Tag Archives: Autodesk

Shotgun 7.6 adds analytics feature set for VFX and animation

Shotgun Software has released Shotgun 7.6, the latest version of its cloud-based review and production tracking software, featuring a new set of analytics and reporting tools that give studios the ability to visualize key production information, keep a close eye on the progress of their projects and make business-critical decisions quickly.

The new normal is shorter turnaround, tighter budgets and growing creative demands, so studios need to be efficient, identify business issues quickly and adjust where and how resources are being used during production. Production Insights in Shotgun provides studios with an overview of the health of projects as well as the ability to dive into the details to see where time and resources are used, so operations can be streamlined and better decisions can be made.

“Our new Production Insights features help Shotgun customers answer urgent and costly production questions such as: Are we going to hit our deadline? How much work is there left to do? Where are we struggling?” explains James Pycock, head of product management for Shotgun. “Having access to these tools out of the box gives everyone instant at-a-glance visualizations of how and where they are spending time and resources.”

Shotgun Production Insights include:

– Analytics: The ability to apply production data in Shotgun to optimize how resources are used, plan ahead for tight deadlines and budgets, and accurately compile bids for upcoming projects.
– Data Visualization: In addition to the existing horizontal bar chart in Shotgun, there are now new graph types, including pie charts, vertical bar charts and line charts.
– Data Grouping: Display data is now available as stacked (see picture) or un-stacked bar charts to visualize in even greater at-a-glance detail.
– Presets: Users can drag and drop from a number of pre-configured presets to build reports instantly, with flexible customization options.

Shotgun pricing starts at $30 per account/per month with what they call “Awesome” support, or $50 per account/per month for “Super Awesome” support. They are offering free trials here.

Steve Holyhead

AJA brings on Steve Holyhead from Fox Broadcasting

Steve Holyhead has joined AJA as senior product manager for desktop products. He joins AJA from Fox Broadcasting Company where he was director of technical operations.

Holyhead recently moved to Grass Valley, where AJA is headquartered, from Los Angeles. In addition to working at Fox, his 20-plus years of industry experience includes developing professional digital video workflows with BloomCast, managing post operations at Discovery Communications and working as a technology evangelist, producer and technical marketing manager for both Discreet (now Autodesk) and Avid. He has also developed Avid and Adobe training courses for multiple partners, including Lynda.com.

“Steve brings a blend of real-world production and technology developer experience to AJA. His understanding of production, broadcast and post, together with his experience both designing enterprise scale workflows and as a master trainer for Adobe, Apple and Avid products, will make powerful contributions to the success of our customers,” says Nick Rashby, president of AJA.

Appex 1

Boxx offers two new workstations with Kaby Lake Intel processors

Boxx Technologies has introduced Apexx workstations featuring the new seventh-generation Kaby Lake Intel Core i7 processors. The integration of these processors provides the Apexx 1 1202 a base clock speed of 4.2GHz with a turbo boost of 4.5GHz. The ultra-compact Apexx 1 also features advanced liquid cooling and professional graphics. Apexx 1 (pictured in our main image) is designed for users working in visualization, 3D animation, modeling and motion media.

Apexx 2

The latest Intel Core i7 processor is also included in the new, compact, liquid-cooled Apexx 2 2203 workstation. Featuring the same base clock speed of 4.2GHz (and 4.5GHz turbo boost), Apexx 2 2203 is configurable with up to two full-size, pro GPUs and is optimized for software such as Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya and Maxon’s Cinema 4D, as well as other CAD and 3D design applications.

“Because Boxx specializes in high-performance workstations, we know that for greater efficiency and productivity, organizations require the latest technology and innovation,” says VP of marketing and business development Shoaib Mohammad. “The integration of new Intel Kaby Lake processors coupled with our space-saving chassis, liquid cooling, professional GPUs and other features, provides architects, engineers and motion media pros with maximum performance.”

Pricing for these new models is not yet available. The company says both these units have non-overclocked processors and would typically be priced lower than models with overclocked processors.

 

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.

Autodesk restructuring for cloud, subscription model, laying off 10%

Autodesk, via a press release on the BusinessWire, announced a restructuring plan intended to accelerate the company’s move to the cloud and its transition to a subscription-based business model. Through the restructuring, Autodesk seeks to reduce expenses, streamline the organization and reallocate resources to better serve its needs going forward. Part of this reduction of expenses means 10 percent of its workforce will be laid off — that’s about 925 positions — and certain leased facilities will be consolidated.

