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Fabric Engine launches Creation Platform

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Fabric Engine has launched Creation Platform, its framework for building high-performance graphics applications.

The platform enables developers to create applications that take advantage of modern multi-core hardware via a familiar high-level programming language, rather than having to resort to compiled languages such as C++.

Built on Fabric Core
As far as we can see, Creation Platform is really a rebranding of built on Fabric Engine 1.0, which we covered in March. We’ve contacted the company to confirm this, but we imagine that most of that original story holds true.

Updated: Fabric Engine has been in touch to point out that it’s not a rebrand. More details at the foot of the story.

What’s certainly new is the way the technology is presented on Fabric Engine’s website, which fleshes out the feature list, and emphasises points relevant to developers of 3D applications.

Those features include 3D geometry handling, including fast handling of Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces; support for industry-standard data formats, including OBJ, FBX, Alembic, Ptex, EXR and Lidar data; built-in libraries for developing rigging and animation tools; and integrated Bullet physics.

Creation Platform also includes an impressive-looking muscle simulation system: you can see it in the video above.

Fabric Engine’s site also notes Creation Platform’s integration with DCC applications. The apps mentioned by name are Maya (the upper video shows Creation Platform tools running in the Maya viewport) and Cinema 4D.

Industry support
The official announcement also includes an impressive list of quotes from well-known industry figures.

Ordinarily, we’d edit out this kind of material when reposting a press release. In this case, however, we’ve left it in, since it hints at the way that studios – particularly previz houses and facilities that do a lot of real-time work – regard Creation Platform as a potentially transformative tool.

Zoic’s Mike Romey is quoted as saying that Creation Platform will “change the way the industry approaches custom tools development”, while The Third Floor’s Albert Cheng notes that it’s the app development framework he’s been waiting for.

Interesting stuff. Fabric Engine’s Creation Platform will be on show at Siggraph 2012: if you’re in Los Angeles next week, it would be well worth checking it out for yourself.

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Fabric Engine Inc, a software company focused on high-performance 2D and 3D graphics solutions, announced today Creation Platform, a framework for building custom, high-performance graphics applications. By providing the major building blocks for tool creation, Creation Platform allows developers to spend less time building back-end architectures, and more time building critical workflows and high-performance functionality into their tools.

Anyone interested in trying Creation Platform can join the private beta at: http://www.fabricengine.com/products/licensing/. The Fabric Engine team will be showcasing Creation Platform at SIGGRAPH 2012 in the AMD booth (#709) and presenting twice daily in the OptiTrack booth (Booth #610).

“High-end graphics is one of the most performance hungry domains in computing, but most applications are unable to keep pace with the requirements of exciting areas like simulation and virtual production,” said Fabric Engine’s CEO, Paul Doyle. “Studios want a development environment with tools that guarantee them the performance needed to fulfill their creative requirements. Unfortunately, current solutions don’t provide that performance, and are leaving studios with little choice but to build from scratch, forcing them to invest their time and resources in something that is not their core business. Creation Platform offers an alternative – a framework that gives them the performance they need, and a set of tools that allow them to take full advantage of it.”

Creation Platform:
Creation Platform is designed to give studios an easy way to build tools that not only match, but in many cases, surpass the performance of traditional DCC tools. Key benefits include:

  • Performance
    Creation is built on top of the Fabric Core Execution Engine, a multi-threading engine designed to get exceptional performance out of both CPUs and GPUs.
  • Modularity
    Creation provides a set of building blocks that can be connected together to build a wide range of different applications.
  • Extensibility
    Creation’s extension system enables developers to incorporate existing code libraries into their applications. This enables Creation to incorporate things like Bullet Physics and streaming of motion capture data, as well as allowing for support of custom file types like Alembic and LIDAR.
  • Accessibility
    The majority of Creation applications are built using Python and Qt. For the critical performance parts of an application, Creation uses a custom Kernel Language (KL), which a simple, high-level language. If a TD or developer is comfortable with Python, they will find KL easy to pick up.

Here’s What Beta Testers are Saying
Mike Romey, Head of Pipeline, Zoic Studios: “I believe that Fabric’s Creation Platform will change the way our facility and industry approaches custom tools development. The Creation Platform allows our developers to rapidly prototype and deploy complex tools quickly and efficiently. It simplifies the development process by wrapping leading edge technologies into easily accessible scripting libraries for python and pySide. This in turn allows us to reduce our development cycles and iterate tools quicker with more features and functionality. This improves our agility to respond to any and all production requests. The result generally is a highly sophisticated, well-groomed standalone or hosted application that is multi-threaded for speed. The Creation Platform and its developers are building a development tool that is truly a speed demon.”

Michel Murdock, Executive VP at Hybride: “We are very excited about the potential of Creation Platform and look forward to collaborating with their amazing team.”

Daniel Gregoire, Owner of Halon Entertainment: “Creation Platform represents new life for Previs as it builds a powerful foundation that doesn’t have a decade of legacy code encumbering us from doing the important work of tomorrow.”

Grant Miller, Creative Director, Ingenuity Engine : “Proprietary solutions for visual effects used to be reserved for large studios with a dedicated programming team, but with Creation Platform that level of customization and innovation has been opened up to TDs and artists. The Creation toolset lays a great foundation to build on, handling things like Alembic I/O and Bullet Physics so you can focus on the creative aspects of tool creation instead of implementing libraries.”

Albert Cheng, Previs Supervisor, The Third Floor LA/London: “Creation Platform is the graphics app development framework I’ve been waiting for. With it’s highly optimized core and native multithreading capabilities, it does most of the heavy lifting for me to ensure the fastest processing speeds, while allowing me to focus on building custom applications and tools for manipulating 3D. What makes it really great is that it interfaces through the popular Python language and QT gui framework to allow rapid development with minimal code, thus making it easily accessible to those like me working in film, animation and games.”

Creation Platform Examples
The team at Fabric Engine has created a number of videos to showcase the power and diversity of Creation Platform. Those videos can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/groups/fabric

Updated: Since this story was originally posted, Fabric Engine CEO Paul Doyle has clarified the relationship between Creation Platform and Fabric Engine 1.0. He writes:

“Creation Platform is a set of technologies built using Python and Qt. It contains things like our Python scenegraph and is completely graphics-focused (mainly 3D right now, but some 2D stuff as well).

Creation Platform is built to run on top of the Fabric Core, our execution engine. This is the multi-threading number-cruncher that can be hooked into different languages (Python and JavaScript).

The too long, didn’t read version: Creation Platform is the graphics-focused Python/Qt technology stack built on top of our core execution engine.”

Read an overview of Creation Platform on the Fabric Engine website

Read a complete feature list for Creation Platform

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