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 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:

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Esri CityEngine Event

On the 24th of July Escape Technology held another one of our popular events this time in partnership with the team from Esri.

3D product engineer, Matthias Buehler, and director of 3D markets, Dominic Tarolli both presented and demostrated how Esri's latest 3D GIS design software was used to model 3D Cities in "The Man of Steel's" Metropolis. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Stupid Renderman Tricks

SIGGRAPH 2014 approaches, which means it's time for Stupid RenderMan Tricks again! Bring us your strange, your misbegotten, your slightly quirky, your downright delightfully perverse use and abuse of RenderMan for the edification and entertainment of your peers. Any and all such work is eligible, the stupider or cleverer the better.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

V-Ray Beta update released

Chaos Group has released the latest update for their V-Ray 3.0 Beta program.

Tackling bugs and modifying existing tools, this most recent release showcases new features such as support for Maya 2015 and a simplified render settings user interface.

V-Ray for Maya has been developed over the years to meet the needs of VFX artists and film studios around the world. Delivering uncompromised stability, the rendering engine is easy to use and impressively fast.

Chaos Group’s beta program is available for all commercial users of Maya for a total period of three months. More information can be found on the website, along with details of how to download the latest version.

Friday, 27 June 2014

RealFlow 2014 officially launched

In association with Escape Technology, the team from NextLimit presented the latest generation of RealFlow. Featuring numerous developments and pipeline improvements, the latest version of the software takes a big leap forward.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Adobe revamps Creative Cloud

Adobe has announced fourteen brand new versions of its Creative Cloud software.

Fourteen brand new versions of Adobe Creative Cloud applications, including Photoshop and After Effects, have been released in the biggest single wave of updates since the launch of the CC suite.

Complete with an SDK, new family of mobile apps, and hardware (yes, Adobe is now releasing hardware) the new developments have been two years in the making. Responding to user needs and feedback, Adobe has built exciting new functionality into its core offerings.

Escape Technology’s business development director, Richard McGuinness, commented, “This is a bit of an unconventional move from Adobe, releasing such a large amount of Cloud updates all in one go. And its first foray into the hardware world opens them up to another lucrative market.”

Adding hardware to its offering is bold move. Announcing a new digital pen and ruler Adobe is entering a competitive world. Christened Adobe Ink and Adobe Slide the ‘Creative Hardware’ is currently only available in the US, but will rolled out elsewhere later in the year.

While you can still buy CS6, this wave of upgrades is designed to encourage users to convert to the Cloud. CS6 was the last disk-based release from the software giant, with new features only being available Creative Cloud users. So if you want the latest software trickery you will have to move over to Adobe CC.

Friday, 20 June 2014

MPC lands Jungle Book

The rumours are true – MPC has confirmed that it will be providing visual effects for Disney’s live action Jungle Book movie.

One of the largest visual effects firms in the world, The Moving Picture Company has announced that it will be serving as lead visual house for the Jon Favreau directed live action Jungle Book to be released by Disney next year.

Escape Technology’s technical director, Lee Danskin, said, “This is a massive contract for MPC and is great news for the industry as a whole. The Jungle Book is an iconic story and they’re going to have a lot of fun with the effects.”

Fresh from hugely successful work on Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Maleficent MPC has its headquarters in London and a global presence in cities like Los Angeles and Vancouver.

The new live action Jungle Book stars the prolific Idris Elba voicing Shere Khan, while Scarlett Johansson lends her talents to snake Kaa.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Save Up To 20% on Your Autodesk Upgrade

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.

Monday, 09 June 2014

Rebuilt from the ground up, OCULA from The Foundry comes of age

What's new?
OCULA 4 introduces a complete overhaul of our industry standard stereo post production toolset. It is an extensive rewrite with state-of-the-art algorithms, GPU acceleration with the same results on CPU, completely new workflows to ensure fast turn-around times no matter how many hundreds of shots you face.

Monday, 09 June 2014

Thinbox Software Release Stoke MX 2.0 for Autodesk 3ds Max

Expanded Capabilities Include 3D Data Remixing; Procedural Geometry Modification

Los Angeles, CA (June 3, 2014) – Thinkbox Software today launched Stoke MX 2.0, a completely reimagined version of its plug-in for Autodesk® 3ds Max®. Stoke MX 2.0 introduces new methods of working with 3D data – including particles, fields, meshes and level sets– to produce and synthesize complex simulations quickly and with a high level of control. The addition of Genome, a procedural geometry modifier previously available as a separate product offering, to Stoke MX 2.0 provides 3ds Max users with a unique, powerful and streamlined tool. Flexible I/O ensures Stoke MX 2.0 users can easily handle data from both third party applications and legacy particle systems, while a dedicated atmospheric effect enables users to render fields in various 3ds Max renderers including Default Scanline and V-Ray.