[Bf-cycles] Cycles use in Visualization

Matheson, Michael A. mathesonma at ornl.gov
Thu Sep 29 23:35:15 CEST 2011

At the OLCF at Oak Ridge National Laboratory ( an Open Science Supercomputing site for the Department of Energy ), we routinely use blender ( along with other packages ) for scientific visualization.  Our models probably differ than many users of blender in that they are the output of simulations from some of the large computers in the world.  Over 100M polygons is common with some in the billion polygon range ( and increasing all the time ) as one use.  We've recently been experimenting with Cycles and are impressed with capabilities it would give us.  We find that we are often constrained with blender-internal by the time to create the acceleration structures ( seems to be a serial process ) and by the memory footprint.  All of our polygons have vertex colors so possible future plans for Cycles using packed byte colors is a huge win for us ( I'm lobbying for the need ).  However, we don't understand how to render vertex colored models within Cycles and we'd like to know whether it is implemented.  We also see a different type of cpu load with cycles versus blender internal - it seems more difficult to fully utilize all cores ( although it clearly is much faster ).  I'm sure we use hardware resources that are not at all typical or representative of blender/cycles users.  Our newest computer is around the corner with 100s of thousands of AMD cores and 1000s of nVidia GPUs so the models will explode in size.  I appreciate any information we receive.

Thank You All for the work on this amazing software,

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