Cycles as an external renderer?

What are people’s thoughts on having Cycles as a standalone renderer that could be used by Maya etc? Not being a developer, I obviously don’t know how much work would be involved in this, but I think it could help push its development along. My thinking is if the wider CG community, outside of Blender, were to start using it as a tool, more developers would jump on board to push its development… It may also lead to CG artists outside of Blender giving Blender a try when they realise how great Cycles is… With Cycles being similar to Arnold and all, I imagine it would be quite appealing to people outside of Blender land.

Just a thought.

I don’t really care about Cycles running on other software, however, Cycles MUST be external.
And it should work with Blender as an external renderer, only this way blender will have the capability to work with external renderers fully.

Well I think it should kept “internal” since it’s easier and more straightforward to use that way. I wouldn’t have anything against an external version as an option alongside the current one though. Anyway I think it’s too dependant on Blender’s node system to be used with any other rendering application…

I don’t think that having a standalone version of circles is really needed, creating an exporter for maya, 3ds max, etc that can send directly all scene infos to blender and render it directly in circles and then return the result back to you package of choice is probably the best way.

I think it should look like this: An exporter would generate a blend file with all the materials, objects, etc needed and render the result directly in blender.

Or someone would need to create an api where external apps could directly send data to blender and back (would probably need a lot of time to code and mantain it, but would be nice)

I think for developer having cycles in blender gives more advantages for faster prototyping but giving the oportunity to use it easy in other packages with an exporter to blender would atract more people.

Btw. Last time I looked in blenders svn source folder cycles was in its own sub folder so gettin in to the code should be easy (relative).

Pretty much this. I don’t care if Cycles runs on other software or not, but architecturally it’s better to have it work as an “external” renderer since that would benefit the integration of other truly external engines like Luxrender and Yafaray. I don’t know how things are currently, but i’ve read that Cycles has a few “tailored” parts like material nodes that are not normally exposed to plugins.

When pynodes are finished any external renderer will be able to access the node system. Should be in 2.66

Exciting. Having Blender access external render engines they way it currently does with BI and Cycles will be brilliant

Last meeting notes say it will probably be 2.67 now. :frowning:

A Blender API would be great. Externalizing Cycles could be a good way to create and test the API. This way, other renderers would be able to integrate with Blender like Cycles and blender would benefit from faster and more integrated plugins and exporters. Python is great but it has the limitations of an interpreted language.