Simple Carnival stereoscopic tools, Blender render farm script, and more

Hi everybody –

Just wanted to give you a heads up about the 3D stereoscopic tools I’ve released for Blender:

Here’s a description of most of the tools (a few of them are not stereoscopic-related, but they’re useful in combination with the other tools):

  • Simple Carnival Stereoscopic Camera: This add-on allows Blender users to render stereoscopic (3D) images. This is a heavily modified version of Sebastian Schneider’s Stereoscopic Camera, version 1.6.8. Among its improvements:

    • Renders stereo images 1/3 faster (fixes a bug where a center image was always being rendered in the original add-on)

    • Provides real-time side-by-side 3D viewing of animations and images. (You will need to freeview the results or use something like the Pocket 3Dvu to view things in 3D. It’s also recommended to use the Simple Carnival 3D Animation Template blend file and download the Windows-only “Create SBS View” script for AutoHotKey to automate creating the SBS view.)

 * Splits out stereo images to separate _LEFT and _RIGHT directories for further processing
  • Provides the ability to automatically layer stereoscopic scenes on top of each other, so you can easily combine stereoscopic Cycles and BI scenes in one shot. Alternately, you can use different stereo camera separation (interaxial) distances for each scene (i.e. ‘multirigging’)

  • Provides the ability to import stereoscopic images or video into a 3D scene (i.e. you can have flat planes with stereoscopic images inside of a 3D scene – it’s basically “3D inside of 3D”)

  • Provides the ability to use a static stereoscopic background to speed up rendering times

  • Lots of other stuff!

  • Simple Carnival Clean Screen Layouts: When you create a new window by shift+clicking the window splitter in Blender, it will create a new screen layout, which is designated by a . and three digit extension. Over time, a project file may accumulate dozens of extraneous screen layouts. (This will happen when you use the 3D SBS view feature.) This script will delete any layouts that have a .### extension. You can find the “Clean Screen Layouts” option in the Info panel under the Window menu option.

  • Simple Carnival Import Imageseq as Plane: This add-on imports an image sequence and creates a plane with the appropriate aspect ratio. The first image in the sequence is mapped to the plane. Only works in Cycles and is intended for use with BISE (Blender Image Sequence Editor). This add-on is not strictly stereoscopic-related, but it does support the Simple Carnival Stereoscopic Camera’s ability to display stereoscopic images or stereoscopic video on a plane within a Blender Cycles scene.

  • BISE: Windows desktop application. BISE stands for Blender Image Sequence Editor. This is a tool for creating a Blender image sequence (with transparency) from individual PNG files. It’s intended to be used with the Simple Carnival Import Imageseq As Plane Blender add-on. This tool is basically a workaround for the fact that Blender requires an image sequence to have an image for every single frame. It’s also a workaround for the fact that Cycles does not recognize PNG alpha transparency without making separate alpha images and doing a lot of manual messing around in the material compositor. BISE provides the ability to take images and decide which frame the image should change.

  • Blender Render Farm: Windows AutoIt script. I found Blender’s built-in render farm to be limited and buggy, so I wrote my own. This code is currently optimized for my specific render farm setup as well as my own stereoscopic workflow and computer configurations. It will create separate left and right videos based on the Simple Carnival Animation Template/Simple Carnival Stereoscopic Camera setup. You can render on just one computer or on a render farm. (I use it to render to seven computers simultaneously.) If you’re comfortable with scripting, it should be relatively straightforward to read the comments and change things to work on your system.

  • Simple Carnival Select Children and Parent: Add-on that has nothing to do with 3D, but works around what I consider to be an annoying Blender usability issue. If you have a hierarchy of objects and want to select the entire hierarchy, here’s what you have to do in Blender:

    • Click on the parent object in the Outliner

    • Hover over the 3D View, press Shift+G, select “Children”. (The parent object will become unselected.)

    • Re-select the parent object (hold down shift while doing so)

This script dispenses with the annoying behavior of the parent object becoming unselected and then having to reselect it. Also, it dispenses with having to be over a particular window when performing these options.

  • Simple Carnival 3D Animation Template: A .blend file template for using the Simple Carnival Stereoscopic Camera and related software.

A warning: there is currently no documentation, so proceed only if you’re already comfortable with Blender and looking at code to see how things work. I’m working on a series of articles which will explain how to use these tools in a stereoscopic workflow. I should mention that the software in the “windows” directory is for Windows only.

As far as I can tell, there are very few people seriously using Blender to make stereoscopic images. I’m hoping to help change that. I’m a 3D (stereoscopic) filmmaker and I’ve been using Blender exclusively for stereoscopic animation for over a year. Because Blender doesn’t support stereoscopic rendering out-of-the-box (the anaglyph mode in the Blender game engine doesn’t count), I’ve had to modify other peoples’ tools and build my own. While some of the tools are a work in progress and others need some serious polish, I’m hoping that by sharing them that some other 3D fanatics will start using Blender to make more stereoscopic images and videos. And I hope that those who are 3D fanatics with a knack for coding will pick up the ball and make code contributions – and make these kinds of stereoscopic features more accessible to all.

Anyway, I’m throwing the files out there for those who like trying out some fairly complex software with no documentation. :eyebrowlift: Feel free to ask questions if you have them; your questions will also help shape the documentation that I’m writing.

Speaking of no documentation – I have to thank the folks here at Blender Artists for helping me out when I had Blender API questions. I have to especially give a BIG thanks to CodeManX. It wouldn’t have been possible to get this far with making Blender do something that it’s not supposed to do without all of your help :smiley:

The documentation for this stereoscopic toolset will be in the form of a series of blog articles. Here’s the first article:

Please be aware that this first article serves as a high level overview of modern 3D graphics and Blender. The intended audience is those who are familiar with stereoscopy but who have no Blender experience. (In other words, if you’re on this forum, this will be largely remedial stuff.)

I’m currently working on the other articles and will post them as I finish them.

The second article has been published. This is about installing and configuring Blender and the tools from its stereoscopic toolset:

The next article (which I’m currently writing) will walk you through actually using the tools.

The third article is up. This article walks you through making a stereoscopic animation in Blender:

Have you been keeping abreast of the multiview branch of blender? it is scheduled to be committed into 2.75? –

Yep. I haven’t tried multiview yet, but I’m keeping an eye on it and will most likely incorporate it into the workflow/software that I describe in the articles. It looks really promising!

Part four is up. This goes into detail about the camera rig and how to animate interaxial distances. It also explains how to achieve multirigging:

Here’s part five. In this article I cover BISE (Blender Image Sequence Editor) and demonstrate a technique for bringing stereoscopic images and videos into a stereoscopic scene:

And the final bit of documentation: This article covers a stereoscopic-centric render script for Windows.