Good news for Blender users.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kitsunestudios, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. kitsunestudios macrumors regular

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    #1
    Just ran across some good news for those who use the open-source blender 3d software with the Mac:

    http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/press/siggraph-2013/

    For those who need a translation, Blender has a built-in GPU based render engine called "Cycles", which currently only works with nVidea's CUDA implementation, not AMD's OpenCL.

    It's a great sign that Apple is taking the 3d workstation role of the new Mac Pro seriously.
     
  2. sonicrobby, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013

    sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

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    #2
    Your title threw me off. You give the wrong message to smoothie lovers :p
     
  3. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Not just for the mac but for those who use any gpu beside NVidia on any plateform. I replaced my AMD HD7870 for a GTX600 Ti because of it. Blender is community driven and they are sorely lacking dev ressources to develop an OpenCL version of cycle. I hang out at BlenderArtist.org and there is a thread about the progress they are making on that front.

    But in reallity, while this is in fact great news, I just don't see Blender users rushing to buy the nMP because of this... It is after all quite an investment in $$$ just to run a free 3D modeling app on it. Beside most professional studio are using more renown 3D modeling apps like 3DS Max, Maya, Modo etc... according to pro site like CGSociety.

    Blender is a nice hobyist application (I use it myself) and a great video game asset creation plateform (it has its own built in game engine). It works great with Unity also since you can link your .blend file to it.
     
  4. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    #4
    Blender is also quite well used in the game modding community (I use it myself for Skyrim meshes and UV Mapping). It is good to hear about it getting some Apple love.
     
  5. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I thought I said that when I wrote: "and a great video game asset creation plateform (it has its own built in game engine). It works great with Unity also since you can link your .blend file to it. "
     
  6. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #6
    It isn't AMD's. If there is an "inventor" on OpenCL that would be Apple not AMD. However OpenCL is managed by Khronos Group ( a standards body). For instance they made some new announcements about where OpenCL is going.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7161/...-opengl-44-opencl-20-opencl-12-spir-announced

    Stating direction is more a possessive than anything involving AMD's role.


    I suspect they actually want to sell more than a few of these. It isn't too surprising. If the port results don't come in a timely fashion I suspect the "what you need" support will end a timely fashion too.

    In part, this is a talent/user pool growth move as much as sell units. I don't think have any notion they are going to displace alot of already deeply entrenched folks.

    ----------

    Because nobody uses Macs to create low cost video games......... *cough* It is unlikely to be solely for 100% utilization on Blender (i.e., Blender appliance box). Far more likely mixed usage.

    All doesn't have to displace all 3DS seats out there to be viable. 3DS doesn't even run on OS X. Just keeping some folks from bolting to 3DS is plus for the OS X ecosystem.
     
  7. flat five macrumors 601

    flat five

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  8. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I thought you were gonna' equate the 2013 Mac Pro "trashcan" with a whole new line of kitchen gear. :)
     
  9. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    There is nothing wrong with the UI. Like any other software you just have to play with it to learn it. You can even set it to use the same mouse and shortcut as Maya.

    Blender is a really great modelling application and is getting better and better every day.

    If you want to learn more abour it I recommend the following sites:

    www.blenderartists.org
    www.cgcookie.com

    And also, www.lynda.com, has a really nice course on the 2.6x version of Blender. It really explain how the interface works and how to use the program. The course is Blender 2.6 Essentials.
     
  10. flat five macrumors 601

    flat five

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    #10
    i know, i know.. i was speaking in jest and repeating the same old mantra seen throughout the cg community ;)
    i've seen some amazing stuff coming out of blender.. so i know it's perfectly capable and usable software.
     
  11. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    I didn't say that. Beside, you don't need a $3k+ workstation to create low cost videogame. You can do that on a mini.

    I also didn't say that blender wasn't viable. Quite the contrary, it is a success story. From it's begining as an in-house game engine/asset creation tool for 3DO, the game studio, to what it is today it's quite phenomenal. Blender is being used by artist, movie maker, vfx and just plain Joe Blow in his home office.

    But it isn't taught in any major 3D/VFX curriculum. Autodesk rules that side of the business with 3DS Max, Maya, SoftImage and MudBox. And there is some good reason for that. Blender is still a big work in progress. Its sculpt tool for exemple aren't up to par with the competition but it's getting there. Cycle, the renderer, is also quite young and it shows in some places.

