GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

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Draise
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GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by Draise »

Hey guys, I'd love to discuss this with all! I like this community, small as it is, but it's based on pioneering, tho old and dying, software!

GPU rendering and ease of use is what we hold onto with trueSpace it seems. Also the concept of nail based fully IK ragdoll rigs, and collaborative 3D production and sharing spaces.

Today, GPU render based software is catching up and surpassing TS, tho it took 2 years to get to that point. Some are used as plugins for most major software at a very decent price of 99 euro, others were ahead of their game at prices of 4000 dollars, later kettled due to hacking and problems with their market, and others around 1000 dollars for only Maya.

Here are two software packages which surpass or equal to truespace's.

Octane Renderer - 99Euro
http://www.refractivesoftware.com/features.html
By far the best realtime render package available to the market, including plugins for all major software, an easy to use GUI, DOF, motion blur, among other features. At a resonable price, one can use professional software with the latest fast GPU rendering benifits.

Furryball - 999USD
http://furryball.aaa-studio.eu/features.html
Probably the best professional render package in the market, with strong forum activity, tutorials and technical support, It has features like subsurface scattering, realtime hair, millions of polygons, reflection, refraction, GI, realtime displacement maps, and more with full integration into only Maya, this package can be a perfect solution for a medium franchise.

Mach Studio Pro 2 - free
http://download.cnet.com/MachStudio-Pro ... 98419.html
A once leader in the GPU market, partnered with ATI graphics and assisted development by Weta Workshops, the leader in GPU render engines, a now defunct software that was sold to the wrong market at a hefty 4999USD. Due to economical circumstances, and GPU revolutionary ideas, the program was left to the internet free. From realtime reflections, refraction, ambient occlusion, glows, DOF, among other great features, this render package could be your perfect render farm replacement. Tho tutorials, technical support and other features will be hard to come by, due to its quickly dying market. The SDK was never released.

trueSpace 7.61 beta 8 - free
A pioneering software now defunct from 2009, once was the first of GPU based render engines, with realtime physics, hair, cloth, collaborative 3D spaces, and advanced IK, truespace was one of best pioneering 3D authoring software with the latest concept in 3D production at resonable prices. Due to economical troubles, the franchise was kettled. The SDK was released, and it still dates to contain features still only recently being developed by professional software.

I am tempted to use Octane myself, maybe even purchase it, and use it to produce cheap productions here in Colombia. I currently work for a small 3D business here, who has officially produced Colombias first kid's animation series in history. We are ahead of the game here, concerning television, and next year I am the head technical and animation director of the franchise, embarking on a 20 minute series for kids from 3 to 8 years old.

Considering this software to be developing quickly, at a resonable price and it's compatibility with most professional software packages, including blender, this would be the perfect GPU replacement for truespace.

Many people are finally catching onto the idea of GPU systems:
http://blog.renderstream.com/2010/01/ar ... on-part-1/
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/201 ... turity.ars
http://www.3dworldmag.com/2011/01/07/pr ... rendering/


So the future?

Tho working with many autodesk based software (mudbox, maya, softimage, etc) and having tasted blender, vue, and other 3D authoring software... my staff speak Spanish, and most have to take semesters specialized in one particular software to produce art. Many get distracted by the program before the art can even be produced. Many programs are hefty, and tho very stable, robust and useful, many software lack small details like: realtime responsiveness and relativity to a final image, ease of use, efficiency in time, 3D world space manipulation, collaboration, and true IK rigs.

Truespace, tho old and undeveloping, still contains many features even major software do not have.
I fight with Softimage's rigging system (which Maya and 3D max base their rigging off) struggling to make convincing and easy to use rigs. Truespace has the concept right, with complete skelatons that can be used with physics and manipulated like real puppets, introducing new contraints systems. This is very promising. I am yet to produce anything with it, but I'm gonna see how possible it is, find the bugs, and then reevaluate it.
It's ability for 3D production to turn out as a final image is still ahead of it's time, and up to par with most software's modeling tools. It's animation is adequate, and boast of procedural animations and quick physics. It's awesome feature of having a workmate work with me on the same model is a great boost to productivity.
And last but not least, you don't need english to use it, due to it's icon based interface, light and menu free interface, and with ease of acces customization, it's fluid interface beats most other packages when it comes to an artist working, the artist get's his paint brush and paints. :bananacool2:


