The VUE design is based on the same paradigm that characterizes all of e-onís products: a clean, uncluttered user interface, designed from the user's standpoint. All the power and control is there, hidden in deeper layers, easily reachable whenever you need it.
This combination of power and ease of use†provides faster workflow, increased productivity, and a smoother transition from other applications.
New Interface Features in VUE xStream 2016
VUE xStream 2016 lets you reorganize the layout of the interface even further to better suite your workflow:
- Group/Ungroup related dialogs together to save space and customize your interface at will
- Automatically re-open grouped/tabbed subdialogs when re-opening master dialogs (Terrain Editor, Material Editor, Function Graph...)
- Function Editor and Terrain Editor sub-parts (toolbars and other menus) can be re-organized
- World Browser and Object Properties tabs can be re-organized
- Split Camera Control Panel: Scene preview and Camera Controls
- Dock each part of the Camera Control Panel independantly
- Resize the EcoPainter Dialog
VUE xStream 2016 enables you to set up up to 16 viewports (instead of the 4 traditional views).
This feature is particularly useful on a multi monitor system, to test various framing options or adding more camera angles without touching any of your main scene setup.
All additional viewports retain the same usual options, such as render in view or setup as many perspective cameras as you see fit.
Other Interface and Workflow Improvements
- Optimized Extrapolation/Interpolation commands by creating references instead of hard copies
- Set VUE to automatically create a Scene Snapshot after each render
- Scene snapshot preview in OS browser is automatically created after the render
- Compatible with HiDPI displays
- Scenes and assets thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer
- "Interactive slider changes" option now also affects the mouse wheel for more dynamic visual display of your modifications in real-time.
- Improved visibility in viewports thanks to reworked wireframe selection colors.
- The User Interface is now locked when downloading an object or a scene from the extra content.
Render Stack with Comparison Tools
VUE xStream 2016 features a new powerful render comparison tool that will allow you to easily stack your renders, test various postprocesses on the same image without losing any information, and compare them using easy to use and intuitive visual tools.
Render Display Dialog
The render display was redesigned to improve workflow. You can now interactively pan and zoom in and out of the render - even as it is being computed!
Accessing Stacked Renders
VUE xStream 2016 automatically stacks renders so you can keep track of all your previous renders. Renders are saved to disk, together with all alpha, depth, G-Buffer, Multi-pass, relighting and diagnosis passes, and instantly available in the stack.
You can either set VUE to stack renders automatically, or stack them on demand only. The size of the stack on your hard drive is fully controllable.
Comparing Stacked Renders
Render Comparison Tool
You can easily compare different versions of a render using the render comparison tool. Simply pick two images and compare them using the "follow-me" separator that automatically follows the mouse as you move over the render display.
Zoom in as you compare two renders to analyze fine details. Use the Difference tool to show differences between renders; Dynamically exagerate differences with the difference boost for easier spotting.
Easily test different post-processing options using clones, without affecting the source image. Clones simply duplicate all post-processing options (including Relighting information!) while keeping the other buffers untouched.
Advanced OpenGL Engine
Vue's OpenGL preview engine maximizes efficiency on high-end GPUs as well as multi-core systems. It is built around a robust multi-threaded architecture which takes advantage of higher-end graphics cards to produce high visual quality and performance.†
The OpenGL preview engine can operate in one of 3 modes:
- Software: previews are generated by the CPU, maximizing compatibility with old video boards,
- Fixed Pipeline Engine: previews are rendered using OpenGL 1.2 capable GPUs, and
- Shader Engine: previews are rendered using advanced GPU shaders, producing the most accurate realtime representation.
Realtime OpenGL Display
Display options include wireframe box, filled box, wireframe, flat shaded and smooth shaded.
These options can be set individually for each object, and for each display window.†Fog, scene lights, shadows and video frame guides can also be enabled for Open GL display.
Dynamic Plant Display Optimization
The quality of plant previews is dynamically adjusted on a global basis, to automatically take into account the number and complexity of plants displayed, as well as user settings such as desired frame rate.
The engine displays the plants as detailed as possible, within the limits allowed by your settings in the Display Options panel.
Realtime OpenGL Display
OpenGL Sky Preview with Clouds
Sky previews use a progressive refinement method to provide an increasingly detailed view of the sky and clouds (for optimal response, this preview is computed on multiple CPUs). Cloud previewing can also be disabled if desired.
Camera exposure is now automatically reflected in the OpenGL views to provide a more accurate preview of the scene (shader engine only). This option can be disabled.
Interactive Cloud Control
Cloud layers can be handled like regular objects. They appear in the World Brower, and you can move, rotate or resize them interactively using the standard manipulation gizmos.
Realtime OpenGL Display
You can also use Vue's standard animation tools to control the movement/velocity of the clouds!
