Archive For The “News and Technology” Category
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.
CURRENT LIMITATIONS but FUTURE POTENTIAL –
• 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.
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
Morph3D has announced Artist Tools to create clothing, hair, and props for their figure system. The tools are free to use until June 2017, when a TBA subscription fee kicks in. A number of licensing restrictions also apply, including a share of any in-app purchases where the tools would be used to create add-on game content.
Read full user agreement here
The Morph Character System (MCS) has already impressed the game, application, and VR world by rolling out the ability to create realistic custom avatars. That means game designers can build or even let their players build their own unique, high quality characters. It is this very flexibility that has platforms like High Fidelity and VR Chat jumping on board.
At the heart of that value proposition this is the ability to have add-on content that will change and fit to any character type or shape.
Now, with the launch of Morph 3D’s Artist Tools game designers can take characters even further by designing their own content to be used with MCS. This allows an artist to make content that will change dynamically and work for a huge variety of characters and applications. Additionally, it means that artists will be able to work with Morph 3D to sell their work to the growing number of app and game developers also using MCS.
Occipital, maker of the Structure Sensor 3D scanner for iPhone and iPads, has announced a headset designed to mount their infra-red depth scanner and an iPhone running their Bridge Engine software to combine realtime camera data and room-scale motion-tracking with virtual reality environments.
iPhones are generally viewed as lagging behind the VR trend, with no official VR support from Apple, slower hardware and relatively lower-density screens. However Bridge promises to leapfrog over the rest of mobile VR with it’s “6 Degrees-of-Freedom” positional tracking (mobile-based VR typically only provides rotational tracking), which allows the wearer to move freely around the room untethered to a more powerful desktop computer.
Bridge is expected in March of 2017, and comes with or without the Structure Sensor, in case you already own one.
TopoGun is a stand-alone resurfacing, and maps baking application. The resurfacing functions in TopoGun will help you modify and/or recreate the edgeflow of your digital 3D models. The maps baking functions, will help you bake various types of texture maps from your high resolution 3D models and then allow you to apply them to your newly created optimized meshes. These texture maps contain information that will help you recover the appearance and features of the original high resolution mesh.
TopoGun is a standalone application available for Windows, OS X, and Linux operating systems. TopoGun licenses are cross-platform and after buying one, TopoGun can be installed on any of these operating systems. Topogun is $100
Neoglyphic Entertainment Launches NeoFur for Unity: 20% Launch Sale for December 2016.
The award-winning NeoFur plugin to create dynamic, realistic fur and fuzzy surfaces for console, PC, cinematic, mobile and VR/AR now available to Unity developers. Previously available only on Unreal Engine 4 and in closed beta for Unity, NeoFur is an easy-to-use, in-editor tool that simplifies the creative process for developers. The tool allows authoring of high quality, fully dynamic fur (or short fibers) in real-time. NeoFur enables developers to tackle the creation of often challenging furry and fibrous characters, objects, and soft textures at an authenticity level that has never been achieved in a real-time engine.
Features available now in Unity and Unreal:
• Simple: Use an authored morph target or blendshape to control the “extents” of your shells—as simple as modeling the “shape” you want your fur to take.
• Traditional: Use authored Splines from traditional hair and fur authoring solutions to drive shell growth.
• Physics can be simulated via Compute Shader or a Software mode
• Physics parameters such as gravity, stiffness, etc. are controllable by the user
• Physics support for Engine—specific Wind and Radial forces
• Our shells can both receive and cast dynamic shadows
• Multiple methods for base coloring via Texture mapping, Root-to-tip color values, Gradient map sampling, and more.
• Rim lighting, Ambient Occlusion, Scattering, and advanced Specular controls.
• Ability to add random variance to per-strand scattering, per-strand tangents for specular breakup, etc.
Additional features available in NeoFur 2.0 for Unreal only:
• Motion blur applies accurately to our shell solution thanks to a custom solution that helps feed proper velocity values into each vertex.
• Deferred Anisotropic shading for hair and fur gives beautiful specular highlights, per – strand light scattering, color propagation and more.
• The tangents of our shell vertices are updated in real-time to feed into the anisotropic direction in the shader – meaning accurate directional highlights with no extra work.
• A procedural poisson-packing algorithm pre-calculates the position of every strand.
• Novel techniques allow driving Color, Density, Blending and Growth at a Per-strand level.
• No strands are partially colored
• Density controls actually remove individual strands and make a sparse density of strands
• Color blending at a per-strand level means we can avoid soft fades, and instead get strand colors that peppers and gradiate into each other properly.
• Our system allows for two layers of fur coats, with no extra geometry or fill rate
• Both the Undercoat and Overcoat (guard hairs) have individual controls for Scale, Coloring, scattering, roughness, density, and more. This allows for more accurate modeling of realistic animal features.
PERSONAL $19 (Unity or Unreal)
INDIE $99 (Unity or Unreal)
PRO $349 (Unreal)