Thursday, August 27, 2015

What's coming

xN's 3.20.0 changes on the way :

1. Gonna break SDK compatibility, as we're introducing some minor modificatons and use VS2013u5.

2. Gonna change the tangents to a 4-component one ( computing biNormal on the fly ) instead of storing the full biNormals. This will reduce memory space and also guarantee a full ortho-normalized basis.

Also, gonna release ratGPU 0.9.0 soon and prepare the final 1.0.0 soon.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Opinion : Windows 10, Skylake

I've been testing Windows 10. The Start button is back, weee! That's good !
But I will never understand the "Metro-ModernUI-styled" full screen apps.
That kind of apps might be fine for a phone or a tablet, but not for a desktop user.

The first thing I do when I install W8/10 is to remove all the Metro apps with these Powershell commands:

Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage –online

I neither like the fact that updates can't be downloaded & installed when the user wants. They are downloaded and installed automatically by default and you can only decide when to reboot the system .... so, for me, the only viable options are:

1. Open a gpedit.msc, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update and disable the "Configure Automatic Updates".


2. Disable manually the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and the Windows Update service.

Very bad 8(.

On the other hand, I'm truly concerned about privacy in W10:

The default settings always turn on a lot of "automatically send diagnostics/info data" and "telemetry" options. You must disable all those settings ( privacy ones, apps ones, Windows Defender's cloud protection/sample submission ones, OneDrive ones, Feedback ones, Spartan ones ... ). Turn all the shit OFF.

Also, apparently, some preview versions of W10 had a keylogger enabled.
I'm not sure if this is enabled in the final version but, anyways, you could neutralize it using these commands:

1. Open a command-line console as administrator and type

    sc delete DiagTrack
    sc delete dmwappushservice
    echo “” > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl

2. Now, execute a gpedit.msc. Then, go Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Data Collection and Preview Builds and disable the Telemetry.

3. Stay in the group policy tool. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive. Then, enable the "Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage" option.

4. Open a regedit as administrator and navigate to this entry:
and set the "AllowTelemetry" property to 0.

5. Open another console as admin and open the hosts archive:
notepad.exe C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\hosts
and add those entries in order to black list them:

6. Go to the Search box > Configure. Disable Cortana and online web search.
Now, disable the search box making right click over it and selecting "Hidden".
Also, go to the Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Services (as admin) and stop+disable the Windows Search service.

7. Optionally, replace the notepad by Notepad++. Windows Media Player by VLC, Wordpad by LibreOffice, Internet Explorer 11 & Spartan by Firefox, etc...

My last rant is about the i7-6700K :

Good things:

1. The new IGP is fast and supports the latest APIs.
2. The 1ms power-state response.
3. Supports DDR4.

Bad things:

1. No much IPC improvement compared to Haswell, but we barely got a 3-5% ( as happened with Sanday->Ivy or Ivy->Haswell upgrades ).

2. I was expecting 8 physical cores increment because the silicon die is very small and there is enough physical room for that ... but, yep, still only 4 cores there... I feel 2006-ish.

3. I was expecting the inclusion of the awesome AVX-512 instructions ... but it didn't happen : still AVX2. Apparently, Xeons will get them but I'm skeptic.

4. All the Skylake processors use the HD 530 IGP, but you won't know if it's a GT1, GT2 or GT4.

5. They are using that same cheap and crappy thermal paste for the 6700K. You must delid it to get good temps.

So .... VERY BAD, all.
Grrrr bark grrrr. Grumpy programmer logging out now.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

xNormal 3.19.2


- Added Photoshop CC 2015 support.
- Deprectated some old plug-ins.
- Recompiled using the latest libraries ( Optix 3.8, libpng-1.6.17, libtiff-4.0.4, lua-5.3.1 )

ratGPU 0.8.3


- Fixed a problem installing the 3dsmax / Maya 2016 plug-ins.
- Simplified & unified the license.
- Recompiled using the latest libraries ( Qt 5.4.2 ).

Monday, April 27, 2015

ratGPU 0.8.2

- Added 3dsmax / Maya 2016 support.
- The bias parameter is now an absolute numeric value.
- The TK1 standalone renderer's main/about window title no longer displays incorrectly a “x64” tag.
- Performance and compatibility tweaks for Quadro cards.
- Recompiled using the latest libraries ( Qt 5.4.1 ).

Friday, April 24, 2015

xNormal 3.19.0

- The UI frontend is now a little bigger
- Added 3dsmax / Maya 2016 support.
- Now you can invoke the obj2sbm and object-tangent space tool from the command-line.
- The installer now uses modern UI.
- Fixed a lot of bugs and improved compatibility with Quadros.
- Recompiled using VS2013CEu4 and the latest libraries, including FBX 2016, Cuda 7/Optix 3.7

Thursday, January 08, 2015

ratGPU 0.8.0

- Added an option in the standalone renderer app to re-install the Max/Maya's plug-ins.
- Optimized a 2% the speed in some cases.
- Removed the dependency on TBB.
- Adjusted the bias parameter a bit more.
- Added the license to the Help/About dialog.
- Tweaked a bit the random noise generator.
- Solved a problem removing the app from the Windows's installed programs list.
- Updated a bit the Windows Installer's UI.
- Removed the installer for MacOSX. Now all is inside the .app.
- Recompiled using VS2013 CE Update 4 and XCode 6.
- Recompiled using the latest libraries ( Qt 5.4.0, NSIS 3.0b1 )

Monday, October 06, 2014

xN4 delayed to 2015

Sorry, but we're delaying xNormal 4 to 2015-H2 because:

1. We were expecting solid OpenCL 2.0 drivers some months ago, but it didn't happen. We're taking B plan meanwhile they mature : CUDA.

2. Need hardware tessellation support in Macs ( OpenGL 4.2 ). Currently, only 3.3 is supported ... But we'll likely wait for Vulkan and DX12 instead.

3. Some 3rd-party libs still have problems compiling due to C++11/14. We have submitted some bugs and we hope they could fix them soon.
4. clang has some problems with OpenMP with OSX atm.
5. Need at least Qt 5.4 on Ubuntu 14.04LTS installed from standard repository. Currently only 5.2.1 is supported.

6. We want to add ARM support too.

7. xNormal 4 will use a completely new core based on ratGPU 2.0.

8. We're addicted to WoW ( new expansion coming out! ) and Interstellar's trailers. Seriously.

Monday, August 18, 2014

xNormal 3.18.9 and ratGPU 0.7.3

For xNormal, fixed a bug position-offseting the cages.
Also, recompiled with latest JRE and Optix 3.6.2 which should support Maxwell cards.

For ratGPU, fixed a bit the bias parameter so the self-occlusion problems should be fixed on Mac now. Also recompiled with the latest Qt, VS and tbb libs.

Now I'm 100% concentrated in xN4 !