redmotion: 2010

16 December 2010

cmiVFX release Softimage Advanced Modelling Video

ATTENTION! Using the promo code VFX104 you can get 10% off of cmiVFX training videos right now by at the cmiVFX store. (Excludes subscriptions).

cmiVFX launches its next highly anticipated Softimage Training Video…. or should we say "More than just" Training Video:

This visual adventure goes way beyond button clicks and tool locations, by captivating the viewers creative side. This video creation was designed to showcase talent at work. Featuring Ubisoft's very own 3D Modeler, Sebastien Giroux, the journey begins with a simple polygon, and turns into a complex mechanical warrior right before your eyes.

Since the advent of new computer graphics tools like Mudbox or Zbrush, many new artist are missing the core fundamental principles of constructing something. The ability to solve problems when digital data doesn't want to comply with the end user. Polygons, edges, vertices, all mucking about without purpose or proper parameterization is just not the best way to understand your job as modeler or texture artist. Sebastien takes you through a very cool way of building your objects in proxy so that you can understand the form for later retopology. Don't mistake the fact that everything good in life comes in stages. Wether is crawling before walking, or in our case blocking before modeling details, recognize the journey for what it is and what it can do for you. Basically, DON"T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE.

One a prototype is built, and tested for visual satisfaction, it can then be constructed for proper use. Just like a clay model of a car shape, it will need to go to tool and die. We show you how to rebuild your model with the proper geometrical parameterization that is required for highly detailed renderings. There is no fun in seeing jagged edges, unwanted creases, and odd moire patterns from poor surface generation. Sit back and relax while we show you how its done.

It's ALL in the details. This is what makes a Toyota turn into a Lexus luxury sedan. DETAILS. We wont be adding leather and 5 position seats, but we will show you how to increase the visual experience by detailing your models with topology enhancements. Each part should integrate accordingly and run smoothly as the eye passes over it. If you see an area that is just not as good as the rest of your model, then you know your missing detail. Watch as Sebastien solves intricate problems to detailing situations.

Everything that humans know is accessorized. The very clothes that you wear, can be considered accessories. Our model needs some as well, and all the models you create will too. This section of the video shows off the modeling skill of a veteran production modeler as he banks every turn through to the end of the video. So many cool ideas will be popping up in your minds as you watch, that we wouldn't be surprised one bit if you pause the video and start working on one of your projects immediately. Watch the finishing of the model and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing it completed.

About The Author
Sebastien Giroux has been working for 8 years in the field of 3D Animation field while residing in Montreal, Canada.

His career started in the movie and publicity industry and later switched to the gaming industry to give him a chance to diversify is skill workflow and optimize technical approach by changing his perspective on work with the help of his colleagues. He is currently a Modeling and Texture artist at Ubisoft Montreal and worked previously on actors/actress 3D models for movies like 2012, Surrogates and games like Dead Rising 2, Kane and Lynch 2. At a young age, Sebastien was passionate about the CG world. His main focus was to to keep a healthy balance between the technical and artistic side of his work. His love for his career made him always look for ways to push the bar higher and higher by looking for new challenges to improve is skill set.

14 December 2010

Momentum 2.0 preview

Helge Mathee recently posted some sweet looking preview videos regarding the addition of softbodies and cloth to the dynamic rigid bodies system called Momentum (StudioNEST). All of which will fully interact with one another.

Very Sweet.

It's incredible the choice of dynamics systems that ICE is bringing to 3d artists.

Momentum 2.0 Teaser 1 from helge mathee on Vimeo.

Momentum 2.0 Teaser 2 from helge mathee on Vimeo.

Momentum 2.0 Teaser 3 from helge mathee on Vimeo.

Momentum 2.0 Teaser 4 from helge mathee on Vimeo.

Check out the rest of the videos and watch in full resolution over here.

23 November 2010

GEAR - opensource rigging system for Softimage

GEAR - Quick overview from Jeremie Passerin on Vimeo.

It includes a modular rigging system to easily create rigs for any kind of character in Autodesk Softimage.
This first video shows a basic overview of the system. Three videos can be viewed on the Vimeo GEAR channel.