“As we progress through our business model transition, we continue to take a comprehensive look at our company to see where we can be more effective and efficient. To realize maximum value for both our customers and shareholders, and as a follow-on to previously discussed cost reduction actions, we are restructuring so we can focus resources on areas that will accelerate the move to the cloud and transition to a subscription-based business,” said Carl Bass, president/CEO of Autodesk.

Autodesk expects these actions will result in additional cost savings in fiscal 2017 and beyond, while reinvesting a portion of the savings in areas critical to its platform and business model transition. The company anticipates taking pre-tax charges of $85 million to $95 million in connection with the restructuring. Autodesk also expects to be at the high end or exceed its guidance ranges for billings, revenue, non-GAAP EPS, and net subscription additions for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016.

“To be clear, the restructuring is not related to anything we are seeing in the macro-economic environment,” continued Bass. “We ended fiscal 2016 on a high note with very strong fourth-quarter billings growth and continued demand for our subscription offerings. Solid revenues, coupled with continued cost-controls, led to better than expected non-GAAP EPS during the quarter. I’m pleased we were able to deliver these results at such a critical moment in Autodesk’s transition.”

Additional details regarding the company’s fourth quarter financial results and restructuring plan will be provided on the company’s regularly scheduled earnings conference call.

postPerspective has questions in with Autodesk asking how this restructuring will affect the media and entertainment side of its business. More to come…

Autodesk offering software-only version of Flame, new subscription options

For those of you who have longed to be able to own an Autodesk Flame system, but the cost to entry was out of your reach, well your time has come. Autodesk has announced a software-only version of Flame that comes with a new subscription model, allowing artists to use the software for a year for approximately $6,000.

The company, which in the past sold Flame as a turnkey hardware and software system, has now opened the tool up to the masses. For those of you who have bought a hardware-configured Flame running on Linux, don’t fret. Autodesk is allowing for a floating license via a Linux server. Also important to know is that early next year sales of Flame as a turnkey system will discontinue.

Those who buy the software-only Linux version it will be locked  (one license, one computer) and they can choose their own qualified Linux hardware. Later this month, Flame on Mac will be released, with recommended configuration specifications from the company. For those who choose the software-only version of Flame, you will be locked into one system, with no floating license.

The new subscription pricing for Flame starts at $750 per month and can be accessed annually for as low as $500 per month. Autodesk also announced Flame support for OS X as part of the Autodesk Flame Extension 2 release, available later this moth. Autodesk Flare and Autodesk Flame Assist software are now available as standalone products with monthly subscription prices, starting at around $400.

“The changes we are making allow us to continue to provide our Flame users with the tools they need to grow and transform their businesses, now and in the future, as well as to ensure that our business continues to serve them. With the new Flame business model, it’s never been easier for artists and studios to access these powerful tools they need for the high-end finishing their customers demand,” said Marc Stevens, VP, Film and TV at Autodesk. “Community feedback is vital to the future of Flame, and these changes reflect what our customers want; they’ll also allow us to meet the emerging needs of staff artists, freelancers and facilities by offering more choices, just like the rest of Autodesk.”

Fred Ruckel, a long-time Flame user, was happy with the news: “This is a smart decision on their part. It allows Autodesk to recapture users they might have lost due to the cost of the Premium Plan, and it will help them gain users who can now afford to jump in.”

“Autodesk has correctly seen the direction the market is taking by offering Flame on the Mac and unbundling Flare,” saidBarry Goch, online editor at Modern VideoFilm. “It’s a great move to expand the user base while guaranteeing top tier product support and continued development of my favorite finishing platform.”

To sum up…
— New monthly, quarterly and annual subscription options for Flame, Flare, Flame Assist and Autodesk Lustre.
— Unrestricted ability to purchase Flare and Flame Assist licenses with no requirement to own Flame software already.
— Customers may source their own qualified Linux hardware for Flame Family products.
— New support for Flame on OS X in addition to Linux and the announcement of the Flame Family 2016 Extension 2 release available later in November.

With these changes, Autodesk is opening up its products to many more artists, including freelancers and smaller facilities. The new subscription offerings provide a lower cost for facilities expanding their creative capabilities and for smaller studios, including individual freelancers who work on a project basis. Autodesk plans to continue to sell perpetual licenses of Flame Family.

Flame Family 2016 Extension 2
Autodesk has also announced the upcoming Flame Family 2016 Extension 2 release that will be available later this month. It brings new format support and performance gains in color grading workflows. Lustre Reactor brings new GPU acceleration to color grading workflows and improves performance when using blur, keying and softness controls for both preview and rendering operations.

