Lukas Stockner has been working on yet another awesome Cycles feature, this time a sneaky method to reduce noise without actually rendering more samples.
Read more and download a Windows build from the BA thread.
To put it simply, “denoising” is a process of analysing your render and trying to shmoosh the noise/grain together and make it look clean.
Sergey Sharybin added sphere and tube mapping options to the image node yesterday:
[12ccac6] Cycles: Support sphere mapping for the image texture
[dda3554] Cycles: Support tube projection for images
What is it?
Just the same mapping types we’ve had in BI for years ;)
Sphere mapping allows us, for example, to painlessly map a texture of the Earth onto a sphere without needing to do any UV mapping.
How do I use it?
Simply change the projection method on you image node from Flat to Sphere or Tube, and probably you’ll want to use generated coordinates.
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I searched long and hard for a way to create these magical images that light your scenes for you, and I never once found any article or mention of the process in any of the Blender forums. Every time I saw a render using image based lighting (IBL), the artist had always found it on some website (and was usually accompanied by a complaint about how Blender doesn’t give you nice hard shadows).
I’m no expert in this matter, but due to the lack of information that can be found easily, I’d like to share the little that I do know with you.
So in this guide I’ll show you the basics, but it’s up to you and the rest of the community to find out by experience what is good or bad practice and when to ignore everything you’ve ever been taught.
Alliteration aside, this blew my mind.
The two images above were both rendered in nearly 18 minutes on a 12 core i7 CPU. All materials and settings everywhere were exactly the same… sort of.
I’ve been playing with image stacking lately, mainly as a tool to render images and animations progressively, but when rendering some glass the other day, I realized that the only reason it renders so slow is because the noise and fireflies don’t change all that much, only more and more of it gets added and eventually averaged out. So if we change the noise pattern and render less samples a couple of times…
I remember when Cycles first came out, people loved the progressive rendering, where it shows you the whole image and gets clearer and clearer the longer you wait. But one of the first things people asked was “Can you render an animation progressively too?“. The answer was no. Until now that is.
I’ve created an addon that allows you to do exactly that.
It’ll render each frame of the animation to its own folder (like path/to/render/frame_15/image.jpg), and then repeat the whole animation render again using a different seed, which means that there’ll be a different noise pattern. Then you can hit the Merge Seeds button and it’ll gather all the different images for each frame, average the pixel values and make a nice clean animation.