Newbee confused Internal vs Cycles for wooden and mechanical objects.

I have read many posts discussing the pros and cons of using one render vs another, and I am still confused.

My work will be wooden logs, beams, structures and mechanical objects with wood, metal and rope materials. I would like to use procedures as much as possible rather than images. Some will be animated, like a crane working or a windmill operating. Photo realism is not a goal.

I believe using the internal will do all I need to do. But it seems like Blender’s emphasis is on doing fancy things with Cycles. I am also concerned that the internal render will not be supported in future releases of Blender.

If there is anyone who is working in this environment, will they please share their choice and reasoning.

I’m not a developer, but I do read the developer lists and try to follow what’s going on in the Blender dev scene.

BI isn’t going away. It’s not a priority for new development, but any regressions in BI get fixed. There have been some developers (including one paid developer) who have worked on BI in the last year to add new features.

Ton has stated several times that he wants developers to continue to work on BI. The problem is that it’s old tech, the code is ancient and crufty, and it’s just not “sexy.”

If photorealism isn’t a goal, I’d definitely go with BI, just because you’ll get crisp renders faster and with less effort. Since BI hasn’t been worked on that much since Cycles came out, the old tutorials and documentation are largely still relevant. The interface has changed, but the functionality is mostly the same.

There are three ways that you can approach it: OpenGL, BI, and/or Cycles.

I say, “and/or,” because you can in fact use more than one renderer to create a finished scene. (You can also use external renderers, but that’s another story.)

My best advice would be that you start, as soon as possible, by OpenGL Preview rendering the various shots that will make up the show, attaching labels to each strip to capture things like frame#, camera, scene, and file-name. Then, cut together the show completely, by whatever video editor you prefer. (Start at this point with using linked asset libraries; do this from the very start.) You can freely experiment with different camera angles and so forth, even though(!) the “windmill” at this point is just a (to-scale) disc and the tower is a (to-scale …) pyramid, each in their own libraries.

Then, once you know what footage you actually need, and what the audience will see and how closely and for how long, you can consider what’s best for each shot. (OpenGL itself can get you a surprisingly long way these days. In your project, it might take you all the way there.) Cycles and BI take fundamentally-different approaches to the task of rendering a scene: Cycles is especially geared toward using the GPU as a parallel arithmetic processor. Its computational approach is basically that it “converges” on a solution, and this approach can produce so-called “fireflies.” OpenGL uses the GPU for its intended purpose.

The one biggest thing to “grok” is the notion of a shot breakdown. Don’t think that you are gonna crank a render for umpteen-ours and … " :cool:(ommmm…) … ‘there I-t is.’ " Uh uh. There will probably be several different layers of rendering, maybe produced using different techniques, merged together with the compositor. You’ll “sneak up on it.” And, by doing it that way, you’ll have control. When you commit to a full render, which really isn’t “full” at all, it should take you one step forward such that you don’t have to repeat that render.

Silly things: to animate a rotating windmill you need a layer or layer containing only the wheel, rotating only one full rotation. Capture any shadows that it casts on nearby objects but only those shadows … if you need shadows, and omit them if you don’t. Drop in as many consecutive copies as you need and the wheel spins. Skip the motion-blur. Capture “MultiLayer OpenEXR” with a vector layer and vector-blur it. Cheating, as they say, is a noble art.

As you cut your shots together, consciously direct the user’s attention. The establishing shots and the first time you see something might have considerable detail. Thereafter, the mind’s eye will continue to “see” that, especially “at a distance” and when their attention is focused on other things. Your moving rope might be a moving texture on a slightly-vibrating cylinder, and no one will stop and look too closely anyway. Be especially stingy with shadows. Shadows are expensive. There are “shadow-only spotlights” in BI that can inject shadows where you need them, and you can control their intensity and even add a tint in compositing.

What you’re doing, in all this, is buying yourself flexibility and saving yourself mountains of wall-time. You spend time where you need to spend time and save time everywhere else.

Thank you both. Bl it is!
Sundialsvc4 - thanks for the info on Open GL.