Thursday, 11 September 2014

V-Ray 3.0 for Softimage Now Available

The team over at Chaos Group have just unleashed V-Ray 3.0 for Softimage. This is available as a free update for all current V-Ray for Softimage commerical license holders. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Save 10% on Autodesk upgrades

Autodesk have announced price reductions and upgrade discounts for existing users.

From February 1st 2015 customers without active maintenance subscription will no longer be able to upgrade from previous versions.

Friday, 05 September 2014

Maxon Cinema 4D Release 16 now shipping

Maxon's latest release of Cinema 4D has hit the shelves. So to speak.

Raising standards once again, the new release features numerous workflow workflow optimizations and innovative tools to enable artists to great content in a fraction of the time.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

V-Ray public betas now available!

The team over at Chaosgroup have just launched the public betas of V-Ray for Nuke and MODO! Make sure you grab hold of them now.

What is V-Ray for Nuke?

V-Ray | NUKE unifies the pipeline between NUKE artists and 3D artists for unprecedented workflow improvements at all stages of production, while providing access to V-Ray's advanced ray tracing capabilities. V-Ray | NUKE can render Alembic caches, V-Ray Proxies and V-Ray scene files, all with complete control over lighting, shading, and render output.

What is V-Ray for MODO?

V-Ray | MODO promises smooth integration of proven rendering capabilities directly into your native MODO workflow. For studios currently using MODO or for those considering adding it to their existing toolset, V-Ray | MODO offers the opportunity to unify their rendering platform.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Extension 1 now available for Autodesk 3ds Max

If you are a 3ds Max customer with Autodesk® Subscription you now have exclusive access to the new tools in Extension 1 for Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2015 software. Extension 1 delivers powerful OpenSubdiv modeling workflows - the top feature request on User Voice - support for the Alembic interchange format, and enhancements to the ShaderFX visual shader editor that helps you more easily create and exchange the complex assets today's demanding productions require.

New features

OpenSubdiv Support

Efficiently represent subdivision surfaces using OpenSubdiv libraries, open-sourced by Pixar and incorporating technology from Microsoft Research.

  • Visualize your model interactively without the need to render for a better WYSIWYG experience, greater productivity, and more accurate realization of creative intent.
  • Get faster in-viewport performance for meshes with high subdivision levels by taking advantage of both parallel CPU and GPU architectures.
  • Reduce the guesswork when animating models and help shorten production times, with efficient smooth surface representation.
  • Create complex topology in less time, by taking advantage of efficient crease modeling workflows with CreaseSet modifier and Crease Explorer.
  • Easily transfer your models to and from certain other packages that support OpenSubdiv using Autodesk® FBX® asset exchange technology and achieve a consistent appearance.

Alembic Support

View massive datasets in the Nitrous Viewport, and transfer them more easily through your production pipeline with new Alembic support.

  • Work with production-proven technology, co-developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • Move complex data through a pipeline in a manageable form: complex animated and simulated data is distilled into a non-procedural, application-independent set of baked geometric results.
  • Get more from your workstation, with highly efficient use of memory and disk space.
  • Enjoy faster data transfer and load times, with the ability to export and load only selected geometry.

Get more shading options and better shader interoperability between 3ds Max, Autodesk® Maya® software, and Autodesk® Maya LT TM software.

Enhanced ShaderFX

  • Create a wider range of procedural materials with new node patterns—wavelines, voronoi, simplex noise, and brick.
  • Create normal maps from 2D grayscale images with a new bump utility node.
  • Get faster access to the shaders you need, with a searchable node browser.
Thursday, 21 August 2014

Maxwell Render free for students and academic institutions

Next Limit's Maxwell Render is now free for students and academic institutions!

Yes you read that correctly, the free education licenses will have no technical restrictions, but are limited to non-commercial use only.

Using Maxwell Render will help to give your students' portfolios that extra edge they need to kick start their careers in the competitive CG industries.

Maxwell’s unparalleled quality and easy workflow are renowned across the CG Industry - from design and architectural visualization to animation, VFX and creative digital arts.

Maxwell Render integrates seamlessly with all the major industry platforms, making a simple and easy workflow.

Contact Escape for more info on how to take advantage of this amazing deal!

Friday, 15 August 2014

NVIDIA Demo Untethered Virtual Camera Technology

At SIGGRAPH this week NVIDIA were demonstrating some interesting new technologies based around virtual cameras. More information is yet to hit the grapevine but you can read what NVIDIA currently have to say about this technology below: 

Imagine a filmmaker, tablet in hand, walking through a live-action set and recording actors as they perform, while simultaneously seeing fluid updates of computer-generated elements within the shot.

Imagine no more. At SIGGRAPH this week, we’re demonstrating virtual camera technology that does just that.

Virtual camera technology is powerful stuff, but until recently was primarily confined to stage environments equipped with tracking markers and motion-capture cameras.

Our technology uncouples the virtual camera from the controlled environment of a set and lets directors frame scenes from any angle. By putting the camera quite literally in the hands of filmmakers, they have the freedom to tell stories in new ways, combining computer-generated images and a live-action set.