    PS: I would appreciate if you would stop trying to read meanning into my post were there is none. I don't really like it when people try to put words into my mouth.
     
  12. kitsunestudios thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Whoops. I knew this, I mistyped. I should have written "not AMD's OpenCL implementation"

    My Bad.

    The issue is relevant to OpenCL based GPU renderers on AMD like Luxrender and VRAY, and is not unique to Cycles. See here:

    http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:2.6/Source/Render/Cycles/OpenCL

    As to Apple and Blender, I think you're looking at this a little too narrowly. Apple was at Siggraph talking to 3d developers, including blender, which is the small fish in a big pond. If Apple is willing to work closely and provide resources to the Blender Foundation to ensure that their issues are fixed with the release of the Mac Pro, It's a pretty safe bet that they are working closely with the other bigger names in 3d development as well.

    That's why I feel this was a good sign.

    (And yes, I'm in the market. Most of my day job is in Adobe CC, and my hobbies are games and blender. The only Mac right now that really appeals to me is the 27" i7 iMac with the 680MX and the fusion drive. If Apple goes back to the Radeon without OpenCL rendering getting fixed, then I'm forced out of the market and onto a hackintosh.)
     
  13. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #13
    That's actually bad news!

    It means Apple is more willing to spend time and money on changing specific applications rather than implimenting CUDA.

    This is very bad news indeed! :(
     
  14. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

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    #14
    Perhaps this is a sign that CUDA will go the way of Flash. I seem to remember Open CL benchmarks showing lower priced AMD GPU's had a clear advantage over it's higher priced cousins from Nvidia.

     
  15. Tesselator, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #15
    Could be. No one knows I guess. I'm not really concerned with new-card prices tho. I buy most things like that used where there's no real difference. I paid $90 for my 3-fan Gigabyte brand GTX 570 and could never bring myself to pay more than a few hundred for a DA card. I worked for NewTek for awhile (on the LightWave3D product) and all the other developers had the same opinion of ATI cards I do - not good, under-featured, poorly designed, generally lacking in comparison. They might be a little cheaper but I guess this is yet another case of: Ya get what ya pay for.

    Also CUDA is the darling of every dev I've ever met up with. Everyone likes CUDA better than OpenCL. Only users are without a preference or followers of the brand-hype, who might choose/promote OpenCL over CUDA. I think if there is no such thing as CUDA then OpenCL is a good thing of course - but given that CUDA does exist and is better then that becomes something to consider. That Apple is on a trend bias toward an inferior system is a little disheartening.
     
  16. omnious macrumors member

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    #16
    It could also be that OpenCL is an "open" standard as opposed to CUDA which is not, and so Apple is pushing that because more vendors can join in. The fact that they are putting their entire might behind it should say something about its future.

    We really do not know what their plans are but they are starting an entire new generation of desktop workstations using OpenCL, based on AMD. If they just wanted OpenCL they could've used NVIDIA too, and also have CUDA along.

    I know that it does not stop there and that there are other, business and economic reasons behind OpenCL and AMD. But, other vendors/app developers are going to have to make their software run with OpenCL, or they will lose the Apple market, which is coincidentally growing, while PC/Windows is stagnating.

    Speaking of LightWave3D, I always thought people were saying it performs great on any AMD card, for whatever reason that is.
     
  17. Tesselator, Aug 25, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #17
    Yeah, that's true. We dunno why or even if Apple is going exclusive with OpenCL slash ATI. My comment was only that it looked like Apple was more interested in promoting and supporting OpenCL than implementing Nvidia. Right, cuz if Apple had plans for an NVidia option they probably would have noted Blender to that instead of saying Ya need to offer OpenCL. See what I did there? That's true or not, no idea and also plans change - so there's always hope. :)

    On LW3D, ya there was a period when the inside blurb that went out was 'stay away from AMD if ya want stability!' and that time is over but when devs dig in it seems they find less than they would like and several kinds of funkiness. At least for the past 5 years or more people have been able to say "it works well with AMD cards" and thanks in part to the involvement of AMD themselves.
     
