Monday, July 22nd, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Thinkbox Software expands Maya product line-up


Frost MY in action. As well as the new Maya version of its point-cloud meshing system, developer Thinkbox Software has released XMesh MY, a Maya version of its caching system for animated geometry.

Thinkbox Software has expanded its fledgling Maya product line-up, announcing Maya counterparts of its Frost point-cloud meshing system and XMesh geometry-caching system, both originally developed for 3ds Max.

Better cross-pipeline compatibility
XMesh MY, in particular, should help studios running mixed pipelines, or those collaborating with facilities that use different primary 3D software.

The software is capable of transferring smoothing groups and materials assignments between 3ds Max and Maya, and comes with bonus tools for transferring shader definitions.

Point update for Krakatoa MY
Thinkbox has also announced a point update to Krakatoa MY, the Maya version of its Krakatoa MX 3ds Max particle renderer, first released earlier this year.

Krakatoa MY 2.3 adds greater support for data from Maya’s own particle systems, and adds support for Mac OS X as well as Windows.

All three products are on display at Siggraph 2013 this week. You can read full details in the news release below. So far, Thinkbox’s website hasn’t been updated: we’ll add links to the story once it has been.

Today at the SIGGRAPH Conference in Anaheim, Calif., Thinkbox Software announced new plug-in offerings for Autodesk Maya including the latest version of Krakatoa MY, its popular volumetric particle renderer; XMesh MY for geometry caching; and Frost MY for point cloud meshing. Currently in development, the solutions will be demonstrated in Thinkbox Software’’s booth (#601) throughout SIGGRAPH, along with a host of other new products.

“”Krakatoa MY received intense interest from the Maya community when it was released earlier this year and we’’ve continued that momentum by adding key features like support for Mac OSX-based systems, which we’’ll demo at SIGGRAPH this year. We will also preview a Maya-compatible version of MagmaFlow, our node-based particle manipulation toolkit based on our new cross-platform node-view tool,”” said Chris Bond, founder, Thinkbox Software. ““With the introduction of XMesh MY and the upcoming release of Frost MY, our high-performance production tools are even more accessible to Maya users looking to create amazing visuals.””

Enabling greater flexibility and improved performance for users, Krakatoa MY 2.3 features Thinkbox’’s Magma channel data editing system as well as support for Mac OS X, in addition to previously supported Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Other new features of Krakatoa MY 2.3 include:

  • Particle Flexibility
    Leverage the particle partitioning of Maya particle systems and particle saving functions. Particles can be created from fractals and the particle modification system can manipulate particle data setting/copying/scaling channel values. Supporting Maya materials for coloring particles, the renderer also features particle “repopulation” for increasing particle counts.
  • New PRT Format
    Allows seamless importing of particles from external applications.
  • Extended Software Support
    In addition to working with Mac OS X, Maya 2013 and Maya 2014 are also supported.

XMesh MY is a Maya-specific extension of Thinkbox’’s production-proven geometry caching solution. Allowing users to save animated scene geometry and later load that data for rendering, XMesh MY has been refined through use on VFX mega-productions such as The Avengers and Iron Man 3. XMesh MY feature highlights include:

  • Optional Explicit Velocity Data
    Velocity data can be stored and loaded even from most changing topology objects including the Thinkbox Frost MX and Frost MY meshers, or Cebas Thinking Particles running in 3ds Max for correct motion blur generation in Maya.
  • Bi-directional Smoothing Data Transfer
    XMesh can convert between Maya edge smoothing and 3ds Max smoothing groups data, or alternatively use an explicit Normal channel to store the render-time surface normals.
  • Bi-directional Material Assignments Transfer
    XMesh preserves the material assignments of 3ds Max and Maya objects and provides bonus tools to transfer basic shader definitions between the applications.
  • Combining Multiple Objects Into One
    XMesh allows the caching of large numbers of objects into a single mesh while preserving all original channel data and material assignments with orders of magnitude better compression and higher performance than alternative solutions.
  • Rapid Saving and Loading
    With excellent binary data compression and multi-threaded saving and loading, the solution supports parallel saving on the network and single frame overwriting as well as animation retiming and recursive saving for history-dependent animation effects, producing small files with fast save and load times.

Similarly, Frost MY is a Maya-friendly version of Thinkbox’’s point cloud meshing solution that enables users to generate a single mesh from particles, vertex clouds, object positions, point data files or a combination thereof using various techniques. Key features of Frost MY include:

  • Algorithm Flexibility –
    Generate blob mesh surfaces using various algorithms including Union of Spheres, Metaballs, Zhu/Bridson and Anisotropic.
  • Wide Particle Acceptance –
    Point data can be imported from Maya particle systems, Krakatoa PRT files, RealFlow BIN files and Krakatoa PRT objects. Quickly produce geometry from Maya, RealFlow and Naiad fluid simulations, or recreate geometry surfaces from LIDAR point clouds.
  • 3D Print Compatible
    Meshes are watertight for 3D printing.