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Thread: Enhancing the Preview feature to evolve to GPU rendering

  1. #1
    Super Member vncnt's Avatar
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    Enhancing the Preview feature to evolve to GPU rendering

    In LW 2019 the "Show OpenGL UI" feature has been introduced.
    For me, this upgraded the Preview feature in the direction of GPU rendering.

    Personally I don't expect GPU rendering to be (fully) implemented in a next version of Lightwave
    but it is intriguing to come up with small improvements that allow the system to
    evolve step by step towards CPU rendering.

    So I wonder, what steps would that be and what steps could be
    preferably implemented without making it too difficult for developers or
    interfere with an existing development path.

    My suggestion would be to add a Preview Option to render to the current Camera resolution because
    many clients (or their clients) find it difficult to judge very basic preview clips that have
    technical issues like crop/resizing/resolution. Selling a preview shot is selling my project.
    Just submitted this suggestion (and motivation) as a feature request.

    What would enhance the Preview system for you, and why?

  2. #2

    cpu+gpu is the way to go.

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  3. #3
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    There are some undocking and use camera resolution for the display preferences, but it doesnīt seem to result in exact camera resolution, I actually thought it did, but revisiting in both 2019 and 2015, I do not see that is accurate to use for exact camera resolution..weird.

    Also, for the preview system (VPR) I am frustrated by two things, I can not save the preview image in one go with the same name as the scene, I would like to have a default use scenename check box option for vpr saved images, and the other frustration is not being able to pause VPR and continue to refine when I need, especially when something is needed to find something else on the net or just need a brake, Blenders preview system has this for the interactive renderer in cycles, on the other hand, as far as I am aware of, you can not preview render it, unless just changing your render settings to preview and start the renderer.

  4. #4
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    cpu+gpu is the way to go.

    Nah, nah. You need some REAL Power ...

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  5. #5
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prometheus View Post
    on the other hand, as far as I am aware of, you can not preview render it, unless just changing your render settings to preview and start the renderer.
    A workaround is to create a full linked scene copy, and set up preview render settings for that scene. When you switch to that "preview" scene hitting the F12 key renders a preview. It is also possible to set up a new Main Window (Window-->New Main Window), and switch that view to the "preview scene". On a multiple screen setup just click the "preview" main window, and hit F12 to render a preview.

    It is also possible to change the pixel size of the interactive viewport preview in the Performance/Viewport settings.

    As far as I am aware, there is no way to save Cycles' generated interactive views directly as an image. I use Greenshot to solve this, and which gives me more options what to do with the screenshot (save it, directly save it, send to my image editor, copy, etc.).
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    cpu+gpu is the way to go.

    I did some experimenting with load balancing between CPU and GPU a number of years ago, and the benefit of running the same code on both at the same time was negligible.
    I also have concerns that utilizing only the compute part of the GPU for rendering will have minimal gains over CPU only rendering. If you look at Blender, what kind of speed improvement do you get on the GPU, maybe 3x?
    With faster CPUs coming along, that benefit may dwindle.

    I suspect with raytracing hardware coming down the pike, a fully DirectX/OpenGL/Vulcan type of renderer would be better, since it takes advantage of the whole GPU, shaders, transforms, lighting, raytracing, compute, and so on. My 2 cents.

  7. #7

    well, if you use 2 gpus, or iow, cpu+gpu+gpu the effect/pricecut is substantial, regardless if you already have a fast cpu.

    raytracing hardware is interesting, and might be something, down the line.
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  8. #8
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayek View Post
    A workaround is to create a full linked scene copy, and set up preview render settings for that scene. When you switch to that "preview" scene hitting the F12 key renders a preview. It is also possible to set up a new Main Window (Window-->New Main Window), and switch that view to the "preview scene". On a multiple screen setup just click the "preview" main window, and hit F12 to render a preview.

    It is also possible to change the pixel size of the interactive viewport preview in the Performance/Viewport settings.

    As far as I am aware, there is no way to save Cycles' generated interactive views directly as an image. I use Greenshot to solve this, and which gives me more options what to do with the screenshot (save it, directly save it, send to my image editor, copy, etc.).
    But that is not at All the same as making a preview renderer in Lightwave, which does so with the help of the VPR, not a lower aliasing and resolutions preview.
    The workaround is a bit tedious to setup,if you compare with lightwaveīs basic make preview, whatever scene range you got, it will render and it provides you with the timeline to play it directly when it is finished, where in blender you have to start the animation renders with play rendered animation ctrl f11, itīs not that big of a deal perhaps..but it feels smoother in lightwave when making previews, though it does so with internal memory and videoformats.

    On the other hand, final animation renders, and using play rendered animation directly from blender..that is something Lightwave doesnīt do as I am aware of, so you do not have to compile the frames in order to see the animation, so a kind of playblast animation function is something I really think Lightwave miss, as it is now..I need fusion or resolve to play the animation and load it there, so a simple playblast tools directly acessable from Lightwave would be nice, itīs much smoother that way in blender.

  9. #9
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Apples and oranges... Each app does it different. If you need a quick render preview Eevee might be helpful as well. Creating a preview in Eevee will be far faster (in particular for animation) than VPR and at a high quality.

    The Eevee viewport can be used as a Cycles preview for much work as well. No need for previews: what you see, is what you (more or less) get. Often I have no need to switch to Cycles anymore.

    Workflows are changing indeed. The boundaries between real-time and offline rendering are blurring. Good times!
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  10. #10
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayek View Post
    Apples and oranges... Each app does it different. If you need a quick render preview Eevee might be helpful as well. Creating a preview in Eevee will be far faster (in particular for animation) than VPR and at a high quality.

