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I am a beginner in computer graphics so I might have some terminological errors in my question. For an art project, I have a scene of modified planes with textures on them. The textures are taken from their designated folder, and they are updated with a different script now and then.

I want to render this scene whenever the textures are updated and save the image to another file. I don't need physics-based rendering, I don't need lights or shadows, I just need to see the scene with textured planes on the output rendered image and I want to run this on a server so It should be rendered headlessly.

What kind of strategy should I follow?

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1 Answer 1

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For this application you want to look at stand-alone rendering software used by CG artists or hobbyists, like Blender or POV-Ray (and probably many others that I don't have the names of). They are overkill in rendering capability, but will be straightforward to script to do what you want, since “change some inputs and re-render” is a basic sort of workflow.

Some alternatives to this:

  • Use a game engine. This will be easy to set up but have lots of interactivity features that are actively unhelpful for your purpose.
  • Write a program using graphics APIs directly for this purpose. This is fairly straightforward as graphics programming goes, but will involve lots more learning and programming than convincing POV-Ray to do what you want.
  • Find a web browser that will run headless and use CSS 3D transforms to arrange your images. I don't know what the state of the field here is.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried Blender but for my case, I need to load the scene once and render it without calculating the transformations ever again in order to optimize the time. It takes around 3.5 seconds to render a pretty easy scene with 2 planes. If it stays open it takes 0.01 seconds or so. I probably need to let Blender open without using headless rendering and use a script to update the textures and render it like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – 7p4
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 13:31

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