Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blender GPU vs CPU rendering speeds

This is just a quick comparison to show the difference between rendering with the CPU and with the graphics card (GPU).

40.03 seconds compared to 2.98 is a fairly large difference and it becomes very apparent when waiting for a render.

Words don't do the numbers justice:

 I hope Blender Cycles gets OpenCL (non-proprietary and available to both Nvidia and AMD video cards) support soon, the difference is pretty large. This also helps show what an improvement the GPU is over the CPU for certain tasks in general. This has yet to be fully utilized in games, hopefully once OpenCL gets going we'll see games take full advantage of it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gimp 2.7.4 Experiments, MyPaint and a Submarine

I recorded a speed painting to show it in action, you can see it on Youtube below:

Here's the new interface, though the default is different of course, this is how I have it set up. There are a number of improvements on 2.6.11 that I was able to spot, as well as a few issues of course:

  • Single window mode is great
  • Absolute and relative control over slider bars for better control
  • It's now easier to see where to click & drag to resize windows
  • Layers are shorter and more compact and efficient
  • So many Paint Dynamics! For me this is the best feature
  • A much improved make seamless filter which doesn't give "blurred" results
  • Improved selection graphics, the lasso tool is especially nice
  • Brush outlines no longer take up huge amounts of processing time, a real issue before

  • Paint Dynamics are quite difficult to get to and slow the painting process down
  • Quick access to most used dynamics - size & opacity > on/off and simple curves would be nice
  • Not sure why some sliders do not look the same (navigator zoom and the opacity sliders)
  • "Export" instead of "save as a copy" for .jpg etc takes getting used to at first
  • Bugs, though they are to be expected in an unstable release

Overall, while some aspects feel slow and clumsy, it is very nice to use and seems much more professional than previous versions. Click for larger version:

I also dabbled in MyPaint which was interesting, though I sorely missed having the powerful features of Gimp such as masks, selections, filters etc. MyPaint is a program which simply "feels" fantastic to work in, everything is so smooth, it reminds me of swimming for some reason. I'd really like to be able to quickly transfer my work from Gimp to MyPaint and back since they both have fantastic features. I did a quick paint-over of a simple in Gimp, sketch done in MyPaint. Result below:

Ah, the fluid post is on the way, I hope, it turned out it was more work than I anticipated. I'm rendering the last of the flooded sub corridor though, more on the way :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gimp 2.7.4

I only just discovered that you can try out Gimp 2.7.4, the latest version of Gimp and a step closer to the fabled Gimp 2.8 I've been waiting for. I was off to a bit of a rough start, but ended up over at Partha's Place ( where he has provided binaries, many thanks!

After an hour or so playing around like a child with the new toy he's been waiting on since the last Christmas I've got mixed feelings. I really like some of the changes and new features yet at the same time the whole thing feels much more clumsy and harder to use.

Take the "Paint Dynamics" for example: to change the curve of the pressure-dependent size dynamic you must locate the Tool Options window, click on the Dynamics icon which will then bring up a quick menu containing the Dynamics presets, click on another Dynamics icon, this time small and right down the bottom, then the "Paint Dynamics" window will appear, you can then either double click on an entry to edit it (keeping in mind it will edit that entry for all brushes which use it) or click on the "Create new dynamics" button which will bring up the old "Brush Dynamics" menu that used to rest in the Tool Options window, you must then click on Size-Pressure to enable pressure dependent size and then near the top you must click on the drop down menu with "Mapping matrix" written on it and select size. Sorry that sentence was getting far too long, ran out of breath. Next you must manipulate the curve to produce the results you want, also keeping in mind that it doesn't tell you anything, which axis is pressure and which is size? Up, down, left, right? Sorry, that's as confusing and time consuming as the process I just described, a picture might convey things better:

That's simple enough, right? But what are we comparing it to? What I just described is basically the same thing as the "Power" slider in Gimp Painter - oops, I just gave away the end of this story didn't I.

Let's take a look at that same process in Gimp Painter:

I don't want to end on that note of course, I'm very grateful to everyone who contributes to Gimp, I love the program, but the new interface needs a lot of streamlining.