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Software Review: Vue 9 Infinite From e-on Software

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Vue 9 is the latest update to the line of e-On software’s Vue solutions for natural 3D environments. There are several versions of Vue. Pioneer is the entry level version for newcomers to 3D graphics. Theme-Packs & 3D SuperHero feature content-filled easy-to-use for home and family use. Frontier is the next level for creating scenes with Poser import. Esprit is designed for artists and illustrators. 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 different solutions provide.

Vue 9 Infinite

Vue 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.

Vue has now become even more of a fixture in Hollywood and has been used to create scenes in such movies as Avatar, 2012, The Wolf Man, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as well as the Spiderwick Chronicles, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Terminator Salvation. It is also finding its way into advertising and the fine art industry. Because Vue 9 Infinite is a professional level 3D product you should check out the systems specs for what is needed to run this software.

So, what’s new with Vue 9 Infinite?

• EcoSystem 4 introduces significant improvements to this patented technology, and lifts some of the limitations inherent to previous versions. These include new flicker reduction algorithms that produce vastly reduced levels of flickering on most SolidGrowth EcoSystems at comparable rendering times. Improved ability to generate dynamic populations with reduced memory requirements and optimized rendering. And the ability to create EcoSystems with population densities that evolve smoothly over time where new instances will be added or removed seamlessly as the density varies.

• HyperBlob Technology now automatically converts HyperTextured MetaBlobs into polygon meshes at render time, retaining the full accuracy and detail of the HyperTexture. The HyperBlob technology lets you define a maximum level of subdivision of the resulting mesh, and will automatically handle all intermediate levels of detail in order to optimize rendering time and resources according to distance. This is ideal for the creation of extremely rich and detailed rock formations.

Vue 9 Infinite

• Rocky Mountains Fractal is a new type of fractal that produces terrain features relevant of the tertiary geologic period. Terrain features generated by this fractal are fully user adjustable. The fractal can also be used to drive material distributions and produce a wide variety of appearances.

• Terrain Retopology is a powerful new feature will automatically reorganize the underlying terrain mesh in order to optimize distribution of polygons over irregularly shaped terrains, such as cliffs. As a result, painting details on something like vertical cliffs is greatly facilitated.

• Improved Terrain Editor has added new terrain brushes that allows you to smear the terrain, sculpting and painting masks, an extended terrain canvas that lets you extend the size of a procedural terrain without modifying the aspect of the terrain, contextual brushes that are influenced by local slope, altitude and orientation, as well as custom terrain brushes that let you configure the behavior of the terrain brushes and build a library of your most frequently used brushes..

• Relighting will let you instantly adjust the lighting of your scene after the render completes, simply by changing the intensity and color of the different light sources in your scene – in real time. Turn lights on and off as easily as flipping a switch! You can even adjust the contribution of the sunlight in your scene

Vue 9 Infinite

• Inverse Kinematics has been added to Vue’s rigged mesh support. Pull an arm on one of your rigged characters and the fast and efficient IK solver automatically adjusts the position of the entire body to react to the tug. Inverse Kinematics makes posing of your characters in Vue even more precise and easy

• Custom Interfaces is now available through Vue’s powerful parameter publishing feature which has now been extended to allow the creation of top-level interfaces. You can create simplified high-level controls and access these controls directly from the material editor, the terrain editor or the object editors. Top-level parameters can be animated via the timeline, including published material parameters.

• New Interface Design has been streamlined for improved integration into existing pipelines. It also features a new infinite adaptive grid that displays in the Top View and the Main View. It shows at any level of zoom or camera altitude, and at any panning position.

• Auto Saving and Scene Snapshots now lets you revert to a prior state even when you forget to save. This is a new technology that won’t slow you down like standard auto-save techniques. It automatically creates a backup file as you work. These backup files are directly accessible through the application menu. Using this, you can instantly revert to a previous version of your scene to cancel undesired changes (beyond the Undo/Redo limit). With the new Snapshot option you can instantaneously create a backup of your scene just by clicking a button. Just like auto-saves, you can revert to any saved snapshot by selecting it from the application menu.

• Native Cocoa as Vue for the Macintosh platform has been completely rewritten from the ground up to reap maximum benefits of Apple’s latest Mac OS X operating systems. It will now run natively on the Mac in 64 bit. On top of the added benefit of accessing more memory, performance is also dramatically improved with an overall boost of up to 3 times faster over previous Carbon 32 versions.

• HDR Multi-Pass Rendering means that Vue 9 will generate all multi-pass renders in High Dynamic Range, including all object, cloud and layer masks, rendering components, shadows, reflections, atmospheric contributions, and more. Multi-pass renders can be exported as EXR 32 bit files with each pass stored in high dynamic range format.

Vue 9 Infinite

• Real-World Units are now available throughout the entire application: in the Material Editor, in the Terrain Editor, in the Function Editor. Set the scale of your fractals in units you understand; scale your terrains according to real-world measurements – Vue takes care of all the complex conversions!

• Catmull-Clark Subdivision gives you improved compatibility with other applications. You can manually set the level of subdivision for both real-time display and render time. This means you can ensure total compatibility with other applications such as 3ds Max, MudBox, ZBrush, and others.

• Improved Texture Management gives texture resizing that allows you to easily resize unnecessarily large texture maps, viewing textures lets you pops up a full resolution image just by double clicking on the texture map, and all texture maps of a project can easily be dumped to the folder of your choice, and automatically relinked from there.

• Other improvements include Support for multiple Poser import SDKs, editing fields that contain large numbers automatically expand to accommodate the number when editing, new math nodes in the Function Editor, HDTV render preset, the ability to freely move layers up and down in the World Browser, even when they are closed, and faster rendering up to 30% thanks to internal refactoring.

In this version I really like the change in the interface. Everything seems so much more accessible. The flicker reduction in the EcoSystem as well as the improved dynamics and the animated populations are welcome updates as well. I also like the ability to export to the HDRI EXP format file format as well.

The new HyperBlob technology gives you the ability to shave off any parts of the HyperTexture that is disconnected from the main object is really nice. Then with all of the other improvements to the Terrain Editor, Atmosphere, and lighting really make Vue 9 Infinite a must have upgrade or new purchase.

Vue 9 Infinite

One thing to keep in mind is that Vue 9 Infinite is really a professional product and as such needs a somewhat professional grade machine to run it reliably. This is especially important with the memory and video card so make sure your system can handle Infinite or xStream .

What I like about the Vue product line is that not only does it keep developing and growing, but it is really accessible to anyone at any level from the free Pioneer to the professional Infinite and xStream versions there is truly something for everyone.

As with the prior versions, Vue 9 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 9 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.

Vue is 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. Keep in mind that you do need a modern graphics card and memory, but with that I very highly recommend the Vue 9 product line, and especially Infinite.

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About T. Michael Testi

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