Expect an initial release any day now.

Softimage > gile[s] lightmapper> ShiVa3d tutorial

This is a basic tutorial on how to use gile[s] lightmapper with Shiva3d (as much for me as for anyone else).

Lightmaps are useful for getting static lighting onto scenery on low-end Android phones as some do not support per-pixel lighting and also suffer from artifacts when using ShiVa3d per-vertex lighting.

Anyway, this tutorial takes us through a very quick generation of a lightmap in gile[s] v2 (Version 2 is still in beta and will probably remain that way, however v1 seems to have issues in Windows 7 and lacks some v2's feature set):-


1. Build the model in Softimage and export as an obj with the UVs for the diffuse maps already done. Import into giles[s].

2. In gile[s], add a sky, by clicking on the create sky button under the create tab. Click somewhere near your imported model.

3. Pan the scene by see the sky, then select the sky under the model tab and tweak the settings so that the sky is high and bright in the sky (see image).

4. Low-end Android phones (like HTC Hero) can't handle any textures above 256x256 very well, performance is hit quite a bit. In the Top menu > Editors > Lighting Methods editor;  click on the add button at the bottom of the Lighting methods dialogue (icon with a green plus sign) to add a new Lightmap. If you want crisper shadows you will need to add a directional light to the scene also. I'm just going for a daylight ambience in this tutorial.

5. Again, from the editors menu, select Material Editor to call up the materials editor. Select the lightmap you just created under the Lighting Method area of the dialog.

6. In the Light Methods Editor you'll notice the material you added the new Lightmap to has now been placed under the light map in the tree on the left had side. This means that multiple materials can use the same lightmap or each material can have its own lightmap. It's all about finding the right compromise between performance and aesthetic quality.

7. Lastly, choose the GI renderer, you have options of Path Tracer, GPU Radiosity or Ambient Occlusion:-

8. From here on, tweak settings in all the various dialogs mentioned and re-render as you go, until you are satisfied with the results. 

9. Export should be done using *.obj (I've tried others but obj seems the most problem-free). Export will create 3 files: the original mesh, a 2nd mesh with the lightmap UV generated by gile[s] and the lightmap itself in bmp format. Bring all files back into Softimage (or your chosen 3d DCC app) and create a second UV set on the original mesh (property > Texture > Planar UV). Using the texture editor (F7), copy and paste the lightmap UV set from the lightmap UV mesh onto the second UV set of the original mesh. Finally, export the mesh as a DAE file. Import into ShiVa.

10. For the mesh's material, change the Material>Texturing effect to "Modulate", put the lightmap into Effect Map 1 and the Diffuse/Color map into Effect Map 0. Under the lighting tab set Emissive to black, Ambient and Diffuse to White.


18 November 2010

ShiVa3D Game Wins $50,000

Crusade Of Destiny, the game developed for HP webOS by Jopacus J Parrott of dVideArts, has won $50,000 in the HP Palm PDK Hot Apps Promotion.

The game was released for HP webOS in 2010 and also Android and iPhone platforms. It became a top three app on all platforms shortly after release and was at number one in the webOS Hot Apps charts over summer 2010.

More info about this here. Showcase of other mobile apps (Palm, Android & iPhone) produced with ShiVa3d can be found here.

Congratulations Jopacus.

EDIT: A case study for Crusade of Destiny has now been posted on the Shiva blog here.

02 November 2010

ShiVa 1.9 released

Stonetrip is running two webinars on Wednesday 3rd Nov 2010 to introduce and inform newcomers and current users about the release of Shiva 1.9. Click here for information about these webinars.

ShiVa v1.9 (by Stonetrip) is due to be released this week (as far as I can tell). ShiVa3D is a 3d development platform taylored towards anyone wanting to create 3D real-time applications and games for Web, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iPhone, Android, Palm, Wii and the iPad. ShiVa is a powerful multiplatform 3D game engine, WYSIWYG 3D Editor and MMO Server.

It is probably the closest competitor to Unity3d which also offers a single editor/GUI for creating games and 3d applications for multiple platforms including the Web.

