Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Quixel releases Quixel Suite

Originally posted on 19 March. Scroll down for updates.

Quixel has announced Quixel Suite, a new product bundle of its games texturing tools NDO and DDO that promises: “All [our] tools reimagined. And expanded with something big.”

That “something big” is Megascans, an online library containing over 1,000 scans of real-world materials; and 3DO, a new Photoshop tool that enables artists to preview physically based materials in real time.

Alongside the new Suite, Quixel has cut its prices, relaxed usage restrictions of its products, and made the previous version of DDO, its Photoshop texturing toolset, available as a free download. Phew.

Quixel Suite: NDO, DDO, a free PBR material viewer, and Megascans
At the core of the Quixel Suite bundle will be “reimagined” versions of DDO and NDO, Quixel’s Photoshop normal-mapping tool.

Alongside them will be 3DO, a new “lightweight model and material previewer” that integrates into Photoshop, enabling artists to preview physically based materials inside the software in real time.

3DO supports multi-material meshes; real-time displacement without the need for a height map; post effects such as DoF, vignetting, chromatic aberration and SSAO; and is “100% compatible” with Marmoset Toolbag.

Physically based shading is very much the Big Thing in games tools at the minute: as well as Toolbag 2.0, it is supported in Allegorithmic’s Substance Designer 4, and will be supported in the upcoming Unity 5.

An environment textured entirely using materials from Quixel’s new Megascans library, and rendered in CryEngine. You can see the scanner used to capture the materials data being built in this video.

The new Megascans library
The final component of Quixel Suite is Megascans: an online library of over 1,000 scans of real-world materials.

Each comes complete with a much fuller set of maps than standard stock materials: diffuse, specular, gloss, normal, displacement, ambient occlusion, translucency, transparency and deep and shallow scatter.

All the maps are tiled, “identically exposed for 100% consistency” and provided as 32-bit HDRs.

Pricing and availability
Quixel Suite is currently available to preorder. A studio licence costs $499 – a saving of almost $300 on the previous price of NDO and DDO – and a freelance licence just $99.

In a change of licensing conditions, the freelance licence now permits modders, hobbyists and freelancers to sell assets created with the Quixel tools “unrestrictedly”.

Anyone ordering now gets the current versions of the tools, with free upgrades to the updated versions on release, plus “a few exclusive presets and Megascans materials to sweeten the deal”.

Existing owners of NDO and DDO will also get free upgrades to the new versions when they are released: currently scheduled for the second quarter of this year.

Anyone can now download the current version of DDO for free. 3DO will also be free, as will limited access to Megascans when the beta program begins later this year.

Updated 10 June: Quixel Suite is now in open beta. You can find documentation in the Wiki, and download the installer from Quixel’s homepage.

Updated 23 October: Quixel Suite is now officially shipping. According to a post on Quixel’s Facebook profile, the current 1.6 release marks the end of beta.

There doesn’t seem to be a full feature list on the product forums yet, but the website lists the new features in version 1.6 as: “Much faster, 250 new smart materials, full-auto material bases, 16K support, extended customizability for studios and tech artists, batching and much more.”

Even with the end of the beta, Quixel is offering a standard 30-day trial of the software – with the nice twist that it can be use for commercial work. You can currently download it from the homepage of the website.

Read more about Quixel Suite on Quixel’s website

Download the old version of DDO (Use ‘Get Legacy DDO’ link at at foot of page)