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Thinkbox Debuts New Creative Tools at SIGGRAPH 2013

Thinkbox Software announces new plug-in offerings for Autodesk Maya at SIGGRAPH 2013, including the latest version of the company’s popular volumetric particle renderer, Krakatoa MY, XMesh MY for geometry caching, and Frost MY for point cloud meshing.

Honda CRV model consisting of 83 objects with a dozen individual materials exported as a single mesh from 3ds Max and loaded in Maya with all information including materials preserved

Creative technology developer Thinkbox Software announced new plug-in offerings for Autodesk Maya at SIGGRAPH 2013, including the latest version of the company’s popular volumetric particle renderer, Krakatoa MY, XMesh MY for geometry caching, and Frost MY for point cloud meshing. Currently in development, the solutions will be demonstrated in Thinkbox Software’s booth (#601) throughout SIGGRAPH, along with a host of other new products.

“Krakatoa MY received intense interest from the Maya community when it was released earlier this year and we’ve continued that momentum by adding key features like support for Mac OSX-based systems, which we’ll demo at SIGGRAPH this year. We will also preview a Maya compatible version of MagmaFlow, our node-based particle manipulation toolkit based on our new cross-platform node-view tool,” said Chris Bond, founder, Thinkbox Software. “With the introduction of XMesh MY and the upcoming release of Frost MY, our high-performance production tools are even more accessible to Maya users looking to create amazing visuals.”

Enabling greater flexibility and improved performance for users, Krakatoa MY 2.3 features Thinkbox’s Magma channel data editing system as well as support for Mac OSX, in addition to previously supported Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Other new features of Krakatoa MY 2.3 include:

Particle Flexibility – Leverage the particle partitioning of Maya particle systems andparticle saving functions. Particles can be created from fractals and theparticle modification system can manipulate particle datasetting/copying/scaling channel values. Supporting Maya materials forcoloring particles, the renderer also features particle “repopulation” forincreasing particle counts.

New PRT Format – Allows seamless importing of particles from externalapplications.

Extended Software Support – In addition to working with Mac OSX, Maya 2013 and Maya 2014are also supported.

XMesh MY is a Maya-specific extension of Thinkbox’s production-proven geometry caching solution. Allowing users to save animated scene geometry and later load that data for rendering, XMesh MY has been refined through use on VFX mega-productions such as The Avengers and Iron Man 3. XMesh MY feature highlights include:

Optional Explicit Velocity Data – Velocity data can be stored and loaded even from most changing topology objects including the Thinkbox Frost MX and Frost MY meshers, or Cebas Thinking Particles running in 3ds Max for correct motion blur generation in Maya.

Bi-directional Smoothing Data Transfer – XMesh can convert between Maya edge smoothing and 3ds Max smoothing groups data, or alternatively use an explicit Normal channel to store the render-time surface normals.

Bi-directional Material Assignments Transfer – XMesh preserves the material assignments of 3ds Max and Maya objects and provides bonus tools to transfer basic shader definitions between the applications.

Combining Multiple Objects Into One – XMesh allows the caching of large numbers of objects into a single mesh while preserving all original channel data and material assignments with orders of magnitude better compression and higher performance than alternative solutions.

Rapid Saving and Loading – With excellent binary data compression and multi-threaded saving and loading, the solution supports parallel saving on the network and single frame overwriting as well as animation retiming and recursive saving for history-dependent animation effects, producing small files with fast save and load times.

10% of the Naiad Waterfall particles created by Evermotion meshed inside of Maya using Frost MY (image: Adam Guzowski of Evermotion)

Similarly, Frost MY is a Maya-friendly version of Thinkbox’s point cloud meshing solution that enables users to generate a single mesh from particles, vertex clouds, object positions, point data files or a combination thereof using various techniques. Key features of Frost MY include:

Algorithm Flexibility – Generate blob mesh surfaces using various algorithms including Union of Spheres, Metaballs, Zhu/Bridson and Anisotropic.

Wide Particle Acceptance – Point data can be imported from Maya particle systems, Krakatoa PRT files, RealFlow BIN files and Krakatoa PRT objects. Quickly produce geometry from Maya, RealFlow and Naiad fluid simulations, or recreate geometry surfaces from LIDAR point clouds.

3D Print Compatible – Meshes are watertight for 3D printing

Additionally, Maya users running Deadline 6.1 – the latest version of Thinkbox’s cross-platform render farm management solution – now have tile rendering support for Solid Angle's Arnold renderer and support for distributed bucket rendering (DBR) with Chaos Group V-Ray.

Source: Thinkbox Software

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.