Here's the story of a guy whose dedication to the 3D community sparked a great idea for a new website of his own. Long have CG forum dwellers taken to posting their 3D scene files and comparing with renders from others...a benchmarking process. A process that often isn't very easily accessible in a Forum setting.
This is where Joe Pizzini steps in, with his 3dspeedmachine.com. A proving ground for 3D artists everywhere that wish to find just where they are in their process, and where they want to be. This is an outstanding endeavor and most definitely a great reference site to keep in the bookmarks. And this is exactly what the 3D community is all about...finding ways to help each other out.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in 3D?
My name is Joe Pizzini. I live and work in Austin, Texas. For the past four years I've been the lead Animator for a company that specializes in litigation visualization. I also teach 3D Studio Max for an online school on a part time basis. Prior to my current job, I worked as a freelance 3D artist for roughly 4 years. I am the original creator of www.vrayelite.com, a site I created to help those who were struggling with the V-Ray rendering engine. In January 2008, I sold that site to a company looking to promote their V-Ray Training videos.
a sample of Joe Pizzini's 3DS Max work
When and how did the idea for 3dspeedmachine.com come about?
I came up with the concept of 3Dspeedmachine.com about a year ago. Computer benchmarks can be found all over the net. However, I found most of them to be rather obscure to 3D artists. I wanted a site that had a wide range of benchmarks tailored specifically for 3D artists. A site that would let a user gauge hardware performance based on the software and plugins they use on a daily basis. I also noticed that benchmarks are often a hot topic on many of the major forums. Forum users would post a scene file for others in the community to render. Though these type of threads are usually rather popular, the data is spread out over several pages making it difficult to use the information. Thus, 3dspeedmachine.com was born. We collect and organize benchmark data from 3D artists all over the world.
I see the list of software benchmarks currently available are for 3DS Max, Lightwave, Carrara, Maya, and Terragen. While it is stated that your resources are currently limited, are there plans to include other software at some point?
Absolutely. We are only limited by what we can get our hands on. Ideally I'd like to have a scene file for every major software application on the market along with all the popular render plugins. This will take time though I imagine we'll get more scene file submissions as the site's popularity increases.
Now, I noticed that you encourage folks to submit data for other software not listed. However, it would, I assume, be hard then for you to investigate any possible flagged items from other software outside of your own resources, would it not?
As far as investigating flagged items, we usually enlist the help of the person or persons who contributed the scene file. If that doesn't solve the problem, we have other methods of getting to the bottom of problem scenes. For instance, we are about to implement a feature that allows each scene file to be discussed on our forum.
Are there any specific scene files/data you are currently most in need of?
Houdini, XSI and Cinema4D are the main ones I'd like to add. If anyone can help with any one of those please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
How has 3Dspeedmachine grown since it first went online?
3Dspeedmachine.com has seen steady growth since its launch in early September 2008. We have a few thousand registered users and have collected hundreds of benchmarks. Since the site's launch I've taken on a partner, Oshyan Greene, to help me develop the site. Together we've been busy improving the site's features and making it more user friendly. We will soon be implementing a user ranking system which will allow a user to see how their workstation compares to others on the site. In addition, we will be implementing forum signatures powered by the 3Dspeedmachine database to be used on virtually any forum. The signatures will include stats on a user's workstation and show their real time "rank" on 3dspeedmachine. The main struggle with the site so far has been tracking down scene files for all the various software and plugin combinations. We rely heavily on the community to supply us with the scene files used in the database. For more information on that, please visit our Contribute page.
And how has the response been so far to the site? Are you getting alot of positive feedback?
The response so far has been very positive. I've received at least a dozen emails that essentially say "it's about time someone made a site like this." It's always encouraging to hear positive comments like that and it reinforces the fact that although I am a nerdy 3D artist, there might just be enough nerdy 3d artists out there to make this site worthwhile :-)
How do you visualize the future for 3DSpeedmachine?
First and foremost I want to get as many 3D artists participating in the site as possible. We're convinced that the concept behind 3dspeedmachine.com has been a long time coming. Once we get a steady stream of users, and a wide range of data, the original vision of 3dspeedmachine will be realized. Looking ahead to the future, we will always be improving the usability of 3dspeedmachine and adding creative features that tie into the site's theme. We also have plans to expand into the video game arena by opening up the database to gaming enthusiasts and letting them benchmark their systems on demanding video game titles.
Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Managing Editor for Renderosity's Front Page News.
August 24, 2009
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