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I can’t believe that it has been almost a month since my last post!

Truth to be told, I’ve been so insanely busy that I lost track of the time. The new developments of Reality have taken every moment of the day and when I came back to the surface… holy crap! Three weeks have passed!

My last post was about this astounding performance improvement in Lux 1.5. Since then, I answered several questions online and I’d like to recap them here:

  • Q: Can I simply install LuxRender 1.5 and reap the benefit of the acceleration? A: nope, it’s not going to be that easy, we will have to wait for Reality 4.1.
  • Q: Does this speed improvement requires a GPU? A: no, you will just need a moderately modern CPU.
  • Q: Does this new feature work with all CPUs? A: Almost, you need to have a CPU that is SSSE3-capable or above. SSSE3 is the minimum, everything more modern will be icing on the cake. The more modern the CPU the bigger the speed improvement.

Now, just to give an idea of how monumental this development is, imagine that you have today a program that does something in X amount of time. To have an update that is twice as fast, in other words one that takes half the time to do the same thing, would  be phenomenal. That kind of speed improvement is vary rare. But Reality 4.1 will not be just twice as fast. To have an update that makes your program three times faster, it’s simply amazing. But Reality 4.1 will not be just three times faster. To have an update that is four time faster, what it took an hour now takes just 15 minutes, it’s just unheard of. But Reality 4.1 will not be just four time faster.

I don’t have to continue, do I :)? The new speed improvement of Reality 4.1 will be simply fantastic. But I could not stop there. To make the next version better than ever we are going to have big changes. First of all, I have decided to help the LuxRender project a little bit. There are three versions of LuxRender, one for each of the major OSes: Mac OS, Windows and Linux. Building those versions takes time and the task was distributed among a group of dedicated volunteers. Unfortunately that was based on availability of time and it could lead to inconsistencies in the way builds were delivered. For example, as it is today, the Windows build includes samples scenes while the Mac OS does not.

So, I built a build lab where there are two machines dedicated to the task of automatically building LuxRender and to to push the builds nightly to the luxrender.net server. In this way people have access to timely builds, as the project evolves, and those builds happen automatically, without the need for people to dedicate their weekends or nights to baby-seat the build process. As I write this, the Mac OS and Windows builds are working. The Windows one is a 64-bit only and only with OpenCL. I hope to have a 64-bit, without OpenCL in a couple of days. The LuxRender web team will make a page available to download the nightly builds.

This leads to the next improvement for Reality: LuxRender will be integrated, shipped with the product, and you will not need to install it separately. I wanted to have this feature for a long time but it was needed to have the builds done in house to make it happen and now it is possible.

So, not only Reality 4.1 will be much faster, it will be the easiest Reality ever. There are other changes to discuss but this post is quite long already so I will write about them next week.

Happy rendering!

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