For the indie user, however, ShiVa's main advantage over Unity is that it enables you to develop for all aforementioned platforms for at a very reasonable price. Unity still charges individual prices for each platform.

In regards to using Softimage with it: Shiva imports DAE files but animated files exported directly from Softimage can be problematic. Shiva's importer purges duplicate keyframes and Softimage's export has no straight way of tweaking data (randomising keyframes) so that third party apps do don't do this.

I discovered this when I did some tests here:

Export options for Collada 5.1:

Several apps can process Softimage-exported DAE files correctly. Ultimate Unwrap 3d is one of them.

13 October 2010

ViewCube fun!

It seems that the viewcube is going down with the Softimage community better than expected! Apparently, you can even re skin it. Borg is courtesy of Rob Wuijster. Weighted companion cube by
Gerbrand Nel, I believe (please comment if this is incorrect.)

Viewcube textures are stored in the install directory (Application/AutoCam/Textures).

07 October 2010

nDo - normal map creation without leaving Photoshop

Teddy Bergsman has posted a tutorial at Philip Klevestav's website about how to use a Photoshop plugin called nDo here.

Information and download link for nDo can be found here.

Why does it stand out amongst the numerous normal map creation softwares? It allow creations of normal maps in Photoshop. This approach could be a game changer for normal map workflow. I still can't believe photoshop can't do this natively...

Craft Rig by Tiago Beijoco

I think I missed this one when Tiago Beijoco posted about it on Si-community (in January). It's a very sweet, customizable rig. It works similarly to the Auto-Rig built into Softimage but sports extra features like stretchy limbs and spine. You choose the numbers of elements required for each part of the rig and then a script builds it for you.

You can download directly from here or check out his website for a video about it.

27 September 2010

Exocortex Technologies releases trial version of Slipstream VX for Softimage 2010/2011

Fast Smoke and Fire Simulation (SlipstreamVX by Exocortex) from Exocortex Technologies, Inc. on Vimeo.

Thiago has been a busy little bee!

Fluid simulation specialists Exocortex Technologies, in collaboration with Thiago Costa of Lagoa Technologies, today announces the public release of the innovative "SlipstreamVX" smoke, air and fire simulator for Autodesk Softimage 2010 and 2011. SlipstreamVX introduces a new method of simulating fluids to the VFX artist community. Rather than employing a voxel simulation method that uniformly divides up space whether or not anything interesting is happening, the patent pending SlipstreamVX focuses on the interesting aspects of the fluid, the turbulence, wherever it is and it represents in explicitly.

This innovative approach to fluid simulation gives SlipstreamVX two unique and powerful benefits:

First, SlipstreamVX does not limit its fluid simulations to any type of bounding box. Fluid simulations are free to go where they want. You can have detail where you want it. You can have multiple centers of details and interaction between originally disparate areas of interest with ease. SlipstreamVX efficient representation of turbulence means that you don't run out of memory.

Second, SlipstreamVX can simulate the complex and detailed fluid dynamics of smoke and fire in real-time and near-real-time. Voxels are not only memory consuming but they are slow. SlipstreamVX explicit turbulence representation is simply much more efficient. Having a real-time simulation makes it easier for an artist to refine a simulation's look and feel.

As demonstrated on the exhibit floor of SIGGRAPH 2010, SlipstreamVX is fully multithreaded to take advantage of Intel's Xeon and Core i7 CPUs. SlipstreamVX along with Intel's technology increases the speed of simulation creation and iteration beyond artists current expectations.

Lastly, SlipstreamVX is being distributed with Exocortex's new GPU-accelerated "Fury" renderer. Fury was designed to compliment SlipstreamVX's near-real-time simulation with real-time rendering of simulation-centric atmospheric effects. The rapidly evolving Fury renderer already supports depth of field, motion blur, a density integrator and matte objects.

