We’re halfway through April 2021 and the news just keeps coming! Maxon and Nvidia were remarkably busy this past week, which was expected considering both companies just wrapped up their technology conferences. Let’s dive right in then, shall we?
This section covers news sourced from various trusted media and business outlets.
Maxon Announces Cinema 4D S24
Maxon unveiled details of an update to Cinema 4D while showcasing their new logo during its 3-day 3D and Motion Design Show. The S24 update (only available to subscription license holders) brings a new asset browser and physics-enabled placement tools for scene layout and set dressing. Perpetual License holders are expected to get an upgrade only later this year. Maxon has been moving towards a subscription-based model for its products and the early availability of newer features might be too compelling to ignore. Read more.
Maxon Ships Redshift for macOS with Native Support for Metal
In a welcome move, Maxon officially released Redshift for Mac – the macOS edition of its popular GPU rendering engine. With this release, Redshift has now ported from NVIDIA’s CUDA to Apple’s Metal to run well on Mac hardware. To run on Macs, Redshift requires macOS 11 Big Sur and an AMD Navi or Vega GPU. This release makes Redshift available across both M1 and Intel-powered Mac devices. Read more.
Epic Games’ MetaHuman Creator Now in Early Access
Epic Games created quite a flutter in the CG community when it announced MetaHuman Creator – a groundbreaking new cloud-based application that allows artists to build photorealistic, animation-ready digital humans. This week, Epic opened early access to MetaHuman on its product page to give artists a chance to use the application. The company also released 50 readymade MetaHuman characters for use in Unreal Engine projects. Sign up for early access here.
Chaos Announces Phoenix 4, Update 4 for 3ds Max and Maya
Chaos Phoenix is a popular artist-friendly dynamics simulator, or in other words, an excellent tool to cause virtual chaos. The latest update allows artists to cause great-looking and extremely customizable mayhem with active bodies collision, color absorption, massive wave forces, and many new features and improvements. All new features are available for Phoenix 4 for Maya and 3ds Max. Read more.
Autodesk Releases Flame 2022
Autodesk’s compositing, finishing, and effects software, Flame received its 2022 update this week. It adds a new machine-learning-based camera tracking system that should make life more convenient for artists. The update also extends Flame’s color grading toolset and adds support for the NDI protocol so it’s easier to carry out client reviews remotely. You can find a full list of changes here.
Toolchefs Ships Atoms VFX 4.0
Announcing a major update to its crowd animation system, Toolchefs detailed new features in Atoms VFX 4.0. The release includes a new Behavior Tree system that allows artists to set up more complex conditional behaviors for crowd characters. It also brings a new importer for animations from Adobe’s Mixamo library. You can find the full list of changes here.
Nvidia Reveals Omniverse Pricing
Nvidia unveiled details about its Omniverse Open Collaboration System for 3D production. It is currently in free public beta, but Nvidia has announced enterprise pricing for its service. Enterprise access to Omniverse will cost $1500/user/year plus either $25,000 or $250,000 for the central Nucleus server. That said, Nvidia reiterated that the Omniverse platform and ‘some base functionality’ will remain free for individual artists. You can find the full GTC 2021 keynote here.
Nvidia Announces Open Beta for Omniverse Machinima and Audio2Face
Among the many creator-focused announcements, Omniverse Machinima and Audio2Face roused general curiosity and excitement. Machinima focuses on delivering a suite of tools and extensions that allows users to render realistic graphics and animations using scenes/characters from games. Audio2Face, as its name indicates, automatically generates accurate facial animations using just an audio source. You can read more about Omniverse Machinima and Omniverse Audio2Face on Nvidia’s Blog.
Nvidia Demos RTXDI and RTXGI GPU Ray Tracing
Showcasing brand-new GPU ray tracing SDKs, Nvidia released demos of real-time direct illumination and indirect illumination at its GTC 2021 conference. Although Nvidia promised (at GTC 2020) artists the ability to render scenes with ‘millions’ of dynamic area lights in real-time without the need to bake lighting, the demo only featured ‘thousands’ of lights. Nonetheless, its real-time nature makes it an impressive feat. Read more about RTXDI and RTXGI on Nvidia’s blog.
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Alex & Jerry