Will the Blender Internal renderer die out?

Hi,

I don’t usually post in the forums, but I do love reading what all of you guys come up with.

Anyways, I keep hearing people saying that eventually blender will only have cycles, and the BI renderer will not exist anymore. I may be the only one, but I would be extremely disappointed if that happens. So much work has been done in the BI that looks just as good, if not better, than what can be done in cycles. I know that cycles is still in its early stages, but the more I play with it, the less I like it. Especially animations. Some animations, that would take say, three hours, to render in BI and would look smooth, without any noise, yet still believably realistic, would take a whole night, maybe more, to render in cycles, and I have yet to see a completely noise-free cycles render that is more than a material test.

I do like using cycles for some things, interiors mostly. But rendering animations in cycles is a pain, especially since I can’t use GPU rendering yet. I work on a laptop, so it’s very sensitive when it comes to heat. I have never had any issues with overheating in the BI, yet in cycles, even the shortest animations could make my computer scream.

My point is, cycles is a very neat feature in blender, but I do not think it should replace the current Blender Internal renderer.

What do you guys think?

This question gets asked a lot, so let me put this as clearly as possible:

If Cycles ever completely replaces the Blender Internal rendering engine, you will want it to. Only when Blender Internal ceases to have any significant advantages over Cycles will it be dropped.

I’m not a dev, but I’ve heard this said, and anyway, it makes sense.

Cycles will one day replace BI. BI in its current form is a hacked together mess. The direct lighting parts of it are incredibly fast, but as soon as you toss any kind of advanced techniques into it, it becomes a bogfest. Cycles is intended to completely replace it at some point, and as far as I know there won’t be any official continuing refinement of BI. Many people believe that raytracing is the future of CGI. One of its largest proponents is Sony Imageworks, who have now moved to a completely raytraced pipeline using an in-house renderer based on Solid Angle’s Arnold Renderer and the Open Shading Library.

Obviously right now, Cycles is in a beta form at best. Brecht (and others like MikeFarny and storm_st) have made HUGE improvements to it over the past year. I’m told by some of the developers that the end goal is to have something as fast as Arnold, and as someone who has had an opportunity to mess around with Arnold, I can honestly tell you that if Cycles gets to that level, you will no longer even consider BI.

[Citation Needed]

Have you looked at the code?

EDIT: Sorry I misread that completely, I thought you had said that Cycles was hacked together.

Too soon to have this discussion
Maybe in 2 years

When you have hardware like this http://mango.blender.org/production/a-tale-of-teslas/ you’ll only want to use cycles !

Yes, I have. But don’t take my word for it. Look back to the beginning of Cycles and look at the reasons Brecht started working on it in the first place. Or even further back, look at the disaster that was the render25 branch of Blender from when Sintel was in development.

BI was in bad enough shape from years of hacking in desired or needed features on top of a decade-old render core, that both Ton and Brecht thought it best to say “screw it, it would be faster to start a new one from scratch” than to try and salvage what existed from BI.

Yes, I think cycles makes only fun when you have a good gpu. But this will be better in future I hope.

Generally renders like BI are a combination of tools which you can use to cheat reality together.
The advantage of the BI is I think that you can manitulate the tools very pecise.

I think cycles will be developed also in this direction.

But thinking is not knowing. Maybe in 2 years talk about it again sounds good. :wink:

I think BI will die, game engine will die.

Why? Because Blender is developed for noobs and amateurs. And amateurs think: photorealism is the only one that good, and the game engine is sucks.

This is the future of Blender…

Oops sorry I read your original post completely wrong. I thought you had said that Cycles was a hacked-together mess. Sorry about that.

Even if it’s probably not going to be the primary Blender render anymore in the future, i hope BI will not die and that it will stay as an alternate render because i doubt i’ll be able to afford the Sentient CPU and Quantum GPU required to use Cycles in its full potential any time soon :smiley:

Nah, Cycles is great with the CPU too, i’m a fan of the nodal workflow and the fact that there is some sort of interactive preview - whether it converges fast or not. Until there is full OpenCL support, GPU rendering is just something to play around with. And even if it were, graphics cards should also have enough memory to handle large scenes.


