Many of you already know e-on Software’s Vue, but for those who don’t know it, I’ll give you a brief introduction. Vue can be described as a landscaping software, although the description is very limited since the software can do a lot more. Vue can render landscapes, vegetation, architectural visualization, photorealistic animations, and anything that can take advantage of the software’s photorealistic lighting and rendering.
e-on Software recently released the complete line up of Vue 10, and for this article I will be focusing on Vue 10 xStream. Vue 10 xStream is the most complete version of them all, since it includes the complete feature set, as well as interconnectivity with major 3d applications, including Maya and Softimage.
I have to admit Vue 10 is very daunting at first, but the online tutorials found on e-on Software’s website can teach you the basics in no time. The tutorials on the site are a little outdated (they come from the Windows XP era), but luckily most of the UI elements they touch on remain unchanged. There are some differences here and there, but nothing that can leave you completely lost in the middle of a tutorial. On the other hand, you will still need more time with the software to really master it after you’re finished with those tutorials.
The basic Vue xStream workflow, when using another 3d app to host your Vue scene, is this: first you’d make your scene in Vue, save it and open it in your host application. When in your host application, you can modify or add anything you need to your scene, and then render it using your rendering engine of choice.
Vue offers tools you should expect from any landscape creation software, such as a terrain editor, an atmosphere editor and even a vegetation editor. The Ecosystem tool is the one I found particularly interesting though, as it allows you to quickly populate a scene with pretty much anything, from plants to cars. The Vue renderer is fast, considering the amounts of information Vue scenes usually contain. It also allows for a lot of fine tuning, and even rendering in layers, which you can later edit in Photoshop.
Since I am using Vue 10 xStream, the part that I was mostly interested in was checking how well Vue could work with third party applications, like Maya or Softimage, since that’s the biggest feature in this version.
Opening scenes in your host application couldn’t be easier, as you do it exactly like you’d do it in Vue. You just browse the Vue 10 xStream menu inside your host application for the “open” command. Loading the scene doesn’t just load the geometry; it loads the lighting, render settings, and everything else. If you test render your scene in Vue and your host application, you will see both renderers yield virtually the same result.
When the scene is open, you can treat it as a native scene, adding new geometry, animations and anything you want. You can even add a different atmosphere, create lights, metablobs and edit the shaders. I found this to be an amazing feature, as you normally wouldn’t find yourself in a position where you have to unload your scene in your host application, modify it in Vue, and load it again.
As I said, you will rarely find the need to unload your scene to modify it in Vue, and load the modified one then. Inside your 3D application, you can save the scene, in Vue format, and continue working on it in Vue, making it a two-way communication between applications. Keep in mind, there is a lot of application-specific objects you may add to your scene, and they may not work in Vue at all (like particle systems).
As I said before, rendered images are virtually identical in Vue and your host application. However, rendering time varies, drastically. My test scene rendered in around 3 minutes in Vue, but the same scene in Maya took from 3 to 4 times that using Mentalray (I also tried using the Maya Software Render, it took double as much as MR, and the image wasn’t nearly the same). Softimage rendered the image quicker than Maya, but not as quick as Vue. This is important, since sometimes you’ll be rendering in Vue, but sometimes (or most of the times, since content sharing is the killer feature in Vue 10 xStream) you will be using your host application’s renderer.
Rendering a Vue scene in your 3D application means you have to manage two separate render settings: You have your application’s render settings, and the Vue render settings, too. You can change your Vue render settings directly, just like you would inside Vue.
Vue is an amazing tool for landscapes, architectural visualization, and any kind of computer animation. Vue 10 xStream adds yet another layer of functionality if you rely on third party 3D applications as well. If you’re a Vue user, and find yourself combining Vue with other 3D applications, like Maya, Softimage or CINEMA 4D, Vue 10 xStream is for you, as it will allow you to exchange data between Vue and your 3D application, literally, with the touch of a button.
For more information, visit www.e-onsoftware.com.
Editor's Note: Be sure to also visit
Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.
December 12, 2011
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