The SlipstreamVX simulation and Fury renderer bundle along with support for the first year is available now for $399.99 CND. A time limited trial version of SlipstreamVX and Fury is available from the Exocortex website:

Fast Shot Setup and Turnaround

Nothing in the market compares with SlipstreamVX's speed. When you create a simulation scenario and press play for the first time, the SlipstreamVX simulation often plays back at better than real-time speeds, even with detailed simulations.

Deep Softimage ICE Integration

Exocortex co-developed SlipstreamVX with famed Softimage TD Thiago Costa. As a result, SlipstreamVX is designed from the start as an ICE-based simulator that both leverages the power and the flexibility inherent in ICE. SlipstreamVX isn't just a black box simulator that has been made into an ICE node.

Simulation Boxes are Obsolete

SlipstreamVX brings to VFX artists a fundamentally new method of fluid simulation, a method that no longer requires the otherwise ubiquitous and limiting "simulation box." SlipstreamVX simulations can be anywhere in your scene and go anywhere. You can now focus on achieving the simulation behavior rather than how you should place and update your "simulation box."

GPU-Accelerated Rendering

We understand that a great simulator is nothing if you can't easily render the results. We decided to go further than just providing a render, we made a lightning fast GPU-accelerated renderer so that you can render your simulation results as fast as SlipstreamVX can simulate them. Our new renderer, Fury, can render luminous simulation as well as do near instantaneous density integration. Hassle-free self-shadowing is on the way.

First Class Product Support

We believe in our products and want to help you make the most of them. In service of that goal, we have made available video tutorials, quality documentation, a user discussion mailing list as well as rapid response email-based support.

If you are having problems trying to create a particular scenario, give us a shout as we can likely help you attain your goals.

This technology is patent pending.

10 September 2010

Softimage 2011.5

2011.5 (subscription advantage pack) features lots of nice improvements including:

 Lagoa Materials Multiphysics Simulation Framework

• ICE for artists — a new ICE module menu toolbar facilitates building common ICE effects: particles, deforms and kinematics. Using the menu structure, artists can see nodes and compounds connect automatically in the ICE Tree, and create or modify Lagoa Multiphysics materials and other preset effects.

• Stereoscopic 3D support — new stereo camera rigs for stereoscopic productions and in-viewport stereoscopic viewing of 3D scenes
• Softimage Composite — a high-performance, high dynamic range (HDR) compositor with support for stereoscopic production pipelines; Autodesk Softimage Composite will include advanced keying, color correction, tracking and 3D compositing tools and will be compatible with Autodesk Maya 2011 Composite and Autodesk 3ds Max 2011 Composite.
• Polygonizer operator — will help create smoother polygon meshes for liquids
• Maya nCache — Maya nCache format reading and writing will be supported in Softimage
• Autodesk MatchMover toolset— a high-quality professional camera tracker
• Other enhancements: new shader compounds, ray traced shadows for infinite lights, improved OpenGL sprites, the ViewCube functionality and two new real-time shader wizards

Demonstration videos:

Expected to ship on or after September 29, 2010.

07 September 2010

ICE Walking system

ICE Walking System from LAVISH on Vimeo.

The walking system itself is demonstrated about 12 minutes into the video (I recommend viewing in HD). An extremely impressive work of modelling and rigging. This is precisely the sort of work Softimage needs to showcase its ICE rigging abilities (implemented in 2011). Considering Softimage 3d had a procedural walking system built into it in 1998, I think it's about time XSI was shipped with multiple rigs of many different types (an auto rig building system which could cover about 90% of all rigging requirements if done well) and multiple (production ready) ICE-based procedural walking systems, out of the box. These could be installed as a workgroup users could plunder and explore.

05 September 2010

SketchUp 8 released

Kind of drifted beneath my radar this one! Very busy last week. Will be pushing my office to upgrade to v8 next week.


What it also highlighted for me was a new online application for Google Earth called BuildingMaker which SketchUp8 allows you to import models directly from allowing you to place new buildings into context.

01 September 2010

No Pets Allowed (possible upcoming sixbirds/studioNEST feature)

NO PETS ALLOWED (Animation feature film) from Josep Pozo on Vimeo.

NO PETS is the second animation feature film in development at SIX BIRDS. CGI process was
done in our daughter company StudioNEST.

