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Interview: Brecht van Lommel on Cycles development


BlenderDiplom interviews Brecht van Lommel, the lead-developer of Cycles, on his decision to develop Cycles, the future of development and various design decisions.

Gottfried Hofmann writes:

BD: You're Brecht Van Lommel, the main coder of Cycles, the new Render Engine for Blender 2.61. How came it that you started working on a completely new render engine for Blender?

BvL: I've been working for quiet a while on the existing Blender render engine, we used it in many projects like the Open Movies. It has a lot of limitations, it was started in the 80ies and more and more features where added on top of it. The core of it isn't very modular and is sort of built for direct lighting and rasterization. Adding more stuff on to it became more and more difficult. I've tried to get the core working well and upgrade it but it wasn't working very well. At a certain point I just had a lot of free time and I just started coding in my free time "My ideal Render Engine". I tried to put in some things I learned from working with the artists on the Open Movie Projects. After half a year I showed it to Ton Rosendaal and he was interested in it. Now I started working for the Blender Foundation again, half time solely on the Cycles render engine as a new renderer for Blender.


A German version of this interview can be found in the print magazine Digital Production alongside an extensive article on Cycles.


  • Philippe ROUBAL

    Interesting article ! Thanks for sharing !

  • filip

    quite, I suppose

  • Kirill Poltavets

    I was on crossroads and had choose Cycles. It doesn't render Hair (yet!), no real SSS but it's awesome! :) I managed how to deal with noise cleaning so it gives me the fastest way to create a lot of frames pretty quickly when I need it. Of course one thing that is necessary with Cycles is a good NVidia card with a lot of memory. And it can be a "middle-top or a middle" card - it's not has to be a top card.
    One thing I'm missing in the pipeline is blurring textures (it's capable with a filter settings in BI).

  • Sebaskt

    I've been wishing to read something like this for a while now, not much info available about this great coder! I really admire him.

  • Guitar

    You are one of my heroes. 
    No kidding, I am very thankful for your talent and generosity.

  • Gottfried Hofmann

    Thanks for the plug, Bart!
    Btw: Link to Digital Production is not working :(

    • Bart Veldhuizen

      Link fixed!

  • jeo


  • Olaf

    Brecht is one of the few programmers that has Rock-star status!

  • Samuel Wilton

    I only wish he aimed for it to be a hollywood renderer :P 

  • Agus

    Not only Brecht is one of the most talented software developers you can find in this world, he is also very generous and egalitarian person you can find out there. I really admire Him.

  • reidh

    No disrespect Sir, or mein Herr, but, what graphics card is Herr Von Lommel designing Cycles For? or that is, what is the minimal class or type of GPU and MB configuration is needed to realize a reasonably short time for a full Cycles render? I hope I am understandable, I know absolutely nothing. But I would like to know what Graphics card from Min to Max is best. Or required. Or expected. What particular graphics card GPU/ and CPU ( with speed and VRAM and Ram ) does he use? Anything?

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