Written by Julian Pössnicker on February 2021
Recently I had the pleasure to work on an exciting new project. The “Lernmedienproduktion”-Taskforce of the Ostbayrische Technische Hochschule Amberg-Weiden (OTH-AW) in cooperation with the Technische Universität Dortmund (TU-Dortmund) are developing and producing learning media for elementary level students. The general project focus is to find and adopt new ways of didactic methods for the respective target group. The Team and I work on tutorial videos about mathematical topics. The following Video is one of our first results.
This video’s topic is about multiplication and subdividing numbers into groups. Normally these school tasks are done with arrays of black circles printed on worksheets. But we changed it to what we think is a more relatable topic for the Kids. We are using brick stones. In this case, the number 24 is three times subdivided into three dividers. Also, each divider is displayed in two different brick forms. Therefore, there are six different sets of brick stones. Each subdivision is on its own different but in the whole context, the number of knobs is always the same, 24. This should help to detect subdividers more easily for simple multiplication tasks.
We are constantly producing more videos about many educational topics. Check out the Educational Media Website by Prof. Dr. paed. Dipl.-Math. Mike Altieri for more interesting videos.
The goal was to create a believable CG recreation of bricks in an amazingly short production time. So, Blender Cycles was not an option. Recently I tested the Redshift beta for Blender and it is fast. But not fast enough. Then I decided to test Blender`s own real-time render engine Eevee.
I used it only for simple prerender visualizations before. So, I had no big expectations. In the end, it turned out to be the absolute perfect fit for such videos. Granted rendering simple colorful bricks is not that challenging. But rendering them in a sequence in 4k with a six-year-old GTX 980ti in roughly real-time is absolutely awesome.
When comparing the Cycles path tracer against the Eevee real-time render engine it is obvious which frame took longer to render. On the left is the Cycles render engine and on the right Eevee. There are some differences in the shading and the shadows. For example, the shadows on the right were only calculated through an ambient occlusion pass. The reflections are only screenspace reflections and therefore not 100% perfect. The left picture is path traced with no such “fakery”. Nevertheless, the difference is acceptable und the same look can be realized with color-grading. The most interesting thing are the render times. Cycles took 4 minutes and 32 seconds to render this picture. Eevee took 5 seconds.
In my opinion real-time render engines are the next big step for small studios or for productions with a heavy deadline. I am looking forward to see the next innovations within Eevee and the upcoming real-time Redshift mode.
Blender bricks education Eevee media production Redshift