[Bf-funboard] thoughts on yafray integration

Chris Williamson bf-funboard@blender.org
Fri, 11 Jul 2003 19:32:48 +1200

There is an experimental plugin interface for blender which is for a more
tightly integrated Yafray with the host app. There are a number of
advantages to an integrated raytracer, however I believe Yafray is better
left as a standalone renderer, with Blender being able to export XML files.
My reasons for this are:

- The development cycles for Blender & Yafray are bound to be different. If
Yafray was integrated there would probably be a longer gap between additions
to Yafray & being able to acces those new features in Blender (like the
current problems with Yable, except updates to the interface would be tied
to updates of Blender)

- The XML scene description language of Yafray is a huge advantage, not a
disadvantage. Having a human readable (& easily parsable) render file is one
of the things that make renderman renderers so powerful, in terms of
workflow within a production pipeline. You can use all sorts of third party
tools to alter the XML's outside of the host application. You can go as far
as switching objects, without having to enter the host app, if you use
linked XML files for your objects.

I like the idea of having the materials & lighting buttons alter to show
Yafray options, could this possibly be done with a Yafray mode, which reads
in all the possible Yafray blocks & their relevant categories (Shader,
Texture, Light, Camera, Render & Filter) from a 'Master XML' - this way the
code would not have to be updated every time Yafray is, just a new Master
XML could be distributed with Yafray, which would include all new blocks &
their relevant categories.

Probably some kind of node based interface would work best (if its possible)
which would suit Yafrays structure. eg at one side you could have a list of
all the possible shader types, when one is picked a shader node could be
created with input places for each setting of that shader (these inputs
would be described in the 'Master XML'). Each node could then be collapsed &
used as the input for any setting on another node. This kind of interface
would be extremely flexable, & you could create some advanced shaders. The
same kind of interface could work for render as well, as the 'render
settings' is just another block within Yafray. Theoretically you could set
up a network of camera, filter & render nodes to output multiple resolution
renders, with different filter & render settings - all from the same XML
(I'm trying to get Jandro to implement Shader Over-rides within a render
block, so using multiple outputs could be similar to arbritrary output in
Renderman terms - the single XML file could output the rendered image, along
with a Z-Depth image, an Alpha Matte, a Velocity map, a Normal Map - or any
other type of output you could care to write a shader for.)


----- Original Message -----
From: "hans pachet" <hans_pachet@hotmail.com>
To: <bf-funboard@blender.org>
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003 6:46 AM
Subject: [Bf-funboard] thoughts on yafray integration

> I have a few thoughts on the integration of yafray in blender. I think
> important for blender to have at least one well integrated raytracer like
> yafray. It would increase the quality of the works and it would make
> more attractive.
> The ideal for me would be that you can change your project to a yafray
> project from the beginning. So for example there would be a toggle button
> somewhere which lets you choose between a blender or a yafray project.
> you select the yafray option, only important things for yafray would
> in the interface.
> Eg : When adding a new material in the material buttons, you would get a
> material window which lets you edit yafray shaders only, and not blender
> shaders. It would have IOR and reflection sliders,... and so on, and would
> let you choose between the generic or constant shader.
> The same could be done in the lamp buttons and the render buttons.
> Another problem would be that yafray uses an other data format for the
> meshes, which makes the long and painful proces of exporting necessary.
> Maybe this is a little naive and simplistic, but would it be possible to
> make yafray use the blender mesh data without having to convert somehow?
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