Tech Re­views

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

when us­ing art­work and fonts — the bread and but­ter of mo­tion graph­ics. The lat­est re­lease pro­vides tools to non­de­struc­tively cre­ate mod­els from text and vector art, re­fine them through bevels and such, and then ma­nip­u­late them with de­form­ers. Text can be gen­er­ated di­rectly in the Maya scene, but with Il­lus­tra­tor files you get the choice of im­port­ing or lit­er­ally copy­ing the curves from Il­lus­tra­tor into your buf­fer, and then past­ing them di­rectly into Maya.

These may not seem ter­ri­bly sexy in com­par­i­son to ad­vances in Bifrost (Foam, Aero Solver, Guided Sim­u­la­tions), XGen (shared pre­sets, bet­ter spline con­trols, mul­ti­thread­ing) and a new Sculpt Toolset for Blend­shapes. But, in my opinion, the pro­duc­tiv­ity from the look-dev tools alone reaches far more artists than Bifrost and XGen. This is go­ing to save cen­turies of artist time.

sions, there was a bal­anc­ing act that had to hap­pen be­tween the ren­der sam­ple set­ting, the light sam­ples and the ma­te­rial sam­ples in or­der to clean out noise in the ren­der. The VBAS re­duces the de­pen­dency on the ma­te­ri­als and lights. Not only do you gain speed in the ac­tual ren­der, but in general setup time. Not so many di­als to turn.

For ren­der­ing vol­umes clouds and smoke and such pro­vided by grid data from Chaos’ own Phoenix, or from OpenVDB or Field3D data from third-par­ties, Vray 3.3 can use a Vol­ume Grid Prob­a­bilis­tic Shad­ing (so many fancy words in this re­lease), which, in a way, takes spe­cific points on a ray as it goes through the vol­ume and de­cides whether it should “prob­a­bly” cal­cu­late a light. When the Prob­a­bilis­tic Shad­ing is off, VRay will cal­cu­late lights at ev­ery sam­pled step of the march as the ray makes its way through the vol­ume. If that sounds like a lot of cal­cu­lat­ing, it is, which is why ren­der­ing vol­umes takes a long time — and why Prob­a­bilis­tic Shad­ing speeds things up.

Other speed im­prove­ments are the abil­ity to dis­trib­ute Light Cache cal­cu­la­tions across mul­ti­ple ma­chines, a more ef­fi­cient pro­cess­ing of Max’s plugin For­est Pack for nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments, and faster and smarter ren­der­ing of VRay prox­ies and In­stances.

For new, fancy toys to play with, Chaos up­dated the pre­vi­ous sky model to a newer Hosek model based on a 2012 SIGGRAPH pa­per from Lukas Hosek and Alexan­der Wilkie, which pro­vides a more ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sky, es­pe­cially near sun­set — or magic hour ... and just ask Ter­rence Mal­ick how much he loves the light of magic hour.

And for an ad­di­tional out­door ren­der bonus, we get aerial per­spec­tive with con­trols for not only the dis­tance, but the height of mist. You can even have the sun­light af­fected by the mist.

On the shader side of things, we have a Sto­chas­tic Flakes ma­te­rial for flakes in car paint or other sur­face made of near mi­cro­scopic shiny pieces such as snow, or sand, or Lib­er­ace’s wardrobe — or maybe Lady Gaga’s wardrobe for you mil­len­ni­als out there. Any­way, shiny things that glit­ter as the cam­era an­gle changes. Usu­ally fraught with alias­ing prob­lems, Sto­chas­tic Flakes pro­vides a cleaner re­sult, with faster ren­der times, and pre­vents re­peated tiling (the “sto­chas­tic” part of the ti­tle).

Lastly, a lit­tle gro­cery list of other treats: A shader for ray­traced rounded cor­ners (a fa­vorite of the Men­tal Ray fans), im­proved color man­age­ment in the VRay Frame Buf­fer, and the VRay Clip­per al­lows you to use cus­tom ob­jects to slice open geo at ren­der­time, re­veal­ing an in­ner ma­te­rial. Fun!

VRay 3.0 users should al­ready be up­graded, and if you haven’t moved over, it’s worth a look. Maya users keep your eyes open for your turn. [ Todd Sheri­dan Perry is a vis­ual-ef­fects su­per­vi­sor and dig­i­tal artist who has worked on fea­tures in­clud­ing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Tow­ers, Speed Racer, 2012, Fi­nal Des­ti­na­tion 5 and Avengers: Age of Ul­tron. You can reach him at todd@ tea­spoon­vfx.com.

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