It's 100% Softimage + Arnold render + StudioNest (Brigks + Melena)

29 August 2010

studioNEST snShatter tool - coming soon

studioNEST Shatter Early Preview from helge mathee on Vimeo.

To quote the original page: "This is a quick demo of the fracturing operator from studioNEST, called snShatter. The implementation of this operator for Autodesk Softimage will be released as opensource, like the other tools from studioNEST."


studioNEST Bullet Early Preview from helge mathee on Vimeo.

26 August 2010

Making Metagun

Just came across this little gem - Making Metagun. Showing the development of a whole game in 7mins of time-lapse video.

It's not the only video of this type. There's several of note using Unity too:

24 August 2010

Softimage 2011 SAP to include both Lagoa Multiphysics & emPolygonizer

It's official.
The Softimage 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack will include both Lagoa Multiphysics and emPolygonizer 1.721. Nice!

Let's hope all the SI2011 bugs/usage issues have all been squashed too.

20 August 2010

MATERIALS Tutorials by Philip Klevestav

Posted up on Game Artists recently is a fantastic set of tutorials on how to create specific materials for Game art.


As with all materials, there are a lot of different types of metal. In this tutorial I go through howto create a pretty standard matte metal wall with a sci-fi touch and I tried to make it something inbetween clean and worn.


Stone cliffs and rocks usually have a lot of direction of some type in them. In this tutorial I go through how I go about sculpting such a material in Zbrush and the process from there.

This tutorial will guide you through the creation of a rough stone surface, this could be combined with something more similar to the cliff wall tutorial above to create various types of rock surfaces.

Cracked stones can look very different depending on what materials is underneath the surface, what type of damage has been done and how long ago the damage was made. Here I go through some steps to create a broken up ground piece. Ingame something like this could be masked out and used as a decal as well.


Marble can be another tricky surface to create. Here I created a clean polished marble surface that is highly reflective. It is all about subtle details on these kind of clean materials, especially when it comes to the normal map.

Clean concrete blocks are usually pretty smooth, but there are details and small subtle variations is such surfaces that you can really play around with. In this tutorial I go through some steps you can do using Photoshop only.


Older or larger tiles may benefit from being sculpted in a program like Zbrush first. Here I go through some steps to sculpt such pieces and how much you can build with just a couple of sculpted stones if placed right.

Sometimes it is not really necessary to sculpt your stones. Especially when it comes to smaller brick walls. In this tutorial I go through some steps to give your brick wall more depth than a simple photo texture would work if generated into a normal map.

EDIT: Previous tutorials by PhilipK, excellent stuff!:



19 August 2010

emPolygoniser 2.0 released

emPolygonizer2 Official Release Video "go ahead, mesh my day!" from Eric Mootz on Vimeo.

emPolygonizer2 Sneak Preview 1: Tim Borgmann's Test Renderings from Eric Mootz on Vimeo.

emPolygonizer2 Sneak Preview 2: Tim Borgmann's Test Renderings from Eric Mootz on Vimeo.

emPolygonizer2 is a custom operator that allows you to create what is typically called "metaballs".
The basic technique used by this plug-in is called "polygonising a scalar field" or "marching cubes". It was invented in the mid-eighties by Lorensen and Cline.

The plug-in consists of a "DLL" file (Windows) or "so" file (Linux) for the operator (compiled C++ code for 32 bit and 64 bit versions of XSI) as well as several VB Script files.

emPolygonizer2 is well integrated into Softimage|XSI and it is used just as easily as the other custom operators.
The operator supports the following objects and components as inputs:
curves and curve lists (points, knots or curve)
polygon meshes (points or polygons, parameters can be driven by weight maps and vertex color maps)
point clouds (points and strands, parameters can be driven by point size and point color)

emPolygonizer2 Sneak Preview 3: Tim Borgmann's Test Renderings from Eric Mootz on Vimeo.

Go here to the mootzoid product page to find out more

NOTE: Softimage 2011 and 2011.5 only. Includes Lagoa Physics support (coming in Softimage v2011.5).

