Not a feature request... An idea.

Since I kind of don’t like feature requests because the devs have enough work as it is and they do a great job, I’m not requesting a feature. I’m simply putting an idea out there that popped into my head. So don’t flame me for saying that this is absolutely necessary or that it needs to be implemented right now or we don’t have enough features!


Do you find yourself doing a lot of test renders? I do. It often takes dozens of renders (of the entire or partial image) to get that lighting (or anything else) just right. But there’s one problem. Sometimes you want to do a high quality test render, to see a smaller version of what the final will look like, if you will. And other times you want to do a low-quality render just to get a general idea of your scene.

This means that every time you need to switch between these two types of renders, you need to change all those settings: shadow quality on all the lamps, OSA level, ambient occlusion, image size. What if it was possible to set the render settings twice, and toggle between them. To clarify, it could be done this way, for example: instead of one ‘Render’ tab, you could have two, each one identical. You could have different settings on each one, and whatever tab was visible would be the one used to render. The same could apply to the ambient occlusion tab.

Now I’m not saying the double-tab approach would be the way to do it, because I don’t know how much that would complicate things in the process of rendering. But there’s the idea for you.

Inevitably, people will say that this is what the preview tool is for. Yes, that is true, it gives you a lower quality render without changing settings. But in some cases, like if you have a large number of samples for ambient occlusion, it is still quite slow. In addition, there is no option of saving the image for later comparison. It is also difficult to render two previews from exactly the same angle, which you know if you’ve tried the tool. I consider the preview tool the most useful for quickly rendering from different points in the scene without moving the camera.

So phew, that was a long post. What do you all think?

Interesting, I think a better idea would be to handle it like objects. You still have one render toolbar, but, you have a little menu, to switch between types, that you set. Thus, you can make a high, medium, low, and any other quality you want. That’s an incredible idea, good thinking.

The feature already exists. It’s scenes. If you make a new scene and use link objects, you can set up the new scene’s render panels any way you wish, and when you switch back to the original scene, the original render panels are restored. You can work on the objects (in either scene) and both scenes are affected, since you used link objects. I don’t know if there is a limit on the number of scenes. If you have multiple cameras, you can set up a different camera to be active in each scene, for focussing in on those tricky spots without rendering everything.

Great idea, though, if you hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have found it. I’m going to be using this, a lot :smiley:

Beyond that, I seem to recall seeing this idea in some information from peach possibilities, or feature request thread, or a “this is what 2.5 will have” type of post/article.

inevitably, people will say that this is what the preview tool is for. Yes, that is true, it gives you a lower quality render without changing settings.

Well, hopefully very few people would say that as it really is a half baked option to begin with. Most of the time it just sits there, then sits there, then for good measure sits there some more. The damn thing should be constantly updating as the user changes his settings, but no, it proceeds at it’s own pace and produces a render as an when it feels like it, which incidentally, is usually slower than it takes to just render out the image.

Sorry for the rant, but I’ve tried preview renderers in other apps, so I know how the things should behave.

I like the idea, and so do the devs. In 2.46, if you change the RT button to 1 (Under the anim button), a render simplification tab pops up, where you can globally simplify certain render elements.

Actually, the best way to handle this is with user-definable render presets. You make a preset for production render, one for half size/high quality, and one for full size low quality. Then, you just toggle the button for the batch of render settings you want. It would also be nice to be able to completely toggle off particles (hair/fur) and removing subsurfacing as render settings as well.

Guys, you’ve already got it. Use separate scenes. Link obj data will allow one to be subsurfed, the other not subsurfed. Change the camera, change the lighting, change the render parameters, whatever, pick Scene One, hit F12, do your high quality no ambient whatever render, pick Scene Two, hit F12, do your low quality green light whatever render.

One button, done. It works. Is there some problem I’m not aware of ? Won’t be the first time…

Actually, we do have scenes, and … render simplification. But it’s hidden. Set the rt Value to 1.


Shadow quality (for one thing) will be propogated over all scenes, so you’d need to change that each time (at least switch the light material each time). Any changes to non-quality related settings would also need to be copied across by hand. It works quite well, but there are some things that still could be automated/made easier.

Configurable presets would be good, but I can see a lot of newbies getting stuck with “I changed my settings and it hasn’t changed the scene”. I’d say therefore that a dropdown kind of menu would be in order, with “Normal” and “Preview/Low Quality - Fast” as options, where the latter assumes all quality related settings are low. That way you get the simple benefit with it being obvious, and can then go on and add your own when you understand it more.

i think i read in the 2.5 project notes about that.
it will have a dropdown menu for preconfigurable rendersettings, much like the Indigo exporter has its dropdown and configurable presets.

Waow :i wasn’t aware of this rt=1 option. First time i see this simplification panel !
Thanks for mentionning it.

It find that the trick with the scene, while it probably is ok, isn’t a perfect solution.
Why not make the simplification panel always available and provide it with the necessary tools ? It seems a good basis for what Blenditall said. (for example with shadow quality, ray depth etc…)

what harky said +1. Easily done too since we already have about a dozen presets. just need a get/set. In fact, we could write this ourselves as a script if the scene() render properties are exposed (I know that startframe and endframe and cur frame are!)

Not enough of the important settings like AO are exposed. You could adjust things like camera samples, light samples, raytacing on/off, sss to some extent, resolution, and a couple other things, but I have a feeling that the main issue of wanting control is really in AO and probably some other things that may not be totally exposed.