Hereby my view upon the way to go as discussed in this mornings meet up in G+.
1) It is effident that with the current funding we shall not be able to get the whole project of the floor in one go. There is an alternative that could give us the funding we need.
2) We seriously lack in coding experience and have to build this up gradually.
3) We still not 100% sure if the OpenGL is the absolute way to go and what problems we might find following down this trail.
Thinking about all three obstacles I propose that the following route would be the most viable option:
A) We gonna build a render engine outside Blender which is based on Opengl (suggestion TK). I believe there are several examples but do not know for sure.
1) The main reason is that doing this we can show results very quickly, let’s say the goal is one year.
2) It should be as less complicated as is possible. So simple shaders, simple ui, simple coding, the goal is just showing something to get more people on board and get more support and funding (see B).
3) Understanding how to export scenes from Blender to an external renderer is the first step. We should understand how to copy luxrender or other software’s code. In fact we could call for help for those party’s and explain them what we are doing. Mastika is my no 1 choice because that is supported by a university, just like JOT. If there are no commercial angles we are free to move whatever way we want.
4) For building the renderengine we have to make choices as well. TK suggested python which would be a wise choise if we want to incorporate pieces of code later into Blender. I believe we still will need a fair part of C/C++. Biggest challenge is afcourse building a scene for opengl to render.
5) For the UI we stick to what others have build before us and copy it.
6) Coding for shaders can be already done.
7) Drawbacks are there as well.
a) We are far from what we actually want like the Viewport.
b) We have to get in touch with the Viewport FX to discuss about the current opengl rendering, if by miracle they incorporate this or make stuff easier, we could have wasted valuable time.
c) what about freestyle?
B) If we are done with our simple renderer we can do several options:
1) We can expand the current external renderer.
2) We can move to integration in Blender.
So why 1 or 2. Well going 1 could help us get the project better funded. If we build in more stuff we could create a course for a low fee and get funded that way for integration into Blender. Besides we are still depended for option 2 for the way the viewport project is gonna turn out and the way are connected to the other Blender dev’s.
C) Integration in Blender. Ultimate goal.
1) Either a or b , but freestyle has to be incorporated
a) Or studying the renderpipeline for cycles and copy that for our NPR renderer
b) If the viewport project incorporates a better OpenGL render we could use that way (which I hope is way more easier).
2) Creating the layered ui.
3) Shaders are already in place.
D) 1) Make courses and trainings, we need funds to expand and incorporate more futures. This is not only for the general public but mainly for serious artists who want to earn money with this. I see the Asian countries as prime targets, but Western European countries as well. Mainly targeting at universities and small studio’s who want to operate cost efficiently.
2) Making a kickstarted movie with Blender NPR (preferably anime) . I am pretty serious about this and strongly believe that if well planned and executed we can get this off the road. But we need point C first. Besides if Gooseberry is a success then what will the next step be for the Blender Institute to grow? Ok fx and such but think that an NPR movie could be a nice side step.
I will absolutely commit myself to the coding part but these phases will take years not months. Everybody has to understand that up in front. So good projectmanagement and working together is key.
Please comment as much as possible so we get a common view. This is important for the presentation in the BCONF 2014 as well.