Distributed Rendering with Rust and Mio

02 Jan 2016

In this post we’ll take a look at adding distributed rendering to tray_rust which will let us take advantage of multiple machines when rendering an image, like a compute cluster. To do this we’ll look at options for how to distribute the rendering job across multiple nodes and what sort of communication is needed synchronize their work. We’ll also look into how we can use mio to write an efficient master process that can manage multiple workers effectively.

After implementing a simple technique to distribute the job we’ll discuss the scalability of this approach and possible paths forward to improve it. I’ve also recently written a plugin for Blender so you can easily create your own scenes and will mention a bit on how to run the ray tracer on Google Compute Engine (or AWS EC2) if you want to try out the distributed rendering yourself.


Rendering an Animation in Rust

16 Dec 2015

In this post we’ll look at adding a pretty awesome new feature to tray_rust, something I’ve never implemented before: animation! We’ll take a look at a simple way for sampling time in our scene, how we can associate time points with transformations of objects to make them move and how to compute smooth animation paths with B-Splines. Then we’ll wrap up with rendering a really cool animation by using 60 different machines spread across two clusters at my lab.


Porting a Ray Tracer to Rust, part 3

15 May 2015

It’s been a little while since my last post on tray_rust as I’ve been a busy with classes, but I’ve had a bit of free time to implement some extremely cool features. In this post we’ll look at porting over the path tracing code and adding a bounding volume hierarchy, along with adding support for triangle meshes and measured material data from the MERL BRDF Database introduced by Matusik et al. in 2003 in A Data-Driven Reflectance Model. In the process of implementing the BVH we’ll get a taste of Rust’s generic programming facilities and use them to write a flexible BVH capable of storing any type that can report its bounds. In the spirit of fogleman’s gorgeous Go Gopher in Go we’ll wrap up by rendering the Rust logo in Rust using a model made by Nylithius on BlenderArtists.

If you’ve been following Rust’s development a bit you have probably noticed that the timing of this post is not a coincidence, since Rust 1.0.0 is being released today!


Porting a Ray Tracer to Rust, part 2

30 Jan 2015

As mentioned in my previous post I spent the past month-ish working on improving both the rendering capabilities and performance of tray_rust. While it’s not yet capable of path tracing we can at least have light and shadow and shade our objects with diffuse or specularly reflective and/or transmissive materials. Along with this I’ve improved performance by parallelizing the rendering process using Rust’s multithreading capabilities. Although ray tracing is a trivially parallel task there are two pieces of state that must be shared and modified between threads: the pixel/block counter and the framebuffer. With Rust’s strong focus on safety I was worried that I would have to resort to unsafe blocks to share these small pieces of mutable state but I found that the std::sync module provided safe methods for everything I needed and performs quite well. While it’s difficult to compare against tray (my initial C++ version) as the design of tray_rust has diverged quite a bit I’ll put some performance numbers in the multithreading section.

During the past month Rust has also seen some pretty large changes and is currently in its 1.0 alpha release with the first beta fast approaching.

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