modeling or 3d scanning?

when i follow progress in cg, 3d especially, i wonder when we will come to the point when creating 3d content would require just a camera and few clicks…
no, we’re not there yet, not for useable content at least, but it’s just a matter of time. for now such techniques are good for creating reference objects at most, well.. maybe create high poly, very unclean models for further processing with standard 3d software to shape it to decent, useable form.
anyway its very interesting direction, and i can imagine it will become very powerful and useable technique in the future.
an example of such program is autodesk’s 123D catch. still in beta phase and free to fiddle with (probably won’t be free in future), so it’s good time to check possibilities, as it already is quite powerful, especially because you only need a camera and some free time.
this is what i’ve got when i tried something what would be very difficult for any software – bushes. just one note – i’ve captured hd video and extracted single frames from it, if you use good camera with high-res matrix you will get better results.

what is so great about it, you don’t have to worry about modeling, uv unwrapping, texturing… just find interesting object, get your camera and shoot (many) photos. program will do the rest. of course model will be very messy, not to mention texture uv layout, but you can fix that with any good 3d software if you wish and then maybe use objects captured this way in your projects.

there are of course many more programs and projects like 123D catch, but i haven’t checked them yet.


Old stuff…

how do you find forgotten renders? of course thanks to bios update…
bios update -> forced os reinstall -> backing up data -> browsing through ancient directories from dark ages -> memories back ;)

click to visit
a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

just had to save it somewhere

My first luxrender image.

i decided to play with luxrender a bit. i’ve set up a little scene – one area light (plane imitating a window) and hdr background image for fill lights and reflections. great feature of luxrender – if you define lightgroups, you can balance intensity and color of lights after image is rendered, which (with physical camera model you have in lux) gives amazing control on your final image.
also tested network render: server on windows with ubuntu and osx slaves works flawlessly, so if you have couple stations available, you can set up little rendering farm very easily.
anyway, nothing fancy, but here’s the result.

i don’t like glass material (standard lux glass2 without tweaking) it’s too clean and transparent. also the table texture (from doesn’t quite fit to the scene i think, but since it’s just a quick test i let it render. real challenge was the “milk” material, even after long render time it shows a lot of noise. it sure could use more tweaking, but it’s too time consuming on my machine.
luxrender version: 0.9 dev.

WebGL with Three.js

have you ever thought it would be nice to present your 3d model right in your browser? rendered realtime, textured, rotatable, interactive, highpoly? using your gpu directly? without any plugins? well, if you haven’t heard about WebGL you should check it out. what you need is one of the supported browsers (list of those you can find under WebGL wiki page or visit the project home and check list of implementions). as you can see the most popular browsers already support this technology and more browsers will join, unless they want to be left out in the world of obsolete, limited solutions of the pre-html5 web. and if you use firefox, chrome or safari you probably already can make use of the WebGL applications, just check here – if you can see spinning box, you are set to go.
view live demo

if you find your browser supporting WebGL, click the image to see the live example. it uses WebGL through three.js library (view more examples on the three.js page).
one thing to mention – you have to export your objects to the proper format, which three.js can use. don’t worry though, you can find exporters and converters here, for blender for example.
three.js isn’t the only way to go, there are other frameworks available.

rendering engines.

ok, time to write down couple more links.
as mentioned before there are many rendering engines available on the market. free and commercial. this entry is about rendering engines in general, not necessarily with blender support (most of them however can render your .blend scenes this way or another). i will write them down without any order, except maybe i’ll start off with the one that brought to me the idea of indirect lighting in cg.
it was brazil for 3dsmax and it was quite a while ago, when computing scene’s lighting was extreme task for pc’s of that time. it was in my opinion the best renderer that could be used for high quality renders with 3dsmax for a very long time, but i started to understand there’s something more out there when i tried…
vray. with good understanding the way vray works you can get really nice and clean renders with pretty short render times. process of creation accelerated even more when chaosgroup introduced vrayRT, which was milestone in production pipeline. there is a project that integrates vray with blender and it works pretty well even with recent blender builds.
since im writing about engines i’ve used with 3dsmax i should mention mentalray, which biggest upside for me was it was bundled with max. there’s also another product to be found on their webpage – iray. never tried it, so i can’t comment it in any way, but renders look great.

