Renderman, Arnold Guerilla, Mental Ray and Maya (probably Mentra too) all have the ability to offload geometry and use a “proxy” versions instead. By proxy, I’m not talking about Blender’s proxy. It’s about having the ability to offload heavy geometry out of the scene and having it replaced by just an origin, a bonding box, a low res geo or a point cloud, interchangeable on the fly. The high res version is loaded only at rendering time which free up the memory for the viewport.
I saw different addons that will allow you to generate proxies, like proxyfy, but they keep the highres version of the model in the scene, which defeats the purpose. Proxytools is buggy but awesome for its ability to generate point clouds. It makes a faster interaction in the viewport but unfortunately still has all the geo in memory.
When you save a file where proxies were generated from Proxy Tool, you can see that it creates three versions of the geometry. The one called proxy is a collection that includes the low res and the hi res version. If I link directly to the low, I only get the point cloud, which is what I want. Now to get this à la Arnold, I would need a pre-render script that would switch the lo for the hi version of the object but only for rendering, without affecting my current file.
That was the topic of my latest publication on my Blender Youtube channel.
You can skip to 8:55 to better understand what I’m trying to achieve.
So, is it possible to switch a geometry for another one only at render time without affecting the currently opened file?
Happy new year to you all!