The future of the Lightcuts GSoC project

Next week the Google Summer of Code 2008 will be conclusively over. I will sum up my thoughts on this wonderful experience in a future post, adding some suggestions for prospective applicants as well.

Here, instead, I would like to detail my plans for the future of this project.

Development — Development will continue, but necessarily at a slower pace. At the end of October I’ll be attending the Blender Conference where I would like to show a couple of new features. Apart from that, though, what this project needs now is some “boring” refinement.

Blender Internal features — I’ll have to go through all the Blender Internal features and for each of them ponder if it is possible to support it. Unfortunately the very nature of the algorithm makes it impossible to support all features (some of which are pure hacks) but what’s in and what’s left out must be clearly stated to users.

Workflow design — In my opinion if you want to use Lightcuts, especially if you want to obtain indirect lighting, you have to plan ahead a bit; I can’t see, in general, the same light rigs being successful in both Blender “vanilla” and Blender Lightcuts. Matt Ebb, and many others for that matter, would be happier to see Lightcuts as a less invasive tool. Of course mine is a statement while Matt’s is a desire, so it’s easy to agree with both. Anyway, however this “fight” ends, I need to figure out how to integrate Lightcuts in Blender from a UI point of view. In this particular area I would like to hear opinions from users.

Merging — Some people are afraid that a project living in its own branch is at a greater risk of dying; for sure it’s at a greater risk of going out of sync. While it’s true that this project is fairly isolated code-wise, and that development could continue also on trunk, I feel more free to experiment in my own branch. As my confidence with the Blender codebase increases, I could also attempt some bolder refactoring of some rendering engine internals — and that would be better tested in a branch.

My idea is to merge after the Blender Conference, while the aim for the entire project is to be released in Blender 2.50.

Ok, enough words. Here’s a Sponza test, provided by Melon on blenderartists:


A Sponza rendering lit by a single area light, with 5 bounces of indirect lighting

The entire thread is worth reading in my opinion.

Ps. — Next week I won’t be working on this project, but this is a planned break as I resume my duties so don’t think I’m running away!

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  • Comments (8)
    • tuqueque
    • August 31st, 2008

    Hi… ‘just wanted to drop by and say thanks for your efforts!… you deserve a break!… have a nice resting week! :)

    • D
    • August 31st, 2008

    have a nice break, thank you so very much for your hard work and effort thus far. I look forward to seeing lightcuts integrated into Blender soon. :-)

    • Sienio
    • August 31st, 2008

    Thanks you for your hard work! Blender really needed some GI ;) But I have a question: Does lightcuts work with glasses? I mean difraction & refraction? It is possible to produce caustic with LC in future?

    Anyway great work dude! You should rest now ;)

  1. Hi, thx for Your hard work. have a great break.

    • lsscpp
    • September 1st, 2008

    Hi Uncle!
    Nice to see your results… proud to you say you want to show a couple of new features at the blender conference, and I’m wondering: a couple more? a couple features in addition to the other already coded??

    • lsscpp
    • September 2nd, 2008

    i meant…
    Hi Uncle!
    Nice to see your results… and proud to have shaken your hands in the past.
    You say you want to show a couple of new features at the blender conference, and I’m wondering: a couple more? a couple features in addition to the other already coded??
    (sounds strange to ask you things in english…)

  2. As many others, I really believe Blender is in great need of an internal GI solution. I’ve tested the lightcuts system and was really impressed.

    I’m not sure what “invasive” refers to since interface-wise, the lightcuts options are pretty isolated and efficient. In any software, the GI solutions need specific lighting schemes and usually require an early decision in the process.

  3. thank you all, guys!

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