To make virtual production more accessible, we’ve worked with Google to use the robot-vision capabilities of its NVIDIA Tegra K1-powered Project Tango tablet, as well as a host of other graphics computing power of the GPU.

The technology works by transferring the position of the “camera” (in the case of our SIGGRAPH demo, the Project Tango tablet) to a digital content creation application for rendering.

Computer-generated elements are rendered by NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, and then streamed back to the tablet using NVIDIA GRID technology. The Tegra K1 then mixes live action with the computer-generated content.

So whether on-set in a controlled stage environment, or off-set in real world, live-action shoot scenarios, filmmakers can get the shot right the first time.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

V-Ray Comes to The Foundry’s MODO, NUKE and KATANA

For those of you who may have missed the big news, you will no doubt be delighted to hear that V-Ray is now available for a number of The Foundry's key products! At SIGGRAPH 2014 (booth #501) Chaos Group demonstrated V-Ray for MODO, V-Ray for NUKE and last but not least V-Ray for KATANA.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Microsoft present First-Person Hyper-Lapse Videos at SIGGRAPH

The folks over at Microsoft Research have been presenting some very clever tech at SIGGRAPH this week, if you use a GoPro or something similar this should certainly be of interest - First-Person Hyper-Lapse Videos! This new method allows you to convert your 1st person videos into a time-lapse video with a smoothly moving camera. 

Make sure you check out the video above and keep an eye out no doubt for as a Microsoft Windows app soon..

A technical paper on how this wizardy works can be found here: http://bit.ly/Vpj6Rt

Thursday, 14 August 2014

From the Trade Floor Coming soon: A new job manager for Maxwell!

This week the Maxwell team are giving their first sneak previews of their new job manager for Maxwell, here's the lowdown...Don't forget - if you're in Vancouver this week stop by the Next Limit booth and say hi to the team!

What's new?

  • It's a more robust and failsafe system - if something fails it will recover and resume your jobs with no need to restart
  • No more need for a monitor - the job queue can now be managed from a web browser which means you can check in from any computer, smartphone or tablet whilst on the go!
  • Job descriptions will be serializable, which means you could create job templates and use them to add/edit new jobs
  • Everything is scriptable through Python and there is a public API, so it is possible to create scripts for tasks like adding jobs or embedding the manager inside 3rd party systems

And there's a lot more to come...

When will it be released?

The golden question! We hope to be able to offer customers a technology preview version with Maxwell Render 3.1 - coming very soon!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

PipelineFX Releases Qube! 6.6

Amongst all of the lovely SIGGRAPH news that we are sharing we wanted to remind you that the team from PipelineFX have just released the latest version of their renderfarm management software Qube! 6.6.

Their new Smart Share feature helps studios achieve maximum throughput, while Universal Callbacks and Flight Checks promote tight integration with production management/reporting tools so Qube! can be pipeline friendly from day one.

“As pipelines grow more sophisticated, the need to protect against bottlenecks becomes even more important,” said Richard Lewis, CEO of PipelineFX. “From customer discussions, it’s obvious that efficiency, multi-platform support and easy integration with both new and legacy tools is where Qube! needs to be. Qube! 6.6 takes them there.”

“Qube! 6.6 has been our sole render manager on films like “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Noah,” and “Rio 2,” said David Mitchelson, Production Systems Engineer at Deluxe and Qube! 6.6 beta tester. “We put a huge emphasis on stability and it has yet to disappoint. Features like “Flight Check” are great because they allow us to create custom scripts that prevent jobs that are going to create bad renders from ever running on the farm. This helps keep us on track and on schedule.”

New Qube! 6.6 Features

  • Smart Share: Improves overall render pipeline throughput by automatically re-assigning idle workers once they conclude a job without intervention from an artist or wrangler in a fair, balanced and controllable way
  • Universal Callbacks: Some jobs require an action every time they are run on the farm. To help, universal callbacks are automatically executed for every job, instance or frame, giving operators an easy way to maintain integration with other software and scripts
  • Flight Checks: Registers scripts that will be executed on a worker immediately before or after a job or task runs. Use cases include ensuring assets that are essential to the job exist, pushing or pulling data from a production tracking system for targeted jobs or tasks, and/or transferring the results of a render job to a studio’s dailies system
  • ArtistView improvements: Centralized preferences and plugins; job, frame, and instance filters (similar to WranglerView); OpenEXR image support in the preview window, as well as a new “thumbnails” tab with mouseover information
  • New platform support: All Autodesk 2015 products and Ubuntu 12.04 Linux are fully supported; Python 2.7 supported on applicable OS platforms
  • Windows platform improvements: An upgraded version of MySQL server (5.5.37) is bundled to significantly improve supervisor performance and Python “load-once” jobs are now fully supported

“Efficiency is the easiest way to weather storms and increase your margins,” added Lewis. “You can’t control everything, but with Qube!, you can control that.”

Pricing and Availability
Customers currently on subscription can download version 6.6 immediately from the PipelineFX ftp site. Please contact Escape to request a 6.6 license.

