Monday, May 4th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

EmberGen is now in beta

JangaFX has released EmberGen, its hotly tipped real-time gaseous fluid simulation tool, in beta.

The release adds a number of features over the commercial alpha, including a node graph for authoring simulations, a timeline editor, colour gradient mapping for smoke and fire, and simulation up-resing.

Equally significantly, it gives users a proper chance to test EmberGen before they buy it: unlike the alpha, the free 14-day trial now makes it possible to export data to other applications.

A promising hardware-agnostic real-time gaseous fluid simulator
Although it has only been publicly available for a year – and in alpha, at that – EmberGen has become one of the most hotly tipped products in the DCC market.

Described by JangaFX as the “world’s fastest volumetric fluid simulation platform”, it promises to enable users to create smoke and fire effects of a complexity approaching that of offline tools like FumeFX.

The software is GPU-agnostic, and has fairly low minimum hardware requirements: a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 1060 or AMD equivalent.

While its development team come from game backgrounds – CEO Nick Seavert used to work at Funcom – EmberGen has also attracted attention in the motion graphics and VFX markets.

Last month, JangaFX announced that it had partnered with Otoy to develop EmberGen FX, an upcoming edition of the software integrated directly with OctaneRender and Otoy’s other tools.

Simulate smoke and fire with built-in combustion parameters
As well as simply reproducing the dynamics of gaseous fluids, EmberGen’s combustion system mimics the way that real-world fireballs consume fuel and oxygen.

Simulations can also be affected by wind forces and turbulence, and constrained by collisions with the ground plane and external boundaries.

The resulting data can be exported to other DCC applications in OpenVDB format, or rendered directly within EmberGen – the software supports volumetric lighting, so the results look pretty good.

The resulting flipbook image sequences can then be used in game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine.

Images can be exported in a range of standard 2D formats, including EXR, TGA and PNG, along with motion vectors, normal maps, and additional data like emissive, albedo and temperature values.

New in the beta: a proper node graph and animation timeline
To that, the beta release adds a number of significant new features, including a new node graph.

As well as providing more precise control over simulations, it makes it possible to use multiple fluid emitters within a simulation, and to use custom emitter shapes.

It is also now possible to emit fluids from meshes as well as texture maps – initially, only static meshes – and for fluids to collide with meshes and geometric primitives.

The update also gives EmberGen proper animation controls, including a timeline editor with support for keyframe and curve editing of parameter values, and support for camera animation.

Other key changes include colour gradient mapping with support for density and temperature, making it possible to control the way that explosion simulations fade from fire into smoke.

In addition, simulations can now be up-resed before export – it isn’t simply a post-process effect – making it possible to run quick test sims at lower resolution, then export at final quality.

Pricing and system requirements
EmberGen is available in beta for Windows 7+ only.

Indie subscriptions, for artists with revenue under $1 million/year, cost $24.99/month or $239.99/year, with users qualifying for a perpetual licence after 12 months of consecutive payments.

Studio subscriptions, for studios with revenue up to $100 million/year, cost $119.99/month or $1,399.99/year per nodelocked licence, and $199.99/month or $2,299.99/year per floating licence.

Unlike the alpha, the beta version can be used for free for 14 days with no restrictions, making it possible to export files to game engines and other DCC applications.

Read more about how EmberGen works in the beta documentation

Visit the EmberGen product website