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Blender 2.64: Cycles

Scene Loading Optimizations

BVH building is multithreaded now. Object splitting now uses binning rather than sorting of all elements and other small changes have been done to avoid allocations, pack memory more tightly and avoid some unnecessary operations. This makes the BVH build process a lot faster, about 5x to 10x on a dual core and 5x to 25x on an 8-core machine, depending on the scene. (r46023)

There is now also better multithreading for multiple instanced meshes, different threads can now build BVH's for different meshes, rather than all cooperating on the same mesh. It is especially noticeable for dynamic BVH building for the viewport, giving about 2x faster builds on 8 core in fairly complex scene with many objects. (r46328)

Also image loading was multithreaded, each thread can load a separate image. (r46328)

Nodes

  • Object Info node added, with outputs object location, object/material, pass index, and a random number unique to the instance of the object. This can be useful to give some variation to a single material assigned to multiple instances, either manually controlled through the object index, based on the object location, or randomized for each instance. (r46841)
Random number connected to a color ramp, giving random colors to the objects.
  • Particle Info node added,with outputs for age, lifetime, index, velocity, angular velocity, location and size of the particle that spawned an object instance. (r47616)
  • Image Texture nodes now support blended box mapping, image sequences, and the limit on the number of image textures for CPU rendering has been removed. (r47432), (r50384), (r50384)
Blended box mapping without UV coordinates.
  • Texture Coordinate nodes now support a normal output, which will give an object space normal useful for texturing because it stays the same as the object is transformed. (r46023)
Cycles noise falloff hard.png Cycles noise falloff soft.png
  • Light Path nodes now have a Ray Length output, which gives the distance of the ray travelled from the last bounce, which can be used for example to simulate absorption. (r46200)

Non-Progressive Integrator

A new non-progressive integrator was added, which only works on the CPU and gives control over the number of AA samples, and the number of Diffuse, Glossy, Transmission, AO, Mesh Light, Background and Lamp samples for each AA sample. This helps tuning render performance/noise and tends to give less noise for renders dominated by direct lighting. More details in the integrator documentation. (r47825)

Regular (F12) rendering now also works tiled, and supports save buffers to save memory during render and cache render results for compositing. This gives somewhat faster rendering, and makes it possible to render with very large resolutions on the GPU, as the whole image no longer needs to be in GPU memory. (r50384)

Render Layers & Passes

  • Exclude Layers were added to render layers. Scene layers (all object that influence the render, directly or indirectly) are shared between all render layers. However sometimes it's useful to leave out some object influence for a particular render layer, and that's what this option allows you to do. (r46023)
  • Support for the motion vector and UV passes was added. (r46114)
  • Per render layer Samples control, leaving it to 0 will use the common scene setting. (r46023)

Other

  • Filter Glossy option: When using a value higher than 0.0, this will blur glossy reflections after blurry bounces, to reduce noise at the cost of accuracy. 1.0 is a good starting value to tweak. Below is an example of a render with caustics, without caustics, and caustics with filter glossy. (r46023)
Cycles noise reference.png Cycles noise no caustics.png Cycles noise filter glossy.png
  • Panoramic fisheye cameras are now available, with equisolid and equidistant modes, the former being a closer approximation to real fisheye lenses, and the latter being useful for full dome projection. (r46287)
Blender2.64 cycles fisheye.png
  • Spot Lamps are now supported (r47426)
  • Border render now works in the viewport, when looking through the camera, same as in F12 render. It draws objects in solid draw mode outside of the border. (r47550)
  • New NVidia GPU's with shading model 3.0 are now supported (NVidia Geforce 600 series). (r47133)