I’ll elaborate on this topic some more later, but I thought I’d let you know that I’ve successfully deployed, configured and tested Prime Focus’ Deadline®, the render manager of choice for duber studio.
I just upgraded my VMware Workstation to the latest version, 7.
Apart from the obvious CPU number and memory limit upgrades, the most obvious and, frankly, coolest features are support for 3D graphics and DirectX. This means that not only can we test 3D applications inside virtual machines, play 3D games, but also get fully functional Aero experience (for those who like to heavily customize), which is really great. Also, in 7, we now get an official support for, you guessed it, Windows 7 (installing RTM as I’m writing this article)
It’s really a great update, especially considering the accelerated 3D features. If you already own VMware 5.x or 6.x, the upgrade is $99 USD, for new users to VMWare, the full retail price is $189 USD, which is still pretty good, if you really need a virtualized environment.
As I’d mentioned, this year is a year of changes and expansion for me, so, naturally, I’m looking for ways of expanding my postproduction pipeline, namely, compositing. I’ve been using Eyeon’s Fusion for a few years now and I find it very powerful, fast and realiable. However, I’ve been looking into other areas as well.
While I own a copy of After Effects CS4, I don’t find it that flexible and suited for my particular needs. I certainly want to go the “node-based” way. Don’t get me wrong, After Effects is a great package with a huge userbase which means tons of plugins and tutorials are available for it, but, as I said, I don’t want to go this, linear, route. So, I have a few options that are within my financial reach: Fusion, Nuke or Toxik. I certailny don’t want to invest in a brand new product on the market with dubious future, especially when owned by Autodesk, which potentially rules out Toxik, however, I’ll see how well it plays with 3ds Max and Maya (downloading the trial as I’m typing). I’ve been using Fusion for some years and I love it, so that certainly makes it a hot candidate. However, I’m always open to new possibilities, better, smareter or quicker workflows. Basically, anything that helps to improve my work in any way, ultimately in quality, will be on my highest priorities list.
Yeah, when somebody looks at my screens, they don’t understand what the fuck I’m doing or what it even is that I run for the software.
I love total control over my stuff, be it software I use or things I do, that’s why I tend to make use of the latest technology, techniques or paradigms. I hate and feel very uncomfortable when something isn’t the way I want it to be. That’s why I love customization, that’s why I love VMware, that’s why I love software products from Microsoft and couldn’t care less about Apple, I’m a totalitarian control freak! But I’m loving it! When computers do exactly what I tell them to do, when they do all the hard and repetitive work for me and save me tons of time to dedicate to actual creative tasks, that’s awesome! I don’t get people, namely artists, that constraint them selves to repetitive, boring and tiresome tasks just because they “think” they can’t script or are too lazy to open up ScriptSpot and dedicate a few seconds searching for a tool that’d help them out. I hate an argument “I’m an artist, not a programmer…” when I suggest a script or a little tool to help them out. I can’t stand when a guy thinks just because he attended a painting seminar that he’s the “one” that the entire project depends on, so he shouldn’t be bothered or disturbed while manually selecting a hundred boxes that should be moved a bit to the side, not realizing nor giving shit that he can filter them by size/color/whatever and spend about ten seconds writing a line of code, but instead, he’s such a great artist, he rather spends half an hour just picking up the objects in his, already extremely messy, scene. Good on you, bro…
SideFX Software has announced an immediate release of Houdini 10 a very, very promising release to say the least.
I personally don’t use Houdini in my pipeline as I don’t do much of VFX work (explosions, fire, smoke, fluids etc…), however, Houdini is such an amazing package it deserves a spot here! Definitely give Houdini a try, it’s a very complex and difficult to master package, but once you get your head wrapped around it, you won’t have a problem finding a very good spot at the most amazing companies in the world.
I’m downloading Houdini as I type…
A very interesting article on upgrades of various market leaders in the field of CGI has been put togehter with an even more interesting poll and charts.
See what’s cool and what totally sucks. But I’m afraid you won’t be surprised…
There are a few software packages I stumbled upon or have been using for ages which are, at least to me, of a much higher value that what they’re being sold for, which is always a great thing! Here are four I picked from a number of programs I use daily in my work or even for fun and personal enjoyment. It is rare in a high-end DCC world for an app to be worth more than its price tag. Don’t get me wrong, they all are worth their fee, however, at least with some I feel the app delivers more, in a better way or faster or what have you, than it’s supposed to or the developer markets. Here’s my pick for todays encomium:
I find myself constantly copying paths from one place and pasting them in another place. Be it texture source folders, render paths, script locations etc… The problem comes in a networked environment, which is a common thing nowdays, isn’t it I usually map a network drive to the most common remote locations and use one of the last letters to label the drive, like X: or W:. This is all fine and it saves a lot of trouble when constantly jumping from one folder to the other on the company’s intranet.
You know, it’s funny, but from time to time I bump into a person that is able to stubbornly argue for hours that using plug-ins in your software is a kind of cheating. I really don’t understand where these people are coming from and where they got this, stupid, idea?! My point of view is that if anything can save you precious time, then by all means, go for it, even if it means purchasing a 3rd party software (plug-in) for your animation package. It’s stupid and naive to think that your software can do anything and everything! Imagine where would, for example, MotionBuilder be if there was no FBX plug-in for your application! Imagine the wasted hours spent animating hundreds of bricks falling apart and colliding if it wasn’t for Havoc, or the countless hours wasted on rendering with Scanliner if it wasn’t for MentalRay. These are just a very, very, few examples of how plug-ins are actually extremely important!
Some time ago I was looking for a specific software that’d allow me to review, convert, manage and compare my footages, be it frame sequences or AVIs, MOVs etc… I was really getting sick of RAM Player available in Max. First of all, you had to have Max running in order to load up a few files in the sequence viewer and secondly it didn’t provide the necessary tools that I needed. So I jumped on Google and searched for some sequence players/viewers. After some time I stumbled across several options, which names I don’t recall, unfortunately, so I reviewed some of them and found them kind of lacking in features or difficult to operate or way too resource demanding (for a simple program that loads up sequences, 200MB isn’t really necessary). I wished there was a single piece of software that’d merge the best features of those I reviewed together in a simple, yet powerful, user interface.