Realistic MetaCloud Preview
MetaClouds are displayed as a series of shaded particles which represent the final aspect of the MetaClouds.
Realistic Sun Shadows
The sun casts realistic shadows in the OpenGL views. This way, you get instant feedback on the shadows that will be cast by the sun in the final render.
Colored EcoSystem Billboards
Changes made to EcoSystem instance colors are displayed in the VUE OpenGL viewports. This way, you immediately get a better idea of what the final render will look like.
Shaded billboards can efficiently display large numbers of EcoSystem instances with optimal visual quality.
OpenGL Crash Interceptor
VUE xStream 2016 features a new OpenGL monitoring system that will continuously check OpenGL activity and video resource usage, and will attempt to intercept any OpenGL driver issues before they happen.
When the system detects that the OpenGL driver is misbehaving, it automatically backs up your scene before issueing a warning.
Nitrous Support in 3ds Max
On top of OpenGL and DirectX technologies, VUE xStream 2016 also supports the 3ds Max Nitrous Display driver for increased interactivity on large scenes.
Customize VUE using Python Scripting
VUE features an extensible architecture that can be programmed using the Python cross-platform standard for application scripting.
Through Python scripting, you can access hundreds of internal structures and functions to customize and automate tasks or create entirely new rendering effects, EcoSystem functions, animation scripts, and custom-built loaders/exporters for your in-house file formats.
VUE includes dozens of sample scripts that add new functionality and illustrate some of the potential of python scripts. All are copiously documented and can serve as a starting base for your custom scripts.
Top Level Publishing
Vue's powerful parameter publishing feature is extended to allow the creation of top-level interfaces. Create simplified high-level controls and access these controls directly from the material editor, the terrain editor or the object editors!
You can reap the power of the function graphs without even opening the Function Editor!
Top-level parameters can be animated via the timeline, including published material parameters. This provides unprecedented control over the animation of your materials.
Playback Repetitive Tasks with Macro Automation
Macros easily automate repetitive tasks by recording the actual user interaction dialog and saving it as an xml file.
Press the Record Macro button to start recording a set of operations, and save it to disk as a macro. Press the Play Macro button to playback any pre-recorded macros.†
Setup frequently used macros for easy launch using the Macro QuickLaunch dialog. Using this dialog, you can easily assign shortcuts to those macros you use most.
Inviting, Easy-to-Use Interface
VUE xStream 2016 features an interface design streamlined for improved integration into existing pipelines.
The VUE interface is fully multi threaded, so time-consuming processes run in the background without slowing you down, even when working on very large projects.
Viewport Display Options
Toggle between four windows and single window with one click. Toggle between normal and expert (full screen) modes. Freely resize or re-organize display windows in the four view mode. Resize the camera preview and the world browser. Dock/float the timeline, hide or reveal various interface elements on the fly.
The perspective view lets you pan, rotate and zoom independent of the camera view. You can use the camera controls for the perspective view as well.
You can place a background reference image in any of the orthogonal display windows.
Units and Conventions
VUE can display all measurements in real-world metric or imperial units. Grid snapping can be enabled on the fly when moving or rotating objects. The grid resolution and rotation snapping values are user-defined.
You can also set the value of internal VUE units to adjust the scaling of the entire scene and choose to have either Y or Z as the up axis.
You can individually modify the colors of 37 different types of interface elements, so you can set up the work environment you feel most comfortable in.
To make you feel at home more rapidly, you can use one of the many presets that replicate the color schemes of your favorite applications.
Visual Browsers let you organize your content folders in collections. Items inside the collections are displayed with a small preview and description.
Improved Render Area
Ever wished you could re-render only a small part of your scene and have a simple way of overlaying it on your original render?
If so, you will happily welcome the option that lets you save a render area as a full sized image, so that it can be easily overlayed in post.
When rendering an area in full size, the regions beyond the current render area will be filled in black and made transparent for easier overlaying/compositing.
Multiple Camera Aspect Ratios
Different Framing Options
The aspect ratio can now be set on a per camera basis inside a single VUE scene, so you can test multiple framing options of the same scene.
Because all cameras used in an animation must share the same aspect ratio, VUE will offer to automatically switch all cameras used in the animation to the new aspect ratio.
Real world units are available throughout the entire application: in the Material Editor, in the Terrain Editor, in the Function Editor... Set the scale of your fractals in units you understand; scale your terrains according to real-world measurements - VUE takes care of all the complex conversions!
Automatic Range Adaptation
Thanks to Automatic Range Adaptation, it is easy to create function graphs that involve exported parameters. When you connect a node to an exported parameter, the input range is automatically adjusted to match the standard range of that parameter.
