The much-touted "Manifold Next Event Estimation Caustics" patch by Olivier Maury has landed in master and is now part of the Blender 3.2 alpha daily builds.
— Nahuel Belich (@Nahuel_Belich) April 1, 2022
In practice, this patch allows for very fast sharp caustics in the shadows of refractive objects, with sharp caustics appearing after a few samples where previously thousands were needed. Here are some tests I made with it in the video below:
The viewport and render performances are impressive, and the caustics are almost immediately apparent after this new feature is toggled in the light, casting, and receiving objects. However, the current implementation has some limitations, which can later be overcome with further development:
- Only caustics in shadows of refractive objects work, which means no caustics from reflection or caustics that outside shadows. Only up to 4 refractive caustic bounces are supported.
- Caustic caster objects should have smooth normals.
- Not currently support for Metal GPU rendering.
Download the latest Blender daily build to try it out on the link below: