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Fabric Engine 2.0 to add visual programming system

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

The upcoming Fabric Engine 2.0 will add a visual programming system to the software development platform, enabling users to create custom VFX tools by wiring nodes rather than writing code. Click image to view full size.

Originally posted on 22 July. Scroll down for updates.

Fabric Software has announced that it is to add a node-based visual programming system to Fabric Engine 2.0, the next major update to its newly GPU-capable VFX tools development platform.

The toolset will be previewed at the developer’s user group at Siggraph 2014, along with a new version of Splice – the ‘universal plugin’ that exposes Fabric’s core engine to other DCC tools – for 3ds Max.

Create new VFX tools by dragging and dropping code components
On its release two years ago, Fabric Engine quickly gained attention as a quick way for studios to develop custom tools – even studios without large R&D teams.

The new visual programming toolset, which represents code as graphical elements that may be dragged, dropped and wired up visually, broadens that user base still further.

While it’s hard to imagine that you could build useful tools without any kind of coding knowledge whatsoever, it should certainly makes things easier for non-specialists.

A logical extension of ICE?
At the minute, the only glimpse we’ve had of the new system is the still image above, so it’s impossible to assess its implementation.

But in concept, at least, it’s hard not to see this as the logical extension of the ICE visual programming system in Softimage: a product on which several of Fabric Software’s key staff worked in the past.

Release dates
Fabric Software hasn’t announced a release date for Fabric Engine 2.0 yet beyond ‘later this year’, but there’s at least one more release in the 1.x series to come.

Fabric Engine 1.13, which includes the Splice API for 3ds Max, is currently in beta, and is due to become generally available in August.

Read Fabric Software’s official news announcement about Fabric Engine 2.0

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