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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blender Approximate AO Build TESTS

Some things I've noticed so far in Blender 2.45 AAO SVN Build:

*Obviously the new "Approximate Ambient Occlusion". Did a few simple tests. No speckles as in ray-traced AO, so more suitable for animation.
As for speed/quality - need to do more tests on it.
There is a noticeable difference in render times when doing simple tests with the included very basic scene of a dome shape on top of a spire with some curved wires sprouting from it. The scene has is lit by a single ray-traced shadow casting Lamp.
In these tests, the New AO renders over 37 times faster than the traditional method. There is a definite lowering in quality in the smoothing from light to shadow, and dark areas appear 'darker' than in the regular AO example. But the speed is a great improvement - particularily for animation.
Haven't tried it with hair particles yet.

The image above shows a comparison between regular AO and the newer type one approximate AO version. The scene is a simple setup with a single Lamp with ray ray-traced shadows enabled. The 'model' is just a couple of simple meshes that I 'discombobulated' and then added a few curves.
Click on image to view larger.

*When adding a plane in front view mode, it is added as if in top view mode. This is not a Bug - go to options window and in "Edit Methods" tab you can alter how New objects are added.

*New sequencer button controls are available in the buttons panel.

*Some nice python scripts added, such as Auto Masonry Script (for making stone walls with windows and doorways); Blender Measurement tool and a few others that could be pretty useful.

*Added a MPEG2 file to sequencer and it slowed everything down to a standstill and became unusable. Eats alal the memory. Something came up on screen about 'failed to make correct lib" or something like that. Just a problem with FFMPEG on this build, I think.

*To go to UV selcet mode you need to enter it by choosing "edit" and selceting "texture" view. It's been this way for a while now in blender builds since official 2.45 version. Annnoying at first but makes more sense when you get used to it. More intuitive.

*Frame/Data stamp buttons are available in Render Buttons panel. Handy.

*Don't know how dependable this version is although it hasn't crashed as many times as the earlier new Particle patch version. Again, will need to use more to find out.

I might add more notes when I try more tests. Or then again I might not. All depends on what way the wind blows, I suppose....


NOTE:You can download the new builds from
Search for the "Approximate Ambient Occlusion" builds or "AAO"

****EDIT: The pciture accompanying this article has been changed from yesterdays. The new image shows a comparison between the 'old' AO and the newer AAO which turnes out (in this example) to be 37 times faster when rendering. Yes, thats 37 times faster!!!****

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