LK Fabric released

LK Fabric has been released!

Congrats to Leonard Kotch who put his heart and soul into this and who put up with my endless demands for the system during the production.

Pretty much everything you see in the Nike commercials below was built with this system, with Leonard doing daily updates as we worked. We barely touched some of the possibilities of this system, I hope people will try it out because it is cable of some truly spectacular effects. Kudos to Royale for being so cool and sharing it out like this!

Fury Particle Renderer gets Furious-er

As long as we are talking about Exocortex, they just posted this exciting preview of the next version of their point rendering tool Fury.

For those of you wondering why this is important, it’s simple enough. Fury is fast. Really, really fast. And it was written by Ben Houston, the original author of Krakatoa, a tool of choice for rendering particles. Softimage, Max and Maya users alike can move their simulations to ICE (or create their simulations with ice directly) and partake in the Fury awesomeness.

LOOK at it. 1 million points. Self shadowing and cast shadows. 1-second-per-frame.

“The major new features in Fury 2.0:

* GPU-accelerated particle self-shadowing * Shadow maps * Built-in compositing previewing. * Command line renderer support. * Synchronized Softimage and Maya support.

In this example, 1 million points are lit and rendered in about 1 second per frame and the shadow map is also created at the same time. Motion blur and DOF do not slow down rendering time.

The simulation in this example is from a alpha-version of SlipstreamVX 2.0 and thus the smoke motion isn’t quite perfect in this video.”

GEAR – Use softimage? Get it.

Jeremie Passerin is a TD and Rigger who has put a huge amount of time, thought and effort into an open source rigging toolset for Softimage, which he calls GEAR.


Very cool. But, you say, it’s for softimage and my stinking studio makes me use Maya. Well,  Maya users, have hope. Jeremie has also been beta testing a Maya version, called MGEAR.


Let’s face it, there are more animators needing high quality rigs than there are high quality riggers. And rigging takes a lot of time. That’s why autoriggers came into being. If you are laboriously assembling all your rigs by hand and you just want to get to animating, you really, really need to be using a solution like Gear.

Visit the GEAR website

GEAR has the openness and enough well -thought tools to appeal to a dedicated rigging TD while also providing a fast and reliable way for animators to generate sophisticated rigs with a minimal learning curve. It’s modular in design, meaning it isn’t restricted to rigging only humanoids or quadrupeds, and it’s extensible, so riggers can use GEAR as a framework upon which they build in their own particular style.


It’s a very well thought out system and highly recommended for small studios and individual animators who need good rigs fast, as well as riggers interested in having the capabilities of an autorigging framework without the desire (or time) to make their own.

Mach Studio 2 review

A 3D World review I wrote a while back of the (now free) Mach Studio Pro v2, which I have also written about on this blog, is now online. – AM


I’m going to have to check out “Darktable,” a GNU-license photo management app similar to Lightroom and Aperture. It’s claim to fame (aside from being free) is it’s blazing fast performance thanks to GPU acceleration. If you like photography as much as me, and you are using a *nix OS, this is probably worth a look.


XSI users may want to check this out, the site has some tools and plugins for XSI, including a free set of ICE compounds, a metaball (pay) plugin, and some very nice scripts.

The $100 euro metaball .addon is pretty nice, many of us have encountered it’s ancestor as the popular free metaball tool which has been around for a while now. Now a grown up product for sale, this plugin adds ICE compatibility as well as the added/cleaner functionality of allowing metaball models to be constructed by hand, through “metapaint” etc. The tool includes not only spherical implicit metaball primitives but cylinders and cubic meta-surfaces, which is a welcome addition. The generated meshes are reasonably clean and can be set to use several models of meshing.

This took just minutes to set up and bake, tuning the meshing was really fast.

There’s a fair amount in here for the money, feature wise. Usage is pretty straightforward, and the mesh generation is fast. Since ICE users are wanting any mesh generation tools they can get their hands on it’s worth taking a look at the free demo, and my first take is that this tool makes a nice compliment to Eric Mootz’s emPolygonizer. It’s definitely a lot of fun to play with!

Fun for the four-minute Borgmann in all of us.

Mach Studio Pro

I have been testing Mach Studio Pro for PLF for a while now, and while it’s a very new tool I am pretty pleased with it’s capabilities and potential. MSpro is an application which accepts scenes from most 3d packages (including Max, Maya, XSI, sketchup etc) and enables the artist to shade/light/render in realtime. Quality is high, with renders being competitive (and sometimes mistaken for) mental ray/vray etc in many cases. Being a realtime application there are caveats and limitations of course, for instance raytracing is not (yet) supported, nor are true radiosity/GI effects. Fair enough. And you’ll still need to render out vFX passes like particles and volumetrics in another app.

But most CG isn’t about all that – it’s about the basics and that’s where MSpro shines: on the 90% of the work you render which you can now do so in seconds rather than hours. It’s very liberating being able to light shots with immediate visual feedback, and MSpro was written with a fair eye towards being a production-friendly application with python scripting, linear lighting and HDRI workflow, output to open EXR as pass breakdowns etc.

This is clearly the direction the industry is moving and Mach Studio is not without competitors, but as a just-out-of-the-gate package they are off to a great start. And don’t get me wrong, MSpro isn’t just about the bare minimums… realtime microtesselated displacement maps aren’t basic, and realtime AO and SSS go a long way towards giving you the tools you need to create great imagery. In real time. No more waiting on farms. No more unpleasant surprises a day lat