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Open Source Renderer Aqsis 1.0 Released 16

Posted by michael
from the do-not-fold-spindle-or-rend dept.
cgTobi writes "I am very pleased to announce that the stable 1.0 release of Aqsis - The Open Source Renderman Renderer, has been released. This release will remain stable in terms of publicly visible interface, no new features, only bug fixes. This will allow users who have been concerned in the past about things changing underneath them to use Aqsis in the confidence that it will not change. We have branched the CVS repository to allow 1.0 to be maintained in terms of bug fixes, while work goes ahead on new exciting features, including performance and memory optimisation, ray tracing/global illumination, and deep shadow maps."
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Open Source Renderer Aqsis 1.0 Released

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  • Is Aqsis used by any "major players" in the 3D rendering field? I'd assume not, but it'd be interesting to see who's using it.
    • Well it's only just hit 1.0 so I doubt it.
    • Not that we're aware of.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The core of it, believe it or not, was used extensively in Doom 3. Cormack licensed some of the technology, particularly the stuff to do with shadows from lights projected behind the player.

      It's also rumored to be used for Excel easter egg in Excel 2005, copies of which are being tested by various corporate groups at the moment. Microsoft was extremely impressed by Aqsis's speed and realism, and the version used in Excel apparently includes an entire map of the 1 Microsoft Way campus.

      Very impressive st

  • This is cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @03:34PM (#11399976) Homepage Journal

    It's good to see open source graphics tools. I'm a big fan of pov-ray, but its license is a little too restrictive for my tastes.

    Unfortunately, aqsis is not a raytracer, just a scanline renderer, but according to their faq they plan on adding raytracing and global illumination next.

    How does this compare to BMRT and blender?

    • Re:This is cool (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pseudonym (62607) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @03:53PM (#11400329)
      Unfortunately, aqsis is not a raytracer, just a scanline renderer, but according to their faq they plan on adding raytracing and global illumination next.

      If it helps, Aqsis is about at the stage where Pixar's Photorealistic RenderMan was at about the time of Toy Story. So while it is unfortunate (and we know how we're going to do it), don't think of this as a limitation. :-)

      How does this compare to BMRT and blender?

      Unlike BMRT, it's available. :-)

    • Re:This is cool (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Paul d'Aoust (679461)
      Being a scanline RenderMan renderer, it's comparable to BMRT. Because Blender doesn't do RenderMan without a plugin, you couldn't really compare it directly to Blender's built-in scanline renderer. However, they're both basically similar ideas... shadow maps, shaders, ambient-occlusion shadows, etc. BlenderRender already has raytracing built in, though, I believe.
    • Re:This is cool (Score:3, Informative)

      by jd (1658)
      BMRT is dead, although you can download the last compiled binary. It means that if glibc changes too much, you'll need to have an old version installed to run BMRT. It seems unlikely any fresh builds (even with the existing source) are ever going to be made, because the developer got into legal trouble with Pixar after trying to go commercial.

      Blender, as far as I know, is just a design tool, it doesn't actually do any rendering, it just allows you to develop models in a range of formats that you can then

      • Re:This is cool (Score:3, Interesting)

        by j1m+5n0w (749199)

        Blender, as far as I know, is just a design tool, it doesn't actually do any rendering, it just allows you to develop models in a range of formats that you can then throw at a renderer.

        No, it has a scanline renderer built in and an optional ray tracer backend called yafray [yafray.org].

        I think the most reasonable solution for global illumination is photon mapping [ucsd.edu]. The algorithms are elegant, produce very good output, and (unlike radiosity) are not horribly resource intensive.

      • Re:This is cool (Score:3, Informative)

        by Pseudonym (62607)

        An improvement over ray-tracing is "cone-tracing", as that allows you to handle direct reflections that have some element of diffusion. (Which is most of them.) Cone-tracing programs exist, but I don't know of any really good ones.

        Cone tracing is a nice idea at first, but it doesn't actually fit well with the demands of a modern high-end renderer:

        • The mathematics of tracing objects other than simple ones (e.g. procedurally displaced surfaces) is difficult and usually involves splitting the cone. Once y
    • It is not a scanline renderer. Like Pixar's PRMan, it is a REYES [acm.org] renderer. For parts of an image where raytracing is the best choice of algorithm, Renderman allows you to raytrace selectively. Aqsis does not support raytracing currently (you'd be surprised how little you need it), but it does support using a rayserver (such as BMRT) for that. And as you noted, raytracing with true global illumination (you can already do Ambient Occlusion) is coming soon.

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