Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Ephere ships Ornatrix V4

Originally posted on 23 September. Scroll down for news of the commercial release.

Ephere has posted its first preview video of Ornatrix V4, the forthcoming update to its hair, fur and feather system for 3ds Max, showing off some of the new brushing tools.

A number of other new features have been announced on the company’s forum, including new grooming options, support for MassFX hair dynamics with animated collision meshes, and improved Alembic export.

New brushing tools
Of the new brush options, the most universal look to be the new Brush and Strand attenuation diagrams, which enable users to set custom falloff profiles for brushes in order to fine-tune their effects.

There is also a new Pull brush to pull guide hairs out away from a mesh surface; a new Brush Along Surface option; and the previously “unpredictable” Surface brush has been made more intuitive to use.

Skinned characters can now interact with Ornatrix hair
Other new features not shown in the video but mentioned in posts on Ephere’s forum include MassFX hair dynamics support for deforming or animated collision meshes.

As a results, skinned characters can now interact with Ornatrix hair.

New groom options (Updated 18 November)
The update also adds Grooms: an XML format for defining hair presets, storing of a list of Ornatrix operators and their parameters. Presets saved in the .oxgroom format can be shared with other artists.

There is a Generate Groom button to create new grooms from a selected object; while the new Groom dialog filters the grooms offered according to object type.

The software ships with a range of predefined grooms, from a basic ‘Fur Ball effect’ that adds guide generation, editing, hair generation and render settings modifiers to a scene, to a Hair from Curves groom.

More controls when creating hairs from mesh strips
The workflow for creating hair by modelling mesh strips then converting the geometry to hairs, introduced in Ornatrix V3, has also been extended.

The HairFromMeshStripsObject gets per-strip hair distribution and hair volume controls for fine-tuning the results; and there is a new option to ‘fan’ hairs perpendicular to the strip surface.

New modifiers, improved Alembic export, many smaller changes
Other changes include new Rotate Strands and Multiply Strands modifiers. The latter generates multiple hair strands per hair follicle: useful for creating more realistic animal fur during grooms.

All appropriate maps in Ornatrix modifiers also now have an Invert option.

Alembic export has been extended, with the option to export individual objects to separate Alembic files; to choose XYZ scene orientation during export; and to export the render version of hairs.

There are also a number of other changes to the UI, existing workflows and the installation process, plus the usual set of bugfixes, which you can read about on Ephere’s forum via the link below.

Updated 18 November: Ornatrix V4 is now shipping, along with a new demo reel for the software (above).

As well as the features covered in our original story, there are a range of GUI and workflow improvements, including real-time feedback on brush size and strength in the Modify panel.

All of the curve editors now support undo and redo, and all points within each curve editor can be moved or deleted. In addition, all of the curve editors support panning and zooming.

Pricing and availability
Ornatrix V4 is available now for 3ds Max 2009 and above. A new licence costs $499.

Read a full list of new features in Ornatrix V4 on Ephere’s forum