e-on software has released Vue 2021.2 and PlantFactory 2012.2, the latest version of its digital nature tools.
Both applications get a new connector for Omniverse, Nvidia’s virtual collaboration platform, initial support for Redshift and RenderMan materials, and a clearcoat channel in PBR materials.
Plant creation software PlantFactory gets an experimental integration plugin for Unreal Engine.
Both applications: new Live Sync connector for Omniverse
Both applications get a native Live Sync connector for Omniverse, Nvidia’s new virtual collaboration platform.
Users can create a scene in Vue or a 3D plant in PlantFactory, export it in USD format, then sync any subsequent changes to the Omniverse stage in “near real time”.
In Vue, the process is unidirectional, and supports geometry, bitmap-based materials, lights, EcoSystems, and to some extent, animation. You can find a full breakdown of the features supported here.
In PlantFactory, an additional Omniverse extension makes the process bidirectional, making it possible to send edited USD assets back to PlantFactory, recreating all of the parameters and presets.
The connector was one of over 10 new Omniverse integrations that Nvidia announced at GTC last month.
Both applications: native support for Redshift and RenderMan materials
In addition, both Vue and PlantFactory get initial support for materials in the native formats of two key production renderers: Maxon’s Redshift and Pixar’s RenderMan.
Experimental integration plugins convert the materials in a Vue scene or a PlantFactory plant automatically.
In the 2021.2 releases, Redshift material conversion is available in Cinema 4D and Maya, but not 3ds Max: e-on says that it plans to add support for other applications in future updates.
RenderMan material conversion is available in Maya – the only host software that the applications have in common – and initially supports “basic material properties” like albedo, alpha and normal maps.
Both applications: new clearcoat channel in PBR materials
In addition, the PBR material system in both applications gets a new clearcoat channel, intended for mimicking the look of wet or glossy surfaces.
It supports intensity, roughness, tint and index of refraction controls, an optional normal map, and a flatten parameter for blending between the clearcoat normal and the regular material and mesh normals.
Substance materials with clearcoat properties are also set up automatically in the material graph on import.
Both applications: improved node graph workflow, render denoising and scene loading
Both Vue and PlantFactory also get UX updates to their node graphs intended to make it easier to navigate and edit large graphs. You can find a full list of changes via the links at the foot of this story.
AMD’s denoiser has been added to the path tracer render engine, accelerating denoising on AMD GPUs. Nvidia’s GPU-based OptiX denoiser and Intel’s CPU-based Open Image Denoise were already integrated.
Performance improvements include “up to 5x faster” scene loading times, with Vue also seeing improvements in render speed, particuarly for large heightfield terrains, atmospheres and clouds.
PlantFactory 2021.2: experimental new Unreal Engine
In addition, PlantFactory gets a new Unreal Engine integration plugin, making it possible to import plants in native .tpf format into the game engine, and edit their growth parameters.
Plants can then be convered to Unreal actors, with materials conversion handled automatically by the plugin.
The initial release is described as a “technology preview”, and is compatible with Unreal Engine 4.24-4.27, but not Unreal Engine 5, currently available in early access.
Pricing and availability
The latest versions of Vue and PlantFactory are available for 64-bit Windows 8+ and macOS 10.14+ as rental-only product bundles. You can see a comparison chart here.
The new Omniverse connectivity is only available on Windows 10+ and requires a Nvidia RTX GPU.
A Professional subscription costs $75/month or $750/year, while an Enterprise plan costs $99/month or $990/year for node-locked software licences; $1,490/year for floating licences.
Both include Vue plugins for Maya 2018+, 3ds Max 2018+, Cinema 4D R18+, and LightWave 11.6+.
Redshift material conversion requires Redshift 3.0.60+ and either Maya 2020+ or Cinema 4D R23+. RenderMan material conversion requires RenderMan 24+ and Maya 2020+.
A Creator subscription, which includes the software’s core tools, but lacks any export options or Python scripting, costs $19.95/month or $199/year.
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