Render Elements 0.6.8 – Update

After some work, I was able to separate the RE List functions from the actual Element data. So, the list no longer needs to sort through all the RE Data to display the list of elements.

This has resulted in a DRAMATIC speed increase with large, complex scene files.

Before, people would notice huge slowdowns and beachballing when the RE Dialog window was open. Every time the dialog would need to refresh, it would cause a beachball. Now, it refreshes very fast, and I feel confident the dialog can be docked without significantly altering the user experience. Because if this, recording and loading of Render Elements will be much faster, as well.



Render Elements 0.6.8

I’m on a small vacation, so I have some time to work on the next version of Render Elements. I should be getting C4D version 11 this week, and I plan to update Render Elements to work with the new Render Presets manager.

For version 0.6.8, the main objectives are improving performance and stability, and only adding a handful of new features.

Here’s the list of new stuff/fixes/improvements I’ll be working on:
– Adding an “easy update” option for when new objects/layers/tags/etc. have been inserted into the scene.
– Global Setting changer to turn on/off an object or layer in all Render Elements.
– Fixing a bug where textures with relative file paths are not copied correctly on file generation.
– Option to generate files into folders without copying textures or changing texture paths. I believe this is the BEST option for submitting jobs to the Net Render server.
– File generation to be done on a clone of the document, rather than the original document. This will greatly speed up the file generation process and hopefully safeguard against any document corruption that might happen in that process.
– Also, if a file can’t be saved during file generation, then the process stops, rather than potentially creating more problems.
– Add support for VRay Physical Camera and VRay Camera Dome tags.
– Add support for XRefs (in Version 11 plugin, only)
– Possibly copy shadow map caches, GI caches, and VRay GI caches during file generation.
– Find a new way to generate the RE List, as the current way produces major slowdowns with complex scenes. Out of all of these, this is the hardest option.
– Create fully functional PC Version!
– If I can make it happen, make it 64 Bit, as well!

Ok, so a number of these improvements have already been implemented. As for the other ones, I’m not making any promises. This is a list of goals. We’ll see how much of this I’m able to make a reality in the next couple weeks.

Maxon Developer Kitchen + RE Update

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Maxon’s Developer Kitchen recently.  I can’t say much about it, due to NDA agreements, but what I can say is that it was a very enjoyable experience.  I met the VRay for C4D team (Stefan, Renato, and Danielle), Philip Losch, Rick Barrett, Mathias Bober, David Drayton, Per Anders, and several other people in the Maxon developer team.

I was able to try out Render Elements with version 11, and I am happy to say that it needs only a few lines of code to be fully functional with release 11.  In fact, it is already functional, just needs some code to take additional advantage of some of the newer features.

Meeting the VRay team was very good, too, as I would like RE to integrate with VRay as closely as possible.

I can’t predict the future of rendering for Cinema…  It looks like Maxon has done a good job with the updated Render Engine.  Still, Vray’s material system is more robust, it has photometric lights, and several confidential options that will make it into the next release.

In Render Elements news, I am now using version 0.6.5 in production.  I have added a material browser cleaner, which will delete all materials not being used in the Render Elements.  I fixed an annoying Render Preset bug where presets were not being deleted when an element was saved over.  I also added an option to change the frame range on generated files, so one does not have to change the render element to change the frame range for net rendering.

I’d like to next add an easy-update function for adding new tags/layers/objects to scenes…  Also, once I get an official copy of version 11, I plan on adding support for XRefs and GI Light Caches.

Render Elements 0.6.3 + initial thoughts on Vray for Cinema 4D

I have to acknowledge the extremely generous donation of a VRay license from Stefan and the rest of the development team at Vray For Cinema 4D.  This has been fantastic and has allowed me to add increased support for Vray in Render Elements.  With version 0.6.3, Vray Compositing tags are now supported!

I’ve also been taking the last two days to learn as much as I can about Vray for Cinema.  Overall, I am very impressed, and I think the developers did an incredible job.  I’m really looking forward to some of the improvements/bug fixes scheduled for the next release.

The one issue I have with Vray – and this has nothing to do with the implementation within Cinema 4D – is that I don’t yet understand completely the workflow for flicker-free GI in animations.  I have a lot to learn, and there are a lot of options.  Understandably, the options are there to help users optimize for various situations, so it will take me some time before I really learn which options are best, and which settings to tweak to balance quality with render speed.

With Vray, too, I am a little perplexed by the BRDF material system, as compared to Mental Ray’s.  To me, it makes sense to lock the specular size to the reflection glossiness parameter – to make sure results are realistic.  I can understand the need for flexibility, but I would like to have the option to lock spec and gloss together.