EcoSystem Improvements in VUE xStream 2016
Multiple Global EcoSystems and EcoPainter Improvements
VUE xStream 2016 now allows you to populate your scenes with multiple Global EcoSystems layers (i.e. not linked to any underlying material). You can save your Global EcoSystem populations as EcoPainter brushes, and re-use them at any time, in any scene!
VUE xStream 2016 ships with 12 EcoPainter brushes to get you started. Populations in your EcoSystem brushes can also be used in any standard EcoSystem material!
VUE xStream 2016 includes 20 EcoPainter effector brushes, including a new Rotate effector to dynamically alter the placement of your EcoSystem populations.
Memory Saving Technologies
You can now optimize memory consumption by using baked (static or dynamic) versions of PlantFactory species for your EcoSystem populations, or by converting any referenced assets in your scenes to EcoSystem Instances .
Revolutionary EcoSystem™ Generation 4
The EcoSystem revolution has redefined the way CG artists create landscape images.
What seemed utterly impossible became easily feasible. Nightmarish tasks became a pleasant ride. With the fourth generation of EcoSystem, this ground-breaking technology has been improved again: the revolution marches on!
Real world natural environments are extremely complex. Just think of the millions of plants, trees and rocks that make up the landscape around you.
Creating such highly detailed scenes in 3D is an exhausting task, both in terms of hard work and computer resources. Most 3D programs, in fact, are unable to deal with the huge polygon count required to create, say, a realistic forest scene with millions of trees.
With e-on's patented EcoSystem technology, you can easily populate your scenes with millions of plants, trees, stones and other objects, to achieve a totally new level of natural complexity and detail while keeping Vue’s performance and display running smoothly.
Select a SolidGrowth plant species and EcoSystem will populate your scene with numerous variations of that plant, not just “hard copies”. These plants are automatically animated with breeze.
Of course, an EcoSystem can contain more than one plant type: add an unlimited number of plants, rocks and other objects to the population list, and control each item’s relative presence and size within the EcoSystem.
Automated Smart Scattering
The EcoSystem does not merely scatter the objects randomly across the surface, but actually decides where to place them according to the relief of the terrain.
So just like in nature, more trees will grow on flat areas than on steep slopes, and no objects will be placed where they are likely to “fall down”. You can control the influence of this effect easily.
In addition, VUE will automatically recognize foreign objects, and reduce the presence of EcoSystem items around them.
EcoSystem Fast Population
Interactive 360° Population
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A "Fast population mode" is available in the General tab of the Material Editor. Each parameter modification (e.g. instance density, scale or orientation) is instantly applied to the population and refreshed in the viewport.
Once you are happy with the look of your population, you can optionally press the "Accuratly reposition on surface" to precisely place your instances on your geometry.
EcoSystem 360° Population
VUE can now automatically populate EcoSystems from all directions including below objects. This feature works on any kind of object from basic spheres to complex geometry such as rocks, cars, houses... and all applicable EcoSystem settings are supported.
Gravel and Small Item EcoSystems
VUE xStream 2016 features highly optimized algorithms to accelerate the rendering of EcoSystems containing many small items, such as gravel or grass blades.
These algorithms also significantly optimize the memory footprint and are compatible with both Static and Dynamic EcoSystems.
In the real world, plants tend to grow close together rather than evenly distributed.
EcoSystem Clumping in VUE xStream 2016 lets you easily replicate this effect using only two sliders, clumping amount and average clump size.
Because of the sheer amount of detail per pixel involved with dense distant EcoSystems, removing flickering in the distance used to require vast amounts of anti-aliasing. As a result, the rendering of animated shots was very long.
Flicker reduction is an area of active research for e-on software. This research has resulted in the flicker reduction algorithms. These algorithms produce vastly reduced levels of flickering on most SolidGrowth EcoSystems at comparable rendering times!
Dynamic EcoSystem Population
EcoSystem Dynamic Population technology lets you create dense EcoSystems that extend way beyond the horizon, without concern over the number of instances!
This revolutionary technology is capable of handling the near-infinite number of instances required to populate terrains in the far distance.