Redesigned Function Editor
capitalizing on the PlantFactory interface, the VUE xStream 2016 Function Editor was redesigned for improved performance on modern computer displays.
The new Function Editor is shown horizontally with streamlined parameter access.
VUE xStream 2016 dissociates the concept of render camera (used for filming the final shot) and perspective view, used to freely browse around the scene. A new option is available (enabled by default) that protects the render camera from any unwanted modifications and automatically switches to perspective view whenever you modify the viewport (you can instantly assign the new point of view to the render camera with the push of a button).
You can switch back and forth between Perspective view and Main Camera, and you can create new "Point of view" cameras based on the current Perspective View.
Real-World Sun Position
VUE xStream 2016 can position the sun exactly as it would be in real-life, based on time of day, date and location on Earth. You can pinpoint the location on a map, select from a set of predefined locations, or indicate the exact coordinates (and store them in the list of presets).
Time-Saving Tools and Helpers
In order to easily detect rendering bottlenecks and optimize your render times, VUE features the ability to generate diagnosis information on your renders. This includes, for each pixel in the image:
- Total rendering time of the pixel,
- Number of anti-aliasing rays,
- Number of texture anti-aliasing samples,
- Total number of sub-rays in the pixel,
- Total number of shadow rays,
- Max recursion depth reached by a sub-ray, and
- Number of final gather samples for that pixel.
This diagnosis information is available in separate render passes that can be viewed directly in the render output window. You can switch between the Color, Alpha, Z-Depth and Diagnosis passes instantly using the icons in the render output window.
Diagnosis passes are generated on demand (they add a slight overhead to the rendering process). They are a very valuable asset to better understand the overall rendering process.
Multi-materials let you change in one single operation all the materials of any given object. Multi-materials can be saved for future use. They can also be copy-pasted or drag-dropped between the different objects of your scenes.
Color Map and Filter Editors
The Color Map and Filter editors allow you to move groups of keypoints, change the hue, saturation and luminosity values of groups of keypoints or the entire color map. You can also invert filters and color maps, copy-paste groups of keyframes, etc.
Auto Saving and Scene Snapshots
Ever wished you could revert to the state your scene was a few minutes ago, but forgot to save? Ever worked hours on a scene without saving and lost all your work after a system fault? Auto-saving is your answer!
e-on has developed a unique and innovative technology that automatically saves your scenes in the background, while you work, without slowing you down in your flow!
VUE will automatically create backup files of your scene as you work, and the Snapshot option lets you instantaneously create a backup of your scene just by clicking a button.
Using this, you can instantly revert to a previous version of your scene to cancel undesired changes (beyond the Undo/Redo limit).
Interactive Texture Placement
With the texture placement tool, you can interactively position, rotate and scale the texture maps that are applied to your objects.
An option in the World Browser lets you easily resize unnecessarily large texture maps. The process is non- destructive, so you can easily restore the original texture maps anytime if needed.
You can also limit the resolution of imported texture maps when importing content from another application.
Bitmap File Access
You can easily replace any texture file with another file simply by renaming the filename in Library tab of the World Browser. As an example, you can use this to work with low resolution textures, and replace them with high resolution verions just before rendering simply by changing the filename.
All texture maps of a project can easily be dumped to the folder of your choice, and automatically relinked from there. This is very useful when sharing big assets among co-workers. Also, this option can be useful to speed up network rendering when all bitmap assets are collected in a unique network location.
Double-clicking on a texture map in the World Browser pops up a full resolution image, using the external bitmap application of your choice. Missing textures are identified as broken links.
Drop and SmartDrop Tools
While the standard drop function simply drops an object onto the surface below it, the SmartDrop tool attempts to place the dropped object in a natural way. For example, a box dropped onto a sloping terrain will be tilted so that it follows the slope.
The Interactive Alignment Tool
With this handy tool you can interactively align objects on either one, two or three axes simultaneously, while previewing the results in the display windows.
The Quick Array Tool
This powerful tool lets you create multiple duplicates of an object by interactively transforming a single copy. All subsequent instances will automatically inherit the transforms in either extrapolated or interpolated modes.
The Scatter/Replicate Tool
Use this tool to quickly generate multiple instances of an object, with precise control over distance, size and rotation, or to randomly scatter instances over a specified area with user-defined size and orientation variations.
The Quick Color Selection Tool
Click and hold the mouse button to instantly select a desired color. Use the preset color swatches to easily save and re-use your most used colors.
For improved compatibility with other applications, VUE xStream 2016 features Catmull-Clark and Loop subdivision options. You can manually set the level of subdivision for both realtime display and render time.
These subdivision algorithms, together with improved normal mapping, ensure total compatibility with other applications such as 3ds Max, MudBox, ZBrush, etc.
Other Interface Features in VUE xStream 2016