Sad news for the open-source and open-standards community coming from the Blender team:
OpenCL rendering support was removed. The combination of the limited Cycles kernel implementation, driver bugs, and stalled OpenCL standard has made maintenance too difficult. We are working with hardware vendors to bring back GPU rendering support on AMD and Intel GPUs, using others APIs.
At the same time CUDA implementation saw noticeable improvements in large part thanks to the better utulization of NVIDIA's own OptiX library:
So NVIDIA wins... TWICE:
GPU kernels and scheduling have been rewritten for better performance, with rendering often between 2-7x faster in real-world scenes.
All of this once again displays the real world difficulties of developing, maintaining and promoting open-source alternatives to commercial Software designed by the manufacturer to utilize the hardware capabilities of their products to the max.
And the end result? We're falling deeper and deeper into the vendor lock trap and as the vendors keep turning their proprietary hardware-interfacing Software and APIs into state-of-art ready-to-use solutions, those which are developed in a "democratic" environment keep tripping over their shoelaces failing to get any traction on the market they set out to provide the alternative on.
This makes me grateful that there do exist open-source APIs that work, like OpenGL and Vulcan. But... Why are we still in a situation where Vulcan, "the next generation graphics and compute API" is still incapable of providing even the same level of functionality as the dreaded OpenCL so that it could finally offer a real alternative to commercial compute APIs? Why didn't Blender team even mention Vulcan as something they would look into as an alternative to OpenCL?
A million dollar question...
It finally happened!
A NON-mediocre (in fact — absolutely amazing) 3DCG short film from Blender Studio!
Excellent work, guys! Everything: the presentation, the comedic timing, the plot twist, the acting — just perfect! It's especially noticeable when compared to the Studio's previous works which... Let's be honest: they weren't great. Not that they needed to be much more than a collection of assets mashed together in the form of a more or less coherent story, but this one is on another level.
The film was made with Blender 3.0. Blender development coordinator Dalai Felinto says that the new release schedule for the stable release of Blender 3.0 is set for December, 2021. Can't wait!
Now imagine yourself in the shoes of Autodesk management. You have hundreds of thousands of people who want to enter the 3DCG industry. You tell your shareholders: "Hey, let's take away professional and entry-level perpetual Software licenses and give our customers subscription as the only option. Yeah, subscriptions. The worst possible thing for a freelancer. What a great idea! It will sure stand the test of time!"
Now tell me: after a myriad of amazing Blender updates, more and more companies becoming sponsors of the Blender foundation, and now NVIDIA with their RTX + AI denoiser integrated into the Software this well...
Tell me how many more potential Autodesk clients will turn to Blender to never look back?
Don't ask me why my mind immediately went to Autodesk of all things... Probably because I will never forgive them for killing off Softimage and afterwards going subscription-only route.
Ahem, excuse me. Anyway...
Well done, Blender and NVIDIA!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I had an idea for a practice sculpture project and needed to find some software to bring it to fruition.
If there is one thing I love doing, it's trying out different pieces of software. This time an app of my choice would need to be capable of providing a comfortable and intuitive sculpting workflow as well as being more or less affordable.
So let's check out the results of my quest to find the perfect sculpting app.