Through the Looking Glass

3D/2D CGI and the tools used in their creation (Maya, Photoshop, Blender, GIMP, etc.).
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squeen
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:38 am

Oskar45 wrote:@squeen: I apologize for having been sarcastic. But I still believe rewriting Maya from scratch isn't really as easy as you seem to imply :oops:


Hey, no worries! Certainly the full suite of functionality of Maya would take years to replicate. But, as I did--leverage our existing scene graph lib to create a relatively simple modeling program with a Maya like front-end (no MEL!)--was only a couple of days of work (as I said very preliminary). However, we can already build from basic primatives, smooth and fix surface normals, edit materials and textures, group/ungroup, adjust camera parameters, animate trajectories and extracting model points using inverse projection (the last two features being the immediate motivation of the exercise). Allowing myself the luxury of a long view, I can only see it getting better with time. The real gist of what I'm trying to share is my own wonder at how easy it was to come this far--a useful tool (to us at least)--with only a small effort. Each of us has such amazing computational power at our finger tips, yet so many folk are content to be dependent on what software vendor sling our way. The open source "revolution" (sorry I'm getting preachy again) was more about personal empowerment than it was a new paradigm of software development blah blah blah. But my confession is, "I'm hooked!"--a complete do-it-yourself addict. I can't seem to stop writing software to suite my own needs! And like most fanatics, sometimes I can't resist trying to "convert" the masses. Again, the reward is only partially what you produce, but mostly what you learn in the process. For example, scripting Radiance may be fun, but it doesn't teach your much about how light and materials interactions are modeled--what assumptions are made and where they break apart. The latter is where the real fun begins. Clearly Dave Ward thought so when he (single handedly) tackled the project.

On the other hand...time is precious, choose your battles. :)

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby Ryan Fox » Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:03 am

-ponders smirking-
You know.. rewriting Maya from scratch does have its advantages. Customization...
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby Oskar45 » Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:30 am

Ryan Fox wrote:-ponders smirking-
You know.. rewriting Maya from scratch does have its advantages. Customization...

Sure. Customization is great. But I still believe rewriting Maya single-handed from scratch takes more than a weekend...
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby toxygen » Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:18 am

:Indigo2IMP: :Octane: This post was typed using dvorak keyboard layout - http://www.dvzine.org

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby pinball_0 » Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:08 am

I am ready.. I got my red pill ("fuel")....

and several big iron ships ;)

ready to see how far down the rabbit hole!!!

squeen wrote:While its not for everyone, I strongly encourage becoming a developer over being an end-user. The mountain is often not as high as it seems from the valley, and the air up there is so much cleaner.


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but SQUEEN "I am ready, to climb that mountain!! and drag that big iron with me"
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:31 am

pinball_0 wrote:I am ready.. I got my red pill ("fuel")....

and several big iron ships ;)

ready to see how far down the rabbit hole!!!

squeen wrote:While its not for everyone, I strongly encourage becoming a developer over being an end-user. The mountain is often not as high as it seems from the valley, and the air up there is so much cleaner.


I dabbled in programming, mainly been Hardware (gear head)
but SQUEEN "I am ready, to climb that mountain!! and drag that big iron with me"


That's the spirit! Anything worth doing is worth over-doing! :)
Happy Holidays all!

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby SupremeCmdr » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:14 pm

squeen wrote:While its not for everyone, I strongly encourage becoming a developer over being an end-user. The mountain is often not as high as it seems from the valley, and the air up there is so much cleaner.


It's great to hear that sort of attitude, I know that I've been put off before by projects that just seem too big or daunting. Stuff like kernel programming has always had a particular mystique about it but seems unattainable to mere mortals (ie Java programmers).
But this year I'm not going to let that get in my way.

Hooray for over-engineering. :)
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Wed May 21, 2008 10:08 am

We'll it been a few month's since I originally posted, but the ray tracer is shaping up. Here's a image from our DIY (do-it-yourself) Mental Ray/Radiance that is a back-end to our DIY Maya that is a utility for our DIY Performer that is a back-end to our DIY MATLAB/Simulink. Wheew! :)

hstinabox.jpg


Before you say it I know, I'm working on the Mylar! :P

BTW, I have learned so much about radiometry and cameras, it's been a thrill. Graphics are brand new again!
Cheers!
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby Oskar45 » Wed May 21, 2008 12:02 pm

squeen wrote:Here's a image from our DIY (do-it-yourself) Mental Ray/Radiance that is a back-end to our DIY Maya that is a utility for our DIY Performer that is a back-end to our DIY MATLAB/Simulink.

As I'd expressed in the past a few times my fandom for Radiance [sadly, with mostly negative echo], I'd be curious to learn why and how you use it in your current project...
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Thu May 22, 2008 3:33 am

Oskar45 wrote:As I'd expressed in the past a few times my fandom for Radiance [sadly, with mostly negative echo], I'd be curious to learn why and how you use it in your current project...