Other enhancements in Lustre include 32-bit floating point GPU rendering locally via Shot Reactor and when using Autodesk background rendering software; performance enhancements when working with Open EXR source media with embedded mattes; UI support for high DPI monitors (4K); and new Print View and Print LUT support when using AJA SDI output. Across the Flame family of products, when importing media, artists can take advantage of new support for the full DNxHR media family by using either QuickTime or MXF containers, as well as updated support for R3D media files including R3D SDK 6.0.3, allowing Flame to directly support the new Dragon 6K sensor and Rec. 2020 color space. When exporting media, the extension supports Sony MPEG-4 Part 2 Simple Studio Profile (SStP) encoding in an MXF wrapper, supporting a variety of formats and presets.

The 2016 versions of Flame, Lustre, Flare and Flame Assist are now available for purchase as software subscription only.

IBC 2015 Blog: Beautiful clouds in the sky, content in the cloud

By Robert Keske

The weather this year during IBC might be the best I ever experienced in Amsterdam. Inside the RAI, IBC seemed quieter this year — the halls were less crowded and easy to navigate. I have to assume that everyone was enjoying the weather instead of being inside the RAI.

The theme of the 2015 show was “Content Everywhere.” This is a productization taking place to incorporate mobile and cloud technology into the production and post production process. Creative and collaborative applications are now running on tablets and smart phones in some innovative ways, from content bypassing traditional distribution to direct-to-mobile consumption.

After taking in the overall conference, I paid a visit to a few of our vendors to see what they were presenting at this year’s show.

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight has continued to impress me with their focus on delivering a full-service product line, offering solutions from on-set all the way through the beginnings of a complete finishing toolset.

Autodesk has made some nice advancements to the latest release of Flame 2016 Premium. The latest workflow and UI improvements appear to have incorporated user feedback and will surely be welcomed by the Flame user community.

SGO Mistika has also listened to feedback from the community, with the beginnings of a new UI, and the media management UI has greatly improved.

Another bright spot is the work Henry Gu is performing in content delivery automation. Henry was at the Data Direct Networks booth, and I highly recommend paying him a visit to see his work.

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@niceshoesonline).

IBC: Autodesk to release Extension 1 for Flame 2016 line

Autodesk will soon release Extension 1 for its Flame 2016 family of 3D VFX software, which includes Autodesk Flame, Autodesk Flare, Autodesk Lustre and Autodesk Flame Assist. Inspired by user feedback, Autodesk added workflow improvements, new creative tools and a performance boost. Flame 2016 Extension 1 will be available to subscription customers on September 23.

Highlights of the Flame 2016 Extension 1 release are:
– Connected Conform: A new, unified media management approach to sharing, sorting and syncing media across different sequences for faster finishing in Flame Premium, Flame and Flare. New capabilities include shared sources, source sequence, shots sequence, shared segment syncing and smart replace.
– Advanced Performance: Realtime, GPU-accelerated debayering of Red and ArriRaw source media using high-performance Nvidia K6000 or M6000 graphics cards. The performance boost allows artist to begin work instantly in Flame Premium, Flame, Flare and Lustre.
– GMask Tracer: New to Flame Premium, Flame and Flare, this feature simplifies VFX creation with spline-based shape functionality and a chroma-keying algorithm.
– User-Requested Features: Proxy workflow enhancements, new batch context views, refined cache status, full-screen views, redesigned tools page and more.

New Autodesk extensions, updated Shotgun at SIGGRAPH 2015

At SIGGRAPH 2015  Autodesk announced its 2016 M&E extensions, designed to accelerate design, sharing, review and iteration of 3D content across every stage of the creative pipeline. The Maya 2016 extension is a new text tool for creating branding, flying logos, title sequences and other projects that require 3D text. The 3ds Max 2016 extension includes geodesic voxel and heat map solvers to help artists create better skin weighting faster. New Max Creation Graph (MCG) animation controls provide procedural animation capabilities.

Creative Market, an online content marketplace acquired by Autodesk last year, is expanding its offerings with the debut of 3D content. The marketplace is currently home to nearly 9,000 shops selling more than 250,000 design assets to a community of more than one million members. Artists can search, purchase and license high-quality 3D content created by designers around the world or upload and sell original 3D models on the site.

