Thursday, July 21st, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Fabric Software releases Fabric Engine 2.3

Fabric Software has released Fabric Engine 2.3, the latest update to its platform for developing custom tools for CG pipelines, adding Blocks: an artist-friendly new extension of Fabric Engine’s visual programming system.

The update will be on display at Siggraph 2016 next week.

Blocks: an even more non-coder-friendly way to author new tools
Described as an “elegant mechanism for things that used to require coding”, blocks are an extension of Canvas, the node-based visual programming system introduced in Fabric Engine 2.0.

According to Fabric Software: “Blocks are Canvas graph containers for user-provided functionality within a preset – the “block” inside a “for” loop is literally a Canvas graph.”

The system enables TDs to create presets exposing only a limited, more artist-friendly set of controls.

Other users can then modify the preset by filling in the content of the blocks visually, without needing to understand all of the underlying details.

Powerful results from purely visual programming
The video above illustrates the complexity of the results achievable using blocks, which range from advecting particles to a fluid simulation to generating the entire Mandelbrot set fractal without coding.

Fabric Engine 2.3 also comes with “a beautiful mix of low and high-level” readymade blocks for artists and TDs to use as a starting point in their own work.

The capabilities of the new system, and its relationship to KL, Fabric Engine’s internal programming language, are discussed in detail in an interesting post on Fabric’s blog.

Other changes in Fabric Engine 2.3 include “lots of UX improvements, including a revamped Function Node Editor”, plus a new basic Linear Algebra extension.

Pricing and availability
Fabric Engine 2.3 is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Pricing starts at $2,000 for one interactive licence and five headless licences, with a range of packages and rental options available.

In addition, individual artists get their first licence free, while studios can get the free ‘Fabric Fifty’ package of 10 interactive and 40 headless licences.

Read a full list of new features in Fabric Engine 2.3