and accessories were modelled in Blender, and the scene was rendered in it also.

(so far as I'm aware, Blender is the only program that lets you use any combination of the three major render methods: Scanline rendering, Ray tracing and Radiosity, in the same image at the same time)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I'm not sure why I didn't post this earlier, but here it is now.
I was playing with a rotating door and put a light beneath it, and the results are in my DA gallery:

I'll probably be putting most of my work on DA like this if it's not a static image so I don't have too many problems with hosting it.

SciFi door

Jun. 25th, 2007 03:47 pm
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
As a test to see just how it works, I designed a door with locks on it that I just might use later for scenes and animations and stuff.

Here's a small animation of it opening and closing, with no sound: (QuickTime or compatible is required to play it)
Click here to view

Due to the fact that one of three things have been screwing up the movie code, you'll have to view it on its own.
(the three things being LJ, Firefox, or Linux, but I suspect it's LJ)

Most of my inspiration came from Star Trek: Next Generation's corridor style, even though I didn't complete the look, I was, after all, focusing on the door, not the background in this case, but I'm not sure where the idea for the locks came from.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
After playing around with Blender's spotlight and its halo, I came up with this scene, just because it looked interesting:

carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I've been working on a scene for quite some time now, and have pretty much hit a brick wall, as I can't seem to be able to add more detail to the scene without making it look terrible.

I've posted three pictures of its current progress in one of my galleries.

If you can give me some tips for improvement, I'd really appreciate it.
(I do know that most of the textures aren't right, but I can't figure out what makes it wrong to know how to fix it)


carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Carl Foxmarten

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