Thinkbox Software Launches Krakatoa MX 2.2 and Stoke MX 2.0 for Autodesk 3ds Max
July 24, 2013

Thinkbox Software Launches Krakatoa MX 2.2 and Stoke MX 2.0 for Autodesk 3ds Max

ANAHEIM, CA — Thinkbox Software is announcing the next version of its high-volume particle rendering, manipulation, and management solution, Krakatoa, and its particle reflow and field manipulation toolkit, Stoke.

"Our 3ds Max-specific software is developed with the precise needs and expectations of those artists in mind," says Chris Bond, founder, Thinkbox Software. "The new, powerful multi-region rendering feature of Deadline helps CG artists and designers manage massive, billboard-sized images that have historically been problematic to create and we're really excited to show it off at SIGGRAPH. VFX artists and technical directors have hotly anticipated EMBER since we first teased the technology so we've worked hard to include its robust field editing and manipulation capabilities within the Stoke MX 2.0 software package."

Krakatoa MX provides an efficient pipeline for particle acquisition, caching, modifying, deforming, shading and rendering. Now available as a no-cost upgrade to current customers, new features of Krakatoa MX 2.2 include:

Particle Repopulation Support - Create dense, low-resolution particle clouds, transfer particle data channels to new particles and preview work in the viewports. This feature also prohibits the clumping of artifacts from overlapping influence regions and is implemented as an option in the existing PRT Cloner modifier.

  • PRT 1.1 File Format I/O - Backwards compatible with PRT 1.0, the updated file format enables arbitrary global and per-channel metadata storage, transforms and scales particle data automatically and allows for simpler data transfer between software packages.
  • PRT Surfacing - Create millions of particles on one or more geometry surfaces, control the absolute count or specify a distance threshold and acquire relevant surface information with no measurable overhead.
  • Magma ActiveType - The latest version of the channel data and editing system lets users search for nodes within names categories and descriptions; create nodes from search results; create specific vector, color and scalar value inputs; use aliases to create operators, colors and vectors; and features optional voice control.

Two screenshots from the EMBER components of Stoke 2.0

Designed to simplify and accelerate the advection of particles using velocity fields from various sources, Stoke MX 2.0 adds the complete field editing and manipulation capabilities of the development project previously known as EMBER. Additional updates include:

  • Procedural Field Generation - Mathematical functions, 3ds Max texture maps, geometry, particle and volumetric data from various sources, including Sitni Sati's FumeFX simulations, are used to generate fields.
  • Field I/O - Users can load and save volumetric data files like OpenVDB and FumeFX, with support for arbitrary channels.
  • Modifier Stack Support - Supplying familiar workflows with volumetric data, additional dedicated EMBER field modifiers can be used to convert meshes to fields, convert fields to particles, convert fields to divergent-free simple fluids and control the field display in the viewports.
  • Asynchronous Processing - Background threads perform file loading, data conversion and processing allowing users to work interactively with complex data. This function can be cancelled at any time and progress is displayed in the viewports.
  • Time-Dependent Field Simulations - Advect vector and scalar fields using velocity fields or develop custom setups.

New Deadline 6.1 features benefiting 3ds Max users include support for distributed bucket rendering (DBR) in Chaos Group V-Ray and multi-region rendering in supported 3ds Max renderers. The multi-region rendering replaces the single frame tile rendering with a more advanced workflow by enabling users to define one or more arbitrary regions to render instead of only rendering a fixed grid of equally sized tiles. For V-Ray DBR, a new interface automatically updates to show which nodes are running the V-Ray Spawner and instructs V-Ray to use the available nodes.

Thinkbox is demonstrating Krakatoa MX 2.2 and Stoke MX 2.0 plug-ins for Autodesk 3ds Max, including new features in its Deadline 6.1 cross-platform render farm management solution, at SIGGRAPH 2013.

Images courtesy of Thinkbox Software, except where noted otherwise.