I learnt Softimage enough to produce my 3 minute animations with the talking/dancing fruit (located in the Finished Work) in just under 2 months. But with TS, I learnt it enough to produce similar content in half the time, and with the potential of non English speakers learning the same. I am still learning them both. With Softimage, I had the upper hand over my fellow animators, due to knowing English. They spent 1 year learning what I did in 2 months. But truespace I figured out in less time. And I am sure if I let my colleagues learn TS, it won't take half as long for a similar learning curve. I am already starting to get my artistic hands dirty and have tried develop the software and interface to however I want! And I don't do code!

Considering opensource products, truespace is techincally, under definition, now opensource. It is free, the SDK is open to all, and the platform kernel root is open.
Blender also is open source, but unless I'm a professional programmer, I have no ability to change the program or improve it when needed. Blender has a strong community, and it's a robust program. But again, to learn how to use it is very very hard, and requires as much time learning it's features as it does to actually do them.

Again, I like trueSpace, it's ease of use, it's ease of features and acces, ease of custimization, it's concepts still ahead of it's time and features still up to par with most 3D authoring software even after 2 years. But it saddens me that this is not further developed. It would be cool to see trueSpace 8 be released one day by someone, or even by the a community from a random location in the world, like Blender from South Africa. A world where Ubuntu and Blender go hand in hand with a thirdworld continent, Latin America has similar problems.

I know this program in the world is small, but it can be big. South America, where I work, is a place that has an inferiority complex. They think they need the render farms and the major software that everyone else uses to become good. But they are cheap, and they are poor. GPU based render engines that do not require thousand dollar video cards (like some GPU render engins) are needed for similar production. Productions produced on renderfarm free platforms under the same time is needed. Programs that are easy to learn is what is needed, and something cheap. They need to be able to produce first world content at low costs without the huge sacrifice of the learning curve and techonolgical requirements. TS runs on a laptop......

Also, in the world, animation with rigs based on true IK is unheard of, true IK puppets would be revolutionizing. Truespace has this novel idea of full IK puppets. Meanwhile rigging in softimage, a leader in animation software, is hard, cumbersome, and thro it has IK chains, they are rigged over an old FK rigging hirachy. What would take not 10 seconds to pose a completely natural pose in TS would take a 30 secs or more to complete over a full rig, fighting still with natural positions after the pose done with FK! The maths says it all.

Also, what would be better to have multiple people work on projects around the world over the internet in the same 3D space, to then have them render a production quality video in minutes? Roman said this already..
Truespace has all of that potential. It's concepts are key, and revolutionizing in still more ways than just the old GPU render engine mainstream software are ONLY just catching on! And let alone, GPU rendering is still only a plugin for most software. There is still yet to come a full modelling, collaborative and animation worthy software WITH GPU capabilities!

So I'm sticking to trying to develop it, maybe take it in house to develop it here in Colombia, make it a part of the franchise here, due to it's SDK available to all, and beat the market here by very low cost productions with production cutting features like collaboration, independent free software, GPU based render engines, and the time saved dedicated to the art instead of the render, and rag doll like rigs for speedy and natural and artistic animations.

I could all be wrong, the current program is still beta and has it's issues.... but maybe my little projects i do with TS will convince enough people to develop it and my hopes would be the ability to fund and push for trueSpace 8. (tho I sound stupidly ambitious when i say it) It's concepts were and still are just ahead of it's time. The day may be a long way away, but I love the potential and hope to have a program LIKE trueSpace, or one based off it.

What do you think?

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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by Finis »

"Considering opensource products, truespace is techincally, under definition, now opensource. It is free, the SDK is open to all, and the platform kernel root is open." No, TS is the property of Microsoft and it is not open source. The SDK certainly appears useful given the great things some have done with it but TS is not open source.

Good idea about developing something LIKE it using the good TS concepts. Some of those will appear in other software but developers who really like TS could be sure to put the good TS stuff in a new program.