Regarding optimizations, Ton replied to my response on the Mango blog.

Me -
It seems like those would be ideal cards for the movie project itself, but I sincerely hope it doesn’t mean that Cycles optimizations for CPU rendering will go to the backburner.
Personally, there are many optimizations techniques for the CPU that the Cycles engine currently does not do, if Brecht develops Cycles optimizations designed mainly to work on the Tesla cards, then it would seem to be similar to charging a fee of thousands of dollars for the ability to get stunning results out of it (as the vast majority of Blender users do not have Tesla’s nonetheless two of them).
Personally I would think that the Cycles engine would not be very ‘open and free’ like the rest of Blender if it was designed to require the absolute best hardware to use.
In all that that, I would definitely want to see a focus on getting Cycles to render faster on the CPU, in all respects most of that should also work on the GPU’s.

Ton’s response

If the optimizations are on OpenCL level, everyone will benefit. Intel is spending a lot of time on getting this work perfect for cpu.
Apart from that: building something today for such high-end hardware means we have something very cool finished & tested for the masses in a few years :slight_smile:

http://mango.blender.org/production/a-tale-of-teslas/

Interesting, thanks for sharing.

Good idea for a thread, and it’s a debate that pops up now and again as Cycles improves.
The important question here is “Will Bi fall by the wayside?”
I think it would be a mistake, or at least for a long while.
If Bi was thrown out, it would be only because Cycles had gotten to the point where it could do everything BI can do, and do it better and FASTER. Which is a lot to ask.
Hardware questions aside (Cycles continues to get faster and faster, even if you don’t have a great card; what would have taken 200 or more passes to render without noise a few months ago can now be done in about 50…) Cycles simply can’t do some things yet. But those are the things they are working feverishly on. Volumetrics for example.
With shader like the BI voxel data thing you’d be able to make smoke and fire and 'splosions in Cycles.
Particles is something Cycles hasn’t really gotten to yet.
And, of course, speed, even though it is getting faster (if you have multiple GPUs, my guess is that it might now be able to realistically render an animated scene in about the time BI could do the same animation in a “toony” or “painted” fashion…)

Of course, there are workarounds. And this is why I think BI should be kept onboard for as long as possible. Through the use of compositing, all the “special effects” that BI can do (and Cycles can’t) can be compositing into realistic footage already rendered by Cycles.
We still need both. Getting rid of BI right now would be to chop off one of Blender’s arms. And no, it wouldn’t just be a “flesh wound.”

I’m a big fan of BI. Animation in BI has a certain creaminess, a smoothness, that Cycles, with all it’s “realism” lacks, IMO. Somehow Cycles animation sometimes still looks “jerky” to me, and I still can’t figure out why. There’s also this weird anticeptic clinical coldness I feel somewhere inside when watching Cycles animation. Sorry to get all poetical about it.
On the contrary, BI creates very warm, even lived-in animated worlds.
At the same time, BI animation has a softness to it. I’m nearsighted, and sometimes, watching BI animation, I feel I forgot my glasses. And BI can still produce weird artifacts that I can often never find the cause of, whether it’s because of lighting, or … I don’t know. And yet those never happen in Cycles.

Again. Sorry to get poetical and rambly.
It’s the difference between oil painting and photography. I love both. There’s a call for both. It depends on what story you’re trying to tell.
I hope they keep the Magic of BI, even as the Realism Monster gets more and more ferocious.