13 August 2010 Softimage resources website update

Reinhard Claus of has updated his Softimage XSI resources pages. The update covers many recent plugins (and also a few old ones - like my dxf importer :) ).

Notable additions include links to many free XSI character rigs, plus studioNEST's recent plethora of plugins for rigging and ICE and Eric Thivierge's utilities plugins. 

cmivfx releases Syntheyes Complete Training

cmiVFX launches its latest training video for Syntheyes 3D Matchmoving software under the long format video structure plan. This video is complete training for Syntheyes utilizing several projects that overlap complex problems for the matchmoving artists. Topics include, 3D Tracking, Cleaning And Adjusting Tracks, Difficult Nodal Pans, 3D Stabilization and SO MUCH MORE!

Also, you can also get 10% off your purchase right now by using the code: VFX104 in the cmiVFX store.

Syntheyes is a 3d matchmoving software package by ssontech and has been used on many, many VFX blockbuster movies. 

11 August 2010

Markerless Mocap Software from iPi Soft

iPi Desktop Motion Capture™ is an entry-level markerless motion capture technology that literally puts motion capture at animator's desktop. You can shoot a video right at your workplace using a webcam or inexpensive digital camera and have it converted to 3D animation on your PC. The technology is targeted at small studios, freelance animators and motion capture enthusiasts.

Features / EditionsExpressBasicStandard

Number of cameras134
TechnologyOptical markerlessOptical markerlessOptical markerless
Single-camera modeIncludedIncludedIncluded
Supported camerasAny digital cameraSony PlayStation 3 EyeSony PlayStation 3 Eye
AvailabilityComing soonComing soonBeta version available
Free 30 days trialComing soon
Download free 30 days trial
Technical SupportComing soon
6 months of free email-based technical support.
Additional technical tupport options coming soon.

Looks interesting.

cmiVFX Mid Summer Sale

cmiVFX Mid Summer Sale: Limited Time Only – 25% OFF ALL Training
25% OFF ALL Training Tutorials, Today through Thursday, August 12, 2010 and ramp up your training for the upcoming fall production season. 

cmiVFX brings real world directly to you with training and projects created by some of the best Visual FX creators working in the industry today.  Go to today for your 25% OFF, enter Promo Code:  CMI25VFX

And if you missed this deal, you can still get 10% by using the code mentioned in my previous post.

06 August 2010

10% off cmiVFX online training videos

Using the code VFX104 you can get 10% off of cmiVFX training videos right now by at the cmiVFX store. (Excludes subscriptions).

Softimage specific videos of interest are both by Thiago Costa and deeply investigate the potential of the ICE platform:-

Both tutorials can also be bought together for a $9.95 saving.

Also available are many informative tutorials for Nuke and Houdini.


27 July 2010

Lagoa Physics and Softimage to be included in new Autodesk Max & Maya 2011 Entertainment PREMIUM suites

Interesting to see that Lagoa Physics may already be part of the next Softimage release...? Or at least the new 2011 premium entertainment suite (coming soon)...

A quick read the links below seems to point towards Softimage is being "sidelined" as a key Autodesk media/entertainment 3d application and that it is instead being included with Max or Maya PREMIUM Entertainment Suites as an addon application like Mudbox.

UPDATE: Quote from Raffaele Fragapane on CGTalk:

Soft is still sold as stand-alone and has seen none of its areas of interest crippled, is still commercially viable on its own, and it exceeded sales expectations a couple times instead of bombing year after year and failing to strip market off its competitors.
It simply doesn't have the same market penetration as Maya does, and saying otherwise would be delusional on Soft or Soft users side, so this is a way for AD to squeeze more money out of their biggest userbases (making a large and expensive bundle attractive) that they wouldn't otherwise milk. This much is pretty obvious, other speculations, until further announcements, are rather far fetched.

As long as it keeps feeding money into the ICE architecture and Soft features, and makes Soft seats available in studios that wouldn't have had one there before to begin with, Soft users don't have much to complain about. And I'm one of them.
UPDATE2: Other quotes from people more knowledgable about this development:-

I'm now convinced this is a real positive for Softimage and Softimage users - Autodesk have decided to address requests from many studios who use Max and Maya predominantly to have access to Softimage and it's tools. The new Premium Suite provides this access at a discount rate.