Right about letting artists do art. Look at how happy people here are with Sculptris.

I like TS's "Paint Shop Pro" interface (model side, menus, icons, numerical boxes, no 3D widgets) but you have also made a very good point about training time for non-English speakers.

(Note to Draise: Using light colored text makes it hard to read in some forum themes. Some of the text was invisible to me in the Aeroblue theme until I highlighted it .)
Last edited by Finis on 19 Nov 2011, 21:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by RAYMAN »

Hi Draise !
i think you get something wrong here.... Truespace is NOT open source.
only the last itineration is made available for free to the public by Microsoft now the owner of the software.
Quite frankly we had a lot of discussions about Truespaces future here and the bottom line is that under the circumstances now there
is no future devolpment of Truespace other then what some coders are doing for plugins......
Your list of Gpu render engines isnt complete either .. you´ve left out some big ones that used to have large markert shares like Bunkspeed
Hypershot.. now called Luxion Keyshot.http://www.luxion.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Also there are a few other render engines like Thea and Maxwell that have a GPU based render preview that can be saved......
The world is moving on.....
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Draise
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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by Draise »

@finis
Lol, sorry bout the white fonts! :?

@peter
I didn't know about those other render engines, minus Thea. They look good. My question is their actual interactive realtime-ness and intergration possibilites with other programs (like animation, skin, cloth, hair, etc) Some have that, other not so much... and some still render somewhat slow sometimes. As packages, they do not not fully integrate to mainstream modelling, animation, effects, etc... they are still only just render engines.......

Machstudio did boast of frames with AO and the works at 15 frames a second tho!

@peter and finis
Yeah, you both are right. I guess it isn't really "opensource" after all, tho it's code and content is... source that is open... you're right there. Shame. :? :lol:

I will do one project with TS, see if is a good program after all, and maybe have to start developing a new software from scratch. That would take forever, but hopefully it can/will be done. The concepts are great. Hope fate does me well and gives me the opportunity to see a product LIKE trueSpace become a reality, with it's concepts and the like.


Maxwell Render - $995
http://www.maxwellrender.com
This render engine has a Sketchup plugin.

Bunkspeed - $3,495
http://www.bunkspeed.com

Thea - €295
http://www.thearender.com
Thea has a series of plugins to most general software, and has a grainy almost real-time preview engine. It is very high in it's quality. For the price, this is a good bet.


Keyshot - $995
http://www.keyshot.com


So how do you start developing software?

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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by Finis »

Rayman is right that the forum already has major discussions about the future of TS.

Don't know what you mean about its source code, the stuff that the programmers wrote, being open (as in available). There may be stolen copies of that around or decompiled code but (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) the TS source code was never officially released. The SDK may be very generous with its abilities and access but it isn't the same as having the source.

If I was going to create a TS like program the first thing I would do is determine sources and costs of existing components. See how much you can get without hiring programmers to write it from scratch. Look at incorporating an existing GPU renderer rather than writing your own from scratch. Consider the support or lack of it you would get from the company that makes it. Do that for as many parts of it as you can. Legal free code may exist to do many things so look for that too.

Talking of programming makes me think of when I worked as a programmer (I have a BS in computer science). Yes, I remember the time I entered Chope's Bar, wearing a suit, accompanied by a vibrating Czechoslovakian mathematician ...
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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by Tiles »

Isn`t Cycles also a GPU renderer? That one is in Blender now, and free ...

As for the future of trueSpace. There is none. Development has stopped. And it will fade away.
I will do one project with TS, see if is a good program after all, and maybe have to start developing a new software from scratch. That would take forever, but hopefully it can/will be done. The concepts are great. Hope fate does me well and gives me the opportunity to see a product LIKE trueSpace become a reality, with it's concepts and the like.
Dunno if your concept will succeed. It needs hundrets of manyears to write a software like trueSpace or Blender from scratch. And it is a job for specialists too, because 3D math is one of the hardest things you can try in programming. The ones that are really good do it for money. Lots of money. Or are bound to big open source projects like Blender. You will be in trouble to find your specialists.

