Thursday, October 1st, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Fabric Software ships Fabric Engine 2

Fabric Software has released Fabric Engine 2, the much-anticipated update to its platform for developing high-performance graphics tools, and introduced new site licensing options for larger studios.

The release was originally previewed at Siggraph 2014, with a steady trickle of demo videos in the intervening months. Fabric Engine 2 is already in use at studios including MPC, Double Negative, Hybride, Blur and Psyop.

Create tools without coding by wiring nodes
The main change in Fabric Engine 2 is Canvas, Fabric Software’s new visual programming system, which enables users to build tools by dragging and wiring nodes in a way familiar from other DCC software.

The system provides less technically minded artists with an alternative to KL, Fabric’s programming language, enabling them to write or customise tools without coding.

Psyop, which developed an in-house hair simulation system using Fabric Engine, noted that it now planned to use Canvas to “provide a node-based graph allowing our artists to reconfigure the system to suit [their] needs”.

New licensing options
In addition, Fabric Software has switched from a per-user licensing model to a new per-site model.

Smaller studios still get the ‘Fabric Fifty’ deal, which provides 10 interactive licences of the software and 40 headless licences for free.

Larger firms can choose the new Team plan, which provides 10 interactive licences and unlimited local headless licences, or the Studio and Unlimited plans, which provide unlimited licences of both types.

All three commercial plans come with options to rent the software or buy outright, with pricing starting at $10k/year for rental or $20k/year for perpetual licences.

3ds Max, Houdini and Modo plugins to follow
The blog post announcing Fabric Engine 2’s release also touches on Fabric Software’s future plans.

Betas of the long-awaited plugins for 3ds Max – also originally announced last year – Houdini and Modo are coming “over the next months”.

Plugins for RenderMan, Arnold and Unreal Engine 4 are “underway”, although there’s no info on release dates.

Upcoming Fabric Engine technologies SceneHub, which enables users to work with datasets too large to fit in memory by selectively loading in subsets of the data, and real-time renderer RTR2 are also now in alpha

Pricing and availability
Fabric Engine 2 is supported on Windows and Linux. OS X builds are provided but not officially supported.

Of the existing plugins integrating Fabric Engine into DCC tools, Fabric for Maya requires Maya 2014 and above on Windows and Linux – OS X is still to come – and Fabric for Softimage requires Softimage 2014 or 2015.

Read more about Fabric Engine 2 on Fabric Software’s blog

See videos of Fabric Engine 2 and the upcoming tools on Fabric Software’s Vimeo channel