Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fiat lux (Let there be light!)

Last night I finally completed my multi-month long quest to get LuxRender to play nicely with Blender. (Blender, as I've mentioned before, is a 3-D modeling program, and LuxRender is "a physically based and unbiased rendering engine". It has a whole lot of nifty features, the most interesting for me being that it realistically models individual wavelengths of light, leading to realistic effects such as dispersion, or the ability to create a blackbody emission spectrum.)

I actually started looking at getting LuxRender to work back around Sping Break, but wasn't able to get it working. Blender is going through a serious reworking right now (going from version 2.4x to the new, radically redesigned and updated 2.5x series), and there didn't exist a version of LuxRender to go with the new Blender version. It seems to have appeared only recently, as I took another look at it after the semester ended and didn't find anything then.

Anyway, it took a complete wipe and clean install of the very latest Blender version (2.5 Beta), and of LuxRender (not quite sure what version it is, as it's still experimental as far as I can tell) to get Blender to acknowledge that LuxRender existed on my computer (quite the tedious manual installation. That should get better, in time).

Below is the first picture I've managed to get from it that looks halfway decent. A copper cube resting on some kind of...dirt...or maybe sand. I'm not sure which.
Nothing special, but I like the pretty copper color.

As both the Blender and LuxRender versions I'm using are still beta or experimental versions, it tends to crash every so often, so is not immediately useful right now. That will improve over time, though, and has inspired the artistic, creative part of my brain with some ideas for future projects.

At the moment, though, I have to study hard in order to try to test out of my basic Mechanics class on Monday and Wednesday. I have three hours allotted for each day, each of which will cover one half of the course (!). A hui hou!

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