UPDATE3: To quote Mark Schoennagel on the SPH google group:
Lets just say very soon everyone who has Softimage will be getting Lagoa for free. 
And if you put some funky colored glasses on it will even be in stereo... :)

20 July 2010

Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0

Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0 - Teaser from Thiago Costa on Vimeo.

Recently up on Vimeo is this video showing some incredible plugin development from Thiago Costa. Go to the Vimeo page for the Hires version. Simply stunning.

Particle physics framework that gives control over:
- High friction granular materials
- Incompressible fluids
- Elastic structures
- Plastic deformations & more...

Anyone still with doubts regarding the potential of ICE needs to see this vid!

08 July 2010

Voronoi plugin

voronoi shatter test + rigid body 2 from msk on Vimeo.

Vimeo user msk has recently released a free plugin that uses a point cloud to create polymeshes broken into pieces using the classic Voronoi algorithm. (Source is included). I've not tested it yet but if it works it'll come in very handy. Not sure how useful it will be...
Download link is available from the video page.

04 May 2010

Softimage to Octane plugin in the works

The Octane render developers recently updated their manual with command line/batch file commands. A guy on the Octane forums (face) is currently developing a C++ plugin which automates quite a lot of the exporting from Softimage to Octane including full camera setup, animation and mesh animation. (Exporting each frame as an OBJ file and relinking it into the Octane Renderer scene).

Very similar to what I had started doing myself before I found out about this one. So I've put that little project on hold!

According to the author, this will accompany the v2.2 release of Octane.

EDIT: This plugin is now available for download here. You'll probably need the license to access this thread at the Octane renderer forums.

I love SketchUp!

I've been fighting against learning SketchUp for quite some time. I always thought it was too simple. Wasn't organised. That not much was possible with it. That it didn't have the features which would justify its place amongst "real" modelling packages. However, a few quick under-pressure stints using it at work and at home have changed my mind. Completely.

It's not by any means a "full" modelling package, of course. Its not really right for organic (anthropomorphic)  or hardbody modelling (automobiles, etc) - no sub-d's - but what it does in terms of accelerating basic box modelling is fantastic. It allows extremely accurate and easy box modelling in minutes. What takes minutes in Softimage takes seconds in SketchUp.

If you are doing Archviz, use it. Once you get your head around it. You won't look back. You can quite easily design a building from scratch in SketchUp, possibly to a level of detail which you could generate drawings from (using the section tool).

My workflow is now:-
1. Flesh out the main building in SketchUp (use export with instances) - the "Sketch" bit.
2. Import into Softimage. Clean up mesh/de-triangulate/etc. Add more of the fine detail, scenery. Unwrap. Add materials/textures. Add Lights.
3. Render.

The free version exports the Collada format which can be brought into Softimage more or less intact using Crosswalk.

I found this out pretty late in the day (due to the new Valve Steam update bugging out all the SDK apps) but there is also a plugin by Valve for exporting vmf and smd files. It's in the SDK directory. While I probably won't use it, it does mean that fleshing out levels is much faster than using Hammer. Hammer is SLOOOOW and needs a rewrite.

And this my main bane with most 3d packages... Sometimes 3d just takes so bloody long... (rant over)

25 April 2010

Octane Render - Interactive Unbiased GPU renderer

This scene is a benchmark scene from the Octane render forums. 1024x512 this image was rendered on a nvidia GTX260 in about 16mins.

But to give you an idea of the speed. This is what it looks like after 20secs.

This image is 1920x1080 using direct lighting algorithm. Render time = 1min30secs.

Octane Render is very new GPU based interactive unbiased renderer from Refractive Software. It is currently in an open beta testing phase in which you can join for a discounted price (currently 99 euros). Not only do you get early access to all versions but you are also licensed to use all final v1.x point release versions.

I'm currently testing my own copy atm. I will post a review here later in the year when it is close to or soon after release.