Proxy objects

Am not sure if this belongs just in the Cycles features or in a global request but I’d dearly love to see user defined proxy controls for images akin to what is available in Max’s.

In a nutshell:

System takes each image and downsizes based on user input - half size, quarter or eighth. Paths aren’t remapped as per user exposure, but done behind the scenes so user can either use proxy versions in viewport (like the existing resizing feature in settings) or at render time. The proxy path can be set in the user preferences either locally or on network.

A network cache system akin to that used in Fusion. Ie if the source image is located on a network drive, on load it will copy to a specified local disk (eg an ssd). When reloading, it will check the network location to see if there’s any change to the filestamp and if not, load the cached version. If there’s a change it will reload and re-cache the file. This could be worked for textures and also compositor footage.

First time poster here, 25 years max guy switching after about 5 months blender use and already used it in our latest feature as a live test run.




Welcome to the Blender community, Pete. I remember your name from my old Max days. I was a Max beta tester in the early 2000s. Blender has matured to a force to be reckoned with.

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Metin!! Awesome mate! Yeah those were the good old days! Stopped being a tester in 2010 when stuff wasn’t going forward or the product manager just didn’t seem to want to progress the software. Jumped into Blender only recently and am loving it (albeit with some feature issues), however am trying to migrate my entire studio across. Autodesk can do one. (Everyone else, sorry for the off topic, this is a big deal for me :):):slight_smile: ) hope you’re still running Seven’s heaven :slight_smile:


Wow! Pete Draper! Now there’s a blast from the past. :smile: Metin just let me know you were here. Your books(yes Millenials, books) were a huge inspiration back in the day. I used to count the days till my 3D world mag came in the post and you would have your monthly Max wizardry tutorial.

Sorry for the fanboy silliness, I’m surely too old for that, but I think it’s fantastic being on this 2.80 train, and even moreso as I see some of the big names I’ve known of for years join the party. Come on, Pete, get a Blender Particle/FX tutorial series going… :wink:


Hahaha! :grin:

I used to bring one of the Inside 3D Studio Max books along on vacation, back in the late 1990s. While my girlfriend was reading some novel, I was devouring one of those ‘Inside’ books. :slightly_smiling_face:

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By the way, @PeteDraper, I’ve sent you a PM. :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

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Am dragging my old backside through the particle system which is starting to look interesting but the primary problem is the lack of documentation. I remember when we contributed to the pflow docs in max we’d really knuckled down and produced working examples as to how to use the system which (I know, OT, sorry) Blender is severely lacking, which I think is the reason why a lot of people haven’t jumped ship yet. While the documentation is marginally fleshed out, it’s apparent that it’s not written by artists but developers which does not help the transition. If I have time I’m planning to make suggestions but I need to get more in-depth with it before doing so as running the studio and a family now (which I didn’t have when I was a max beta tester) takes up most of my free time. That’s pretty much why I gave up the 3dworld stuff… plus they weren’t hiking any payments in ten years and also reducing the volume we could write. The Deconstructing The Elements series was a nightmare for the 3rd edition as the publisher was dumb and even leaked the copy which put me off writing again. I started doing video tutorials but in this day and age, the Blender community has enough of those at the moment, unless there’s something people haven’t covered yet.

Anyway… proxy system. yeah, blender needs a proxy system. And openVDB imports. (back OT) :wink:



Yes, I’m working game dev these days so haven’t done any particle work in Max in a while(aside from messing about with Tyflow), but I do still have my 2nd edition copy of Deconstructing the Elements. Sorry to hear you were f**ked over by the publisher. Something like that, or having your content pirated can certainly put a denbt in your enthusiasm. As for 3DWorld, I severed my prescription many, many years ago. It got to the stage were their content was weeks old by the time it published.

Sorry for the OT, but seeing your name brings back a lot of fond memories of when Max really WAS top of its game. Have you looked into MantaFlow? Do you even work in the trenches anymore? :rofl:

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I’ve had a play with Mantaflow, however the primary drawback (unless it has since been updated) is there’s no realtime feedback (akin to Fume’s legacy versions) unlike the existing smoke system which has been a very nice draw for me seeing my updates in real time. Seeing stuff update live is one of the biggest attractions to Blender, including cycles updates (etc). If this goes away, it’ll be a big loss… or just have the ability to display the last frame cached so we get a quasi-cache-cum-realtime-update.

