V-Ray Anniversary Challenge!

We are very excited to announce the first initiative from the V-Ray Anniversary campaign – the V-Ray Anniversary Challenge!  


Chaos Group and CGSociety are inviting artists to create an image which tells the story of a Decisive Moment – a moment that changed a person’s life or the course of human history. Perhaps a knockout punch in a heavy weight championship. The first human to step on the moon. The last block placed on the Pyramids. A wrong step, a gunshot or a glance, the decisive moment that changed the big picture or had an impact on someone’s life.

Chaos Group is offering a great prize pool for the winners. Thanks to their partners the winners will get a package of prizes worth more than $25,000.

V-Ray users from all industries are welcome to participate! Visit the Challenge page to learn all about it.

New KeyShot 3.2

Luxion have announced the release of new Key Shot  3.2 with all new feature completion, UI clean up and stability.

Here just some of the important improvements that Luxion have brought you in KeyShot 3.2 :

  •  Improved material templates – support for parts and materials as template items, plus wild card support (*.*)
  •  Instant loading of library – no longer do you have to sit and wait, even if you have thousands of materials in your library (same goes for environments, backplates,textures, renderings
  • Completely re-worked UNDO stack – UNDO pretty much everything.
  • Support for scale and transformations (remembered on all levels in the model)
  • Support for “unlimited” decimal places
  • Cylindrical texture mapping improvements
  • Use the arrow keys to move around in the scene tree, through the camera list etc.
  • Sync of realtime and advanced render settings in render dialog (raybounces, shadow quality)
  • New camera “unsaved” state
  • Increase of maximum raybounces in realtime settings to 64.
  • UI cleanup and performance improvements throughout the system
  • Improvements to SolidWorks importer (faster, more robust)
  • Improvements to ALIAS importer (Import by layer AND shader)
  • Support for Autodesk ALIAS 2013
  • Support for Autodesk Maya 2013
  • Bug fixes
  • Added Spanish language support (UI only)
  • New materials
For more on this latest update you can go to their Forum.

New Indigo 3.2 Release!

Indigo 3.2 marks the latest release of Indigo Renderer, the world’s most photorealistic rendering system. Indigo 3.2 introduces new features such as direct integration into Cinema 4D, the groundbreaking new sun & sky system,  and major performance improvements. All these features, together with new tutorials and new documentation, make this the most powerful and easiest-to-use Indigo yet.

 

NEW SUN AND SKY SYSTEM

Indigo 3.2 introduces a new sun & sky system based on our highly accurate atmospheric simulation. Unlike the classical sun & sky model which breaks down when the Sun is at low elevation, the new model remains true to life.

Computed directly from the physical laws which produce blue skies and red sunsets in nature, the new system produces extremely realistic skies at any time of day; not only is it more realistic, but it also renders faster.

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS

Pure CPU rendering speed is up to 2.5x faster in CAD scenes and 20 – 50% faster in most architectural scenes, as a result of significant optimisation efforts in the core since Indigo 3.0.

Start-up time has been dramatically reduced in many cases, especially when using environment maps and many light sources. This enables much faster feedback when creating scenes and greatly accelerates animations of simple scenes.

Network rendering efficiency has been greatly improved, scaling much better with added computers.

STREAMLINED MATERIAL EDITING

Realistic rendering crucially depends on the ability to create realistic materials, and we’ve been working hard on improving the material editing capabilities introduced in Indigo 3.0. The new material editing interface is more compact, easier to use and places a stronger emphasis on workflow.

The online material database browser has been complemented with an offline material database, which holds all materials you’ve downloaded from the online database. The new material painting tool allows you to apply materials to objects simply by clicking on them.

NEW DOCUMENTATION AND TUTORIALS

Learning Indigo is easier than ever, thanks to a new 230 page PDF manual included with the Indigo download, and also available online.

Many new tutorials are available, including video tutorials on material editing and installation, and comprehensive tutorials on Indigo for SketchUp (SkIndigo).

View the tutorials

 

For more information click here.

