Maybe you've heard the whispers in the air of the new features being developed. One of the most noticed by many involves some updates being made to the internal rendering engine. Specifically, the edition of more rendering controls that now allow the creation of caustic effects.
What is a caustic effect? Well first a little ancient history from wikipedia, the word caustic, in fact, comes from the Greek ÎºÎ±Ï…ÏƒÏ„ÏŒÏ‚, burnt, via the Latin causticus, burning. A caustic is in fact the envelope of light rays reflected or refracted by a curved surface or object, or the projection of that envelope of rays on another surface.
Many will refer to the caustics created by Blender as fake. But seeing as everything we create in 3D is our own little reality, the changes will allow the simulation of some great effects. These enhancements are being made by RCRuiz and consist of a compilation of changes in lamps and materials to get the fake caustics in Blender internal. One advantage of them being faked is that the rendering speed is much faster. RCRuiz posted an interesting chart showing how he has implemented caustics:
The original post on the development can be found here (in spanish). A Blenderartist thread RCRuiz started can be found here. And of course you'll need a patched
And once you download the patched build you might want to check out the video tutorial RCRuiz created. Enjoy!
note: caustics will not be in the 2.44 release.