Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

AAA studio releases FurryBall RT

Originally posted on 3 July 2015. Scroll down for news of the software’s official release.

AAA studio has unveiled FurryBall RT, the next version of its GPU-based production renderer.

The release would have been FurryBall 5.0, but it’s more of a rewrite than a conventional update, overhauling the software’s entire core code, and introducing a new maintenance policy.

FurryBall RT has been available in beta for a few months, but AAA studio tells us that the current release candidate should be the final one, with the full version due to ship officially next week.

From Maya to 3ds Max and Cinema 4D – and back to Maya
Originally a rasterisation renderer for Maya, FurryBall added support for raytracing in version 4.0. The 4.0 release also added a new 3ds Max version, followed by Cinema 4D in version 4.8.

The new release makes it a pure CUDA-based raytracer – RT stands for ‘RayTrace’, ‘RealTime’ or ‘RevoluTion’, apparently – and temporarily suspends the 3ds Max and Cinema 4D editions.

Faster, more accurate GPU-based renders
According to AAA studio, the rewrite of the renderer core has resulted in significant speed boosts – viewport response is “about 30x faster than FurryBall 4” – and more efficient use of GPU memory.

As well as the image quality you’d expect from physically based lighting and materials, AAA studio has implemented motion blur and physically based depth of field, the latter without additional render time.

The software can also generate render passes without additional calculation time, including a colour matte pass. FurryBall RT supports mental ray, V-Ray and Arnold shaders, including unlimited layered shaders.

Partial support for hair, fluids and third-party add-ons
When it comes to simulations, FurryBall RT supports most of Maya’s older features, including Maya Particles, nParticles, Maya Hair and Maya Fluids, with XGen and Bifrost “coming soon”.

The software also supports Shave and a Haircut, with Yeti, FumeFX and Krakatoa also on the roadmap.

New maintenance policy with regular weekly updates
FurryBall RT’s beta release also marks the start of a new upgrade policy. Rather than conventional numbered updates, AAA studio now plans to release new builds whenever new functionality is ready.

Each new build is accessible to anyone with a valid maintenance contract or rental scheme, with new licences coming with three months of free maintenance.

Maya version available now, Cinema 4D to come
If you’re a Maya user, you can switch to FurryBall RT now. (Whether you have to pay anything depends when you bought your licence of FurryBall 4.x, and under what terms).

If you’re a Cinema 4D or 3ds Max user – or if you want to use an AMD GPU – you’re stuck with FurryBall 4.8 for now. FurryBall RT will “hopefully” support Cinema 4D later this year, with 3ds Max to come.

New licences of FurryBall RT also come with a free licence of FurryBall 4.8. You can actually install both on a single machine, but you can only load one at a time within Maya.

Updated 7 July: FurryBall RT is now officially shipping for Maya 2011 and above, running on 64-bit Windows Vista and above only. Linux and Mac OS X support is planned.

A new perpetual licence costs €599 (around $665), with rental starting at €99/month. Maintenance costs €249/year. Users of older versions of the software who don’t qualify for a free transfer can upgrade for €359.

If you want to try the new version, there is also a free non-commercial edition, which limits render resolution to full HD and temporarily watermarks output.

Read a full list of new features in FurryBall RT

Read more about AAA studio’s new maintenance policy
(Includes details of who qualifies for a free upgrade to FurryBall RT)

Read the FAQs document about FurryBall RT vs FurryBall 4.8