The books were pirated heavily, but the nail in the coffin with those idiots was that someone between the publisher and the printer leaked a digital pdf (not scanned - live text) online 2 weeks before the book was released. Oh and the supporting website with all of the material didn’t go live properly for 3 months after the release which dented sales, and their temporary site was completely open to anyone. Again… idiots.

Trenches - I dabble. Last major sequence was a year ago which about killed me - major stereo pflow work with heavy dof and brushed metal sci-fi titles work. Latest one was a quick sequence for a film that I put Blender into for the first time which worked well; some teething issues but got around it easily. Running the studio I’m mostly developing the artists and QCing but also researching new methods which has brought me, inexorably, here.


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Hey, the Deconstructing the Elements guy. Awesome!. Unfortunately I had to throw your books out because of a bed bugs infestation 10 or so years ago but they were really great. :smiley:

Welcome. It is great to see such high profile users switching to Blender. :smiley:

The DTE guy is a name i proudly wear like a boat anchor :wink:

The new system. I get the way it’s built but what does what and, more to the point, HOW and WHY helps gel the information into one’s head. That’s what’s missing right now.



This whole dialogue is exactly why I love the Blender Community. Very positive :slight_smile:.

Yes, information is scarce. Every now bits of information pop up on the graphicall thread in the windows64 build of the functions branch. The way i understand is that the main difference to PFlow in Max is that it works a bit diferently because it is not event driven but data driven.

Yeah it’s a lot more like thinking particles than pflow which is good, but still, a repository of official samples would be useful for learning the tool.

Hey Pete can you detail what you mean with a proxy system?

To have your idea in mind, not that I can do anything to solve this LOL but to try to understand what you have in mind as a proxy and what benefits are you after.
Avoid doing a comparison to other proxy systems, so we can have a list of required features so the devs have things clear without checking other engines or systems :slight_smile:

In Max if you import a proxy ( similar to linking in Blender ) you can either display the object as the regular object or you can display it as a “reduced” version of lower quality.
What happens is that Max automatically turns the object into a decimated version of itself or even into a point cloud.
This is to boost performance in viewport. If you create a forest for example, link a couple of trees and then scatter them a gazillion times in your scene your viewport will become slow or crash. But if you display them as a low poly or point cloud version you can still see the shape of your forest while being able to work with acceptable viewport performance.
It is like a step between displaying it normally and displaying as bounding box.


In Blender we have the bounds view mode, so are we talking just about the point cloud visibility option?

That’s why I asked to avoid comparisons with other packages, and rather an actual feature list of what a “proxy” should be and how should it behave :slight_smile:

if we talk about doing huge project in blender cycles. few important elements must happen before.

Beying able to import pointcloud that stores. Orient attribute. so our instances/proxy objects will have correct rotation. Normal is not good enough as it can produce flickering of axis.

Next is how we acctualy assign those instances proxy objects. There Should be modifier that we simply add to our pointcloud. and simply in that modifier we choose our instance objects. Would be really awesome if we could assign objects based on ID attribute that is stored in pointcloud. but to make it simple let’s say we can assign only 1 object for 1 pointcloud. That object is loaded only at render time from disc. or streamed. Also there should be option to assign existing object in blend file instead of from disc.

And last not least it would be good… if we could get a pointcloud viewport. where only points are displayed (verts)

You might ask but why we need all of that well the simple answer is to be able to do this.
This is project i have done in Houdini and Clarisse.
This is for example how pointcloud viewport looks like. As u can see u can see very well how the building is looking… however it is 60FPS… meanwhile when switched to traditional i was haveing 5FPS

There is also the decimated option.
And I believe there is also an option to not display the animation. But it’s a while ago that I used it so I might be wrong.

I don’t know of any “Decimate” option in the Viewport Display options