Friday, August 24, 2007

Video: distributed rendering

A good development framework can make software development a joy--unencumbered by the banalities of software development, you can spend your time on the interesting and productive elements of programming. I know I'm waxing poetic a bit, but I'm really excited by what I just saw.

Yesterday, we gave a project to our newest employee, Pandelis, in order to have him familiarize himself with our development framework. We asked him to create a distributed rendering demonstration. We gave him POVRay, a free rendering tool. I also gave him the application we frequently demonstrate with--distributed Mandelbrot (you may have seen this video, which shows that demonstration).

This morning, he showed me this:

In a few hours' time, he took the "wrap and adapt" approach: threw a .NET class around the data, had that class invoke the renderer, and he was done. No modifications to the POVRay source code. No extra work preinstalling anything on the nodes. No extra code to handle serialization, node failure, etc.

As a total bonus (and complete coincidence), I had a sales call with a company that does a ton of graphics work today. Pandelis quickly made an installation (Visual Studio makes simple MSIs so easy to deal with, btw), and I literally ran the MSI, did one practice render, then demo'd it to the potential customer. He was very impressed.

Great job, Pandelis!

Speaking of distributed rendering, why does it take so long for my video to be available after I upload it? Google, do you need some help with your distributed processing? ;-)

Updated 2008/01/02: Fixed a link.

Technorati tags: , ,