It's not often I see new technology come along with the potential to really make a difference in a pipeline. CityEngine is one such product that is gaining momentum in the industry and worthy of a closer look.
Yesterday, Pixar announced an unprecedented price drop in their flagship product RenderMan® Pro Server. The 40% reduction will allow studios and freelancers that were previously unable to buy into the technology, to get a slice of the Film / VFX industry standard renderer. With the global CG expansion, Pixar appreciate that the growth of renderfarms is real and happening now, this move allows existing customers to ramp up their rendering capabilities in a more cost effective manner whilst allowing smaller shops and freelancers access to the toolset.
Now, I realise that it’s a bit of a leading question, especially as all of us in this industry rely so much on technology…
Escape Studios will be taking the Foundry’s products on the road with an event at Aardman Animation studios in Bristol on the 25th of November.
BOXX machines will now be even faster following nVidia’s recent announcement that they will be releasing a brand new graphics card, the Quadro Fermi 2000. This is the lastest addition to the nVidia Quadro Fermi Series, which are the industry’s only GPU-accelerated cards made for coping with HD-SDI video and 3D stereoscopics.
So a year on from the opensource announcements made by numerous studios the move seems to be going well. A lot of major facilities are opening up the process and offering solutions the most well known is probably OpenExr by ILM but numerous other facilities have begun releasing software and specs back to the community.
One of the biggest challenges facing TD's is moving data from one system to another. For example, getting the nice particle animation that you have done in Houdini into Maya for rendering.
It's been a few years since Paul Debevec produced his paper with Jitendra Malik, Recovering High Dynamic Range Radiance Maps from Photographs, at SIGGRAPH. Since then, people all the world have begun to generate high dynamic range still images and probes - essentially capturing all the light information from a scene in mulitple passes using digital cameras and then merging these into a single HDR image. A simple web search for HDR Images in google images will present you with an array of hyper-real looking images, or try here for some examples.
Autodesk have started something new for those on support: it's called Subscription Advantage Packs. This is a way for those that pay the price of subscription to get new features dropped in, fast... One of the most awaited 'drops' is Mudbox on Linux!
Autodesk have announced that Neil Thompson, the Studio Art Director at Bizarre Creations will be taking the guest speaker spot at this year’s Manchester event.
If you are a user of any software package you'll know that at least once a year software developers deliver an update. Autodesk's Maya 2011 was no exception. 3D users had become accustomed to Maya's UI over the last 10 years but Autodesk thought it was time for a change, enter Maya 2011. So this release brings all sorts of challenges for the diehard Maya user, it has a new interface... I hear the screams of "where did you put that" and "what on earth does this icon represent"!
A few weeks ago I promised to have a closer look at the new Phoenix FD, to give you an idea of what it can do.