anyway, when i tried vray i understood that area of render engines is evolving, so i started to check other software. even earlier i had checked indigo, when it was still free, but back then render times were ridiculous on my machine, so i gave it up even if i knew there is potential in it. that’s the main flaw of unbiased engines (not as painful as it used to be though, since more and more renderers use gpu’s in computation). indigo also has RT introduced lately and developers make sure many applications can export to indigo format, so it became an interesting option.
when it’s about real-time rendering you have to mention blender’s cycles. still in early development, but there are already cycles builds available.
however it still lacks many important features, so when using blender it’s good idea to check other engines which are free, like yafaray for example. yafaray resembles vray a bit in scene management and just like vray you can get really nice and pretty fast renders when you get to know it. yafaray integrates with blender perfectly. and even if it lacks some material features (like displacement for example, which you can always use directly on high poly meshes instead) it’s really amazing piece of software.
just like another free render – luxrender. unbiased, but gaining speed thanks to gpu utilization in recent versions. and again, the integration with blender is great, you can even access online material database from within blender gui and download them directly into your models.
another free unbiased renderer is nox, new product from evermotion. it has useable exporter (and material importer) for blender. it is in early development stage and still lacks features, but has growing material database and is really worth keeping eye on.
one more renderer, which i haven’t checked myself yet, but should be included here is mitsuba, which is using both biased and unbiased methods in rendering process, to balance speed and physical correctness.

now, learning and comparing all those renderers would take some time, so it might be good idea to read this thread covering the subject to some degree.

i should mention other projects like povray or aqsis for example. or even more (even if it seems these are halted or officially closed): kerkythea, sunflow, toxic.
of course there are also great commercial renderers: (octane, maxwell, finalrender, fryrender, thearender, bunkspeed,etc.), most of them have trials available and are closely connected with other software, but you can find exporters for blender as well.
to close the subject, there is partly obsolete, but comprehensive summary of rendering software here.

word about blender 3d.

as a cg hobbyist i have been monitoring situation on software market for many years. i tested pretty much everything that have ever hit the market and was available for a test run. many programs, free or commercial, couldn’t hold a candle to 3dsmax – a complete, comprehensive piece of software. and blender as one of the tested programs was pretty much interesting detail than anything more to me. but that changed when i decided to testrun blender yet another time. it was version 2.5 that changed my opinion about this software.

it has grown a ton, yet still is in very dynamic development, with couple branches focused on different aspects of cg. it would be very hard to list all available features. just imagine a program that can render your scene in pretty much any rendering engine – if not directly from the interface, then through scripted plugins that can export it to proper format. these exporters are in active development as well and if you’re a vray, maxwell, octane… you name it… fan, you will find a way to render your blender scene in it. if thats not enough, you can get more free and capable engines like yafaray or luxrender. and that’s just for starters. you also get wide file format support. node style compositing with different render passes. integrated internal workflow allows avoiding photoshop stage in most cases. yes, you can composite your render passes in the very same way you would in ps…
but there’s more – tools for animation, rigging, skinning. simple video editing and correction, even motion tracking (in early development). standard oldschool object modeling is intuitive (after a decade of gmax and 3dsmax modeling work i can say it’s easier and faster, even if lacks some tools), but also you can sculpt hi-poly objects (even if zbrush or even young contender on the market – sculptris are still better in this area you can find impressive pieces sculpted in blender or at least you can add detail and bake normal maps for low poly objects). painting textures directly on the model or physics, fluid, smoke or cloth simluations are in production-ready stage.

but i’m not going to list all the features, it would take too long. the reason im writing all this is pretty much to create a kind of a diary for my own use and an opportunity to smuggle and write down couple links. like where you can find builds with various plugins, from different development branches that contain different tools and are meant for different purposes. and platforms.
a build with all those features i mentioned (and many more) is about… 20-40 megs in size. well… it really is hard to imagine something like blender really works this way. but it does.

hello world!

about time. i’ve been thinking about this for a long time. just to keep track of my personal projects, ideas, interests.

i really need to put in order all my links and bookmarks and store it some place (quite) safe from data or (various) account loss. just to make sure i have one more place to retrieve what i need.

so here it is, my blog. finally.