Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Fabric Software releases Fabric Engine 2.1

Fabric Software has released Fabric Engine 2.1, the next update to its platform for developing custom tools for CG pipelines, adding new presets for its Canvas visual programming system and revamping its Value Editor.

The company has also released a closed beta of Fabric Engine for Modo, its long-awaited integration plugin.

New presets to help users get started with Canvas
Most of the changes in Fabric Engine 2.1 centre around Canvas, the node-based visual programming system added in Fabric Engine 2.0 – particularly its ease of use.

In a blog post announcing the new release, Fabric Software CEO Paul Doyle admitted that “the ‘time to usefulness’ in Canvas has been longer than we intended”.

To that end, the update introduces 25 new Attributes Presets: readymade nodes designed to handle common tasks in geometry pipelines, like reading surface properties and transferring them between geometries.

There are also further presets devoted to more general tasks like file I/O, incuding a complete set of high-level presets for handling data in Alembic format.

The new presets should make it quicker and easier for less experienced users to develop tools. Fabric Software has also added a quickstart guide to its documentation aimed at programmers new to the platform.

New diagnostic tools and option to execute Canvas bindings via scripts
Power users get a new diagnostics window, intended to identify what has gone wrong when a graph fails; and the ability to execute Canvas bindings through Fabric Engine’s native KL programming language.

The Value Editor, which provides input widgets to drive values on Canvas nodes, has also been revamped. The changes aren’t easy to summarise, but you can see them at 00:30 in the video above.

There are also a number of smaller new features, which you can read about in the release notes.

Fabric Engine for Modo now officially in beta
Fabric Software has also released Fabric Engine for Modo – its long-awaited integration plugin for The Foundry’s 3D modelling and animation system – in closed beta.

According to Doyle, “We still have a few things to do before we have parity with what we offer for Maya and Softimage – the most obvious being drawing to the viewport and support for Kraken rigging.”

You can see the current functionality in the video above: Fabric Software says that it expects to add the remaining features “later this year”.

An integration plugin for 3ds Max is also in closed beta, with Houdini and Unreal Engine 4 also due at an unspecified point later this year, although there’s no more news about them this time round.

Pricing and availability
Fabric Engine 2.1 is available for Windows and Linux, with Mac OS X support to come “in a subsequent release”. Integration plugins for Maya 2014 and above and Softimage 2014 and above are publicly available.

Read a full list of new features in Fabric Engine 2.1

Read more about the beta release of Fabric Engine for Modo
(Includes link to apply to join the closed beta)