C4D and 3D's future....

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Old 03 March 2013   #1
C4D and 3D's future....

Okay before i begin, I LOVE c4d and use it day-in-day-out to pay for the roof over my and my familie's heads.

The following is PURELY MY OPINION.

The world of 3D apps is on the verge of a HUGE revolution. When I think about all the technologies and inovation that is DRIVING this revolution, Maxon is NOT one of those names. The Following items are (in my OPINION.) the precursors for what forces will shape our industry in the next 5 years....

1. GPU Preview / rendering.
Just look at the amazing job Luxology has done in Modo with their live dynamically rendering preview, and you can SEE the huge advantage of this. Yes i know they are still doing all of this On the CPU. If you look at VrayRT they are going down this same road.

2. Distributed bucket redering over a network. This is a game changer. To work on lighting an texturing and SEE the results from a test render in 1-2 min compared to 20-30 minutes, it a huge time saver.

3. Cloud computing . I hate the BUZZ about this, but this will redefine how we work. the desktop computer is about the die. The top of the line CPU is now $2000 just for the CHIP! Thats because with laptops and tablets, we are shifting into the age of 'offsite computation'. If you have evey payed for an online renderfarm, you can see the "CPU power-for-RENT" model works VERY well. Its not realistic to put 500 CPUS under your desk. But having a system where you can seamlessly tap into 500 CPUs would be a capability that would warrent paying a yearly 'contract fee'. Any studio would HAPPLY pay it in order to out of the depreciating hardware game.


In 5-10 years we will look at rendering the way we look at film cameras today. They are cute and did the job BACK THEN but we dont need that today when everything is rendered on the fly at 60-fps. In this future Ii want to be sure we are still using C4D.


...But then again, I HAVE been drinking.

Duff
 
Old 03 March 2013   #2
These are some interesting points you are listing here. Maxon used to be innovative back 10 years ago perhaps. I do however feel that they are just merely trying to catch up anymore, which they also struggle with. For instance, take Bodypaint... when has BP seen the last major update? I don't even recall.

The pattern with Maxon seems to be to create something "new" and flashy and dazzle a few customers (sculpting anyone?). How about Maxon puts some effort into making existing tools better by extending/or rewriting parts.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #3
Actually I've just sold my copy of modo 601. I'm underwhelmed with modo's development. Sure many things it does it does very well but many things feel half finished / buggy.

I'm sure Maxon are acutely aware of distributed rendering. Time will tell.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #4
am guessing u haven't seen stefans videos ?
 
Old 03 March 2013   #5
Nop, I dont feel it at all. While it's true that C4D lack some stuff (hell, even Lightwave got an excellent realtime previewer) it will probably come in the next iteration.

GPU rendering will come for sure but as it ask compromises and further investment, it will be a while before it's really up to the job.

I actually feel it's the other players that look prehistoric compared with C4D.
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Old 03 March 2013   #6
i dont think gpu rendering has a future. it seems to limited for most jobs. i think that cinema4d is on a good way. more than pure render power app like cinema4d needs to deliver great usability and flexibility. the renderer is secondary and can be chosen also as a third party render iinside of the 3d app (vray4d,m4d soon octane. etc.).
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Old 03 March 2013   #7
Originally Posted by ryanduff: 1. GPU Preview / rendering.
2. Distributed bucket redering over a network.
3. Cloud computing


Actually, it's not so much as a revolution than more of an evolution, it's not going to happen all at once; and while it is always great to have more processing power, these acceleration concepts are not all of the same usability.

We need to distinguish by algorithm, response time, and usability.

Level 1: Working over the internet. (I do not like calling it "the cloud" because that phrase has been occupied by the industry. There are more internet rendering concepts than just this, e.g. "peer rendering".) This is just a step farther than a render farm. It is good for medium turnaround times and peak loads in things like "render me several frames from a movie".

However, you cannot rely on it for realtime stuff. First, the net may be down or the servers on the other end unrechable or... *cough*simcity*cough*. Second, you need to upload your data first; don't know about your internet but my upload is significantly slower than my download. And your data has to be on all render nodes. Third, rendering over the internet poses a threat for your data, depending on the encryption and reliability of the render nodes. Fourth, you need render node infrastructure on the other side; even if you are just moving completely installed ready-to-use virtual machines around, this process takes time so there are organizational issues to think about.

