Issue: Volume 36 Issue 4: (May/June 2013)


Autodesk Creation Suite

Autodesk Debuts 2014 Entertainment Creation Suite

Autodesk has introduced the 2014 version of its Entertainment Creation Suite of 3D animation, visual effects, and creative tools: Maya, 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Softimage, and Sketchbook Designer. The products in the suite have been updated to improve workflow, enabling artists to collaborate, manage complexity, and move data through their pipeline more efficiently.The Suite ships in three configurations, with all of them containing MotionBuilder, Mudbox, and Sketchbook Designer (2014 versions). The Standard version offers a choice of Maya or 3ds Max, while the Premium edition also includes Softimage. The Ultimate Suite includes Maya and Max, as well as Softimage. Pricing starts at $5,775.

Maya 2014 includes an expanded, integrated modeling feature set; intuitive Grease Pencil; innovative Paint Effects features; and DX11Shader. 3ds Max 2014 has a new Populate feature; a more efficient Particle Flow tool set; and a performance-enhanced viewport that now supports Microsoft DirectX 11 shaders. Softimage 2014 sports a new Camera Sequencer tool set; improved CrowdFX and ICE features; and an improved High-Quality Viewport. Autodesk MotionBuilder 2014 offers Linux support as well as new motion-capture workflow options.

The Foundry Hammers Out MARI 2.0

The Foundry has launched MARI 2.0, a new version of its 3D digital paint tool that introduces a brand-new, artist-focused layer system. The new layer system makes MARI easier to use and will be a familiar working environment for users of Adobe Photoshop and other layer-based paint tools.

The streamlined Layer View introduces grouping, tagging, and filtering options, making highly complex stacks easy to navigate and control. Procedural Layers let artists easily create the look they want, seamlessly blending procedural and painted detail with the same tool kit. Plus, every layer has its own Mask Group, allowing artists to use blending, groups, adjustments, and procedurals in all their masks.

MARI 2.0 is available now for $1,995, including one year of maintenance.

Side Effects Houdini

Side Effects Presents Houdini 12.5

Side Effects Software's Houdini 12.5 contains new and enhanced features, including Cloud FX, Ocean FX, OpenVDB volume sculpting tools, and an optimized lighting and rendering pipeline with built-in support for delayed-load Alembic primitives.

The new Cloud FX tools offer an artist-friendly way of sculpting and rendering cloud formations, utilizing sparse volume sculpting tools created as part of the OpenVDB open-source initiative. Houdini 12.5 also includes an Ocean FX Wave tool, which deforms geometry into animated oceanscapes using volumes. The results can be visualized in the viewport and the geometry can be rendered as is or exported as an animated texture to use as a displacement map. A FLIP fluid simulation derived from an animated ocean surface can also be generated, while a unified Whitewater solver creates spray, foam, and churn based on the underlying FLIP fluid sim.

V12.5 contains improvements to the lighting and rendering pipeline, plus other new features.

Houdini 12.5 can be downloaded from for as low as $1,995, and Houdini FX, used for visual effects such as particles, Pyro FX, and fluids, is available starting at $4,495.

Luxology Modo

Luxology Unwraps Modo 701

Luxology has unveiled Modo 701, tuned to enhance modeling, sculpting, animation, effects, and rendering workflows, thanks to significant enhancements to the core functionality in this new version.

Modo 701 includes a procedural particle engine with an easy-to-use preset workflow and a dedicated dynamics simulation layer for improving performance. Schematic improvements have been made to reduce scene-graph complexity; improvements have also made it easier and faster to deal with large scenes and large-scene preview renders. And, materials and layered shaders are now simpler to work with. A Python interpreter makes Python execution much faster.

Modo 701 is priced at $1,495; upgrade pricing is available. Modo 701 works on the PC and Mac, and soon Linux.