Partner: Blender Institute

Field: information technology

Visualization of computer-generated scenes where reaching a real-life appearance of displayed objects is required is a computationally highly intensive process. This can be achieved by rendering. At present, the most widely used renderers are those which can faithfully simulate the physical behaviour of light. Making use of such renderers, it is thus possible to achieve top quality results that are indistinguishable or nearly  indistinguishable from real images.

In this field, IT4Innovations successfully cooperates with the Blender Institute, which is responsible for developing
Blender. It is an open source 3D creation suite covering a wide portfolio of 3D computer graphics features ranging
from creating a model, its animation to its final rendering. This is exactly where an opportunity to establish mutual
collaboration has arisen. At IT4Innovations, the original Blender renderer, which could only be run on a computer
workstation equipped with a graphic accelerator (GPU), was modified and further extended. Using the CyclesPhi
module developed at IT4Innovations for rendering, it is possible to use the computing power of the entire supercomputer including its Intel Xeon Phi acceleration cards, which are fitted in about half of the compute nodes of the Salomon cluster.

With the use of the supercomputer, it is possible to achieve a reduction in the rendering time to a mere fraction of the original time. It is an example of an ideally scalable problem – this means that the ten, or hundred times higher the number of computational resources used, the ten, or hundred times shorter the computing time, respectively, etc. When creating the content, it is therefore possible to speed up the entire production process significantly. Within the collaboration with the Blender Institute, the Salomon supercomputer was used for rendering the following animated promo movies: Cosmos Laundromat: First Cycle, Agent 327: Operation Barbershop, and currently Spring as well.

The overall objective of the collaboration between IT4Innovations and the Blender Institute is to develop tools enabling remote rendering of 3D scenes and preparation of the Rendering as a Service package. As a result, rendering of complex scenes using the computing power of the supercomputing cluster will be made possible from any computer.


Francesco Siddi
Blender Institute

IT4I has been instrumental for the research and development process during the production of several Blender Open Movies. Having access to the Salomon cluster allowed for fast iterations during scene/performance debugging, and it also allowed the pursuit of high-end visuals, pushing rendering algorithms to the limits. The IT4I team has always supported our goals with great transparency and in the most professional way.