Leaving for Blender Conference

Tomorrow I’ll head towards Amsterdam to attend my third Blender Conference in a row. This time, besides meeting the usual lot of cool people, I’m also going to talk about my work on lightcuts — and I hope to get some useful feedback as well.

Anyway: in the last couple of days I took the time to implement some minor stuff I had been postponing for a while.

First of all, support for baking is now in. Just bake with the “Enable Lightcuts” toggle pressed: it should work now. I have to admit that this did not go through much testing, so please report any strange behavior.

A second addition was compatibility with the SSS feature from Blender Internal. Previously, it used to crash outright. Now, it gives pretty good and smooth results:

SSS + Lightcuts

SSS + Lightcuts (actually 1024 lights, not 8k as stamped)

(Apologies to Maurice R., who asked for this a long time ago… and it was actually a pretty easy fix!)

The possibility to have meshlights was another frequently requested feature. I just committed some initial code to support it.

Meshlight

Suzanne is the only light in this scene

It works automatically for all materials having an Emit value > 0.0. Unfortunately the object itself gets a completely flat shading. This will probably require a different handling UI-wise in the future, avoiding the Emit value altogether.

Finally, I also implemented some algorithmic improvements recently described in a paper by the original authors of the Lightcuts algorithm. According to them, this should lead to faster tree building times and better quality trees, which have in turn a positive effect on rendering times. Actually the improvements are barely noticeable most of the time but at the very least it simplifies code.