Flamingo nXt released

This third major Flamingo release is based on completely new technology. Designed to provide the highest possible quality images with the minimal rendering technology expertise. Flamingo nXt is also designed to minimize the time and effort required to set up a model for rendering.

 

With nXt you don’t need to be a professional renderer to get realistic results quickly. You provide materials and lighting and press the Render button. nXt provides the simulation. Unlike many rendering products, there are very few settings to worry about or understand.

To see more information or if your interested in buying the lastest version of Flamingo go to CAD Software Direct.

“Inspired Vision” Rendering Competition!

This annual competition, which is sponsored by Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. and MAXON Computer GmbH, recognizes today’s top architects and designers from around the world, and their abilities to visually render Vectorworks® models with Renderworks® or CINEMA 4D. Professional and student designers can submit entries to the 2012 Inspired Visions Global Rendering Competition. Submissions will be accepted from April 17 to August 16, 2012, in the following categories:

 

  • Rendering with Renderworks 2012
  • Rendering with CINEMA 4D
  • Monochromatic model (rendered in Renderworks or CINEMA 4D)

The panel of judges includes Daniel Jansenson, principal at Daniel Jansenson Architect and author of Remarkable Renderworks, from Santa Monica, Ca.; Tyler Littman, principal designer and owner of Sholight, LLC, from New York; Nicholas Dunand, freelance designer and sculptor, from Melbourne, Australia; Erik Recke, freelance architectural visualizer at Datenland, from Hamburg, Germany; Alejandro Nogueira, CEO at DECC Arte 3D from Tecamachalco, Edo. de Mexico, Mexico; and René Racz from Lichtmaschine Multimedia GmbH, Basel, Switzerland.

Each category winner chosen by these judges will receive $2,500 USD and will be featured in an official media release and on Planet Vectorworks. Winners will also be promoted on the Nemetschek Vectorworks and MAXON social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

In addition, the public will select their “Fan Favorite” from all entries, which will be posted on the competition’s website. Voting will take place directly on the site.

Designers may enter multiple categories. However, all entries must be built on a Vectorworks model. Interested competitors who lack the current versions of the software can request a free, 30-day version of Vectorworks with Renderworks software at www.vectorworks.net/trial/form or student.myvectorworks.net (for students), or they can download a 42-day free version of CINEMA 4D at www.maxon.net/downloads/demo-version.html.

To enter, vote or learn more about the competition, visit inspiredvisions.vectorworks.net.

Behind the Scenes of John Carter with Kevin Hudson and ZBrush!

Pixologic recently published another great example of just how important ZBrush is to the design workflow within a live action film and an amazing effects studio. Kevin Hudson talks to Pixologic about how he and his team at Double Negative use ZBrush to create the fantastic characters in the recent sci-fi fantasy film, John Carter.

How did you come to be involved with the John Carter project? What was your role in the production?

I was recruited by Double Negative Visual Effects in London from Los Angeles to head up the modeling effort on this major Character piece. To date, it was the largest project they’d tackled. While in California, I first tried out ZBrush while working on Ghost Rider. I expanded its use to build the sixteen Zombie creatures for I Am Legend. I then used it to sculpt Dr. Manhattan for Watchman. But with over forty characters, John Carter was going to be the largest scale ZBrush character project that I’d ever attempted. It was also going to be Andrew Stanton’s first foray into live action film making, which meant we had to do an outstanding job.


What was the overall pipeline for your work on this project?

We received ZTools of character concept sculpts from Legacy Effects that had been developed with Andrew Stanton in California. We then took these and retopologized them in Maya using some basic Maya shrinkwrapping tools. I don’t use anything tricky for my retopologizing, but use Maya’s World Space Transfer Attributes tool to shrinkwrap my retopologized model onto the concept sculpt.

We then used ZBrush’s Projection tools to extract as much data as possible from the initial concept sculpt. The model was then reposed into a more standard pose and we began resculpting with an eye for preserving as much of the concept sculpt’s intentions as possible. Everyone would have a say at this point and often revisions to the anatomy to better serve rigging would be done.

