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Ideal Systems For 3D Rendering
by Gen Wright

3D graphics has taken over our visual space and it is small wonder that there are so many 3D graphics creating studios out there that are vying for attention. From advertising companies to website owners, every one wants 3D graphics and interactive solutions to wow their clients and visitors.

This has created the great demand that enables so many studios to come up in so little time. But the catch in this business is the cost of equipment. Systems for 3D graphic creation are expensive and they require a high amount of initial investment. This includes buying the main computers on which the main creation process will take place. Then come the usual accessories for crating the drawings and the wireframes. There is also the cost of infrastructure and softwares that add to the total sum that needs to be spent.

Till this point, it is still possible for studios to get away with investing in basic equipment to keep it cost effective. However, when it comes to building a rendering system, costs start to skyrocket. As most professionals and even amateurs would immediately, rendering is a processor intensive process and it takes a lot of processing power to crunch the data in at least twice that of real time.

However, the reality is that you need to have a very high amount of processing power to achieve decent speeds and one single CPU is never enough for this purpose. So most professional create smaller clusters of CPUs. This is based on the same principle that multi-core chips are based on - many hands make light work. This called parallel processing and it is how all high-demand computational jobs are carried out.

But these CPU clusters cannot be just chips put together because such a system would need to be custom made and that is super computers are built. Instead, the clusters are actually interconnected machines that are full-fledged systems. They have the full chip, motherboard, RAM, storage and OS setup. Their combined processing power is called upon to make the rendering process faster. After all, no one really wants to wait for days to finish rendering a movie!

But creating such cluster is expensive. Each system needs to be a capable system to be able to contribute properly to the process. This where the costs really start to escalate. Thankfully, solutions do exists and you do not have to physically go somewhere else either.

There are good rendering farms that operate through the Internet and offer you prices based on how much processing power you will need. The calculation is done on the basis of per Ghz of processing power required. And you do not have to worry about the types of rendering they support because integration is provided for all major softwares and their rendering types. This includes Maxwell render, mental ray, v ray, final render, and vue, just to name a few. All major softwares like 3D Max, Maya, Blender, etc are fully supported.

A Quick Glance at Most Popular Renderers
by Benicio Brown

There is a way array of renderers in the market nowadays: Here goes a list to name but a few: 3Delight, Aqsis, Brazil, FinalRender, FPrime, Gelato, Indigo Renderer, Kerkythea, LuxRender, Maxwell Render, Mental Ray, Pixar's PhotoRealistic RenderMan, Pixie, POV-Ray, Sunflow, Turtle, VRay, YafRay, YafaRay.

In this article we are going to take a quick glance at five of them: 3Delight, Aqsis, Brazil, finalRender and Indigo.

3Delight - This is a RenderMan compliant renderer. It is designed for the production of photo-realistic images. It was introduced to the market in 2000 and now it is widely used by the 3D animation community.

3Delight is RenderMan compliant, it features support for RenderMan shading language and geometry, and comes with extensible display drivers and multi-platform support with specific code optimization.

Regarding price, 3Delight first license (two threads) is free, even for commercial use. This license does not entitle you to support, and if you need it you must pay $250 USD. If you need more licenses, price is $2.150 for an unlimited thread license, $450 USD/yr for support, $1.400 (4 threads) with $285 USD/yr for support, or $900 USD (2 threads) with $190 USD/yr support.

Aqsis - This is a free open source 3D renderer which adheres to the RenderMan standard.

Aqsis offers several top-notch features, among them: programmable shading, high level primitive support, sub-pixel displacement, motion blur, depth of field, shadow mapped ambient occlusion, arbitrary output variables, subdivision surfaces, high quality texture mapping, level of detail, high dynamic range, and can be extended through plugins.

Brazil - This renderer is a product from SplutterFish.

Its main features are: speed, materials (glass material, toon material, utility material, and advanced material), 3D motion blur support, texture maps, displacement support, camera and light, photon and shadow maps, and much more.

Brazil System Requirements:

3ds Max? (6, 7, 8, 9, 2008, 2009 or 2010), or 3ds Max Design? (2009 or 2010) or Autodesk VIZ? (2005, 2006, 2007, or 2008) - both 32 and 64 bit versions.

Windows® 2000, Windows® XP, Windows® Vista or Windows® 7. Windows ME will not load Brazil / Brazil Rio, Windows NT 4 might, but is not supported!

Intel®-compatible processor at 300 MHz minimum - Recommend a fast, modern multi-core machine.

128 MB RAM and 300 MB swap space minimum - Recommend minimum 1GB RAM, 2.5GB swap.

finalRender - This software package comes in two editions, finalRender R3, suitable for the vast majority of users, and finalRender Studio Edition, catering to advanced users and big studios.

finalRender features include finalShaders, interactive rendering, new object types, new materials, material enhancements, new texture maps, new light type, new render effects, render element enhancements, linear workflow enhancements, general enhancements, and the list goes on.

Indigo Renderer - This software caters to all product designers, 3d modelers, architects or artists.

Among its main features it offers accurate light simulation, material creation, realistic camera, physical materials, realistic lights, light layers, sun and sky, accurate metals, motion blur, film control, integrated network rendering, participating media, full spectral rendering, support for complex geometry, advance tone mapping, and much more.

