[Bf-cycles] [GSoC 2018] Feasibility of greater integration of OpenVDB into Cycles

Gg Cc gsc97531 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 15:05:19 CET 2018

Hello everyone!

I am Geraldine Chua, a prospective GSoC candidate, and although I am a
little late to the game, I would really love to be able to help work on
Cycles over the course of this summer :).

In regards to my project, I would like to enquire about the feasibility of
fully integrating OpenVDB into Cycles. One of the tasks mentioned under the
Volume Rendering potential ideas list is the "Direct reading of OpenVDB
files as a Cycles 3D image, to render volumes generated by other software."

Right now, it seems like Blender can already read and write (but not edit?)
smoke volumes (but not other volumes?) as OpenVDB files (
There are also various other integrations done over the years such as one
attempted back in GSoC 2013 (although I cannot tell how far Jehuty managed
to finish) and the rest of Kevin Dietrich's work.

However, from this forum post (
https://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?433900), as well as a few
others, it seems like a quite a few people want much greater support for
OpenVDB. Perhaps instead of doing these 3 unrelated (although all
interesting!) tasks for Volume Rendering, I could focus on extending or
even finishing the OpenVDB integration started by Kevin Dietrich. This
would be a much more focused project, and I think one fully-fledged
project, as opposed to a few spread out tasks, might be better for the
community who will get a fully-fledged new tool.

Some ideas of tasks that can be done:

 - Revisit and complete Kevin Dietrich's unfinished projects such as the
implementation of a Volume Object Primitive or the Particle Mesher Modifier

 - Integration of other features of OpenVDB such as conversion tools,
transforms, etc. (http://www.openvdb.org/about/)

 - Refactoring of current Volumes functions in Cycles to work with the
OpenVDB format

I would like to ask from those who are much more experienced than me in
volumes development:

1. Does this project contradict any current plans or goals set for the
Blender architecture? Is OpenVDB integration a goal of Blender's?

2. Is this a project that is of actual benefit to the Blender community? Or
is the original requirement of only OpenVDB import/export what is actually
needed and  would you rather I focus on trying to also accomplish the other
2 volume rendering tasks?

3. Would you estimate that this project is feasible, i.e. the most useful
features can be implemented in 12 weeks?

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions and I hope you can
provide some of your insights and feedback on this proposal :). I know that
the Blender development community is a quite busy right now with the
upcoming Code Quest, so thank you for taking the time to help me on this.

Best regards,
Geraldine Chua
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