Shotgun Software has announced a new set of features and updates designed to make it easier for teams to review, share and provide feedback on creative projects. Also at SIGGRAPH 2015, Autodesk has announced the latest extension releases for its Maya 2016 and 3ds Max 2016 3D modeling, animation, VFX and rendering software and a new 3D marketplace on Creative Market, the company’s online platform for purchasing and selling custom content developed by artists.

Shotgun’s upcoming Shotgun 6.3 release will include new review and approval features and an updated Client Review Site to streamline collaboration and communication within teams, across sites and with clients. Shotgun’s Pipeline Toolkit is also being updated with the Shotgun Panel, which will let artists communicate directly with other artists and see only the information relevant to their tasks directly inside creative tools like Autodesk Maya and The Foundry’s Nuke, along with a refreshed Workfiles tool to find and navigate to relevant files more quickly.

Shotgun 6.3 includes a new global view that allows users to easily access and manage media across all of a studio’s projects from a central location in Shotgun. Other improvements include new browsing options, playlists and a preference to launch media in RV, the desktop image/movie player.

 

Autodesk intros Stingray game engine

Autodesk’s new Stingray game engine will be available to game developers worldwide beginning August 19. Later this summer, Autodesk will also offer Autodesk Maya LT desktop subscription customers access to Autodesk Stingray as part of their subscription.

Built on the data-driven architecture of the Bitsquid engine, which Autodesk acquired in 2014, Stingray is a new platform for making 3D games. The engine supports a host of industry-standard game development workflows and includes powerful connectivity to Autodesk 3D animation software that simplifies game development across a wide range of platforms.

Highlights of the new Stingray engine include a seamless art-to-engine workflow, allowing users to import, create, iterate, test and review 3D assets and gameplay faster using a one-click workflow and live link between Stingray and Autodesk 3D animation software.

In addition, a lightweight code base allows game developers to make significant changes to the engine and renderer without requiring source code access. A rendering pipeline, physically-based shading, advanced particle effects, post processed visual effects, lightmap baking and a high-performance reflection system help make the games look high end.

Stingray includes solutions such as Beast, HumanIK, Navigation, Scaleform Studio (UI technology built on Scaleform), FBX, Audiokinetic Wwise and Nvidia PhysX. At the same time, a wide range of development tools — including visual node-based-scripting and Lua scripting — make game creation more accessible for game makers with varying levels of experience. C++ source code will also be available as an additional purchase upon request.

Among Stingray’s other features is the ability to make and apply changes to gameplay and visuals across supported platforms: Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8, Oculus Rift DevKit 2, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One. 

Autodesk previewed Stingray at GDC 2015 earlier this year in San Francisco. Since then, game developers around the world have signed up for Autodesk’s beta program and shipped games using this technology.

The Stingray engine can also be used in design environments and is an informative next step to further understand design data before anything is physically built. The engine’s realtime digital environment is programmed to look and feel like the physical world. Through the high-end development tools and visual scripting system, customers can program objects, light effects, environmental elements, materials and entourage elements to behave and react as they would in the physical world.

Chaos Group’s new V-Ray 3.2 for 3ds Max update is VR-ready

The Chaos Group has released V-Ray 3.2 for 3ds Max, a free update that introduces compatibility with 3ds Max 2016 and adds VR rendering capabilities and multiple V-Ray RT GPU enhancements.

Available for download at chaosgroup.com, V-Ray 3.2 for 3ds Max adds two new VR camera types to render stereo cube maps and spherical stereo images for VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. The update also offers V-Ray RT GPU improvements including displacement, anisotropic highlights, composite map, output curves, texture baking, UDIM support (Mari), and QMC sampling on Nvidia CUDA.

The update’s support for OpenVDB, Field3D, and Phoenix FD volume grid formats allows users to import and render data from popular effects applications such as Houdini and FumeFX. Newly equipped with distributed rendering, users also can add or remove distributed rendering nodes on the fly. An updated Light Cache algorithm removes light leaks and improves animation. With respect to geometry-ray 3.2 for 3ds Max includes new preview types for proxy objects, with mesh simplification for optimized proxy display; faster rendering of hair and fur; and Intel Embree support for 3ds Max Hair and Fur and V-Ray Fur. With support for 3ds Max 2016 comes full support for the new “physical camera” and its exposure control feature, as well as a new V-Ray lens analysis utility that adds support for the 3ds Max Physical Camera.

Dave Sampson upped to AJA’s director of global sales

Dave Sampson has been promoted to director of global sales at AJA. Sampson has been with AJA for almost five years. In his new role as director of global sales, Sampson will oversee all global sales functions across the company.