    The Eevee viewport can be used as a Cycles preview for much work as well. No need for previews: what you see, is what you (more or less) get. Often I have no need to switch to Cycles anymore.
    Workflows are changing indeed. The boundaries between real-time and offline rendering are blurring. Good times!
    That is a no no, itīs completely different as render engines, cycles will deliver more realistic fluid volumetric renderings than eeve, you can not make a preview render based on eevee, and then try to apply it on to cycles..You need a cycles preview.

    Using eeve and itīs render engine for almost realtime stuff, may be good enough for some things though, heck even workbench..though this sample from Chris Jones is perhaps too low in resolution, and I think he could have pushed it more with the shading, even in workbench mode...which he used, and even more with eevee, but it wouldnīt compete fully with cycles...so sample below is workbench, and pretty much realtime rendering.





    You say it can be used for previews for cycles, not accurate in my opinion, you can get a fast feedback on some things, but it canīt give you an accurate feedback on the shaders.

    You say you do not need to switch to cycles anymore, so have you produced high quality fluid smoke that includes all the bells and whistles of the cycles volume scattering model?

    That said, eevee is great..I am not questioning that, or the fact that you yourself do not need to switch to cycles much anymore..but they are not the same..nor is eevee a complete better tool for realistic rendering, if it was...we wouldnīt even have cycle in the eevee release.


    I Would like to see some kind of enhanced make preview and play options in VPR, I recall tfd was a bit tedious to work with previews, where cinema4D seemed to have a much better previewer, I think that was specificly made from jascha withing TFD, while Lightwave got no love on that part.


    as useal, unfortunately Lightwave will be compared with other preview system, thus..again a blender connection, Iīll try to stop that, I will have to do some post about cycles, fluid fire and smoke, eeeve and old fluids vs mantaflow on blender forums instead, much of my time now goes in to evaluating the old fluid engine VS mantaflow and cycles VS eeve rendering of fluids.


    In Lightwave..
    I miss some of the old viper preview functions, but there are also functions in the new features that doesnīt have the same kind of effects as in 2015, I loved how we could just fire up hv UI window, apply it on any object, null, or point or particle and easy to set a hypertexture, set a velocity speed hypertexture effect, and we got a nice motion effect going, and you just hit make preview and play directly after to see the effect....not so easy anymore

  11. #11
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Ritchie View Post
    If you look at Blender, what kind of speed improvement do you get on the GPU, maybe 3x?
    With faster CPUs coming along, that benefit may dwindle.

    I suspect with raytracing hardware coming down the pike, a fully DirectX/OpenGL/Vulcan type of renderer would be better, since it takes advantage of the whole GPU, shaders, transforms, lighting, raytracing, compute, and so on. My 2 cents.
    HEY..benifit of blender GPU speed 3x? itīs way faster than that, look at fiberfx CPU render with VPR in Lightwave VS GPU in blender...at least 10 times faster is what it feels like, but even blenders cpu is faster to render hair in blender than lightwaves cpu.
    Emission materials in blender VS high luminance surfaces in Lightwave, same there..much much faster in blender, but then again..I am not sure that can be compared properly, using emissive materials in blender is a pure joy, while I just give up on waiting for VPR in lightwave to get anywhere near it.

    TurbulenceFD volumetric multiscattering and illuminated smoke, while not Even using PBR volumetrics, horribly slow compared to fluid smoke with Principled volumetric material in blender, and it must be much faster than 3x that time in lightwave.

    The simulation speed of fluids at higher resolutions is a different thing though, if using GPU in lightwave and turbulenceFD..it goes faster than blender, that is itīs strength..not the rendering in terms of realism and speed, but that seem to be much faster than in blender with higher resolutions, but I havenīt done any exact matching, but that is what it feels like for a decent quality.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    cpu+gpu is the way to go.

    ...or make LW renderer in the cloud (Google, Amazon, Microsoft)....

    (that would require smart update of assets that have been modified from previous version of scene-to-render to limit Internet bandwidth usage)

  13. #13
    After working with Unreal with raytracing I am sure the future is realtime. (an eevee or Unreal type of renderer) I know some things are not as polished yet, but the advantages of not having to render are just too great to ignore.

  14. #14
    Super Member vncnt's Avatar
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    GPU render speed, realtime raytracing, quality predictability, and CPU/GPU cooperation could be slightly too much to ask for when aiming for enhancements on the existing Preview infrastructure.

    So far I've got:

    - Undocked Preview Window should be resizeable to fit screen, to enable handling of renders larger than computer screen.
    - fix issue to make Undocked Preview Window respect "Show OpenGL UI".
    - "Show OpenGL UI" should also suppress SubPatch Cages.
    - Add Toggle to Preview Options to force preview to "Hide OpenGL UI".
    - "AVI (sound)" should also be available when using Save Preview.
    - RGB encoded output.
    - fix the AVI index bug that makes the AVI file unuseable in many NLE's.
    - fix the issue (codec friendly size?) that makes the output look skewed.
    - a single button trigger should start rendering a preview to a file, no questions asked - just coffee.
    - Undocked Preview Window should be modeless, to act as a reference.
    - Add Save button to Undocked Preview Window, and at least place it in the top left corner if Undocked Preview Window is not resizeable.

    More ideas please!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    ...or make LW renderer in the cloud (Google, Amazon, Microsoft)....

    (that would require smart update of assets that have been modified from previous version of scene-to-render to limit Internet bandwidth usage)
    it is actually done as far as i know... LightForge
    https://render.lightforge.cc/
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