We are happy to announce the immediate availability of VUE 2021.2. Head to the Software Center to get the update right now.
Not only does this release add new creation and integration features, but it is also the first step on an ongoing journey towards a major graph editing and nodal workflow overhaul.
Let's look at the main features:
- Graph workflow improvements & better performance
- Clearcoat channel in PBR materials
- Omniverse Live Sync
- Convert scenes and assets to Redshift objects
- Native material creation for Renderman
This release adds plugin compatibility for the following host application versions and render engines (bold items are new):
- 3D Studio Max 2018 to 2022
- Maya 2018 to 2022
- Cinema4D R18 to R25
- NVIDIA Omniverse
- Lightwave 11.6 to 2020
- V-Ray 5 and Arnold up to version 7
- Renderman 24 for Maya (2020 and up)
- Redshift 3.0.46 and up for Maya (2020 and up) and C4D (R23 and up)
We also updated the Trial version. Visit the trial page to get your evaluation copy.
Scene by Daniel Respaud
Node graph workflow & performance improvements
Nodes have received a small facelift in this release. They can now be freely resized to take advantage of large previews. Previews can be enabled or disabled through a right click on each node (by default, they are enabled).
A navigator minimap in the bottom right corner helps when navigating large graphs. When dragging a connection out from a node towards the edge of the graph window, the minimap and the graph will automatically start scrolling while the connection remains attached to the cursor. Also, connection lines are highlighted in bold when hovering over them.
Connections now snap automatically to inputs and outputs upon release and nodes themselves can snap to an optionally displayable background grid.
For better readability, overlapping nodes are now indicated by a red overlapping icon. Node parameters which are currently disabled, but still driven by another node, are displayed with a dashed connection line. Additionally, graph colors can be customized in the program options.
Published Parameters can now be edited in the top-level interface of metanodes and on the Published parameters tab. They can also be reordered after being published.
A new GUI scaling on HiDPI displays provides a much smoother and lag-free navigation and zoom experience.
New Math Nodes have been added:
- RGB Composer & Decomposer
- Vector 2 to Vector 3 & Vector 3 to Vector 2
- Arc Tangent of (X, Y)
- Hyperbolic Tangent, Sine & Cosine
- Area Hyperbolic Tangent, Sine & Cosine
Most math nodes now accept any type of input, be it a 2D Vector, a 3D vector, numbers or colors. Previously, most nodes were limited to just a specific data type.
Clearcoat channel in PBR materials
A new clearcoat material channel which is available within PBR materials makes designing wet or glossy surfaces easy.
Using intensity, roughness, tint, index of refraction, an optional normal map and a flatten parameter for blending between the clearcoat normal and the regular material and mesh normals offers an industry-standard compatible set of coating controls.
When loading Substance materials with clearcoat properties, their maps are setup correctly in the material graph.
Introducing Live Sync for NVIDIA Omniverse
We are happy to announce the first iteration of VUE's live sync compatibility with NVIDIA's Omniverse platform. Build a scene in VUE, export it to USD and then sync any changes in near real-time to your Omniverse stage using the Nucleus core. This includes, lights, bitmap-based materials, object and mesh modifications and even EcoSystems.
Discover the extensive list of supported features on our Omniverse page.
Redshift material creation
You can now use the VUE integration plugisn for Maya and Cinema 4D to convert entire VUE scenes with pre-made Redshift materials.
This feature requires at least Redshift 3.0.46 (or any higher version) with the new OCIO workflow.
In Maya or Cinema 4D, set the render engine to Redshift and then load the VUE scene with the integration plugin. Select all objects you would like to convert in the World Browser, right click on them and select the conversion option.
Alpha maps can either be linked to Redshift's opacity channel or they can be loaded into the Redshift sprite node for best rendering performance.
In this first technology preview, Redshift conversion is supported in Maya 2020 and up and Cinema 4D R23 and up. We plan to extend the support to more versions and other applications with upcoming releases.
Renderman materials in Maya
The VUE integration plugin now supports Renderman 24 in Maya 2020 and up. Set the render engine to Renderman, load the VUE scene with the integration plugin and then convert any object to a native mesh with Renderman PxrSurface materials.
This release supports basic material properties such as color / albedo, alpha and normal maps. PBR materials can also be converted. More material properties will be added in the future.
Further improvements & features
- Atmosphere rendering sped up by up to 10% and cloud rendering up to 20%
- New altitude graph input for clouds & new position modes for cloud materials
- Improved soft shadows on clouds
- The AMD denoiser was added to the path tracer
- The denoising strength for all denoisers can be adjusted in the path tracer render settings
- Improved performance when painting EcoSystems
- PBR materials can now be fully baked, exported and converted to native materials in VUE standalone and in the convert tool in the plugin
- Customizable OpenGL colors for different EcoSystem populations
- Better OpenGL lighting, including auto-exposure and ambient light
- Up to 5x faster scene loading for compressed scenes with large EcoSystems
- Reduced memory footprint for procedural terrains and faster render preparation
- Added support for animated PlantFactory conversion in Cinema 4D
- Improved rendering performance for heightfield terrain (up to 30% for 8k terrains)
- New Python functions and arguments for existing functions in the VUE Python API
- Displacement in the convert tools can now either be baked into the geometry or recreated as a native shader
- Spline stroke UV input node to apply material effects along the geometry of a spline while preserving aspect ratios
- Arnold procedurals / stand-ins / proxies now support animated EcoSystem items
- Highlights, reflection and backlight baking is now supported in the convert tool
For a detailed list of changes, check out the full release notes.
Enjoy the update and happy rendering from all of us here at e-on!