[Bf-cycles] Could we do this with Cycles ?

Antoine Cottin adancottin at gmail.com
Tue Feb 25 22:58:58 CET 2014


My name is Antoine. I’m a senior developer at Carbomap. Our core business is  forest monitoring using airborne laser scanner (lidar).
You might have seen some of our graphics/video on BlenderNation lately:

We are currently designing a new multi-wavelength lidar system (hardware and software) specifically tailored for forest monitoring. For this I have developed a ray tracing engine in IDL (www.exelisvis.com) to simulate the system response. We use Blender to create our 3D virtual scene/world.

This setup works but is a bit tedious as we need to export the scene to a specific file format and then process the file into our engine. I also think that we could benefit (and not need to reinvent the wheel) from all the texture/material already present into Cycles… bottom line this would facilite the implementation of the overall simulator.

So I was wondering, as a Blender user, if the direct integration of our simulator into Blender could be easily achievable.

Basically what we need to simulate the system response is:
- a mesh light that project a light beam with a 2D gaussian shape (kind of spot light) -> this act as the laser source
- a camera -> this act as the optical scanner/PMT photon detector
- and the ability to get the travel distance camera-object-light -> to model the time response system
- and the shader value/response -> to model the light/mater interaction (similar to physical render based engines)

So two questions:
1. Do you think this could be easily easily?
2. If so, does anyone has valuable guidance on how to get started?

PS: I’ve been already scouting the source code, and I can somehow understand the overall structure/sens of it, however it is always difficult and intimidating to get into a huge piece of code with any guidances/help. Not to mention that C++ is not my native language… so still struggling and stumbling sometimes.

PS2: We are a commercial company, but we don’t see (nor seek) any commercial outputs from this development, beside being able to design and develop a better hardware. If we succeed, we will most likely release this simulator to the public and scientific community.

Thank you for your time.
Dr Antoine Cottin
Senior Software Developer/Analyst
Carbomap Ltd.
7th Floor, Appleton Tower
11 Crichton Street
+44 (0)7577 444-046

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