[Bf-committers] Re: Internal renderer question

Trevor McDonell tmcdonell at vislab.usyd.edu.au
Wed Oct 12 16:42:37 CEST 2005


> Although very useful, I don't recommend such coding project to someone  
> who's not totally familiar to how Blender works, and especially the  
> rendering system.
> I've done a lot of work to get Blender rendering in threads (SDL),  
> doing that involved a lot of very painful code rewrites. It now renders  
> a scanline based thread. Having threads running for entire Parts is at  
> this moment a task I won't even try myself.

Yes, I started having the suspicion a few weeks ago that my approach, a 
fairly standard distributed computing technique, really wasn't the best 
way to go about things with Blender, but bashed away at it hoping for 
some positive results. I guess this confirms my suspicions!

> I have no active knowledge about the consequences of "MPI" or  
> "distributed memory". You could really first tell us the functionality  
> you require, before already having decided on crucial technical  
> implementation issues. :)

Yes, I agree, but hindsight is always 20/20 (=
The work was started as a project course I decided to take at uni this 
semester. The course itself is very open-ended, but I was required to 
define what I planned to do very early on. Still, I've learnt a lot, and 
that doesn't preclude me from now following this new direction. The 
general aim for the project is to be able to make Blender render in 
real-time (given a sufficiently large number of machines) which I guess 
can then be used for some interesting things.

> For example; for a cluster you can just start up individual blender  
> binaries, and signal each running process to render a single part.  
> That's not shared memory, but quite efficient. (This feature is not  
> implemented yet, although it's possible with a hacky trick already).

I had been toying with this idea, and was going to try this within the 
next few days, since my current approach was making no headway. I guess 
I can move onto this now without looking back (=

For this, so far I know I can create the blender processes on the remote 
machines. They could all read the same .blend file from a shared mount 
(say) although broadcasting it over the network would be much faster 
(not sure how to do this off hand though, this step is hazy, and very 
welcome to suggestions). After this, I should be able to send them the 
selected render options and control who does what part pretty easily. 
Getting the rect data back should be fine as well. Said off the top of 
my head with a fair bit of blind optimism, but it effectively 
circumvents the major problem I was having.

> If 'distributed memory' means that you run threads that share memory, I  
> recommend you to not even try!

The most common example would be of a cluster of (independent) machines 
all networked. MPI is a library you can use to send messages, data, and 
such, between the machines. It's pretty much become the de-facto 
standard these days for parallel computing.

Thanks again everyone for your help and suggestions. I shall see how 
this technique plays out.


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