Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

RandomControl launches Maverick Studio

Originally posted on 30 April 2019. Scroll down for news of the new features and perpetual licences.

Former Arion renderer developer RandomControl has launched Maverick Studio, a streamlined new application for product and automotive visualisation.

Described as “harness[ing] the science of light simulation beneath a UI created for designers and visualisers”, the software enables users to generate photorealistic renders of imported 3D models.

It provides a drag-and-drop workflow for assigning PBR materials and setting up lighting and a render camera, plus a physically accurate GPU-accelerated render engine with built-in denoising

A streamlined, drag-and-drop workflow for materials, lighting and rendering
In UI design and workflow, Maverick – it’s also referred to as Maverick Render on the product website – rather resembles Dimension, Adobe’s new ‘3D compositing’ software

Palettes to the left of the viewport hold libraries of readymade assets; a tabbed panel to the right shows attribute properties and more advanced controls.

Users begin by importing a 3D model, then dragging on readymade materials, positioning a render camera in the scene, and setting up lighting, either via stock HDR environments or direct lights.

More advanced options beneath the hood
However, compared to Dimension, Maverick looks a much less pared-down application.

As well as OBJ and FBX files, users can import CAD data in STEP or IGES format, and even Alembic files.

The software includes a PBR material based on Disney’s DCC-industry-standard Principled shading model, plus dedicated blend, switch, shadow catcher and volume materials.

There is also a node graph lurking beneath the hood for users who want to author their own materials.

As well as the library of HDR environments, lighting options include mesh and area lights, plus a physical sun-and-sky system; and there is a physical camera with a standard range of real-world controls.

The render engine is physically accurate, unbiased, and operates in full spectral colour space.

It’s also GPU-accelerated – via CUDA, so you’ll need an Nvidia GPU – promising interactive viewport ray tracing and tonemapping.

Like Dimension, it’s possible to generate a set of render layers for compositing in an external application, but where Dimension is geared around Photoshop’s PSD format, Maverick uses layered EXR files.

Rooted in renderer development
That may be because, unlike Adobe, whose traditional user base is very much graphic designers rather than 3D artists, RandomControl has a background in more conventional visualisation work.

The firm previously developed hybrid CPU/GPU renderer Arion and HDR image editor ArionFX.

Both now seem to be defunct, with the old product links redirecting to the new Maverick Render website.

Postings on external forums suggest that Maverick is based on the old standalone edition of Arion. We’ve contacted RandomControl to check, and will update if we hear back.

If so, development has clearly continued since the Arion days: Maverick includes a more recent industry-standard feature: support for Nvidia’s AI-based OptiX render denoising system.

Updated 11 May 2019: RandomControl tells us that ArionFX is still available, although Maverick replaces Arion itself.

The firm describes Maverick as “a full rewrite of Arion standalone, using Qt” but says that it is “much more complete already”, Arion development having historically focused on the 3ds Max and Rhino plugins.

A new competitor for KeyShot?
Interface design aside, a better point of comparison for Maverick might be KeyShot.

Although intended to provide a more intuitive workflow than conventional renderers, Luxion’s visualisation tool is targeted at users with some 3D or CAD experience, not people whose background is in 2D design.

It will be interesting to see if Maverick’s own balance between a simple drag-and-drop workflow and more advanced features beneath the hood can appeal to the same audience.

Updated 11 May 2019: We contacted RandomControl CEO Chema Guerra to ask what he saw as the selling points of Maverick Studio over KeyShot and other visualisation tools like DeltaGen and VRED.

He singled out the firm’s long track record in developing physically based render engines – its original product, fryrender, dates back to 2004 – and in CUDA development.

While Guerra acknowledged that Maverick is “not as feature-complete as others yet”, he commented that “we’re working hard to catch up”, and pointed to the product’s “quite aggressive” pricing policy.

Updated 18 June 2019: RandomControl has added a new LightMixer feature to Maverick Studio.

The system, shown in the video above, works like Multilight in Maxwell, or LightMix in Corona Renderer, enabling users to adjust the contributions of individual lights to an image without re-rendering.

Since we originally wrote about the software, the firm has been putting out a steady series of updates, with other new features including a free Rhino integration plugin.

RandomControl has also introduced a new perpetual software licence for the previously rental-only software.

Pricing and system requirements
Maverick Studio 1.0 is available for 64-bit Windows Vista and above. It requires a GPU with Compute Capability 3.5 or higher, so Nvidia cards less than four to five years old should be okay.

A perpetual licence costs €499.99 (around $560); rental starts at €39.99/month (around $45/month) for a floating licence. It is also now possible to upgrade to Maverick Studio from fryrender and Arion.

Read more about Maverick Studio on the Maverick Render website

Read a full list of features in Maverick Studio in the online documentation