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sunflow and xsi

07.15.10 | 2 Comments

During a few weeks off work after a “fun” eight month job, I decided to chill out by writing an XSI exporter to yet another opensource unbiased renderer; sunflow.

I have known about sunflow for quite a few years, and one night got the idea that my XSI luxrender exporter might easily be cannibalised to export a new ascii scene file format for sunflow.

Sunflow is written in Java and seems to have been developmentally dormant since 2007. The extensible oo Java core would’ve been interesting if I’d had the gumption to learn Java and read the source, but due to relapses of Internets Disease and Taurean couch-potatoism I lost interest and moved on. (I think revisiting Shadow Of The Colossus in hard mode had something to do with it too)

Take a look at sunflow’s feature list here.

Here are pictures from the development of the plugin:
(Most recent renders first)

ixsunflow_export_03_02_sftest ixsunflow_export_03_02_05c_sftest ixsunflow_export_03_02_05_sftest_02 ixsunflow_export_03_02_04b_sftest ixsunflow_export_03_02_04a_sftest ixsunflow_export_03_02_03_sftest ixsunflow_export_03_01_sftest ixsunflow_export_02_07_sftest6054 ixsunflow_export_02_07_07_modifiers_02_sftest2786 ixsunflow_export_02_07_06_iceemissiveflag_sftest4617 ixsunflow_export_02_07_06_iceemissiveflag_frozenstrands_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_07_05_sftest96411 ixsunflow_export_02_07_02_sftest8658 ixsunflow_export_02_06_particleobj_02_sftest30000 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_mat9_frozendarts_frozen_02_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_02_03_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_02_sftest00011 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_mat8_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_mat7_sftest0001ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_mat5_sftest00013 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_06_hair_mat_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_05_instances02_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_05_instances03_sftest0001ixsunflow_export_02_04_04_exroutput_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_04_03_sftest00011 ixsunflow_export_02_04_02_sftest0001 ixsunflow_export_02_003_dof_sftest00011

And the first pixels rendered with the exporter:



I wrote the exporter mainly to see what the built-in hair primitve was like, and if I could easily export ICE strand particles to it. Its object instancing was also a motivation; it’s so easy to create thousands of particle instances in interesting arrangements using ICE.

Sunflow’s speed was pretty much on par with luxrender, but sunflow has a gnarly progressive-render mode (-ipr cmdline flag) which is a real bonus for rapidly tuning shaders, composition and lighting. I wonder what it’d be like if my exporter was written in C and hooked into XSI’s custom renderer mechanism, set to be in live IPR mode.

Like luxrender, the most mature 3d exporter is available for Blender. Yay for FLOSS.

There’s also cool stuff available for users of Processing1to export to sunflow here.

Miga’s XSI sunflow exporter

Michael Gangolf wrote a sunflow exporter for XSI years ago.
It can be found here.

  1. Processing: let me take this oportunity to soapbox that “Processing” is an annoyingly generic name for an application to search for on teh googles. []
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