I’ve seen a lot of great advice over my time here from the old hands concerning tricks that you can do to a scene in BI in order to render animation faster, and yet still have it look great. However, it gets dispersed into various threads, some of which are very old. That can make it pretty difficult to rapidly gain insight for the beginner or even intermediate animator who spends some time building an animated scene, then wonders: “My GOD! WHY is it taking SO LONG TO RENDER THIS ANIMATION?!?!”
That’s why I decided to start this thread. To have a single catalog of great tips, tricks (quick, dirty, insane, brilliant, counter-intuitive, or otherwise.)
Now, many of you are stuck in No Man’s Land in the debate about Cycles vs. BI, or Yafaray vs. whatever, etc. That’s fine. And yes, Cycles is brilliant. And it will get better and faster. And it will one day be the choice for Blender animation. And we should still have some patience. No one wants to see Brecht have a coronary. “We will make no wine before it’s time.”
So, why BI, and not Cycles?
There’s reasons, almost none of which I’m competent to wade into deeply at all. For me, even though I have a good GPU, I’ve still decided to stick with BI for now, do what I can to master it, and learn to be patient during the rendering of animation. As I’ve said elsewhere.
I wouldn’t mind some light debate about Cycles and what it can do. But there are already plenty of threads doing that. Especially The Cycles Tests New CPU/GPU Renderer of Awesomeness, populated by some really gorgeous renders and some very deep, clever, brilliant, and often unexpected new techniques and tricks for making Cycles do things that make mortals weep. So check that out.
And so this thread is in the Testing section, hopefully to be the sister thread to Cycles Tests.
I hope that this thread will wade into several different areas of BI besides just simple “rendering.” Which is why I didn’t post it in another section, like “rendering.” My hope is that the more experienced will delve into topics like lighting, compositing, modelling, the BGE, animating and the graphing editor, etc. Again, my point was to have a thread that will serve as a catalog of great tips and ideas for getting BI to do things you didn’t think it could do. For animation.
And the main point of all of this is to focus on speed. The developers have done some brilliant, heroic work, and BI is reaching it’s Golden Age. It has reached a level of feature completeness that I never imagined it could. It’s time to work with what we’ve got. Not what hardware or the various Graphicall revisions can do for speed-boosting. But what THE ARTIST can do.
Okay, so you’re going “What about stillshots?!” Go ahead and post them. This is a test thread, and your picture is worth my thousand (or more) words. But people who are more interested in stillshots are (usually) going to use Cycles, or Lux, or Yafaray, or any of the million other externals.
But BI can do something none of those can (yet): produce beautiful animation, on your desktop, within a “reasonable” amount of time.
And the way you can do that (hopefully) will be to scour this thread…
Now, recently I’ve heard from several of the more experienced Blenderheads that one way of making good time in BI animation rendering is to make heavy use of the Compositor. The Makers are bringing the compositor into the GPU for a speed bonus. That’s as much as I know about it. So I’m hoping that clever compositor tricks will become a mainstay of this thread. In Cycles Tests, the usual method is to post a screenshot of your nodes setup, so when dealing with the compositor, and with nodes in general, I think that’s the best way of doing things.
Well, I’ve rattled long enough. If there’s any confusion left about my intentions for this thread, fire away and I’ll duck and then man up and try to clarify as best I can.
I guess the main points I’m making are these:
- This should be a thread geared toward the beginner. You know the beginner. You once were one. So let’s always just be nice, let our hair down, and not try to be impressive with technical prowess. Be simple. This stuff gets complex and deep real fast. So let’s all pretend that we’re in kindergarten doing Show’n’Tell. Try not to get a spanking. Try hard. Goes for me too. Especially.
- I don’t see anything wrong with getting philosophical. There’s room for it here. Again, this is complex stuff, and has gotten more-so with all the new updates, tweaks, fixes, and the misty future of BI and Cycles…
But there’s other threads that focus on that. And this is a learning thread. So focus. And I’ll focus on focusing and not writing an editorial with every post. I’m just posting “Is this better?”-type shots and clips in here from now on. Seriously. I mean it… :yes:
- This is a TESTS thread. If you have a question, and you’re relatively new to Blender, ask away. There is no such thing as a “stupid question”; except for that one question that no one has the balls to ask. That’s usually the one everyone gets killed by.
If you have a great new idea on speeding up rendering, a new technique to do something, whatever, EXPLAIN it; don’t just post a shot of a node group, and a “descriptive” title. Yes, if you invent something new, YOU’RE CLEVER. We’re deeply impressed. No, we aren’t on your level enough to understand it. In fact, you’re probably the reincarnation of Einstein.
Still, if you’re doing something that no one else seems to be doing, and you think it’s a big help to you, then why keep it a Big Secret? Go into some detail, keeping in mind that this is a thread for beginners. If english isn’t your first language, that’s okay, don’t be shy. We won’t make fun of you. We just want to know how you did that Crazy Awesome Thing, but we’re all too shy and scared and confused to ask. And we’ve been playing with it for the last five hours and still can’t replicate your snapshot…
- And, no “grammar nazis” and flamewars here, please. My intention on this thread is sincere. I have a lot to learn about getting the most out of BI I can, and I know everyone else feels that way. Just gear it toward animation, speed, and optimization. Those are the main topics. But remember, that’s a giant basket. So I hope a little leeway can be afforded as far as “topic” goes. I often feel that everything’s related anyway. And this thread doesn’t have a thousand posts yet…
At any rate, that’s about it. Good luck, I hope this thread sparks some new ideas, a lot of learning, some gorgeous art and animation, and new friends made.
It’s about experimentation, tinkering, having fun being smart and creative and clever, and giving the old girl new tires a new glosscoat.
Lastly: a thousand frame animation is still going to take a Very Long Time to render. That’s just how the universe works. I don’t care what GPU you have. I don’t care if you marry CRAYs together in ungodly LAN wedlock.
Read a book. Go for a hike. Take a nap. Make your sweetie scream. Take up zen buddhist chanting. Learn PATIENCE.
Hopefully, though, many experienced Blenderheads will post some truly great and insightful tips on how to boost the speed of animation rendering, while still creating some truly gorgeous shorts. And hopefully, some of the new Blenderheads will find that, yes, it is possible to create a truly stunning animated film, in Blender, before you get too old to enjoy the screening party…