He started at AJA as OEM sales manager in 2011, and most recently served with the company as senior partnership manager. Under his direction, AJA’s developer partner business has grown by 950 percent in just four years. He has also designed and implemented successful new sales processes and procedures to achieve ambitious company-wide sales goals.

Sampson has over 20 years of sales experience in pro digital content creation software and hardware catering to both corporate and enterprise level customers. Sampson joined AJA from Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment division where he spent over 15 years in various sales management positions.

“When we hired Dave, we knew we were getting someone with incredible industry experience and depth, but he has continued to exceed expectations year over year with the skills that he’s brought. His efforts have resulted in immense and continued growth in our developer partner business, “ says Nick Rashby, president, AJA Video Systems.

Walking the floor of NAB: The day my brain melted

By Adrian Winter

The floor show of NAB opened today, and I as well as other members of the Nice Shoes team were there at the bright and early to see what the exhibitors had to offer.

The first stop on the show floor was at the FilmLight booth where I got a demo of the Baselight for Nuke plug-in. One of the strengths of having integrated color and post inhouse at Nice Shoes is the ability to go back into the color suite once a spot is conformed and comped for a final grading pass. Continue reading

Autodesk upgrades Flame, Maya and Max to 2016 versions

Autodesk has released updated versions of its Maya and 3ds Max 3D animation software tools. Maya 2016 includes improved animation performance with a parallel evaluation system that takes advantage of the CPU and GPU to increase the speed of both playback and character rig manipulation. The look and feel of the tool has been updated, and Maya 2016 includes new capabilities in the Bifrost procedural effects platform that enable realistic liquid simulations. Continue reading

Tatjana Dzambazova helps us dig deeper into Autodesk Memento

Not long ago, Autodesk made Memento available globally as a free public beta. Memento is an end-to-end solution for converting reality capture input (such as photos or scans) into 3D high-quality models. According to the company, this 3D mesh can be cleaned up, fixed, compared over time and optimized for further digital use, physical fabrication methods like 3D printing and 3D interactive experiences on the Web.

To find out more we reached out to Autodesk’s production manager of reality capture and digital fabrication, Tatjana Dzambazova.

Who do you see getting the most use out of Memento?
Digital artists can make high-quality assets for films and games that are true replicas of the real Continue reading

Behind the Title: Artjail CD/owner Steve Mottershead

NAME: Steve Mottershead (@stevemotts)

COMPANY: New York City’s Artjail @Artjail

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We do visual effects for commercials, films and video art. Recently, we have done production as well.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Creative Director/Owner

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As creative director I am the creative leader of our studio. Big picture it involves thinking of initial ideas, technical and creative solutions, or just executing creative Continue reading

Tweak Software bought by Autodesk

Autodesk has purchased Tweak Software, the developer of RV, an image and sequence playback tool. Tweak be joining forces with Shotgun Software, also a recent Autodesk purchase. Effective immediately, the Tweak and Shotgun teams will be working together to advance review and collaboration technology.

The entire Tweak staff is joining Autodesk, continuing to work as a unit in the Shotgun team under the leadership of Tweak’s Jim Hourihan, Seth Rosenthal and Alan Trombla, in close partnership with Shotgun’s Don Parker.

This collaboration between Shotgun and Tweak is not new. Shotgun and Tweak had partnered in the past to integrate their technologies, and since many customers were using Tweak’s RV and Shotgun in tandem to manage their pipeline and reviews there were many synergies. Tweak also shared space in Shotgun’s booth at several past SIGGRAPH conferences.

In addition for looking for new avenues to further integration between RV, Shotgun and Autodesk, Tweak will continue to develop, support and sell RV as an open and pipeline agnostic tool.

Check out this link for the official FAQ.

My Top 5 favorite keyboard shortcuts for Smoke

This Modern VideoFilm online editor shares some hot-key tips that make the job a bit easier.

By Barry Goch

I’ve been using Autodesk Smoke on Linux and Mac for many years… on features like Stretch and Tell to high-profile TV shows like Madam Secretary. In my experience, and when training new users to Smoke, I’ve found that using “hot-keys” or keyboard short-cuts really improves your speed on the system.

Every time you can reduce a multi-step process to a simple keyboard combination, you get your work done faster. Also, since your hands are on the keyboard, you save time mousing Continue reading

Chaos’ Service Pack 1 for V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max offers 100 improvements

Chaos Group’s new Service Pack 1 for V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max offers almost 100 new features, including faster render speeds, a new Microfacet GTR/GGX BRDF and advancements in V-Ray RT GPU.  Service Pack 1 is a free update for all V-Ray 3.0 customers and is available now for download.