The third and fourth issue can be solved somehow, but for the first and second, you are at the mercy of the infrastructure, part of which is subject to political decisions (general internet regulations and infrastructure expansion), part of which depends on providers of internet access, server rental, and render farms. (Also, you have to pay for everything, so you need to make sure that you are in the green financially.)

Level 2: Working on the local network. This is usually faster than the internet, you control your own infrastructure, you can supply a server for files yourself, you don't depend on anyone else. On the other hand you have to pay for all the render node hardware, and you are not as flexible.

This is actually usable for certain realtime updates with the proper functionality. I can imagine that with distributed bucket rendering, preview renders will become commonplace, usable in modeling and texturing situations. Certain dynamic simulations may also get distributed.

However: Not all algorithms can be distributed in the same way. Some can be threaded but need access to shared data (common RAM). Some cannot be threaded at all. Some need tons of caching data to work in realtime. While useful, it's not an end-all type of setup.

Level 3: Working on the GPU. This is a mixed pack. Everybody is clamoring for it, but a GPU does not have the same kind of command set as a CPU. It is massively parallel, but requires special algorithms, and mostly need to run on the graphic card RAM. Ultimately, you will not run every functionality on the GPU but just certain algorithms.

This can give you a real boost in rendering and simulation. But it will need quite some development time before it is commonplace, since all the algorithms have to be reworked.

Level 4: Working multithreaded. For all algorithms that can be threaded but need to share memory, as mentioned above. Opposed to GPU rendering, you have much less threads but higher core speed and a vastly bigger instruction set. Since most computers have already several cores, this is just making better use of existing hardware.

Level 5: Working on one core. And then lastly there are some algorithms that cannot be multithreaded (or where threading would be so complex that it introduces more trouble than it's worth). These exist. And you will want to have maximum speed on your CPU to handle them as fast as possible.

BOTTOM LINE: ------------------------------------------------

- Is this a current development direction? Yes, of course. I'd still not call it a revolution. Some things, like "more cores", are under development for years now.
- Is this something Maxon will/can/should embrace for C4D? Certainly. And they do: I remember job offers for people with CUDA experience. Also, external renderers like VRay are working on both distributed bucket rendering and GPU rendering. (Anyway, the competiton for C4D is none of the other large software packages. It'll be Blender.)
- Is a thin client tablet the future? Heck no! I'm not gonna swap my 2x 24" monitors plus Cintiq, keyboard, trackball, 3D mouse for a tiny tablet! This is just a question of usability. There may be neat 3D applications for the tablet, but they will not cover the whole 3D process anywhere in the future. Tablets are optimized for portability. You need power.
- Is internet rendering going to replace local powerhouse computers? Nope. Not all algorithms can be distributed arbitrarily. You will always need power at your fingertips.
- Is internet rendering going to change the landscape of render farms? Possible. Render farms will need to compete with dynamic virtual computing ("the cloud"), peer rendering, and other distributed rendering methods.

It's not all there is, of course. There are not only technical issues to solve, but political, organizational, and licensing problems. And better tech does not guarantee solid handling. There are other questions to solve than just raw power, like interactivity concepts, intelligent modeling/animation support, and generically adaptable objects.

The various acceleration technologies will in the future take us far, regarding realtime updates and render speed. They will not replace local power computing, but they will support it. The applications will give us better usability, better turnaround times, and better handling because of it.

I, for one, welcome the new tech.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #8
Originally Posted by HolgerBiebrach: i dont think gpu rendering has a future. it seems to limited for most jobs. i think that cinema4d is on a good way. more than pure render power app like cinema4d needs to deliver great usability and flexibility. the renderer is secondary and can be chosen also as a third party render iinside of the 3d app (vray4d,m4d soon octane. etc.).


roughly one year ago maxon was looking for a dev with GPU rendering experience. i
cannot remember the exact terms, but it looked pretty much like they intended to
extend the c4d renderer with gpu features. not sure if they found someone or if they
dropped the idea.

i think gpu rendering features is something maxon won't be able to avoid on the long
term, no matter how uneffective the feature is. gpu-rendering has a large (hardware)
lobby and therefore will always be promoted. people tend to get hyped, so maxon will
have to deliver what the customer demands.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #9
Yea Autodesk just released a video of their new interactive progressive rendering viewport. We are definitely the last in this area now, although Some of the plugin renderers offer an option for C4D.

