EIAS3D has released Electric Image Animation System (EIAS) 9: the first release of the veteran animation and rendering suite since development was taken over by Tomas Egger, Igor Yatsenko and Igor Ivaniuk.
The software gained a strong following in high-end movie effects during the 1990s thanks to its powerful renderer, but lost momentum during the following decade through a series of ownership and management changes, coupled with licensing issues for Modeler, the modelling program originally included in the product.
Version 9’s extensive feature list feels like a lot of necessary catch-up work: Animator gets support for a lot of standard file formats, including GoZ ZBrush import; a revamped UI; and performance enhancements.
Support for the now-industry-standard Bullet physics system has also been added.
The Camera renderer gets support for 64-bit OSs and multi-threading, a new GI system, and a lot of individual new features. Network rendering has also been updated.
EIAS 9 has gone down well with the EIAS community so far – perhaps not surprisingly, given that it’s the first major update of the product in two and a half years.
It will be interesting to see if EIAS 9 gives the new developers – themselves long-term users – a platform from which to regain some of the software’s old market share.
EIAS 9 is available now for Windows and Mac OS X, price $895. You can read the official news release below.
PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
EIAS3D has just released version 9 of the Electric Image Animation System (EIAS v9). This new version is available for immediate download.
EIAS v9 is the first release from EIAS3D and is the first step in making the Electric Image Animation System faster, more robust, and easier to use. Long-term EIAS customers will experience a remarkable performance improvement in their existing projects. New customers will find that v9 is as powerful as it is easy-to-learn.
The famous software that made numerous key moments possible in Hollywood movies is now in its 9th major version. Well-regarded for its rendering speed and render quality, EIAS v9 has important new features and key technologies that are summarized below:
Animator v9 Key Items
- New Import System
The 3D import system has been rewritten and new file formats added. The system provides advanced model diagnostics reporting for all imported formats. The user can create custom presets for each format
- Adobe Illustrator .ai and .eps file support
- GoZ ZBrush® files
Imports the GoZ files with UV and texture maps
- Updated support for Alias WaveFront .obj and .mtl files
Alias/Wavefront .obj files are now imported with UV coordinates and textures from .mtl file
- Updated Support for LightWave models .lwo and scenes .lws
- Bullet Hard Body Dynamics Engine
The Bullet physics engine, bulletphysics.org is now built-in to Animator
- Bullet Simulations
Easy to use. Just configure the simulation session and run a preview in any Animator Window
- Bullet Constrains & Forces
New “Force” objects (project element) affect objects dynamically in the simulation process
- Bullet Motor & Vehicle Automatic Rig
Rigging vehicles and cars with million of polygons can be driven automatically
- IBL environment system
Configure your outdoor light environment in a fast and efficient way. You can use .ibl files from hdrlabs.com or create your own
- New preview improvements
Re-written OpenGL hardware preview engine supports many more textures and texture modifiers
- Animator Performance Optimizations
Principal speedup for workflow operations like loading and saving projects, massive group deletion and many others when Animator works with thousands of objects
- UI re-design and updates
EIAS v9 workflow easier and more effective while maintaining the interface that is familiar to its current users
- New built-in tools
- Automatic Search Paths – Saves time for “Locate..” procedure at project loading
- Vert Cross batch conversion – Converts EI environment renders into Vertical Cross environment format
- Vertex color conversion – Converts strength maps into vertex color and vice versa
- More Plug-ins added to host
EXR2Mesh, MDD, Mouse Tracker
Camera Render Engine v9 Key Items
- Multi-threaded Rendering
Render operations are now multi-threaded for faster renders
- 64-bit Architecture
The 64-bit version of Camera can use all the RAM installed on your machine
- New GI engine
The GI engine has been completely re-written not only for multi-threading and 64-bit but also for better performance and quality
- New Render features
- GI Glossy – Alternate blurred reflections, known also as a “dull reflections”
- Sun Light – Parallel light with soft shadows, like the Sun and the Moon
- Blurred Refractions – In EI9 raytrace refraction can be blurred as well, similar to RT reflections
- Reactive Masks – Installs a separate alpha masks for procedurals and bitmap textures
- Locked Camera Maps – Fixes Camera Maps at specified position to create “sticky” camera maps
- Additional Raytrace reflection options – Allows the user to customize raytrace reflections in different ways
- Background and Foreground layers – Camera Rotoscope maps are added automatically to layered PSDs
- Caustics Rainbow – Also known as “chromatic aberration”, option to create prism rainbows
- TGA frames render – Camera can now render to sequential TGA files
- More Shaders added to host
RLimit, SuperLines, Texture Filter
- 64-bit versions of your favorite plug-ins and shaders
Renderama v9 Key Items – Render Management System
- Enhanced stability and error recovery for network rendering
- Network Render with frame sequence formats (PNG, TGA, PICT)
- Faster Files transfer
The Electric Image Animation System has new owners. Its development is now being managed by EIAS3D, which consists of an EIAS artist along with the previous EIAS programmers.
Together, this new team, with it’s inherent passion for EIAS, intends to modernize the package as quickly as possible. Development will continue apace and expand rapidly with new technologies added as old ones are rewritten to take advantage of contemporary hardware. The EIAS community is vital to this process and the EIAS3D team will discuss with, and listen to, the users more then ever before.
Central to this re-birth strategy of getting EIAS into more pipelines is the inclusion of an infinite number of render nodes with each EIAS license. EIAS3D means business.
EIAS v9 is now shipping for both Mac Universal Binary (Intel Macs) and for Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit versions).
Upgrade pricing starts at $395.USD. And the full new version is $895.