Hi Sterling and everyone else. Thank you for replying to this thread. This is the main problem which is still ongoing and which is why Blender 2.79 is still a better choice for production pipelines than 2.8. In this specific aspect Blender 2.8 remains a massive step backwards, which is a shame because the loss of group instances puts it behind other commercial software when the previous 2.79 implementation of group instances put Blender ahead.
I used Blender 2.79 extensively in production and its advantage over Max and Maya was that if you used Group Instances to duplicate scene geometry you could build massive scenes with no extra face count (just a minimal scene memory increase) that rendered much quicker than if you had all that extra Geo created from a straight forward duplicate or instance function (shift D and alt D).
In 2.79 if you group an object then it’s available as a “group instance” from the Shift A menu, or you can also build objects in separate scene and bring them in by enabling the “edit linked object” addon which is the same. This means that object (whether a single simple object or an object built out of different parts) can be replicated throughout your scene with no extra geometry created and, critically, then at render time before Cycles could do it’s thing Blender wouldn’t spend more time calculating the scenes objects than actually rendering. In short Group Instances made Blender an absolute beast of a 3D package. You could even use it for animation purposes to replicate thousands of offsets of the same character in a scene without extra overhead by combining a group instanced mesh and baking down animation then using the MDD cache tools to apply offset animations (with some care over pivot points and generally on a unified mesh). This was incredibly powerful and useful. You could build one Shark or Whale or Sea Monster for example, animate it, bake it, group it, bring it back into the scene as a group instance, apply the MDD and then literally copy paste infinite versions of that creature and offset the animation a little on each one. This was really useful for building large scenes with anything organic or hard surface that was animated - so space rocks, spaceships, battles scene, characters, monsters, insects even crowds etc. All with no extra face count and massive render savings at render time because Blender wouldn’t freeze for minutes on “calculating scene objects” at during every frame at render time and also in terms of normal and displacement maps only being calculated once. Again these aren’t small savings in time, they were massive savings in time, especially in renders.
So this isn’t just about saving in terms of face count and navigating the scene, the time saving applied to everything connected. Even without using MDD to do animation offsets if you were manually building a scene (say the surface of an Alien world) and you sculpted a high res object (say a rock) then made a low res version with only 300 faces then you could literally duplicate that one 300 face object hundreds of times in the scene and not only would the face count for the whole scene still stay at 300 faces but all the maps like Normals and Displacement only calculated once and the render time of the scene as a whole was massively reduced compared to if you had simply duplicated or instanced the same rock through using Shift D or Alt D and therefore created thousands of faces. I know the theory is that the Alt D means only calculating maps once, but that was not the actual experience at renders. At render time when you use Alt D to duplicate hundreds of objects then the “calculating scene objects” part of the Render (the step before Cycles actually renders) could take minutes per frame instead of seconds. Group Instances eliminated that specific problem as scenes with large object counts built out of group instances calculated in a fraction of the time of scenes built the other way.
So the big issue here isn’t just face count, it’s the other render time savings that propagate all the way up.
Blender 2.79 is the most advanced and last good version of Blender. The only reason any studio would use Blender is because of Cycles and therefore speeding up scenes and rendering in Cycles should have been the ultimate priority. Eevee took a huge amount of resources and is basically dumb and cosmetic. It’s never going to be better than Unreal or Unity and there’s no reason to build your scenes for Eevee at all because if your intended end use is Games and PBR then Unreal and Unity have completely different material systems and you have to rebuild materials in both. So if you are using Blender to build elements for Unreal then the tools that were in 2.79 (uv’s, mapping, normals etc) are still the tools you have to use to build your objects prior to export to a Games engine at which point just switching Blender 2.79 into Material or Texture view in the 3D viewport gave you near real time rendering and instant feedback.
Cycles on the other hand is Blender’s most valuable and viable technology. It makes Blender competitive with Maya, Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D etc in the field of TV, Film and Cinematic renderings.
So for the purpose of bringing Eevee into Blender (basically a big wank), we’ve all had to suffer over three years of development hell with Blender being unusable, and we’ve lost the absolute biggest advantage Blender had over every other software which was Group Instances and the ability to have as many Blender scenes as you wanted and to link as many files into Blender through Group Instancing.
The truth about 2.8 is that someone on the Blender 2.8 Dev team got obsessed with building a folder system something like Clarisse. But Clarisse works is along the lines of what Group Instances was doing in 2.79 not the way Blender 2.8 calculates scene objects and memory. Clarisse doesn’t add geo or faces for any objects you import, it doesn’t have a massive scene bloat and you can import an object once and it calculates everything to do with that (normals, displacement, even VOB etc) and you can put those objects into your render scene literally thousands of times over with no extra scene data, no massive need to precalculate render scenes and almost instant feedback.
Also in terms of “reporting this as a bug”. No I haven’t because it isn’t a bug. What should I report? Should I say that Blender 2.8 is bloatware? Is conceptually shit? Has increased Cycles scene render times? Adds extra geometry and face count that isn’t needed in the scene and that other software like Isotropix Clarisse is smart enough to take out of the render chain? That Eevee is a pile of wank that benefits no one building scene objects for major games engines other than cosmetically? That the three year “development” cycle has set back creatives, studios, tutorial makers and real world users of Blender and caused actual damage to those (the community) who invested in bringing Blender into their pipelines? That 2.8 completely failed to align itself with Blender’s true needs such as non linear (nodal) modelling and the extension of compositing functions (keying and green screen) into the 3d workspace? That Blender’s caching deficiencies in it’s Compositor remain the absolute worst in the Industry? That the Blender core dev team literally pissed on hundreds of independent addon creators by making their work and time and addons disappear? That Blender core Dev didn’t bring in the creators of Sverchok and Jacques Luckes and the animation nodes system right into the heart of 2.8? That Blender 2.8 didn’t introduce VOB workflows? Advanced fluids workflows? Nodal physics workflows? Or anything that actually matters?
Instead we got grease pencil, eevee, left clicking, and the new stupid and illogical interface at the cost of scene efficiency and extra geometry.
What’s the error or bug I should report? After months and years of complete wank on this forum about the “new look” of 2.8, the color scheme, the new stupid UI, the “we added left clicking” stupidity, shouldn’t the error report be that Blender 2.8 (the whole of it) sucks compared to the elegance, ease of use, refinement, class, extensibility through addons and efficiency of 2.79?