Chaos’ V-Ray RT GPU now supports rendering hair and subsurface scattering, allowing for more advanced character work. Improved refresh speeds help with greater interactivity for look development and faster iterations. Light Cache support now makes it possible to render architectural interiors using the GPU.

V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Service Pack 1 adds support for Microfacet GTR/GGX BRDF, for hard surfaces such as metal. In addition, many shaders have been refined for faster rendering and added functionality. There are now Clip opacity and Stochastic opacity material options for faster rendering of opacity-mapped trees and vegetation, improved translucency of two-sided materials, and optimized volume rendering with Light Cache support.
Other new features in Service Pack 1 include:

Geometry
• Updated to Embree 2.3; Embree can now accelerate VRayProxy objects, instances and Ornatrix/HairFarm hair
• New VRayInstancer geometric plugin for instancing objects using ParticleFlow systems
• Improved cutaway and section rendering with VRayClipper
• Automatic instancing of identical proxy objects
• Added support for subdivision objects in Alembic files through OpenSubdiv
• Added support for point cloud rendering in 3ds Max 2015
• New VRMesh/Alembic viewer for proxy objects

Lighting
• New disc-shaped area light
• Faster sampling of rectangular area lights
• Ability to control diffuse and specular lighting contributions separately

Render Elements and Compositing
• Support for OpenEXR 2.2 with new DWA compression options
• Render out light contributions into separate components (raw, diffuse, specular, etc.)
• New controls for object visibility in VRayVelocity render elements

V-Ray Frame Buffer
• New dockable history and color correction tools in V-Ray Frame Buffer
• New Reinhard highlight burn color correction
• Save multi-channel OpenEXR and .vrimg files directly from VFB
• Ability to load background image into VFB
• New option for loading files into VFB for post processing
• Improved anaglyph stereoscopic preview

 

Review: Autodesk’s Smoke 2015

By Chris Hengeveld

The newly released Smoke 2015, which had been a long time coming, has been shipping since May of this year. The current release includes Service Pack 1, which adds some engineering updates. As Autodesk often releases updates around NAB and IBC, look for some software improvements to be released mid-September.

Many changes have been made to the application itself, the supported hardware platform and the purchasing model. The application now has many of the new features that had been added to Autodesk Flame during the interim. A new pricing model is being offered to add flexibility for customers needs. Smoke 2015 is not a radical departure from the 2013 release, but it does build upon the previous version in hardware compatibility, software stability and feature set. Software capabilities continued to be developed along with Autodesk Flame until it was released this year.

Continue reading

Autodesk to acquire Shotgun Software

Autodesk has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Shotgun Software, a developer of scalable, cloud-based production tracking, review and asset management software for the film, television and games industries. This transaction is expected to close during Autodesk’s fiscal quarter ending July 31, 2014, and have no impact on Autodesk’s guidance issued on May 15, 2014. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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Shotgun’s Don Parker.

Shotgun’s tools for production management are tightly integrated with many tools in the industry, including Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya software. “Shotgun and Autodesk share a vision of an industry-wide, cloud-based production management system,” said Don Parker, Shotgun co-founder and chief executive officer. “Autodesk’s broad global network and development resources will speed up the pace of innovation and development of our global platform. Together, we will extend our tools deeper into the production process, and develop new solutions that best support the studios of the future.”

Since the launch of the Shotgun solution in 2006, it has become widely-adopted across the industry, providing business tools for managers and visual collaboration tools for artists and supervisors who are often working globally with distributed teams. More than 500 customers, including a number of leading studios, are using Shotgun’s customizable system and contribute to the ongoing development of its growing ecosystem of applications.

The existing Shotgun team will continue to support current and new customers, and lead future product development.

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Autodesk’s Chris Bradshaw.

“The acquisition of Shotgun will accelerate Autodesk’s efforts to deliver solutions that help our creative customers solve the critical problem of operating more efficiently by collaborating globally to deliver increasingly complex productions on time and budget,” said Chris Bradshaw, senior VP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “Shotgun brings deep expertise and industry-leading technology in cloud products and production management, so we welcome the team, customers and community to Autodesk.”

 

 

Tool Chat: Autodesk’s Heather McDiarmid

By Randi Altman

If you had five minutes in a room with the makers of your favorite post production tool, what would you ask? That is the basis of our new semi-regular offering here at postPerspective. We throw a variety of questions — some our own and others submitted by pros out there in the community — at product manufacturers. This time we checked in with Autodesk’s product marketing manager, creative finishing, Heather McDiarmid.

