Blender glTF 2.0 Exporter Published

Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2017 - 07:24 AM |
Tagged: Khronos, gltf, Blender

As we reported about a month ago, The Khronos Group has finalized glTF 2.0, which is a 3D format designed for whole scenes. Since then, Khronos have published an exporter for Blender that implements what appears to be all core features, as well as specular-gloss PBR (Extension), lights (Experimental), “materials common” (Experimental), and “materials displace” (Experimental). It is implemented as a whole bunch of Python scripts.

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Apparently they provide their own PBR shader nodes for Cycles, rather than using the new Disney-based one in Blender 2.79. I’m not sure whether this was to make the export easier, or if development schedules just couldn’t align. Either way, both metallic/roughness and specular/gloss workflows have been provided, so that should make exporting either workflow relatively straight-forward.

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July 10, 2017 | 11:25 AM - Posted by Clmentoz (not verified)

Blender 2.79 is not even released/RTM yet, unless the user downloads a developer beta version. How is that Disney based renderer in Blender 2.79 compared to say Blender's Blender Render performing on any Terascale AMD based PC/Laptop SKUs? My laptop does not have GCN based AMD Graphics, does the user have to use the CPU and not the GPU with the Disney renderer. If the Renderer is purely OpenCL then maybe there can be some work done on pre-GCN based PCs/Laptops, and there are still a lot of AMD laptops out there that use pre-GCN AMD discrete graphics, and most of the non Apple laptops currently for sale at Microcenter only have GCN 1.0 graphics at the latest.

That PBR shader/whatever provided by Khronos is it using OpenCL/Cycles but can it make use of Intel's and AMD's(NON GCN) based graphics to accelerate rendering via OpenCL. Terascale and GCN 1.0 based AMD GPUs do not have much, if any, Cycles support in Blender.

Laptops with the latest GCN graphics are not easy to find at any non Apple brick mortar retailers, but I hope that Zen/Vega APUs can change that. And it looks like the Zen(Ryzen Branded)/Vega APU integrated graphics will be more powerful than my current laptop's Radeon 7650M(Terascale rebrand) discrete graphics. Intel’s graphics does not like high polygon count meshes or scenes so it's going to require AMD or Nvidia graphics for any content creation. Intel’s graphics works OK for games that have the relatively low polygon count scenes/meshes for gaming but not for any Graphics content creation where the graphics/rendering/mesh modeling is using high polygon count meshes and scenes.

July 10, 2017 | 02:46 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

The PBR shader is a material, not a renderer. It uses Cycles, which means it doesn't support older AMD graphics cards; those systems will need to render on the CPU. Newer AMD GPUs can GPU-accelerate Cycles through OpenCL, though.

July 10, 2017 | 03:45 PM - Posted by Clmentoz (not verified)

Thanks, I hear that Blender 2.79 is nearing release before the end of July(?) so That's good news on the way to Blender 2.8.

Thanks for the reporting on open source software, and Blender gets more great features with every new release.

Scott, have you come across any Zen/Vega APU engineering sample benchmarks or news online? AMD sure is not saying much about their new APUs yet.

AMD really needs to start to think about finding a Linux OS laptop OEM to partner with for Linux OS beasd laptops and Zen/Vega APUs. I hear that system76 will be designing their own laptops and not using clevo base design laptops. I'll bet it will take a while for Zen/Vega APUs begin showing up in retailers like Staples, OfficeMax, and other retailers.

Maybe Dell can come up with some Zen/Vega/Linux developer laptop SKUs first, and do so without any of the single channel to DIMM nonsense that some OEM's are doing.

July 12, 2017 | 01:00 AM - Posted by Norbert Nopper (not verified)

The reason for the custom shader node is to be compatible with the current Blender version, 2.78, as this is currently the release version and used for production. As soon as 2.79 is out, this shader node group will be simplified using the mentioned principled BSDF shader. Furthermore, as soon as 2.8 with Eeevee is available, the same simplification and optimization will happen again.

Regarding the GPU acceleration, I believe the Blender folks do their best, that Cycles or any other future material/shader system is running best on the underlying hardware. The current and future Khronos glTF 2.0 exporter of course depends on these optimizations.

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