I still wait for the new Blender GUI to become really finished. They promised much more flexibility than what is currently available. Maybe then we could adopt some of the good UI concepts from trueSpace. But the blender guys have put that one onto the backseat for the sake of the rest of development. Another sign of how much work it really is to write such a software ...
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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by v3rd3 »

Draise the greatest problem with further development of TS is the limitations of the core code which you cannot access. It is the property of MS and we did try to get them to open source the code. They must have liked something in there as they will not release it.

I think we all agree that we love TS for the things it does well.

There are a few who continue to write code but they usually do so to finish their own projects or, out of the goodness of their hearts, finish or refine some of the features they felt lacking or absent.

I continue to have TS in my toolkit because, as you say, the modelling tools are really good and I like being able to see my results in realtime.

Having said that, I am looking elsewhere for my production pipeline. I have invested in a number of different products, probably too many, and I am looking at them all. I am at the point where I cannot keep up with the new releases.

I think you need to seriously consider your needs after some sober reflection on what you are trying to accomplish. Will the software you choose do the job? Will investing in something that needs a lot of work realize a return on the investment? Am I trying to save twos of dollars for a good reason?

You have to consider the economics of your decision but, as you point out, you have to consider the training necessary for your staff. If the training costs too much you will find few people in your area willing to do the training for the hope of getting a job at your studio. If you cannot find the staff already trained then you are likely to have to bear the expense of the training.

Once upon a time I was a systems development manager for the finance arm of a bank and I worked directly with the heads of the business units to define their technology needs and set them up. I worked on everything from foreign exchange trading through to options, commodities, real time trading and business operations.

The one thing I can suggest to you is this. Do not choose a solution you fall in love with. Choose tools that meet your needs and have some longevity.

I can guarantee you that your show will be far better for dealing with known software with solid/timely support. When you are faced with a production deadline and you need some code to make the product complete you will need the support of a good supplier or suppliers.

I would suggest you stay with major vendors.... Vue is coming along beautifully as are many others. Autodesk is of course ... everywhere.

I am also comfortable arguing that Blender has the features that make it ready for prime time production use. You may even be able to spearhead even more interest for Blender in South America.

Be sure that your production pipeline is 95% complete and useable before you start. The 5% is the room you can safely give yourself to enjoy customizing things.

I think the people that you are producing the show for will also feel better knowing that you can get outside help when you need it.

Your passion for diving into TS has breathed a lot of life into this forum and we certainly enjoy your enthusiasm. Please do not take this as a rejection of that enthusiasm. We enjoy your company.

For lack of a better explanation I am trying to put an old head on young shoulders.... :mrgreen:

If this post seems incoherent I apologize ... I am fuzzy headed from some medication I am taking for a bad shoulder.

Any questions post them here or send me a pm ... whichever is more comfortable for you.

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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by RAYMAN »

Draise ! I have good advice for you ! Use whats out already ! There´s tons of applications on the market.
Use Truespace as is and do some research towards what can be handy for your art...
Anything will be cheaper then recreating a software like Truespace was.. Anything! ;)
I found my workflow after Ts and many others have too.. !
Peter

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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by pugman 1 »

I agree with Rayman , i have 22 apps on my pc if i cant do what i want
in one app i can do it in another they all work together just import and export,
example, i rigged a chain in blender for vue ,vue did not eccept it so i rigged it in posser
it went into vue like a dream .

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Re: GPU rendering and the future of trueSpace

Post by froo »

Each iteration of truespace took on average, 1-2 years of full time development, I'd say.
That is not just the 'coding' phase. Research/reading white papers, meetings galore,
software design phase, constructing and assigning UOWs (Units of Work) for each developer,
for each iteration of development, as the application development progressed, design reviews,
code reviews, unit test, etc. etc. etc.

Yeah the other folks are right Draise; I wouldn't recommend building a 3d app from scratch, when
there are already so many out there. The competition is tight, which translates to lower purchase
price. And, they perform their tasks well.

On the other hand, many applications offer an SDK (Software Development Kit) that you can use, to
augment the tools that make up the application. So, if you need a special plugin for a specific task, that
the application does not provide, you can make your own plugin. A plugin is much simpler to make than
an entire application. And, if you find it useful, chances are, others will as well. So, you can share it,
or sell it.

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