What really makes Blueprint shine is the visual candy on top of the actual node system. The visual debugging tools alone are worth their weight in gold.
The problem is that Blender handles objects pretty badly of you go over a certain number. If you want plants and things like that, or in fact any kind of object to go into the millions you´ll have to use something like particles or dupliverts.
Unfortunately dupliverts are not very flexible and Blenders particles are terrible.
For some things you simply have to write a script that writes particles to cache files. Or you can write a script that creates an object and verteices or faces at specifc locations/rotations and then use that object as an emitter.
The problem is that Blender handles objects pretty badly of you go over a certain number.
Frequently I ran into problems. This might explain it.
Show me I am wrong: it seems we are stuck on particles to create a large-scale forest scene.
I hoped “everything nodes” gives us a more flexible tool to create and maintain nature scenes.
I think that is correct. However, for large scale forests I find particles to be ok.
It is more problematic if you want large scenes with lots of objects which have to be arranged in a specific way. Blenders particle systems don´t give you any tools - or at least not many useful tools - needed to arrange particles systematically.
For large scenes we also have collection instances. They could tame much details and complexity.
I do not know any way to add a particle instances modifier to a collection instance. And using a collection instance inside another objects particle system also does not work.
But Instancing by verts/faces allow collection instances. Could animation nodes give some variation to these dupli-instances, to make them more useful for large-scale nature scenes?
Yes collection instances especially combined with linking from other files are great as they allow you to render nearly unlimited geometry.
But unless I am unaware of something they don´t give you a way to easily distribute large amounts of objects/geometry.
Now using animation nodes to create an object which is then used as an emitter or instancing by verts/faces sounds like an interesting approach that could be tried.
One infuriating thing with particles is that it is acutally possible to very presicely control which object is actually rendered on which particle. You do this with setting it to render a group/collection and then activating “count”. You can then presicely enter which particle is to use which object. However, this is not easy to automate. You can write a Python script to do this but due to the way Blender works internally it gets prohibitively slow when used with large amounts of particles.
I love Animation Nodes, and I have high confidence in Jaques and the BF team to deliver something great.
I really like an artist friendly UI feature from Archimatix, where handles are provided in 3d space to manipulate parametric paramaters. For example, when curves are driving the creation of 3d shapes (through extrusions, or deforms, for example), when you select any instance of that 3d shape, it renders “curve parameter handles” aligned to where they affect the 3d shape, and lets you edit them directly in the same 3d space as the shape they affect.
There are lots of demos of this effect. Here are two examples, showing both curve changes, and geometric changes.
This is contrasted with Blender extrusion modifiers, where the input curve is often dangling around in a random place and shoved off to the side to keep it out of the way. Or Houdini where you might edit the curve in an isolated workspace that doesn’t show the production.
I’m also looking forward to a day where scene level nodes like AN are not hamstrung by the object-instancer limitations. I’d like to be able to instance collections, parent-child trees, and and object results of other node programs. Then geometry producing node programs can become truly reusable blocks for 3d parametric generation, VSE titles, whatever.