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An update to Anim8or, v1.00b, is available with a few bug fixes. Get your copy HERE. See the "ReadMe" file for details.

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Messages - Steve

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neirao: the ner camera controls make it much easier to smoothly dolly and pan the camera. I still have a bit of work to do to eliminate the over/under shoot of the movement. Currently you sometimes need to fix that in the graph editor, but I think I have a solution.

davdud101: "Is the precision of the CAD numbers adjustable?" That's a good idea. I'll see if I can add an option for it.

Anim8or v1.0 Discussion Forum / Re: Bone locking feature??
« on: July 25, 2018, 10:12:34 pm »
Have you tried using IK - Inverse Kinemetics ?

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 23, 2018, 10:08:10 pm »
Trevor: Thanks for the results. As to why ChunkSize=16 doesn't work, Anim8or doesn't use values less than 32 because the overhead of the extra work required increases rapidly below that point. I suppose I should clamp the size to 32 for smaller values instead of using the default.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 23, 2018, 02:01:50 am »
Trevor: I just posted build 1330 with max-threads of 16. Give it a try!

AlecJames: Backgrounds of all kinds (Panorama, Image and Cube Map) should work for all camera views in all renderers in build 1330.

selden: the int Attribute MaxThreads sets the maximum number of threads. So if you have a 4 code CPU you can set it to 3 to leave a core for you to use while it's rendering. Alternately, you can set it to -1 to use all but one thread, or -2, etc.

Raxx: the main difference with the multi-threaded Fast AA for your scene is the way Anim8or handles soft shadows.

Previously Anim8or would sample sqrt(n) samples for n sample anti aliasing and see what the max color difference was between the samples. If it was too large, Anima8or would take another sqrt(n) samples. Then if the color still wasn't converging fast enough it would sample the full number.

Now the color difference isn't used because highly varying textures could cause a slowdown. Instead Anim8or uses a mask of what lights are visible for each sample. If it is different for the first sqrt(n) samples, then Anim8or samples all the rest. This works very well for normal shadow edges and soft shadow edges that aren't "too soft", i.e. the number of pixels that are partially shadowed is small. You scene has several soft shadowed lights that are very close to the objects which means a lot of pixels are softly lit. So Anim8or sample all samples for them. Since you are using 100 sample FastAA this adds a lot of time.

I have a more sophisticated algorithm that I want to try for later builds that should make much smoother soft shadows with fewer samples. It involves filtering the light separately from the surface material. I don't know when I'll have it ready so keep you fingers crossed!

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 18, 2018, 06:23:53 pm »
ENSONIQ5: Nice comparisons. I'm really pleased at how well the latest Anim8or compares to Carrara. Carrara's lighting and glass effects are noticeably better, but overall Anim8or's speed and soft shadows seem to match Carrara's.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 16, 2018, 06:04:47 pm »
Trevor: You are correct. Your CPU has 8 multi threaded cores for 16 threads. Anim8or currently limits the max thread count to 8 but I'll increase that to 16 in the next build.

(P.S. Can I exchange CPUs with you :) ?)

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 16, 2018, 04:05:03 pm »
AlecJames: Thanks, I'll look into it.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 16, 2018, 04:25:19 am »
I have 2 physical cores and 4 logical cores = 4 threads. I suspect that you have 4 physical cores and 8 logical cores - that's what Intel calls a "8 core cpu".

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 15, 2018, 11:34:05 pm »
Trevor: it doesn't really help to use more threads that there are in your CPU. If your CPU isn't 100% busy it's probably waiting on memory (i.e. there is more data being accessed than will fit in the CPU's cache). It might even speed up the render to use fewer threads, depending on the data set.

On my CPU (2 hyper threaded cores, 4 threads total) most renders use 100% of the CPU.

Yes, another experiment that didn't pan out as I'd hoped. It can be useful in Object coordinates (hot-key 'o') however.

I'm also experimenting with a miniature version over the little axis in the lower left-hand corner so that when you move the mouse over it the track ball appears aligned with the axis.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 14, 2018, 09:48:48 pm »
Raxx: Rendering with smaller chunks can also help. I'm still experimenting with ways to handle trailing chunks.

As to why your example is slower with 1329, it's caused by the light mask heuristic. Because ambient occlusion sends "shadow" rays in all directions, different samples for the same pixel on much of the models can see or not see the sky. This causes FastAA to revert to a full evaluation of all 256 samples/pixel. In the attached image these are the yellow pixels. The fast pixels are dark gray.

The other image is from 1325 where the orange pixels are the fast ones. As you can see almost the entire image is "fast".

I'm trying to come up with better heuristics for ambient occlusion.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 14, 2018, 08:02:30 pm »
selden: Yes, there will be a max threads setting in the next drop.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 13, 2018, 08:28:34 pm »
It is possible to achieve a 8x throughput improvement with a quad code, 8 threaded Intel CPU. Somewhat simplifying, each thread only is allocated every other cycle. So if 1 thread takes 1000 cycles of CPU use and finishes in 2000 cycles clock-time, then 2 threads can run on the same core and finish in 2001 cycles clock-time. So Raxx's CPU could run 8x faster that a single thread render.

There are other resources that limit the performance: memory bandwidth, cache size, etc., so in practice the actual result is less than the theoretical maximum. Changing the "chunk" size in Anim8or changes how memory and the cache are accessed so, depending on the details of the scene, the optimal size can vary greatly.

I'm also working on other ways to limit the memory requirements.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: Multi-Threaded Rendering
« on: July 13, 2018, 04:48:57 pm »
Raxx: Are you using ambient occlusion? I haven't tried any examples with the new fast AA.

I changed the fast AA heuristics. It should make soft shadows better and faster, among other things. Here's how it works for N samples/pixel:

1. A small number of samples, sqrt(N), is made. If all of the following criteria are satisfied then those are averaged for the final value:

a) all samples are of the same material, including the closest sample in the 4 adjacent pixels,
b) the min Z and max Z differ by less that 5%, including the closest sample in the 4 adjacent pixels,
c) each light is either visible but all samples, or not visible, including the closest sample in the 4 adjacent pixels,
d) the average normal from this pixel and the 4 adjacent pixels are within 30 degrees,

The previous fast AA heuristic used color contrast between the samples and did not use materials or visibility of lights.

You can see what criteria are used with the environment variable int ShowFastAA.

1 - Green is fast AA, black is full evaluation,
2 - Red is large delta Z, gray is fast AA, black is other full evaluation,
3 - Yellow is different lights visible,
4 - Cyan is divergent normals,
5 - Magenta is multiple materials,
6 - Orange is reflective material (currently disabled),
7 - Blue is large color contrast (currently disabled),
8 - Violet is multiple materials, not counting adjacent pixels' nearest samples.

I attached renders of a room with 4 soft shadow local lights that show how this works.

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