Author Archive

Render Monster

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Render Monster is the tool for capturing image sequences directly from Unity, for further merging them into video file.

Tool is FPS(frame per second) independent and can capture images at any rate.
Images are saved in lossless PNG format up to 32K (and more, depends on hardware) resolution.

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UE4 Animation and Physics Technical Showcase | GDC 2017

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In this GDC 2017 session, members of the Unreal Engine 4 development team demonstrate several exciting upcoming animation and physics features for the engine. These include new workflows for previewing and editing animation, new tools for creating physics simulations with improved quality and performance, and other ways to improve the quality of digital characters. Our goal is to allow teams of all sizes to easily make cutting-edge, engaging experiences!

As part of this showcase, 3Lateral presents Gene Splicer, its novel approach to parametric modeling of avatars embedded in Unreal Engine, which is both a production and runtime solution for democratizing high-end character rigs. Gene Splicer evaluates the appropriate rig for the animated avatar created by user, and this all happens in milliseconds. This solution is based on a database of scanned people, and through this database approach we’re generating truly unique characters with appropriate facial gestures for their anatomy, while keeping the ability to use the same animation across the created population. This technology is not just high-quality, but is also highly optimized for both high-end cinematics and VR applications.

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The power of CAD architectural design with intuitive “stretch and pull” control handles directly on the models, all driven by powerful geometric and procedural nodes. Archimatix is several evolutionary concepts to swallow at once, but the smartly arranged workspace (2D-3D shapes on the left, manipulators and repeaters on the right) and infectiously ebullient training materials make the new concepts seem like the dawn of a grand adventure.

Immediately you can make geometric tunnels, platforms, and mazes just by extruding 2D shapes and compositing overlaying 2D patterns. In a few hours you’ll work out how to create dynamic rails, bridges, columns, and walls intuitively, just by exploring the node interface. When you do consult the manual, it exudes so much personality and humor it feels like a little reward – a user-friendly design feat in itself.

If Archimatix stopped there it would be an interesting plugin for Unity, but it goes to another level where you can give the models random and deterministic procedural design formulas. Walls fill in with windows, arches span between columns, corners follow special rules, skyscrapers grow to different heights…. Group nodes and expose certain parameters as control handles, then save them to the 3D library to re-use as dynamic “intelligent” models. It’s a game changer.

You’re not limited to architecture of course. How about a control panel that fills in with knobs/buttons? A table that adds more plates and chairs. A bookshelf that adds books… It’s not hyperbole to say the possibilities are endless!

PARAMETRIC MODELING – Create 3D models from 2D shapes using extrude, lathe, path sweep, etc. Combine and merge 2D composite shapes, and manipulate the resulting 3D meshes directly in Unity’s scene view by dragging outlines and control points.

PROCEDURAL NODES – Individual node settings provide granular control over smoothness, bevels, offset, and thickness. UV materials and collider types are handled automatically, and can be tweaked. Archimatix even creates secondary UV maps for light baking!

2D / 3D REPEATERS – Grid repeaters, line repeaters, radial repeaters… turn a column into a hall, a step into stairs, a post into a fence, a panel into a room, a wall into a multi-story building, a house into a village…. Add Unity prefabs to Archimatix repeaters to iterate particle systems, lights, 3rd-party meshes, even NPC’s inside your Archimatix models.

NODE LIBRARY – Save and re-use entire procedural node groups by editing and swapping nodes from the libraries. Make drastic changes to a floorplan while preserving style details like walls and rails, or instantly propagate a change throughout repeated architecture non-destructively. Buildings, props, entire game levels can evolve organically from pre-viz volume placeholders to final design, remaining editable and dynamic the whole time.

“INTELLIGENT” MODELS – Assign formulas and spatial relationships between various parts of the model. Add random jitter, scale, and rotation to arrays, or create flexible rules for repeaters. Dynamic models can be stamped into prefabs, creating an entire “city” of buildings or a variety of props that follow the same design rules. A building can have a ground floor and roof with any number of repeated floors in between, including connecting staircases.

• An API is promised that will allow dynamic models to be manipulated at runtime (Archimatix will become not just an advanced modeler but a revolutionary in-game mechanic!).
• no Deformers or 3D Boolean nodes yet. You’ll need other tools to accomplish these tasks.
• no OBJ Export… Trivial to use a free exporter for Unity, but you will wonder why Archimatix is “just” a Unity plugin. Seriously, I would have paid the same price (or more) for stand-alone software! With a few tweaks Unity is a plugin for Archimatix!
• no SVG/vector/font Import. For now we have to use the Freeform 2D shape tool or “turtle” script. Nodes for importing 2D data shouldn’t be difficult. Expect them in updates.
• The 3D Library jumps from a few basic primitives to full blown Italian villas, LOL! It leaves a pregnant gap of potential add-ons, in all genres and styles. An AX file exchange and 3rd-party artist support could make AX into a design platform, not just a modeler.

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Unity Post Processing Stack

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The new Unity post-processing stack is an über effect that combines a complete set of image effects into a single post-process pipeline. This has a few advantages :

– Effects are always configured in the correct order.
– It allows combination of many effects into a single pass.
– It features an asset-based configuration system for easy preset management.
– All effects are grouped together in the UI for a better user experience

It comes with the following effects :
– Antialiasing (FXAA, Temporal AA)
– Ambient Occlusion
– Screen Space Reflections
– Fog
– Depth of Field
– Motion Blur
– Eye Adaptation
– Bloom
– Color Grading
– User Lut
– Chromatic Aberration
– Grain
– Vignette
– Dithering

The stack also includes a collection of monitors and debug views to help you set up your effects correctly and debug problems in the output.

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Cinequest Film & VR Festival 2017

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Cinequest Film & VR Festival (CQFF) in San Jose / Silicon Valley: Set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences.

February 28 – March 12

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Unity Keynote: GDC 2017

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GDC 2017 San Francisco, Unity Technology bigwigs CEO John Riccitiello, CTO Joachim Ante, Technical Director Lucas Meijer, Founder David Helgason, present the Unity Keynote presentation. Topics include Unity5.6 beta with demonstrations of the progressive lightmapper, Vulcan and Metal, a built-in 4K video player, and a new component-based system for NavMesh creation.

Unity 5.6 will be released March 31st.

After 1:10:00, the topic changes to what is coming under Unity 2017 including a scriptable render loop for customized GPU pipelines, C# multi-threading, deploying updates directly onto (unspecified) device platforms, a new focus on Artists & Designer tools, Visual Scripting, “intelligent” artist workflows based on platform optimization presets and platform-aware assets, Timeline and Cinemachine, and VR storytelling.

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