About Qube!™ and Smart Farming™
Qube! is an intelligent, mature and highly scalable render management solution that can be quickly integrated into any production workflow, and is backed by world-class technical support. Smart Farming delivers intelligence to production pipelines by providing business-critical insight into render pipelines, maximizing investment in rendering infrastructure and automating manual processes. Qube! works out of the box with all leading content creation applications and is truly cross-platform with all software components available on Windows®, Linux®, and Mac OS®X operating systems.

About PipelineFX
As the leading provider of intelligent render farm management solutions for digital content creation, PipelineFX provides software, support, consulting and training services worldwide. Qube! runs on more than 30,000 render nodes at over 700 customers in 51 countries and is used to render film and visual effects, post production, broadcast, design, games and education media. Clients include Apple, Arc Productions, Base FX, BBC, Cinesite, Deluxe, Digital District, Digital Domain, Dyson, Efilm, Electronic Arts, Google, HBO, Hasbro, L.M.U., Laika Studios, Lockheed Martin, Method Studios, MPC, NBC Sports, Nvidia, NHK, NYU, Original Force, Pratt Institute, Procter & Gamble, ReelFX, South Park Studios, SVA, Target, Technicolor and many others. PipelineFX is headquartered in Honolulu, HI, and has offices in Los Angeles, London, Portland, Las Vegas, and Vancouver.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Maxon SIGGRAPH Update

The wonderful folk at Maxon are presenting at SIGGRAPH right now at booth 1422, primarily they are focusing on the latest features that are part of Cinema 4D R16. In addition that are also showcasing some outstanding Cinema 4D projects and productions by leading studios such as Imaginary Forces, Zoic and Aixsponza. Renowned artists such as Nick Campbell (Greyscalegorilla), Casey Hupke (Zoic), Tim Clapham (Luxx), John Johnson (VFX Daily) and M dot Strange (‘I am Nightmare’) offer insights into their work and will provide valuable tips for techniques and workflow.

All presentations and lectures will also be broadcast live at www.C4Dlive.com with live question and answer sessions - so make sure you have a good look! 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Imagineer showcase mocha Pro 4 at SIGGRAPH 2014

Imagineer Systems, creators of the Academy Award-winning mocha® Planar Tracking technology, are exhibiting right now at this year’s annual SIGGRAPH conference where the team are demonstrating their latest generation of mocha Pro v4. New features are a plenty with brand new Stereoscopic 3D workflow, Python scripting support, customizable keyboard shortcuts, new exports and format handling, and more!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Foundry announce an entirely new range of NUKE products!

The Foundry will be releasing an entirely new NUKE range later this year, with existing NUKE users able to access open betas of all three applications in the coming weeks.

At the top of the new range, NUKE STUDIO provides artists with a powerful node-based VFX, editorial and finishing studio that’s been designed to empower creative individuals working independently as well as collaborative teams working on quick-turnaround projects in a way that’s previously never been possible.

NUKE STUDIO’s exclusive functionality:

  • Complete online-editing toolkit - Intuitive and familiar editorial tools get the job done fast, whether its on set editing, online conform, or simply knocking out quick edits.
  • In-timeline real-time effects - Powerful GPU accelerated effects can be added right in the timeline, letting artists quickly experiment, polish and achieve the high-end look they need.
  • Fluid end-to-end workflow - Combined timeline and node-graph workflow lets artists work the way they want with all the power to create a project in one application from start to finish.
  • Powerful collaborative control - A hub for total project control lets artists share scripts, work collaboratively with annotations and version up and down with ease.
  • Real-time 4K playback - Plays in-application and through SDI-Out Hardware giving confidence to client attended sessions.
  • Intelligent built-in rendering - Built-in render farm functionality automatically uses all available resources to enhance speed and performance, either on a single machine or when connected to multiple.

Updates exclusive to NUKEX and NUKE STUDIO:

  • Planar tracker overhaul - provides a single, integrated Planar Tracker node with new pattern matching algorithm to make tracking featureless planar surfaces possible.
  • Kronos, Vector Generator and Motion Blur 2 - adds a new motion estimation algorithm to improve the quality and temporal consistency of retimed image sequences based on OCULA technology. This engine vastly reduces the artefacts conventionally associated with optical flow, meaning you get the results you want faster and with less tweaking.


Core compositing updates in the whole NUKE 9 range:

  • Native Flipbook tool - uses NUKE STUDIO technology to bring integrated and streamlined player capabilities to NUKE and NUKEX.
  • Huge performance updates - Covering NUKE’s EXR reader, Deep EXR reader, Particle system and Scanline Renderer to name a few.
  • Enhanced 2D format support - Adds support for MXF files, including read from MXF for DNxHD, MPEG2, Sony RAW (F55 and F65), AVCI and DV image files
  • OFlow improvements - adds GPU acceleration.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Thinkbox Software Previews Deadline 7

Another lovely SIGGRAPH update - Our chums over at Thinkbox Software are previewing Deadline 7 at SIGGRAPH 2014 showcasing built-in Virtual Machine Extension for comprehensive cloud support. Read their press release below: