Part two of Paula's review of Vue 5 Infinite by e-on . You can read part one here, just in case you missed it last week.
When I rendered my EcoSystem image, the machine locked up after the anti-aliasing was 66% finished. I had to end the program. Since I figured I had lost the rendering, I started to do something else. When I went to re-render, it rushed through the first part and picked it up where it had left off. There is an option in the File>Options "Generate resume render info" that can be checked. It works very well. It can also be checked under the drop down menu accessed through Picture on the top tool bar.
There are more anti-aliasing features than in previous versions of Vue 5. Each addition toward quality slows down the render, however. In the back of the manual there is a "Hot Tips" and "Trouble Shooting" section with guides to cut rendering times.
For those not familiar with Vue 4 Professional or Vue 5 Pro Studio, there is a section where plants can be generated. I reviewed this SolidGrowth 3 technology in my review of the Botanica module. There are about 50 different plants that come shipped with Vue 5 Infinite. Through this technology, these plants can be expanded, changed, and then saved as another species.
One can work globally using all the trunk/branch subsets as a unit or work separately making the new plant more specific. Some flowers have more than one subset for the leaves/petals also. In addition, I could load new materials into the leaves/petals section or the trunk/branches section and change the colors and textures of the various parts.
Also, one can bring in a picture of a leaf and create a totally new plant.
Billboards are a new feature of the Alpha Plane. Objects>Create>Alpha Plane.
When the Billboard feature is checked, the alpha plane will always face the camera. In both pictures the camera was moved. (The change in size of the shack is not relevant to this discussion.)
Vue 5 Infinite contains primitive shapes which can be used to create Boolean objects.
Then these objects can be baked into polygon meshes.
These same primitives can be used to create Metablobs. Through the Metablob Envelope, one can choose options for creating the Metablob itself.
I took two spheres of equal dimensions and a thinner but longer cylinder and put them together. I, then, created a Boolean union. From a copy of the cylinder and spheres, I created a Metablob. They are seen from the main camera perspective.
Python scripting has been added to Vue5 Infinite. It comes with pre-made scripts to populate EcoSytems, grow plants, etc. Or you can build your own.
Before I start describing animation features, I must state that my main art work is done with still scenes. While I have worked with many of the Vue 5 and Vue 5 Infinite tutorials, I rarely create animations. The manual has tutorials on how to create animations arranged sequentially each dealing with a specific topic with one building on the other. It also has tutorials on some of the new features such as an animation tutorial that deals with Billboards and EcoSystems as well as the Function Editor. There are tutorials on the e-on software website as well. Renderosity and other Graphic Communities also have tutorials and forums.
Working in animation can be as complicated as desired. One can load pre-animated meshes or an animation from Poser 4 or 5, and, maybe, Poser 6. Also, with the synchronization plugin, one can work with both Vue and some of the industry standard 3D packages and then compose them in software such as After Effects.
If you want to make changes in an animation and do not own a post-processing program, one can do it in Vue 5 Infinite. One can also utilize this for work with stills. (To access it, double click on Main Camera in the World Browser.)
I created a small movie just changing the hue and brightness of the scene.
When you use post-processing to create a small animation, the screen will ask whether you want to animate the process or not. Right clicking on the icon highlighted here in red, brings up the following screen.
HyperVue™ was incredibly easy to set up. It worked perfectly the first time. When it was finished, the screen looked like the following:
Vue 5 Infinite has a triple resolution OpenGL engine offering fast and detailed previewing of scenes. As with the other versions of Vue 5, one could use the hardware acceleration or, if the video card was not compatible, the software equivalent. Below are screen shots of the differences taken from the Main Camera View.
Since so many Vue users also use Curious Lab's Poser, I did some testing with Poser figures both from Poser 5 and Poser 6. I used still figures with dynamic hair that I had created. I had imported the Poser 5 figures into Vue 5 Pro Studio and the dynamic hair had been very satisfactory. I did not have any problems importing the Poser 5 and Poser 6 figures into Vue 5 Infinite, however, I could not make any of the dynamic hair presentable. Even the hair that looked good in Vue 5 Pro Studio, did not look good in Vue 5 Infinite.
The following lists are taken from the e-on software website and abstracted to just reflect the different and new features for Vue 5 Infinite.
Lighting and Atmosphere
- Illumination baking
- Illumination baking quality adjustable on a global or per object basis (adjustable map resolution and quality boost)
- Indirect lighting can be ignored on specific objects
- Influence of specific lights can be ignored from the Radiosity solution
- Advanced control over the indirect lighting engine
- Show illumination samples in final render
- Separate maps can be assigned to the background, the IBL and the global reflection map channels
- Lens flare reflections editor
- Polygonal reflections
- EcoSystem patented technology to easily distribute millions of objects in scenes
- Create EcoSystems from multiple objects
- Create entire forests of trees blowing in the wind
- Scatter millions of animated objects
- Mix EcoSystems with standard materials
- Mix several EcoSystems together depending on environment (slope, altitude..)
- Automatic placement of EcoSystem population according to a user defined SmartGraph density function (that can depend on position, altitude, slop e...)
- Advanced coloring control to vary the colors of the population over the EcoSystem
- Accurate control over the orientation of the EcoSystem population
- Accurate control over the size and variation in size of the EcoSystem population
- Automatic decay of EcoSystem density near foreign objects
- Optional size reduction and color decay at low EcoSystem densities
- Create billboards that always face the camera (with a 'force vertical' option)
- Material presets over 480
- Level(s) of material Edition 4
- Control all material parameters via function graphs
- New SmartGraph input nodes: screen position, angle of incidence, distance to camera, distance on ray, depth in object, distance to object below, incident light angle, light direction, light color, reflected direction, etc.
- Time dependant noises (including basic ' Open Ocean ' water node)
- Rotoscoping (Use animations as texture maps)
- Detailed function output observer
- Detailed node previews in function editor
- Baking of procedural materials as texture maps
- Adjustable maximum ray depth and Total Internal Reflections
- Shadow only material option
- Optimized rendering technologies
- Navigation inside the rendered picture using pan controls
- Hybrid 2.5D depth of field
- Fake [blurry] reflections using reflection maps
- Multi pass rendering (separate renders into the different rendering components - shadow, diffuse, ambient, etc.)
- Create separate pictures for Diffuse, Specular, Shadows, Ambient, Refractions, Reflections, Background, Indirect Lighting, Post-process..
- Per layer, per object or per material masks (fully anti-aliased)
- Create layers for additional render information such as Z depth, object ID, material ID, global alpha mask, normal vectors..
- Export all channels and masks into a convenient Photoshop PSD multi-channel, multi-mask file
- Full support of G-Buffer compositing information
- Store all anti-aliasing and rendering channel samples on separate G-Buffer layers
- Render occluded objects (on a per object or global basis) to render hidden parts of the scene
- Render export as RLA or RPF for advanced compositing options
- Exclude ground from Alpha map option
- Objects can be hidden from render
- Global and per-material reflection maps
- Optional details in render information panel
- Spherical panoramic rendering
- Rendering in all views (including orthogonal rendering)
- Render in views can be set to a different quality than normal rendering
- Network rendering of pictures
- Rendering across hybrid network of computers
- Maximum render nodes unlimited through RenderCow pack expansion
- Render blow-up option
- Geometry anti-aliasing up to 256 rays/pixel
- HyperMipMap material anti-aliasing (including procedural materials)
- Optimized render memory management to allow the rendering of very large images
- Create custom render effects using user-defined python callbacks
- Ability to resume an interrupted render
- Animation output resolution unlimited
- Automatic synchronization of cameras and lights with 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, LightWave, & Softimage XSI
- Synchronization data incorporated into scene for easy retrieval