Distributed/bucket rendering is really a small workflow difference form what we have. Not to say it isn't an important thing to develop but it is a minor change. Tile rendering with a stitching script for PS gets you the majority of the advantage. Test renders are really the only spot where ours isn't going to be as effective, but really even at my studio we've been discussing how inefficient artists are with their test rendering One get get much faster turnarounds by stopping the expectation that we need to do tests at full quality and full res with everything on at the same time. Distributed rendering is a great solution for the single freelancer with 20 computers, or even the small boutique of 5 employees who've managed to build up a farm of 10-20 computers but when you get to any decent size distributed rendering fails quickly because to many people want to render simultaneously.

As for the cloud There is a lot of debate on what is the most efficient way to work on the cloud. Should each software come up with their own dedicated ways to store and share data. In the end each package works is most efficient way, and you probably do manage less data more streamlined, but the fact is that every software package you use is going to have to have a good cloud computing solution before your pipeline can work. Or you can go the way of Sony, and rely on a pcoip solution. As rhythm moves towards cloud computing we are making one uber massive app but sony vancouver is already 100% cloud computing because each computer in vancouver is a thin client working off systems in LA. Pcoip might be more bandwidth hungry and have some limitations here and there, but it's cheap to implement, easy to maintain (can you teach people how to manage two buttons an IP address) and a single network plug. and literally can be implemented in a single day.

Maxon's a small team, R&D is of a different beast when you can't assign teams of developers to do the R&D. Maxon's innovations have rarely been technological ones, a few things in BP maybe, but really maxon's innovation has always been simplicity and workflow. Maxon may not do things first but they typically do them in a way that can be learnt and taught quickly. There's not really much of anything C4D can do that Maya can't but the vast majority of things are much much easier to do in C4D which is why it is great for individual artists and small boutiques.
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Old 03 March 2013   #10
Originally Posted by Cairyn: This can give you a real boost in rendering and simulation. But it will need quite some development time before it is commonplace, since all the algorithms have to be reworked.

Or they could design the hardware to work with x86 like the Xeon Phi. Not sure which is more efficient though, I imagine the GPU industry has the better suited kit, but I like the idea of just dropping in a PCIe accelerator card for any CPU grunt work.

cheers
brasc
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Last edited by brasco : 03 March 2013 at 09:01 AM. Reason: typos
 
Old 03 March 2013   #11
Totally out of topic but I wonder if GPU could not be used in a hybrid way for very time consuming process like blurred reflection and transparency, where rays precision is not very important.

I think it could be a capital idea!
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Old 03 March 2013   #12
Originally Posted by earwax69: Totally out of topic but I wonder if GPU could not be used in a hybrid way for very time consuming process like blurred reflection and transparency, where rays precision is not very important.

I think it could be a capital idea!


there are plenty of engines who have chosen the hybrid path, the most popular
packages would be nvidia iray and random control arion
 
Old 03 March 2013   #13
Originally Posted by LucentDreams: Yea Autodesk just released a video of their new interactive progressive rendering viewport. We are definitely the last in this area now, although Some of the plugin renderers offer an option for C4D.



Are you talking about the vray video?
 
Old 03 March 2013   #14
Originally Posted by 3DKiwi: Actually I've just sold my copy of modo 601. I'm underwhelmed with modo's development. Sure many things it does it does very well but many things feel half finished / buggy.

I'm sure Maxon are acutely aware of distributed rendering. Time will tell.


I know you've kinda given up on c4d for your modeling needs in the past, hence the modo switch. Just curious what tools you're using/plan to use now for modeling?
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Old 03 March 2013   #15
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