The Blender Google Summer of Code (GSoC) projects are still going strong and their is still more that we haven't touched on. We've looked at the very early stages of the Sculpt tool, the Modifier Stack Upgrade, and now we look at Dmitriy Mazovka's Sky Gen project.
From the original announcement:
The process of creating a sky for a scene is typically just throwing a big sky picture into the scene. But where is the control of the sky's look and feel? How do you light the scene to mimic the sky image? How do you animate the scene with a static sky image? Dmitriy Mazovka has proposed to solve the riddle of the sky with his ambitious SoC proposal.
First on the list is a controlled, physics-based simulation of skylight, sunlight, and aerial perspective effects that comes with cloud simulation based on cellular automata, all of which will be able to be stored as an environment map. Additionally we'll be given the ability to then animate the sky, and watch the sun walk across the sky as the clouds float by.
Not enough? Next is the creation of scene objects that can be used in constructing the lighting environment based on the generated sky properties. The proposal gives the example of light shafts being generated automatically from volumetric clouds based on the type of light you've added to the scene.
I asked Dmitriy a few questions I had on his project, and how far it's come.
What was it that made you interested in doing this project for Blender. (Did you find that these additions were sorely needed, did you see them requested a lot, etc.)
Actually before Soc I was "single" Blender user. I had not known a lot about blender people. But when I saw Blender as one of the Soc's projects... The idea to implement SkyGen for Blender was my own "user-view" idea. Lately I knew that blender sky problem was raised at least two times in the last 3 years. Anyway, in my opinion functionality is necessary, especially after I saw landscape scene mine friend built. Probably there are some techniques to create good-looking skies without SkyGen, but they are not evident for non-advanced user.
How do you think your additions will help Blender users over current methods?
SkyGen offers quite easy and in the same time flexible approach for building sky scenes. Many features are used on intuitive level, such as sun as SunLamp, cloud distribution using textures. I don't know whether it will be correct to say, but SkyGen is the thing Blender had to have a long time ago.
Are there any recent test builds/screen shots of your project in action? Do you have a link so people can see the progress made so far.
There is also a new build available for testing. See the BA thread for some "how-to's", some renders, and some good discussion. One particular post opened my eyes on how to generate clouds by supplying a texture and .blend file that you should look at with the build if you are stuck.Â Here are a few screen shots of the new panels:
This is certainly turning out to be a project to keep an eye on!