[Bf-committers] Alembic

Roger Wickes rogerwickes at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 24 16:41:02 CEST 2010

After some chats on IRC, a near-term use that I can see is to 
use it to replace Blender's existing point-cache system. Systems
like particles, fluids, and cloth and softbodies can be baked in Blender 
where the loc (and vector) of each vertex are pre-computed and saved. 
Shape keys could be baked but this would be new functionality.

The advantage to using this file format is that we get the routines to manage
that data for free and we don't have to maintain it. They are guaranteeing 
compatibility, so we wouldn't have to worry about taking it over in the future. 

Another advantage is that it provides a unified way to save all the baked data 
in one
(big?) file, rather than scattered across like we have now. This may provide a 
to easily move and version control files in a multi-platform shop. 

Another advantage is that we are prepped to eventually support it as an output
file format, for saving mesh deforms by frame. 

Advantage is that it would allow shops to use only Blender's cloth, or fluids, 
for example, only, 

as a cheaper alternative to Maya's add-ons and commercial s/w, for example. 
This might actually help Blender overall get 
into mainstream studios with mainstream backing. 

Advantage is that you could use the L-system to build trees in Blender, 
rig and animate and make them sway in the breeze, and then 
bake all that out as a library object for future texturing and use in say, Max.

In general, it expands the notion of a CG asset to encompass the time dimension, 

providing a way to save not only an obj, but also how it moves over time. 

Disadvantages is the time and effort needed to understand the code, fight the 
NIH syndrome, and rip out the guts of our existing cache system and replace it
with hooks to their library. 

I assume there's no license issues. There are no meaningful end-user/dev docs, 
surprise surprise. It's all very new. Version 1 stuff. lots of concepts floating 
about still. 

Overall, we shouldn't waste effort if it isn't broke. Are there any issues with 
existing cache system? I thought there was some....

If there is some interest or need in using it for these purposes, let me know
and I can dive into the code. 



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