To maximize efficiency, it will also dynamically populate areas of your scene, only as they become visible to the camera.
Animated Population Density
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Animated EcoSystem Populations
On top of creating EcoSystems with populations of animated elements, it is possible to create populations that evolve over time.
This way, you can create such effects as a forest expanding to gradually cover a mountain, or the receding of vegetation at the border of a desert.
Create EcoSystems with population densities that evolve smoothly over time: new instances will be added or removed seamlessly as the density varies.
EcoSystem Phase Control
VUE xStream 2016 lets you individually control the phase (animation offset) of animated elements inside your EcoSystem populations. Thanks to advances in the EcoSystem technology, VUE can automatically add phase variations on top the geometrical and material variations that are present in SolidGrowth-based EcoSystems.
You can fully control this phase on a per instance basis, using the function graph . This is ideal for creating waves of wind blowing across fields of grass, or violent explosions that blow out surrounding trees.
This ability to control animated instances on an individual basis is not limited to SolidGrowth plants. You can control any type of animated object, including pre-animated meshes (e.g. to create crowds of people that don't all walk together).
EcoSystem Lean-Out Control
This feature allows you to control how the EcoSystem instances lean out at the border of an EcoSystem. This is ideal for capturing the way plants compete for light. It's also a simple way of making grass lean over a sidewalk, for example.
Splines EcoSystem Effects
Use EcoSystem effects to populate EcoSystems along a spline and in the area defined by a spline. You can also use a spline as an EcoSystem mask to erase other EcoSystem instances.
VUE xStream 2016 offers the ability to stack EcoSystem instances.
EcoSystem Stacking is available both while populating an EcoSystem through the material editor, or painting it with the EcoPainter.
The maximum number of instances which can be stacked onto another is user definable.
Paint Plants and Objects with EcoSystem Painting
The EcoSystem painter lets you interactively paint EcoSystems over any surface (or group of surfaces). It can be used for editing EcoSystem materials, or as a stand-alone tool.
You can create your own brushes using a combination of effectors. For instance, brushes that will resize and align instances at the same time.
There are a number of brush effects to boot, including the ability to lean or rotate instances, raise or lower them, move them around, etc.
The latter option allows you to paint EcoSystems on the fly on any object in the scene.
Painting can be performed with a mouse or with a tablet, which gives you the ability to control additional parameters through pressure.
You can paint over any number of selected objects, even the entire scene. While you paint in any direction, the instances are automatically mapped and aligned to the surface.
You can paint a mix of all the items in your population list, or paint any single item separately. Brush strokes can be undone at any time, or you can clear the whole EcoSystem for a fresh start.
Customizable EcoPainter Brushes
Like the brushes in the Terrain Editor, each EcoPainter brush has its own dialog that displays all of the parameters that can be adjusted.
If you want to display a specific brush parameter directly in the main EcoPainter dialog, you can do so with a click on the corresponding Publish icon.
Advanced EcoSystem Control
You can drag multiple objects or plants from a browser into the EcoSystem population list, making the preparation of complex EcoSystems a lot quicker.
You can easily populate your global EcoSystem by dragging objects from the World Browser directly into the EcoPainter list.
The intensity of the color changes applied to EcoSystem populations can be controlled through the use of a material setting. This setting can also be controlled using a function graph.
When painting EcoSystems, you can paint with the underlying EcoSystem material rules applied, so that, for instance, the influence of slope and altitude or the coloring rules are taken into account when painting instances.
When painting in the Global EcoSystem, you can accurately control the way instances are added by directly accessing the underlying material and customizing all the population rules.
The EcoSystem Selection tool
The EcoSystem Selection tool is now part of the EcoPainter. It lets you select or deselect instances and move them around in the scene to a precise location.
You can also convert instances into real objects, modify them, and then put them back into the EcoSystem later if required.
EcoSystem Instance Selection is now also available in xStream for 3ds Max, Cinema4D and Softimage.
Powerful Layered EcoSystem Materials
EcoSystems behave just like regular materials. You can save them as a material and create a whole library of EcoSystems, which can be used later for other scenes and objects.