While Autodesk is a public company and therefore cannot share specific information about upcoming products, we had to keep our questions about trends and how they as a company go about delivering products users in the real world need and want.

4K was all over NAB this year, along with rumblings of HDR. How is Autodesk adapting Continue reading

NAB: Autodesk debuts Flame and Smoke 2015

Las Vegas —At NAB 2014, Autodesk debuted Flame 2015 – the latest iteration of its visual effects and creative finishing system, which offers new creative tools, faster performance, and an end-to-end 4K workflow. Autodesk also unveiled the latest version of its video editing software Smoke 2015, but more on that later. First Flame…

Flame 2015 allows artists to work interactively in 4K resolution and offers industry standard 4K formats: 4K/UHD color management supporting ACES and Rec-2020 color spaces; realtime monitoring and playback via SDI of 4K/UHD material at 50p and 60p; timeline effects and batch nodes performance optimization and 4K capable substance textures; and 16Gb Fiber Channel controllers in high-performance storage for realtime throughput of high-resolution images.

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2015 last version of Autodesk’s Softimage

By Randi Altman

Montreal — During a virtual press conference this week, Autodesk’s Maurice Patel announced that the upcoming Softimage 2015 will be the last release of Softimage.

“The industry is going through challenging times ,and Autodesk realizes we need to focus our efforts on fewer products,” he said, adding they will focus on 3ds Max and Maya, the company’s other 3D animation software offerings.

The company will offer support and service packs for Softimage for next for two years, but the product will not receive new feature development.

Existing users with a subscription can move to Max or Maya with no transitional cost. “This way users can ramp up Max and Maya and train while still using Softimage. They can either continue Max and Maya or discontinue their subscriptions.”

Customers who want to continue to use Softimage don’t have to take advantage of transitions, but moving to Max and Maya will give most benefit because those products will continue to evolve,” says Patel.

The Softimage development team will remain and work on new product development.

Autodesk emphasizes they are not putting Softimage features into other products, but instead finding ways to make the transitions to other products easier. “We are not trying to recreate Softimage in Maya and Max,” concludes Patel.

 

Chaos Group ships V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max

Sofia, Bulgaria — Chaos Group’s new V-Ray 3.0 for Autodesk’s 3ds Max is now shipping. And thanks to optimizations to the raytracing core, Brute Force GI, Progressive Path Tracing, Reflections, Refractions and more are running up to five times faster; while the new Progressive Production Renderer brings fast set-ups and quick iterations.

“When your customers come from a variety of industries like architecture, product design, games, and VFX, the feature requests can be fairly diverse,” said Vlado Koylazov, lead developer and Chaos Group co-founder. “But speed and simplicity benefit all artists, so they are at the core of 3.0’s development.”

V-Ray 3.0’s new interface is designed with experienced users in mind. Three UI modes (Basic, Advanced, and Expert) can be selected to match an artist’s preference. The new V-Ray toolbar includes Quick Settings with dropdowns for production-ready presets for common uses like Archviz Exterior, Archviz Interior, and VFX. Settings for Quality and Shading Rate can be fine-tuned with easy-to-use sliders, making the entire process highly intuitive.

VFX artists will find that V-Ray 3.0 (www.V-Ray.com) offers improved Subsurface Scattering (SSS) including options for object-based and ray traced illumination, faster hair rendering speeds (up to 15x), view-dependent tessellation that automatically smoothes hair curves, and a dedicated Skin Shader with layered reflections. Now with UDIM and UVTILE support, it’s even easier to move Mari and Autodesk Mudbox assets into V-Ray.

“Our game cinematics are usually packed with epic action scenes, huge environments, multiple characters with hair and SSS, fire, explosions, debris, all with 3D motion blur and render passes. That’s a lot to work with, but V-Ray makes it easy to get the job done,” said Kevin Margo, VFX supervisor at Blur Studios, one of the software’s beta testers.

As an industry standard for large environments and complex scenes, V-Ray’s recent use on ILM’s Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim and The Lone Ranger has proven why it’s become such a dependable part of the pipeline for the digital environments and matte painting team.

“When we started The Lone Ranger, we changed some of the toolsets under the hood: we went strictly over to 3ds Max, using V-Ray as our renderer. That was the final piece of the puzzle. We were getting not only great render results, but great render throughput: it could handle everything we were throwing at it,” said Dan Wheaton, digital matte supervisor at ILM.

