Swingwood gives us some background on Realman
kindly allowed us to "interview"
him on the 11th May 2003. This is the full
transcript from the conversation:
Richard, tell us about
I'm 45 & recently divorced. I live
and work in Colchester, UK "The oldest
recorded town in Britain". I work for
a small company that supplies computer-related
services to local businesses. I have spent
the majority of my working life writing
software, though not so much in recent years.
How long have you been
Since version 1.4 on the Amiga.
I remember replacing the 68000 processor
in my A500 with a 68010 to speed up my renders
(it was allegedly 10% faster!)
3D is just a hobby for
you. How did you get into it?
It started when I saw "The Juggler"
- a short Amiga animation by Eric Graham.
On the strength of that I purchased Sculpt3D
and a copy of the 'C' source code Eric used
for the animation. Sometime later I saw
a render in Amiga Format magazine
of an Edam cheese complete with holes. That
had enough 'wow' factor for me to get my
wallet out and become a proud owner of Real3D.
I must stress that I'm not so easily impressed
these days :)
You were involved in
Andy Jones' Enhancer product for Real3D.
How did that come about?
I can't recall why but I was on the phone
one day and when he found out I wrote software
he asked if I'd fancy writing some plugins
for Real. I was happy to give it a go so
Andy got me a copy of the development kit
and explained what he wanted. He designed
the whole thing, wrote all the RPL code
and I wrote the postprocessing routines
What was your inspiration
for the Realman plugin?
That man Mr
Jones again ;) He asked for a Real3D
postprocess effect that would invert the
alpha channel and I duly obliged. But It
got me thinking that there was a need for
a general-purpose effect that could be 'programmed'
to manipulate the image in any way possible.
I've always been interested in computer
languages and compilers and had spent more
time than is probably healthy reading and
re-reading "The Renderman Companion",
so this led me to the idea of a programmable
I was aware that V4 was being developed
and eventually found my way on to the alpha
team. It was obvious from the start that
V4 was THE place to implement my idea and
when the SDK was first released I started
work on it.
Will you continue to
work on Realman?
Yes! It needs the ability to use VSL objects
such as 'Texture' and 'RayTrace' and I'd
like to implement it as an Image Processing
effect too. But unfortunately this will
all be on an as-and-when basis.
Any thoughts on a 'Darktree'
type system for Real?
I've never seen Darktree
but I sometimes use a piece of software
called SynC Modular.
It's a sound synthesiser and it's user interface
takes the visual, node-based approach. It's
amazing how quickly the screen can become
a mess of boxes and lines. I personally
don't like the idea; there has to be a compromise
between flexibility and useability and in
that respect I think VSL hits the sweet
What would you like to
see in Version 5?
A toolbar button that automatically and
accurately models the thing I'm thinking
of at the time :)) C'mon Juha I know you
can do it!
Richard, Thank you for taking the time
to write an article for the Render Daemon.
And a big thanks from all the RS community
for releasing Realman
3D as a FREE download.
to find out more on Realman / download.