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J Cube ships Multiverse | USD 6.3

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
Japanese developer J Cube has released Multiverse | USD 6.3, the latest version of its Maya layout, look development, lighting and rendering toolset for VFX and animation data sets.

The release builds on January’s Multiverse | USD 6.0 release, which introduced a new “massively multi-threaded”, USD-native architecture, a new GUI, and a native Hydra render delegate.

J Cube has also introduced a new free licence, which permits commercial use of the software, but which requires a permanent internet connection.

 

 
New “massively multithreaded” USD-native architecture
Multiverse is designed to author, play back and modify complex scenes, such as those generated during shot layout or set dressing in visual effects or feature animation.

The software received a major update earlier this year, with Multiverse | USD 6.0 introducing a new architecture based around Pixar’s Universal Scene Description format: now standard in VFX pipelines.

As well as reading and writing USD files, users can author USD hierarchies directly within Maya via the new ‘MEOW’ user interface, pitched as “pleasing, logical and extremely fast”.

The new architecture provides the groundwork for a unified rendering workflow, with different third-party renderers supported as viewport delegates within USD’s Hydra rendering framework.

Currently, path traced output can be streamed to the viewport from 3Delight NSI, bundled with Katana, and procedural renders streamed from 3Delight and Arnold, with other renderers to be supported “soon”.

J Cube describes the architecture as “massively multithreaded”, claiming “up to 100x faster performance in authoring, reading, drawing, manipulating, playback and rendering time-to-first-pixel”.

The process of streaming scene updates to Multiverse | USD’s native Hydra Storm viewport also is GPU-accelerated via OpenGL on Windows and Linux systems, and via Metal on macOS.

 

 
New in 6.3: better animation support when writing USD assets
Multiverse | USD 6.3 itself extends support for animation when writing USD assets, including animated cameras and skinned characters, as well as skin weights, joint hierarchies and skeletal animation.

The USD library distributed with Multiverse can also now coexist with USD libraries from third-party Maya plug-ins, avoiding potential pipeline conflicts.

Pricing and availability
Multiverse | USD 6.3 is available for Maya 2018+ on Windows, Linux and macOS. It is compatible with Arnold 5.2+ and 3Delight 1.7+ and interoperable with Houdini 17+.

J Cube now offers free licences for freelancers and studios wanting to evaluate the software.

They require a permanent internet connection for activation, get fewer updates than commercial licences, and only have community support via Slack, but permit use in commercial projects.

Pro licences can be used offline, and include full product support. They are now rental-only, with pricing for interactive floating licences starting at $285/year and render licences at $95/year.

 
Read more about Multiverse | USD on J Cube’s website

Read a full list of new features in Multiverse | USD 6.3 in the online release notes

See videos of the new features in Multiverse | USD on J Cube’s YouTube channel

 
Erratum: this story originally referred to Multiverse | USD as Multiverse Studio, the previous product name, and included other information specific to previous releases. Apologies for any confusion caused.

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