Autodesk has finally answered the prayers of animators around the world with their new “ultimate bromance” pack, also knows as the new Ultimate Suite, that brings together 3dsMax and Maya together for the first time into a nice package bundle.
Whether you want to call them the ultimate tag team, the ultimate bromance, or the ultimate dynamic duo, Maya and 3ds Max have come together in the Ultimate Suite to provide you with a complete set of tools that give you the flexibility to tackle any project, any time. With single-step workflows and the ability to create sophisticated effects in Softimage, real-time character animation in MotionBuilder, sculpting and texture painting in Mudbox, and 2D concept art in Sketchbook Designer, the Ultimate Suite offers a complete set of 3D creative tools that unleash your creativity.
Of course, such luxury isn’t cheap: Currently $8000 USD. But for that, you get Maya, 3dsMax, Softimage, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Sketchbook, along with tools like Turtle, Face Robot, and more.
Autodesk has just announced the details of 3dsMax 2013, including the feedback from their recent Beta run.
With this release, we tried to do something slightly different. Along with the bigger features, we tackled improving things that might seem small, but can be annoying or cause inefficiencies when you work. For example, we now allow you to move the viewport while creating various entities like arrays so you don’t stop creating, change your viewport, then begin again. Instead, you simply move the viewport while continuing to draw/create. These are old legacy issues, many of you are used to it, but it doesn’t mean it needs to remain that way. We tackled dozens of these workflow improvements and you’ll encounter them all over the product. This is one outcome of our 3dsmaxfeedback.autodesk.com effort from a year ago.
They acknowledge that certain issues found late in the cycle were still allowed to ship, so expect a Service Pack soon. Also, 2012 is not plugin-compatible with 2013 so you’ll have to get all new plugins (and that means I’ll have to build the PLY Importer again). Get all the details on the new features in their blog post.
The newest version of RayFire will support an interesting “Stick to Mouse” feature that will make it much simpler to distribute and destroy fragments. The new demo video shows interactively spreading a fractured object across a street, and then interactively flinging pieces against objects watching them shatter realistically.
3dsMax and VRay both have a tendency to crash when you exceed your system memory, that’s a long establish fact that frankly isn’t unique to rendering packages. But there are things you can do to reduce your memory usage, options buried deep within with cryptic names like “BSP Trees” and “Face/Level Coefficient”. If you want to know how to tweak these options to best effect on your rig, check out this great article from RenderStuff.
As we know, V-Ray uses the organization of the scene geometry in a form of a BSP tree to accelerate the raycasting process. It is logical to assume that the deeper our tree structure, the smaller its leaves, and the smaller the units of the geometry each leaf contains, then the more space in memory we need to hold tree’s branches and the greater is the potential raycasting speed it can provide.
However, there is a limit in such acceleration. After a certain threshold, further division is not reasonable, since the excessively branched structure of a BSP tree makes the work with itself too difficult. The raycasting algorithm may spend the computational resources for walking through the huge BSP tree, ruining all the gain in speed.
Graphicspeak has a great Success Story from Jeff Patton, freelance CG artist known for his mechanical imagery for some big names. Discussing a recent project for Mercedes Benz, he took his hour per frame renders in 3dsMax and converted them to iRay, and found renders completing in mere minues.
Patton said, “After I finished my first full Mercedes Benz project with the new Nvidia setup, I was stunned. Rendering out the images at 6K in the past took me about an hour per image using the CPU. With Iray and Quadro, I was able to knock that down to eight minutes — EIGHT minutes! It’s a huge benefit to be able to turn things around that much faster.”
The workstation he used had an Nvidia Quadro 6000 and a Tesla C2070 GPU, both fairly high-end cards. Quadro 6000‘s run around $4,000, and a Tesla C2070 runs around $2,500. That same $6,500 could have bought 3 of the BOXX renderPro systems. With a linear improvement in rendertimes, he could have gone from 1 frame an hour to 4 frames an hour, against 7 frames an hour with the iRay solution. Sounds like a win for iRay & CUDA to me.
FXGuide talks to two of the guys behind some of this year’s SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival entries, including some great details with Damian Nenow on his impressive geometric clouds in 3dsMax.
Most people would do clouds now as volumetric renders, but I didn’t want to use a volumetric solution because it’s hard to control them and know the final shape. So I created them first as low-poly geometry based clouds. Then, using the Vertex Color Tool in Max, which is an almost forgotten tool, I could use the vertex color data to illuminate the clouds in the way I wanted.
The way it worked was I created these low poly elements, then covered them with thousands of sprites. They had alpha channel textures on them. You can then add photorealistic textures, like photographs of fragments of actual clouds, or you can add hand-drawn ones, which is what I did. So that’s why they look pictorial. I was able to get very fast render times – between 10 to 30 seconds just using a simple scanline renderer.
The Vertex Color tool is far from forgotten in Scientific visualization arenas, we use it regularly here. I can easily see how it’s not particularly useful amongst “normal” animation people tho.
If you works lots with Point Clouds (Volume Rendering, Laser Scans, fluid simulations, etc) but have been thwarted by 3dsMax’s lightweight (nonexistant?) support for them, previously you had to go look elsewhere for tools like Krakatoa. Autodesk has released a new “Labs” product called “Project Helix” that boosts this lacking area significantly.
Bring your visualizations into context with Project Helix, a powerful technology prototype enabling display and rendering of 3D laser scanning/LiDAR data sets with Autodesk® 3ds Max® and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software. With the 3ds Max Point Cloud Tools you can more quickly import as-built site references to help evaluate and visualize your designs in the context of their surrounding elements. Point cloud data sets are often created by 3D scanners and represent a set of measured vertices in a three-dimensional coordinate system. Using an automatic process, these devices measure a large number of points on the surface of an object and output a point cloud as a data file.
It’s only available until December 20th, but hopefully they’ll integrate it into the next version of 3dsMax.
Announced back at SIGGRAPH, E-On software has just released Carbon Scatter for 3dsMax. Combining their digital nature systems with instancing plugins, you can now create massive populations in your scenes with just a few button clicks.
Carbon Scatter is the easiest and most straightforward solution for creating complex and detailed populations using the native instancing technologies of 3ds Max. Versions of Carbon Scatter for Maya and Cinema4D* will be available shortly (an Open Beta will be released in the coming weeks).Carbon Scatter integrates e-on’s patented EcoSystem™ algorithms directly inside the end user’s favorite 3D application, allowing the population of native scenes with millions of instances and rendering them with the user’s renderer of choice.*Versions for Softimage and LightWave are under consideration.
Key features include automated “smart” scattering, painting, and many ecosystem controls. It’s available for Windows systems now for $195 to $395, depending on features.
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