Oh, and if they get rid of the Game Engine, I’m leaving Blender entirely forever. Maybe a lot of filmmakers dont use it, but they should. It can do some incredible things that are impossible to do manually, even if it isn’t what you’d want for making a video game.

generally i think that’s because the better animations i’ve seen from Blender users or the Blender Foundation have been rendered with motion blur, or at the very least, vector blur (which i actually like very much as a viable alternative to full sample motion blur). i haven’t looked very deeply into this - but when Monster House came out, i wonder if motion blur wasn’t an option with Arnold, or if it would have simply been more expensive to render it, but there is none in that movie. the lighting and the realism is stunning, but it has that jitteriness you’re talking about. motion blur-less animation has an unattractive frame to frame choppiness (just my humble opinion, here), and i think that’s what you’re disliking about Cycles animations you’ve seen. of course, i’ve also seen BI animations that have the same problem for the same reason.

and i spose you could go and render out only the vector passes in BI and composite vector blur into your already-rendered Cycles animation and you might not have that issue with Cycles any more. :slight_smile:

Anyways, I keep hearing people saying that eventually blender will only have cycles

As far as I understood, that was the reason why Cycles was started in the first place - To make a modern renderer that replaces BI.

So much work has been done in the BI that looks just as good, if not better, than what can be done in cycles.

Some things, yes. Most things - no.
But BI will not disappear until it has no advantages anymore.

Some animations, that would take say, three hours, to render in BI and would look smooth, without any noise, yet still believably realistic, would take a whole night, maybe more, to render in cycles, and I have yet to see a completely noise-free cycles render that is more than a material test.

Thing is, you are comparing faked methods of rendering to raytracing.
If you want speeds comparable to BI, you should turn off GI and use AO, etc.
Cycles may be still slower at direct lighting, but soon it won’t be. Cycles still needs some optimisations and etc. It’s getting there.
But BI is far slower then Cycles when it comes to blurry reflections and such.

Basically, as dsavi said, Cycles replacing BI is only going to happen when Cycles is superior.
You shouldn’t worry about it replacing BI any time soon, and losing speed or functionality when it does…
and another thing - Even if it does replace BI sooner then it should, BI won’t dissapear from the internetz. Blender versions with BI will still be around for as long as blender itself will exist.

For animation BI still rules the roost…

volume, hair, motionblur, dof, sss…
Cycles shows some promise now that it has renderlayers, but it’s only taken me until now to catch up on just how BI really got with all the features added for durian…

Mango will be a much needed push towards cycles viability, but we’ll all wait a long time for it to replace BI. It just doesn’t scale well either… doing a bunch of tests in cycles at 720p is one thing… but switching to 1080p is quite the shock…i dread to think what a cinema resolution renderfarm would be needed…

BI on the other hand has some quirks but if you know it well can produce very acceptable results: especially when coupled with compositing… I really am looking forward to mango more for compositor improvements because I think there’s more to win there than on cycles…

freemind>:

Thing is, you are comparing faked methods of rendering to raytracing.
If you want speeds comparable to BI, you should turn off GI and use AO, etc.
Cycles may be still slower at direct lighting, but soon it won’t be. Cycles still needs some optimisations and etc. It’s getting there.
But BI is far slower then Cycles when it comes to blurry reflections and such.
if you need blurry reflections in bi use an environment map…

Who cares what’s fake or not… I only care if I can make it look good enough and render it out on time. It’ll take a good few years yet for cycles to even get close to doing all BI can.

There are always tradoffs

Woah, so many answers so fast, I’ll try to answer everyone.

To those saying that BI will not disappear until Cycles can overcome BI in every way. This makes me happy :slight_smile: . But I’m still afraid of learning cycles from the ground up every time they change it. oh well, I did it with BI, I can preobably do it with cycles as well.

To those saying that faked methods will never be as good as physical renderers: Why? I mean, it doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it’s faked well enough that the audience won’t notice, i consider it a success.

To whoever posted the tesla thing: ME WANTS THAT! it seems awesome, and I understand the philosophy of creating something for more advanced computers so that in a few years we will have something polished that even the middle grade computers can use.

About animations: most of you seem to agree that BI is better at animations because it is way faster.

The game engine: I really hope that they won’t take it out. I’m currently trying to learn Unity to make games, but the BGE has all of the physics in blender. If they take it out, they should at least incorporate the physics into BI or cycles. Heck, they should do that even without taking out the BGE.

anyways, you reassured me that BI will not die out as fast as I feared it would. thanks. I still need to get use to cycles, but that will come.

Thanks