Studio 3D Animations Made Easy with Revolutionary Animation Software
by Julia Spence

3D Animations have always caught my eye. They are graphically rich, a fantasy world brought to life in 3 dimensions. To create such a world seems impossible.

But that 3D world is now a possible reality with IllusionMage, the revolutionary 3D graphics program similar to leading studios such as Pixar or even Walt Disney. This is no playground program. It is a solid 3D animation software that can construct the most beautiful and overwhelming of 3D scenarios. Maya and 3D Max are similar programs that cost no less than $7500. The best thing about IllusionMage is the price: $47 marked down from normal value of $497.

The IllusionMage suite software can be test driven for 60 days, promising wonderful capabilities of interface, 3D rendering, modeling, cartoon animation, realtime 3D/game creation, and editing and composition. Complex 3D shading and interactive 3D rigging, as well as realistic physics and particles, is all a part of the package. It is an advanced animation software and a full featured integrated modelling, rendering, animation and real-time 3D game creation package. This hi-end software suite allows you to:

- Create high quality 3D graphics
- Produce your own cartoon animated film
- Draw and animate 3D models
- Design your own 3D game easily
- Create real-time interactive 3D content
- Creating and render exceptionally rich & realistic natural environments.

This software truly allows your imagination to come alive with the easiest way to create stunning animations!
Not only that, but you also get a ton of guides and video training along with the program. For the 3D pro or fantasy creator wannabe, IllusionMage is a wonderful program with unending possibilities of creations. It is guaranteed to perform beyond expectations. With the provided suite & blender video tutorials, you can weave your own web of magic. You DO NOT need to attend expensive courses or have any experience to use this. You will be able to produce "hollywood" 3D computer animations and models like movie studios quicker and easier than you've ever dreamed of. Test drive it now at 3D Animations Software!

How to Set Up A 3D Design Studio Using Only Free Software
by Shen Gerald

3D Graphics creations are often perceived as requiring costly software. Well, this is not always the case because the internet is really a place loaded with free goodies waiting to be utilized. With the relevant skill, a designer or artist can produce works (using these free tools) that are comparable to what professional tools can do.

I will show you how to start a professional 3D graphic design studio using only free software. To produce credible 3D graphics, the tools must be able to perform the various functions namely:

1. Modelling

2. Rendering

3. Animation

4. Image editing

5. Texture creation

Well, we need to substitute commercial tools with their free and or open source equivalents.

The following is a reference to the various free 3D and graphics related resources that can be downloaded from the net.

For 3D modelling, rendering and animation there are at least 2 excellent free alternatives. They are Blender 3D and Truespace 3.2. You can get Blender 3D from http://www.blender3d.com. Truespace 3.2 can be downloaded from http://www.caligari.com which is the homepage of Truespace's maker.

For purely dedicated 3D modeling, Wing3D is an easy to use yet very powerful tool. You can get this 3D modeling software from http://www.wings3d.com. What you need to do, is to model your stuffs on this software and then export then to either Blender3D or Truespace. File formats such as 3D Studio (3DS), Wavefront (OBJ) and VRML (WRL) are all supported by Wings3D and can be used for exporting 3D models (created in Wings3D) to other 3D programs such as Blender3D and Truespace.

For image editing and texture creation, Gimp is a most excellent tool. This is a very powerful image editing tool. It supports layers like most professional image editors. Its many filters are excellent for creating textures and image maps for 3D models. Gimp can be downloaded from http://www.gimp.org.

Less well-known than Gimp but very delightful to use is Pixia. This is a Japanese software. Fortunately there is an English version. This tool is excellent for painting and is thus useful for creating image maps for 3D models. Pixia can be downloaded from http://park18.wakwak.com/~pixia/.

Well, these are the free equivalents that can perform the work of commercial tools. Commercial software may be more convenient and easier to use, nevertheless these free tools can get the job done too. So, if you are on a tight budget, this may be the route to go.

What Is Rendering

''Where do architects and designers get their ideas?'' The answer, of course, is mainly from other architects and designers, so is it mere casuistry to distinguish between tradition and plagiarism?
Stephen Bayley

A building is akin to dogma; it is insolent, like dogma. Whether or no it is permanent, it claims permanence, like a dogma. People ask why we have no typical architecture of the modern world, like impressionism in painting. Surely it is obviously because we have not enough dogmas; we cannot bear to see anything in the sky that is solid and enduring, anything in the sky that does not change like the clouds of the sky.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
Frank Lloyd Wright

A modern, harmonic and lively architecture is the visible sign of an authentic democracy.
Walter Gropius

A structure becomes architectural, and not sculptural, when its elements no longer have their justification in nature.
Guillaume Apollinaire

Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting and sculpture are but images, are merely shadows cast by outward things on stone or canvas, having in themselves no separate existence. Architecture, existing in itself, and not in seeming a something it is not, surpasses them as substance shadow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All architects want to live beyond their deaths.
Philip Johnson

All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

All fine architectural values are human vales, else not valuable.
Frank Lloyd Wright


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