Greg Ward has done a lot of great things for advancing the state of the art in ray tracing. His BRDF model, Irradiance Caching, HDR, etc. But, I don't use Radiance (his software package) at all. My ray tracer is coded from scratch in C using the principles of Monte Carlo path tracing. The reference texts if used (in order of importance to me) where:

1) Advanced Global Illumination (Dutre et al.)
2) Realistic Ray Tracing (Shirley)
3) Realistic Image Synthesis Using Photon Mapping (Jensen)
4) An Introduction to Ray Tracing (Glassner et al.)
5) Physically Based Rendering (Pharr et al.)
6) Digitial Modeling of Material Appearance (Dorsey et al.)
7) Principles of Digital Image Synthesis (Glassner et al.)

Plus a few other papers like Ashikmin-Shirley's Ansiotropic Phong BRDF. And while I did not reference any of Ward's work directly, all of the above sources owe a debt to him.

The ray tracing algorithm is amazing simple. I've heard that someone once printed one on the back of a business card. There are nuisances to be sure...mostly associated with speeding the darn thing up. As we developed ours over the past two months, I was shocked at the orders of magnitude speed up that occurred as we included more of the state-of-the-art. Never before in all of my prior programming experience had prepared me for the huge jump in efficiency that were possible. One large model in particular took over 18 hours to render with my first naive implementation. It now renders in approximately 18 seconds. Crazy!

For me, coding it from scratch forced me to learn the details and theory I would otherwise have glossed over (being way too busy trying to recode everything else from scratch!:)). As we continue to develop the lens and detectors model specific to our application, I now have a much better understanding of the limitations and accuracy of the results than I would have had if I used someone else's product. Honestly, ray tracing is been one the the most interesting and fun things I've ever done. I plan to tinker with it for quite a while. It's physical enough (unlike say OpenGL style graphics) to sooth my inner engineer and the images that come out just plain stupefy me in their beauty.

I also have to mention that PBRT (my reference #5) is a strange text to be sure. It has received a huge amount of attention in the image synthesis community. But for me, I had a like/hate relationship with it. It was a weird mixture of being both convoluted and comprehensive. Pedantic to the point of spoon-feeding, while at the same time lofty and excessively abstract. It seemed to evoke in me at the same distaste I personally have for C++, but was a times good read. Definitely an odd, very odd, tomb. I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on it was well.

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby Brombear » Thu May 22, 2008 4:57 am

squeen wrote:The ray tracing algorithm is amazing simple. I've heard that someone once printed one on the back of a business card. There are nuisances to be sure...mostly associated with speeding the darn thing up. As we developed ours over the past two months, I was shocked at the orders of magnitude speed up that occurred as we included more of the state-of-the-art. Never before in all of my prior programming experience had prepared me for the huge jump in efficiency that were possible. One large model in particular took over 18 hours to render with my first naive implementation. It now renders in approximately 18 seconds. Crazy!

For me, coding it from scratch forced me to learn the details and theory I would otherwise have glossed over (being way too busy trying to recode everything else from scratch!:)). As we continue to develop the lens and detectors model specific to our application, I now have a much better understanding of the limitations and accuracy of the results than I would have had if I used someone else's product. Honestly, ray tracing is been one the the most interesting and fun things I've ever done. I plan to tinker with it for quite a while. It's physical enough (unlike say OpenGL style graphics) to sooth my inner engineer and the images that some out just plain stupefy me in their beauty.


I can only second Squeen's comments. Of course we are looking at it from a different point of view (realtime raytracing with focus on materials) I am still amazed what is possible and what is not (newest findings are 87% scalability effectivity when running our tracer on our new 32core SMP machine which is not too shaby when testing a few days). I may soon upload an image to our own VRED thread.

I am really looking forward to your next steps.

Matthias
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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Thu May 22, 2008 6:07 am

Brombear wrote:
squeen wrote:Of course we are looking at it from a different point of view (realtime raytracing with focus on materials) I am still amazed what is possible and what is not (newest findings are 87% scalability effectivity when running our tracer on our new 32core SMP machine which is not too shaby when testing a few days). I may soon upload an image to our own VRED thread.

I am really looking forward to your next steps.

Matthias


Who makes the 32core SMP? I asked HP, but Xeon/Opteron workstations only go up to 8core--everything else is Itanium2 servers.

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby Brombear » Thu May 22, 2008 6:14 am

HP, Dell, FSC and others do not make 8 socket machines, the demand is simply too small. The AMD opteron based machine is from Megware ( http://www.megware.com ) a german clustering specialist in the field of HPC. The board(s) inside should be from tyan ( a 4 socket motherboard ) connected via a direct hypertransport-link with a daughter board (also 4 socket). The board can handle 256GB (expensive though) and runs windows 2003 server but linux too of course. It also has 16x pci-e connectivity, so you can easily stick a quadro 5600 into it.

HTH

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Thu May 22, 2008 8:09 am

Nice! Lucky dog.

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Re: Through the Looking Glass

Unread postby squeen » Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:03 am

Some silly depth-of-field
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