Developed entirely in ICE, based on the sun position calculations in the Radiance renderer (as the original plugin), I'm proud to announce that an ICE Kinematics version of the sunpath plugin is almost ready. And with fully animatable parameters this time.
Just waiting for Softimage 2011 to be released so I can resolve a few bugs (due to kinematics being buggy and unsupported in 2010).
19 March 2010
Descendants from Goro Fujita on Vimeo.
Holger Schönberger posted a link regarding Descendants, an animated short, on the XSIlist. A pretty stunning piece of work done with Softimage I've decided to link to here. A detailed breakdown has been posted at CGSociety.
Growing Grapes Veins and Bottles - Rigging and Lighting from Florian Witzel on Vimeo.
Florian Witzel posted this growing grapes tutorial a while back. Its been embedded in Autodesk's underwhelming Softimage page on the Autodesk website since last year but I've only just come across this little gem. A full tutorial can be found here.
Both demostrate some very good examples of multi-pass compositing, something Softimage has been doing well for years. I think the 100 new shaders exposed in SI2011 will make this kind of set up even easier.
12 March 2010
There is also a new system for using/building Mental Ray shaders. Now you only need the source code and Softimage compiles it into a shader for you, automatically creating a SPDL and material node entry in the render tree, exposing all the parameters and allowing you to get on with it without the pain of having to seperately compile on specific platforms. As a result, over a hundred shaders that have (up until now) never been exposed in XSI, are now there. Including a IES/photometric light shader and all the features lighting shaders have gained since it was introduced as the built in renderer.
Other stuff includes multiple camera rendering, render slate (which allows you to add text onto renders for play blasts, etc. Be nice to see render times on this.) UV unfold command gets some changes to speed up workflow including symmetry and the ability to reunfold individual islands instead of being forced to unfold and pack the entire object each time.
Pretty solid update for just 6 months work. The Softimage guys really do know what is needed and always surprise me. Of course, there is stuff I wish was in there but isn't yet (perhaps never will be) but I'm pretty sure this 6 month release will mean that Softimage 2012 could get at least a full years development. Then again maybe Autodesk are considering a major x.5 point release for all 3d applications in another six months, that only subscribers can benefit from (just to keep us locked into the subscription cycle.)
Lastly, the two seperate versions of Softimage and Softimage Advanced have vanished. There is now just one version of the software. It has 5 batch licenses for mental ray and comes as either a standalone or a network license (EDIT: no batch licenses with standalone version - thanks for the heads up, Stephen). I'm not sure how people with SI 2010 (not advanced) will upgrade or subscribe as of yet.
Just have to wait and see, I guess. Apparently, early April is predicted for release.
10 March 2010
The Bendy One from Jason Wells on Vimeo.
This was a speed test using an old project and some newish techniques I've gained. It was composited in XSI using the FX tree. I used my RM_Architectural compound to generate the seperate diffuse (albedo), specular and reflective, etc passes via channels. I used fast radiosity technique to generate indirect illumination from a blurred HDR map (frame rendertime less than 20 secs). I baked an Ambient Occlusion pass as a texture using rendermap and reduced the render speed of each 1270x720 frame to 2 seconds. The longest part for rendering was the glossy floor reflection which I reduced by limiting the reflective area with a weight map.
I used a radial gradient in FX tree to create a vignetting effect and blurred some duplicates of the specular pass to get glows on the highlights. I'll try to do some tests with DOF and motion vector driven motion blur next.