- Enhanced time spline editor
- Advanced flicker reduction options
- Reduced indirect lighting pulsation evaluation mode
- Auto-keyframing can be disabled
- Copy-pasting of animation keyframes
- Keyframes can be created for single properties only
- Action safe and title safe frames and field grids (user configurable)
- Adjustable and animatable amount of motion blur
- Motion-blur on object deformation
- Fast Hybrid 2.5D™ motion blur
- Automatic simulation of breeze on plants
- Strong wind effects defined on individual plants or groups of plants
- Advanced breeze customization with OpenGL preview
- Animated wind intensity and direction
- Non-animatable objects
- Option to output temporary images when network rendering an animation as independent frames
- Optional display of time code on frames (on a separate layer when rendering as multi-pass)
- Time display as SMPTE, frame #, time
- Optional automatic illumination baking of meshes
- Organize objects in layers - unlimited layers
- Undo-Redo Multiple undo-redo
- Ability to reorganize the view panes
- Access to all G-Buffer channels and layers in interface
- Access to all render passes and masks
- All cameras can appear on screen
- Camera group manager in World Browser
- Resizable World Browser and Scene Preview
- Python scripting
- Directly access frequently used scripts
- Python console for direct input
- Python functions to add, modify and remove EcoSystem instances
- User-definable startup scene
- Real-world units for object size
- Object decimation for faster scene setup
- Full-screen mode
- List of default folders when searching for texture maps
- Optional independent panning and zooming of views
- Baking of objects to polygons (including Boolean operations)
- User-definable keyboard shortcuts
- Only show active layer' preview option
- Cloud layers can be easily hidden/restored
- Customizable linear and angular grid snapping when moving and rotating objects
- OpenGL preview of EcoSystems using billboard
- Minimum setting for preview frame rate (dynamic preview simplification to maintain frame rate)
- Object exports with textures
- Optimized object and texture maps exports
- Textured model imports as - 3DS, 3DMF, COB, DEM, DXF, LWO, OBJ, PZ3, PZZ, RAW, SHD, VRML
- Textured object exports as - 3DS, C4D, COB, DXF, LWO, OBJ, SHD
- 2D Import - BMP, BUM, DEM, GIF, HDR, IFF, Jpeg, PCX, Pict, PNG, PSD, RLA, RPF, TGA, Tiff
- Animated 2D import - Sequence of pictures, MOV (Macintosh only), AVI (Windows only)
- Exposure and contrast controls in HDRI images
- 2D Export - Tiff, TGA, Pict, BMP, GIF, HDR, PSD, Jpeg, PNG, PCX, IFF, RLA, RPF
- Sky exports as sky-boxes or sky-domes
- Export high dynamic range images (including skydomes)
- Export 48 bit color images
- Scene exports - 3DS, LWS
- Object animation export (motion, orientation, size) - 3DS, MOT
- User-definable mesh and texture map resolution
- Objects can be marked as not being exportable
- Advanced unwrap algorithms for low-distortion UV mapping
Fault Tolerance and Degraded Modes
- Degraded display mode (dynamic simplification of OpenGL preview when resources become critically low)
- Optional limit on OpenGL polygon count
- Automatic suspension of mesh simplification, Boolean/Metablob preview and background draw threads when system resources become critically low
- Option to clear OpenGL before rendering
- Multi-processor rendering with unlimited number of processors
- Printed documentation 583 pages
This version of Vue 5 Infinite is full of advanced techniques with python scripting, the function editor, rendering and lighting controls. One can almost bypass building the scenes with graphics and instead create them by function and scripting.
I worked with Vue 5 Infinite daily and endlessly and, for the most part, it worked smoothly and flawlessly. I rendered on one machine and over my network. This is a very versatile software package for building all kinds of scenery and more since it can integrate with other 3D products. It is exciting to use and the possibilities, especially for those versed in scripting and node editing, are endless.
The Paula Sanders Report
is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column,
where Paula investigates and comments on
graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material
through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.
May 2, 2005