V-Ray 3.0 offers a number of additional workflow shortcuts, technical advances and support for open sources technologies:
• Render Mask – Users can define render regions using an object selection or image mask
•Reflection/ Refraction Trace Sets – Provides more direct control in choosing whether reflections and refractions are visible in objects
•Max Ray Intensity – Will easily fix artifacts from over-bright sources
•Probabilistic Lights – Increases the speed of scenes with a high number of lights
•V-Ray RT GPU – Improved with support for Render Elements
•V-Ray Frame Buffer – Improved with added color correction controls
•Open Source Technologies include: Alembic integration with support for hair and particles; Deep Data output support including OpenEXR 2.0; Ptex object-space vector displacement support; Open Shading Language (OSL) support for programmable shaders; and OpenColorIO support for advanced color management.

V-Ray 2.0 upgrades start at $420 and the full Workstation license price will be $1,050. As upgrade bundle prices vary, customers should contact their local reseller, or to Chaos Group directly.

Image Caption: Ciro Sannino created this image using the V-Ray 3.0 Beta and Progressive Rendering.

Autodesk adds MEL scripting support to Maya LT

MONTREAL — Autodesk has released Maya LT 2014 Extension 2, which was designed with customer feedback and usability in mind. The update advances the workflows of indie game developers with support for Maya Embedded Language (MEL) scripting, new OBJ export options and improvements to HumanIK and IK Handle technology.

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Maya LT Extension 2 key features include:
– MEL Scripting to simplify repetitive or complex tasks and seamlessly facilitate sharing with team members: A built-in script editor removes the need to manually write scripts and displays corresponding commands in MEL script. Scripts can be saved and turned into customized parts of the Maya LT UI through Shelf Buttons, Hotkeys or Marking Menus.

– Human IK and IK Handle Animation: A new IK handle, a Pole Vector constraint, Human IK Mirroring and an animation re-targeting tool accelerate the animation, rigging and transfer of information between characters.
– New Export Options: Export Maya LT 3D assets in an OBJ file format to expand compatibility with other industry standard tools and game engines.

Maya LT user Paul Kind used the software for the first time while creating assets for Revolution Ace – his upcoming multiplayer shooter for PC and iOS. Impressed by the intuitive nature of the software from creation through to export, Kind shared, “Maya LT offers a great deal to indie game developers at a comfortable price. It’s perfect as a strict game tool-set and meets the needs of developers in an easy-to-learn and easy-to-use way. The interface is streamlined, the software is stable, and building assets is simple and efficient. Maya LT made my job a lot easier on this project, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again.”

Maya LT Extension 2 is available now as a free download to clients on subscription or pay-as-you go plans. To download a free trial of the software visit: http://www.autodesk.com/mayalt and http://area.autodesk.com/mayalt.

Remembering Autodesk’s Stig Gruman

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By Randi Altman

Autodesk VP Stig Gruman died this past Saturday. He was 51 years old. To say losing him is shocking would be a profound understatement. He leaves behind a wife and two sons.

I have known Stig for years, meeting at different events and trade shows in various cities around the world.

This goes back many years, but one of the first conversations I ever had with Stig — that didn’t involve the industry or technology — was about the challenges of business trips and finding the right souvenirs to bring home for the kids. Stig, who did way more traveling than me, hatched a plan, and it was genius.

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Be a part of Autodesk’s Best of the Best 2014 show reel

MONTREAL — Autodesk is now accepting submissions for its Best of the Best 2014 show reel, which will premiere at the NAB Convention from April 7-10, 2014 in Las Vegas.

Highlighting the year’s top talent and most innovative work created using Autodesk tools, the reel will be featured on AREA, the Autodesk website, the Autodesk YouTube Channel and at various industry events throughout the year.

Recent creative projects eligible for submission include animations, films, broadcast, cinematics, commercials, episodic work and/or music videos that were created with 3ds Max, Maya, MotionBuilder, Softimage, Smoke, Flame, Lustre or the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite.

For more information visit http://area.autodesk.com/submitcontent/2013/bestofthebest.

Vico Sharabani wins first Flame Award

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Congrats to Artery VFX’s Vico Sharabani, Executive Creative Director/Flame Artist, for winning Autodesk’s first Flame Award. It was presented during IBC 2013 in Amsterdam.

The nominees were votes on by the community on Autodesk’s AREA website, and the final selection was made by an advisory board.

There were four criteria: creativity and artistry; deep technical knowledge; contribution to the community; and recognized leader. Continue reading