  18. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #18
    How does Intel's IGP perform on OpenCL? That could replace Nvidia in all the mainstream Apple products later this year. And, It will be interesting to see what, if any, discrete GPU ends up in high-end BTO Haswell iMacs this fall. Perhaps Apple is abandoning NVidia across the entire line?
     
  19. omnious macrumors member

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    #19
    The thing is as I said, we really do not know what any of these companies are planning.

    Even though Intel and AMD are competitors, Intel has had no real competition in the CPU market from AMD for awhile now, alas the current "situation" with the new Intel CPUs coming out further apart because there's nobody pushing them to do otherwise.

    When it comes to GPU, I'm sure Intel would like to get a slice of the market, at least low- to mid-end from both AMD and NVIDIA and so the IGP has been improving (slowly) just not fast enough for our liking.

    Obviously they are not going to put CUDA into IGP because that's exclusive to NVIDIA so the other option is OpenCL, which they have started to offer already in their drivers.

    How far are they going to take it is anyone's guess (unless some slides leak out with definitive plans for the future).

    So it will be interesting to see if Intel, AMD and Apple "gang-up" against NVIDIA in the graphics market, through OpenCL, and steer all the software vendors in their direction.

    Obviously they can do that because they make the graphics hardware/systems, just like Micro$oft dictates terms to the motherboard makers, because most sales (were) in the PC market. Hopefully we see a change happen with the later and MB makers break free from the Micro$oft grip.
     
  20. kitsunestudios, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013

    kitsunestudios thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Keep in mind that nVidia cards support both OpenCL and CUDA. Apple users can also download the CUDA drivers for any programs that use it, like blender.

    If Apple abandoned OpenCL for CUDA at the OS level, then Apple would be stuck with nVidia as the sole provider of graphics solutions, rather than having flexibility to switch between AMD, Intel and nVidia to adjust for price, availability and relative power.
     
  21. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #21
    Yeah, true, that's something to consider too.

    I was just saying that if Apple had an Nvidia option in the works they probably would not be telling Blender that they needed to go OpenCL. See what I mean? It's an assumption, I know... but that's what it looks like to me. No Nvidia for us. :(
     
  22. kitsunestudios thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    I don't see it like that at all.

    nVidia cards can do both OpenCL and CUDA. Apple maximized their choices by using OpenCL over CUDA.

    blender wants to use OpenCL, because it is an open standard and not proprietary. The problems has been with AMD's drivers, which are (slowly) getting fixed. Apple's just providing leverage and resources to help out.

    That said, you're probably right to assume that Apple won't offer an nVidia Mac Pro for this generation. Maybe AMD gave them a better deal on Fire Pro chips. Maybe the Fire Pro has better specs benchmarks/real-world benefit for the target demographics than the Quadro.

    As much as I'd like a Titan based Mac Pro, I think we're stuck with Fire Pro.
     
  23. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #23
    The portion of users who run 3DS Max on a Mac has to be tiny. It has official support through Parallels, but that is likely there just to help patch gaps between applications, especially when in a group environment you would have the option of floating licenses.


    What makes you say that? You are looking at synthetic benchmarks sir. That only applies if you want to know whether the thing will play Crysis. At least on Windows, AMD has generally been the buggier of the two.


    I don't buy into the scenario that Apple's likes hardware agnostic items. That claim is often made with OpenCL, yet they implemented thunderbolt, which is somewhat the antithesis. I don't view it entirely that way as it maintains some amount of displayport compliance.

    I remember early benchmarks being all over the place, although I don't have the links handy. I don't think you'll see that with the imac. The 21.5" would be the most likely candidate there, but intel doesn't use their best integrated options on desktop skus. It's somewhat logical as the segment who would opt for integrated graphics there is almost solely chasing price.
     
  24. goMac macrumors 603

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    #24
    I don't see it that way.

    The new Mac Pro COULD be AMD only, but by tying themselves to CUDA Apple is locking themselves to NVidia, and that's a really bad position to be in.

    Apple is basically promoting an open solution that works on all cards, so that people aren't locked to a specific GPU vendor.
     
  25. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #25
    Right, I'm not saying that Apple should be Nvidia exclusive. I want both available. I think they should offer an NVidia solution as well as the AMD one. The Blender news makes it seem as if they will not be doing so. And that's a bummer!
     

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