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Software Review: Vue 7.5 Infinite From e-On Software

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Vue 7.5 is the latest update to the line of e-On software’s Vue solutions for natural 3D environments. There are seven versions of Vue. Pioneer is the entry level version for newcomers to 3D graphics. Esprit is designed for artists and illustrators. Pro Studio is geared for the advanced artist, and Complete is for the small studio. Vue Infinite designed for the professional 3D animator and production studio. Vue xStream is the integrated solution that can work directly in other 3D applications such as Maya, 3ds, Lightwave, and Cinema 4D. To see all of the differences, you can check out the comparative matrix from e-On software.

Vue 7.5 InfiniteVue Infinite contains all of the features that the other product lines contain plus more. The only difference between Vue Infinite and Vue xStream is that Vue Infinite is meant to run as a standalone product and xStream is built to run in other products; other than that difference, the features are the same.

What do you need to run Vue 7.5 Infinite?

• Windows (2000 or greater), or Mac (OS X 10.4 or later)
• 2.0GHz or faster processor
• 1 GB RAM (2 GB or more recommended)
• OpenGL-enabled graphics card is not required but highly recommended
• 1024×768 in 65K colors/16 bits (24+ bits recommended)
• 200 MB free hard-disk space
• Multi-processor rendering is only available on multi-processor OS X, 2000, XP Pro and Vista systems

E-On software was founded in 1997 with the release of Vue d'Esprit 2. Embraced initially by artists and animators, it has now become a fixture in Hollywood and has been used to create scenes in such movies as Pirates of the Caribbean II, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Australia. It is also finding its way into advertising and the fine art industry.

So, what's new with Vue 7.5 Infinite?
• Material Mapping on Terrains now makes it possible to not only sculpt terrains in real-time, but now you can define how materials will be distributed at the surface of the terrain by painting them in. You can also load, view and modify terrain material maps as well as paint material maps manually.

• Planetary Rendering supports infinite procedural terrains that extend forever. You are able to move the camera as far as you like and the terrain continues to render as you continue to find new parts of it. In 7.5 you can now render entire planets. You can render flat terrains for close-ups, spherical terrains for mid-range shots, and planetary terrains for long-distance shots of entire planets. With the new spherical abstraction gizmos, it is very easy to move around and align elements on the surface of the planet. You can even import cloud maps to recreate real-world skyscapes over entire planets by using any map including daily maps from the Internet.

• Improved Cloud Technology adds a cloud shadowing option called cross-shadowing. This allows clouds to not only cast shadows, but also receive shadows from other cloud layers. This is much faster than Volumetric Light option and is ideal for rendering of airplane shadows on clouds. You also have the ability to generate a color and alpha mask of your cloud in the multi-pass renderer.

• Support for V-Ray in Max in the xStream version is now compatible with the Max Renderer V-Ray from the Chaos Group. This handles cross-shadowing, refractions, and global illumination.

Vue 7.5 Infinite• Improved OpenGL Display has enhanced the quality and responsiveness of the sky preview in the main OpenGL camera view. It uses a progressive refinement method to provide an increasingly detailed view of the sky and clouds. MetaClouds are now displayed as a series of shade particles to better represent the final aspects of the MetaClouds. The sun will cast realistic shadows in the OpenGL views giving you instant feedback on the shadows that the will be cast in the final render, and the plant previews are now dynamically adjusted to account for the complexity and number.

• Animated EcoSystem Populations now make it possible to create populations of elements that evolve over time giving you the ability to create effects like a forest that gradually covers a mountain over time.

• Enhanced Multi-Processor Usage has been enhanced throughout the system including multi-CPU panoramic rendering on Windows and Mac, and procedural terrain construction and EcoSystem population on Windows.

• Camera Mapping makes it easy to create camera mappings, render an image, and then project this image back through the camera onto a simplified variation of your scene giving you the ability to create animated matte paintings without the cost of rendering with full geometry.

As with the prior version, Vue 7.5 Infinite is nothing short of incredible! At first blush, one might look at this product and say that this is really only useful for animation and film production, but that would not be taking into account all of the other industries that could benefit from its use.

For example, if you are a builder, architect, landscape designer, or other professional that needs to emulate an environment, Vue 7.5 is the perfect application to model your design and/or prototype as a proof of concept design. If you are in advertising, what better way to provide backgrounds and other layout art without having to go on location or pay a high dollar firm to do equivalent work. The uses are endless.

With seven different version of Vue 7 ranging from $49.95 to $1495 USD there truly is a version for everyone and considering what this product can do, each are well worth the price.

Vue 7.5 InfiniteIf you want to see what some have done with Vue 7 Infinite you can check out the gallery that is located on the e-On software website. There is also a pretty active community forum available as well.

If you are still not sure, try out the free Pioneer version. You can get a Personal Learning Edition (PLE) of either Vue 7 Infinite or xStream that are full versions that never expire. The only restrictions are 1) that it is not to be used in commercial products, and 2) that the renders will contain a logo and a watermark for sizes over 800×600 and after 30 days. But if you want to learn the software, everything else works.

From a personal point of view, this is a fun product. Really, very easy to use, and if you are fearful of how hard it is to learn, just Google "Vue Tutorial" and you will find all sorts of cool things that you can do with it. There is also a new book that I have recently reviewed called Vue 7: From the Ground Up that walks you through the Vue system very nicely. I very highly recommend the Vue 7 product line, and especially Vue 7 Infinite.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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