Issue: Volume 38 Issue 4: (Jul/Aug 2015)


Pixar Releases RenderMan 20

Pixar Animation Studios has released version 20 of its Academy Award-winning RenderMan software, introducing†innovations allowing cinematic-quality imagery to be created more easily and faster than previously possible. 

Highlights include a noise reduction†technology that directly addresses the problem of image artifacts associated with physically based raytracers. RenderMan 20 also includes a physical camera, a visualizer for†navigating and inspecting large scenes interactively, expanded shader libraries and presets, and new volume rendering features. A new Marschner hair shader†represents the first time Pixar has shipped shading technology specifically developed for use in its feature films, making available Pixar-quality hair and fur. 

In addition, RenderMan's advanced customization is emphasized through a new light filter API. Rendering shots for dailies is also faster with new†enhancements to RenderMan's noted image checkpointing, allowing entire shots to be quickly previewed nearly immediately and at full resolution. 

Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is now upgraded to version 20, as well.

V-Ray is VR-Ready

Chaos Group has unveiled V-Ray 3.2 for 3ds Max, which includes VR rendering capabilities and multiple V-Ray RT GPU enhancements. This free update also contains improved volume rendering, distributed rendering, and global illumination. V-Ray 3.2 for 3ds Max adds two new VR camera types to render stereo cube maps and spherical stereo images for VR headsets, such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.

Vicon Offers Vantage

Vicon has launched an intelligent new flagship camera platform, Vicon Vantage, with the intent to open up motion capture to a broader audience. Vantage combines advanced, powerful features with added intelligence, making it easy to use and accessible for today's new generation of motion-capture applications.

Vicon Vantage has been intelligently designed to provide up-to-the-minute information to the system operator. It continuously monitors performance with a host of new sensors, giving the user visual feedback through the onboard camera display, in the software, and on Vicon's new tablet application, Control. 

Vantage offers 16-, 8-, and 5-megapixel versions, and includes completely re-engineered processing algorithms and tracking capabilities.

Moreover, Vicon's new Control iOS app (available now from the App Store) lets operators remotely change camera settings, calibrate, and start and stop capture. By implementing touch-sensitive commands, Vantage cameras can simply be selected and monitored in the Control app in real time.

Luxion Locks In KeyShot 6 

Luxion soon will be releasing the latest version of its real-time raytracing and global illumination program, KeyShot 6, which is currently in private beta test and expected to be available at the end of summer. 

KeyShot 6 introduces new capabilities and advanced features that allow designers, engineers, marketing specialists, and 3D artists to expand the possibilities of the visuals they are able to create using their 3D data. 

KeyShot 6 features include new lighting presets, real-time region rendering, and multilayer PSD output to improve workflow efficiency, expanded material features with the new Material Graph, label materials, and material animation, and new capabilities to create scripts, edit geometry, and quickly shift camera verticals. Animation features now include path, DOF, and panorama animations, while KeyShotVR is now optimized for interior VR and responsive website design. 

HP “Sprouts” Immersion

As the first fully integrated desktop 3D scanning solution, Sprout by HP provides users a quick and affordable way to create 3D content. 

The solution consists of Sprout, with its Intel Real Sense 3D cameras, the proprietary HP 3D Capture Stage, and unique 3D capture software, which, together, enables users to easily capture an object in 3D that can then be further modified, shared, and printed.

The 3D Capture Stage accessory is a turntable that serves as a platform for the objects being scanned. It automatically tilts 15 degrees while turning, to ensure all aspects of the object are captured. The new 3D Capture application works with Sprout’s technology to create a full-3D digital model that can be manipulated. 3D Capture is being introduced as a free upgrade to the current 3D Snapshot software, which captures one side of the object.

Sprout is available now. The scanning software upgrade is free and will be part of the automated system software update starting in July. The 3D Capture Stage accessory will be available starting in July for $299.

Havok FX Focused at Particle Level

Havok is offering Havok FX, new CPU-driven software that will deliver higher levels of detail and physics to particle effects.
The result of extensive research into massive-scale, high-performance physics simulation, Havok FX allows developers to physically enable particle systems and to add a new gameplay dimension to previously aesthetic visual effects. 

Through its focus on CPU processing, Havok FX offers a lightweight, cross-platform solution to creating dynamic and persistent particle effects across all next-gen platforms and PCs. Shrapnel, dust, goo, debris, and smoke will interact with both the player and the environment, increasing the fidelity of the game world delivering gameplay-altering effects.