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NAB: Autodesk buys Solid Angle, updates products

At the NAB show, Autodesk announced that it has acquired Solid Angle, developer of Arnold, an advanced, ray-tracing image renderer for high-quality 3D animation and visual effects creation used in film, television and advertising worldwide. Arnold has been used on Academy Award-winning films such as Ex Machina and The Martian, as well as Emmy Award-winning series Game of Thrones, among other popular features, TV shows and commercials.

As part of Autodesk, Solid Angle’s development team will continue to evolve Arnold, working in close collaboration with its user community. Arnold will remain available as a standalone renderer for both Autodesk products and third-party applications including Houdini, Katana, and Cinema 4D on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Both Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya will also continue to support other third-party renderers.

“We’re constantly looking out for promising technologies that help artists boost creativity and productivity,” shared Chris Bradshaw, senior VP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “Efficient rendering is increasingly critical for 3D content creation and acquiring Solid Angle will allow us to help customers better tackle this computationally intensive part of the creative process. Together, we can improve rendering workflows within our products as well as accelerate the development of new rendering solutions that tap into the full potential of the cloud, helping all studios scale production.”

“Autodesk shares our passion for numerical methods and computational performance and our desire to simplify the rendering pipeline, so artists can create top quality visuals more easily,” said Solid Angle Founder Marcos Fajardo. “With Autodesk, we’ll be able to accelerate development as well as scale our marketing, sales and support operations for Arnold to better meet the needs of our growing user base. Working side-by-side, we can solve production challenges in rendering and beyond.”

Arnold pricing and packaging is unchanged and Autodesk will continue to offer perpetual licenses of Arnold. Customers should continue to purchase Arnold through their usual Solid Angle channels.

Product Updates
In other news, Autodesk updated three of its products.

Autodesk Flame 2017:
– Camera FX scene-based tools enable the creation of sophisticated 3D composites in Action.Powered by algorithms from the Stingray game engine, artists can use these highly interactive VFX tools for ambient occlusion, realistic reflections, and depth of field without slowing interactivity.
– Connected color workflow introduces a new level of integration between VFX and proven color grading. This new workflow brings color grading information from Autodesk Lustre directly into Flame’s node-based compositing environment and maintains a live connection so that composites can be rendered and seen in context in Lustre (our main image). This collaborative workflow allows artists to rapidly finish high-end projects by moving seamlessly between compositing, VFX and look development tools.
– Color management enhancements to Flame, Autodesk Flare and Autodesk Flame Assist allow users to quickly standardize the way a source’s colorspace is identified and processed.
– User-requested enhancements include improvements to desktop reels, conform and timeline workflow, batch, media panel and the UI.

Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2:
Extension 2 adds new capabilities for creating 3D motion graphics, a new rendering workflow and tools for artists that allow them to create and animate characters faster and easier than ever.
– New motion graphics tools bring a procedural, node-based 3D design workflow directly into Maya. Combining powerful motion graphics tools with Maya’s deep creative toolset allows artists to quickly create sophisticated and unique 3D motion graphics such as futuristic UIs, expressive text, and organic animation and effects.
– Updated render management makes segmenting your scenes into render layers easier and faster, giving artists more control.
– Character creation workflows with a new quick rig tool and shape authoring enhancements that allow artists to create, rig and animate characters faster. Additional updates include: improvements to symmetry and poly modeling, UV editing, animation performance, rigging, the Bifrost workflow and XGen; a content browser; deep adaptive fluid simulation and high-accuracy viscosity in Bifrost; and XGen hair cards.

Autodesk 3ds Max 2017:
Freeing up more time for creativity, 3ds Max 2017 offers artists a fresh new look as well as modeling, animation and rendering enhancements, including:
– A new UI with support for high DPI displays expands the array of monitors and laptops users may run the software on while correctly applying Windows display scaling.
– Autodesk Raytracer Renderer (ART) a fast, physically-based renderer, enables the creation of photoreal imagery and videos.
– 3ds Max asset library, available via the Autodesk Exchange App Store, offers quick access to model libraries; simply search assets and drag and drop them into a scene.
– Additional updates include fast form hard surfaces; UV mapping, object tool and animation productivity enhancements; a scene converter for moving from one renderer to another or to realtime engines; and tighter pipeline integration via an improved Python/.NET toolset.


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