Wanna watch an old computer render? You're in luck!

PCXT

Very Active Member
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Sep 14, 2016
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232
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30
@TrashyMG
This Amiga has to be really boosted up. I remember about... 18 years ago I was doing a simple 3D graphics with my only Pentium computer (powered with MMX technology, overclocked to blazing 225MHz) and render times were significantly larger than these in the movie.
The problem was that the machine had only 32MB of RAM so almost no 3D creation program with features I needed (read: good light support) was able to run well enough to make a complete scene. I got something called V-Ray or similar which offered a semi-procedural approach, but an entire scene had to be input as a text file (and some of my files were a few megabytes long) with literally no creating tools except notepad. I made a set of converters (in Turbo Pascal!) to convert materials, textures and solids from some games or demo versions of better 3D software and I just wrote the scene from scratch pasting the things into it.

As good memories came (and I have a backup disk connected right now), I'll show a few examples for those who think that these times all what could be seen in "Toy Story 2" was the state of the art computer graphics. Yes, they are awful but these times I had no idea what I was doing, the only tools were Turbo Pascal and this 3D engine, and the Internet was accessible per-minute in a building about 1 kilometer away:
The render time of this:
fp.jpg
was about 1 day. Lighting added partially in post-processing.
The most complex thing I ever made was rendering around 10 days because I dared to make a fog. The huge example below has been made in only 6 days. What I can say from notes I saved: "downscale curved object on the right or it'll clog the machine for the next week. Do not exceed 7.5MB of input file or RAM will run out. Restart machine before running render.bat" - yes, Windows 98):
eotogg.jpg

The ray-tracer was kind enough to offer "user bindings" during rendering. This way it was possible to e.g. take value, take other computed values and mess with them a little. I got a book about effects algorithms and decided to do a "corkscrew-render" plugin (or rather "Van Gogh-render) to make this:
vg_607.jpg
What a surprise was that the render time was a bit shorter than without the effect! Yes, still a day, but with a hour off.
 

TrashyMG

Sarcasm Dispenser
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Jan 18, 2010
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10,605
@PCXT yeah the Vampire FPGA accelerator with the apollo 68080 core pushes the Amiga considerable faster than the fastest 68060 processor and remains software compatible. It's pretty amazing.

Wonder of what you are thinking was a program called POV-ray, which also works on 68k amigas, among others...
 
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Failbert

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
71
Age
28
Alt-tabbing to look at it every couple minutes. This is extremely cool (and I'm sure this statement only highlights my position as an influential authority on what's cool).
 

PCXT

Very Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Messages
232
Age
30
@TrashyMG
I heard about POV-Ray, and it was similar, but not it. It was more function-oriented, a bit C-like, in fact it was impossible to do anything good looking without making own functions. In this program I could generate things in a different ways, there were some interesting tools for modulation, recursion or dimension operations (this allowed more procedural generation than I needed). The software was a fully functional shareware and it is quite possible that it was an unofficial extension or modification of POV Ray.
 
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