A single EcoSystem material can have any number of layers, each layer with its own population list and full set of controls.
The fact that the EcoSystem are treated like a material means that you can take advantage of Vue’s powerful material and function editor to control almost every aspect.
For example, use a fractal noise generator to control the distribution of EcoSystem objects, or use a bitmap to limit distribution to specific areas.
Using the material layer environmental parmeters tab, EcoSystems can be influenced by altitude, slope and orientation.
Affinity and Repulsion
Layers in an EcoSystem material can also influence one another. By using the affinity and repulsion parameters, it’s possible to define a relationship between two layers.
For instance, using affinity, trees in the first layer can affect the distribution of grass in the second layer, so that the grass grows only around the trees.
Enhanced EcoSystem Display
EcoSystems can be displayed in eight different modes (none, billboard, wireframe box, filled box, wireframe, flat shaded and full, smooth shaded and the shaded billboard display), plus a camera controlled dynamic level of detail option. This gives you the flexibility to optimize your workflow, whatever your hardware resources and project requirements are.
Display quality can be linked to the camera. Instances in a user-defined radius around the camera will be displayed at full quality, while the rest will fall back to the specified display mode.
The camera-controlled LOD automatically updates as the camera is moved around, making camera placement inside EcoSystems much easier.
EcoSystem Display Improvements
The rendering of shaded EcoSystem billboards is improved to provide a more accurate coloring and reduce flickering when moving around the scene.
You can change the display quality of EcoSystem instances on individual population elements (e.g. hide grass instances but show trees).
You can also decide which population elements will appear in full 3D near the camera (Full Quality Near Camera option).
You can also instantly limit the display quality of all EcoSystem instances in your scene using a single menu command or keyboard shortcut, for swifter navigation inside complex projects.
You can refresh dynamic EcoSystem previews anytime by clicking the Preview button in the EcoSystem material.
Colored EcoSystem Billboards
Changes made to EcoSystem instance color, size and position are displayed in the VUE OpenGL viewports. This way, you immediately get a better idea of what the final render will look like.
EcoParticles - The VUE Particle System
VUE has particles! But it's not standard particles, it's a new concept of particles:
You can do all the standard stuff that particles are good at, but you can also do a lot more. Rather than creating simple emitters, and having particles grow out of them, we designed a new way of handling particles that is specifically well suited for Digital Nature, EcoParticles!
This technology is ideal for the creation of animated rain, snow, waterfalls, explosions, fire, smoke, tornadoes, falling leaves, swarm of insects and more.
Jungle Mist With EcoParticles
EcoParticles as EcoSystems
EcoParticles are added to any material like a regular EcoSystem material layer. But with EcoParticles, you get in depth control over the way the particles will evolve over time. You can define the speed, direction, collision properties and duration of life of the particles, as well as subject them to external influences.
On top of these physical settings, all of the classic EcoSystem configuration parameters are used for particle instance population.
Effectors are special objects that will influence the EcoParticles in the scene. Effects like tornadoes, jittering, attraction, etc. are easily created this way.
In Depth EcoParticle Control
VUE xStream 2016 offers a rich collection of function nodes to control your EcoParticle behavior. You can combine many nodes to create one "super" particle system .
It's possible to make particles create particles (e.g. to create a firework effect, or a rain drop that creates a water splash as soon as it hits the ground), based on the behavior of the root particles.
EcoParticles can fall, collide, bounce and interact with forces and with each other. EcoParticles react to natural phenomena thanks to various physical parameters such as mass, velocity, gravity, collision, wind influence, elasticity, attachement and more...
Perfect for Stills, Better for Animations
Even though the EcoParticle technology will produce great effects for your still renders, animation is where they really shine!
You can easily setup how your EcoParticles will evolve over time using parameters such as size variation, growth, opacity variation, velocity, flow and more. Additionally, you can specify how your EcoParticles die, setting up their life duration, or even make them turn into another species of EcoParticle.
Each EcoParticle life parameter can be driven by a function graph to precisely control your effects.