We also made modifications to proportions based on animation tests using the basic model. All of this would lead us towards our final production models and sculpts.

ZBrush did a great job when reprojecting new topology onto our sculpts over the many generations of revisions throughout the show. I found that by taking the Blur setting down to 1 we preserved a lot of good detail. Andrew, who had spent a lot of time with Scott Patton at Legacy Effects, was very much in love with his characters and was always there to smack us if we varied too much from the original concept.

Was ZBrush used for environments at all?

The Environment team — headed by Guy Williams — also used ZBrush to touch up all the environments to give the stone a weathered and chipped look. They built intact structures, then used the Clipping brush to chip and flatten sections in order to make them appear old and broken. These chunks were then retoplogized before more subtle weathering was done.

What character posed the greatest challenge for you?

Tars was the biggest challenge and a lot of modelers all had an impact on Tars. He is on screen a lot, and there was a lot of talk about the character looking like Willem Dafoe, or at least his essence. We did a lot of exploration on how much it should look like Willem Dafoe — at one point we did a reworking of Tars to incorporate a lot of Willem Dafoe’s facial characteristics. This was often refered to as the “Eleven” version. Ultimately, we backed off from this almost completely and returned to the original concept.

In the film industry, this process of coming back to the original concept isn’t uncommon. Sometimes, the director needs to explore all the variations to confirm that the original inspiration was the best. Or at least, what they really wanted.

The White Apes were a technically challenging character because of their size and ZBrush poly count. I really took ZBrush to the limit and ultimately had to break the model up into separate UDIM pieces in order to export the displacement maps. For the most part, all of the characters were able to be exported using the Multi Map Exporter from ZBrush, but because of the high poly count on the Apes we couldn’t do this. I used the Group UV tool to create separate groups for each of the UDIM tiles. I then then used the Groups Split tool to break the White Ape mesh up into separate SubTools. Even with splitting the model up, it was a challenge exporting the maps, as I maxed out the RAM on my machine.

To read the full interview in detail click here.

V-Ray for Rhino 1.5 is Here!!

 

V-Ray for Rhino 1.5 Has Landed

Chaos Group announced today the widely anticipated release of V-Ray for Rhino 1.5. The release builds on the proven success of the previous version whilst introducing further enhancements to provide even greater functionality, performance and ease of use.

Possibly the most eagerly anticipated feature is realtime rendering (RT). RT provides a live rendering interface allowing users to immediately preview changes. This is great if you are testing out different materials, lighting options, camera settings, views and such: simply make a change, check the live visual.

V-Ray’s realtime engine utilises the CPU but in the future may make use of the GPU as with some other versions of V-Ray. The RT renderer uses the same processes as the normal V-Ray core, so the results produced are the same.

 

There are many other great new features to V-Ray for Rhino 1.5 – including:

  • Dome lighting tool with easy to control HDR input,
  • RAM-saving V-Ray Proxy to reduce the overhead on high polygon count models & add interoperability with V-Ray for 3DS Max and other versions of V-Ray
  • Dispersion – a simple switch and variable to add realism to refracted light in translucent materials
  • New ambient occlusion settings to improve upon weaknesses in global illumination (GI)
  • New ‘Retrace Threshold’ settings which can be used to correct weaknesses in light caching and improve accuracy of GI, especially on interior renderings
  • New camera tools to improve photo-realism and potentially save post production in Photoshop

To upgrade, buy a new license or just find out more, visit the V-Ray for Rhino product page.

New Keyshot 3.1 is Here!

In this new update Luxion introduces all new time-saving features and improvements. This includes unique metallic paint material, material templates that allow 3D professionals to ‘auto-paint’ their models, interactive HDR editing that allows real-time editing of the lighting environments, network rendering to queue render jobs and spread them across multiple computers, improved animation interaction, Maya importer and improved texture mapping!

To buy the very latest version of KeyShot or for more information click here.