Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

Fabric Engine 1.0 gets official release
The last Fabric Engine client demo reel, showing the kinds of applications that it can be used to create – note the 600-person crowd simulation. The application development platform has just received its official release.

Fabric Engine, the tool development platform created by ex-Softimage staff, has just received its official release.

The platform aims to enable developers to create applications that take advantage of modern multi-core hardware via a JavaScript-like dynamic programming language, rather than compiled languages such as C++.

The result should be a faster, more intuitive workflow when developing tools for high-performance computing tasks, including animation, visual effects and video processing.

“[With Fabric Engine] you can avoid the whole code-compile-run cycle with its sometimes long delays, and use a more immediate execute model,” said early adopter Guido Vieira, General Manager at social media visualisation firm Nexalogy Environics.

So what does this mean for me?
If you’re a non-technical artist, you’re unlikely to use Fabric Engine directly – but you could well end up using custom tools created with it in the near future.

Although the official press release deals with a range of possible uses, from semantic analysis to medical visualisation, most of the current demo applications cover 3D geometry handling, simulation and rendering.

In early news releases, Fabric Engine was described as a web application development platform, but the current marketing focus seems to have shifted more to offline tools.

Given the prevalance of dynamic languages in VFX pipelines, in the shape of Python – Fabric Engine integrates with both Python and JavaScript – it’s not hard to see a market here.

For example, the Fabric Engine team has created a pretty impressive proof-of-concept character rigging tool, which we wrote about back in February.

Licensing conditions
The core Fabric Engine and bindings have been released under the open source AGPL licence. Fabric Engine also offers commercial licences for developers aiming to sell products built using the engine.

The developer also offers a range of support packages, priced between $100 and $2,000 per month. Commercial licence prices have not been announced publicly.

Visit the Fabric Engine website

Download Fabric Engine source code

Read our original story on Fabric Engine from last year