e-on software ships Vue and PlantFactory 2021.1
Image: Artur Rosa
The updates – referred to as either Vue and PlantFactory R6 or Vue and PlantFactory 2021.1 – add USD export, improved integration with Cinema 4D, and support for native Arnold materials.
Landscape creation tool Vue gets new options for controlling cloud materials based on altitude, and support for non-photorealistic rendering and dynamic relighting in the Path Tracer render engine.
Plant generator PlantFactory also gets a new system for baking texture maps from leaf clusters when exporting plants for real-time work.
The releases are the first updates to the software in seven months, e-on having previously been putting out an update every four months since dropping perpetual licences in favour of combined subscriptions in 2018.
Both applications: USD export
Changes common to both applications include support for Pixar’s Universal Scene Description format, which is rapidly becoming a standard in VFX production pipelines.
Both apps can now export assets as .usda, .usdc and .usdz files, the latter for use in AR and real-time apps.
e-on describes the implementation as a work in progress, but even in its initial form, users can export static and animated objects, materials, cameras, and entire Vue Ecosystems.
Both applications: revamped C4D integration, support for native Arnold materials
In addition, the software’s integration with Cinema 4D has been rewritten from scratch.
Files exported in .c4d format now include cameras and animation paths as well as geometry, and Ecosystems are now treated as native Cinema 4D instances.
3ds Max, Cinema 4D and Maya users can also now export files with materials in the native formats of Arnold renderer; and with Vue Ecosystems converted to Arnold procedurals.
Other changes common to both apps include support for the Substance GPU engine, which e-on says can speed up viewport rendering of Substance materials in .sbsar format by “200% or more”.
Users can also now specify real-world units for displacement on materials.
Vue 2021.1 only: new controls for cloud materials, support for non-photorealistic rendering
Of the individual apps, Vue 2021.1 adds three new inputs to the software’s Function Editor for cloud height, starting altitude and ending altitude, making it possible to control cloud materials based on altitude.
In addition, Vue’s Path Tracer render engine now supports non-photorealistic rendering and dynamic relighting, although at the time of writing, there doesn’t seem to be a demo video.
There are also a lot of smaller workflow and performance improvements, including the option to import splines in .svg format. You can find a full list in the online changelog.
Outside the core app, e-on software has added over 300 new items to Vue’s stock content libraries.
The assets are the last batch of content from the firm’s old Cornucopia3D site to be made available once more after a cyber-attack in 2017 took the original website offline.
PlantFactory 2021.1: bake leaf cluster textures for real-time work
PlantFactory 2021.1 adds the option to bake the geometry of leaf clusters – either groups of leaves, or leaves and twigs – into texture maps to improve the performance of exported plants in real-time applications.
As well as diffuse colour, the baking process supports the normal, ambient occlusion, backlight and highlight material channels; and leaf textures can be baked for display on one to three crossed planes.
In addition, users with Professional and Enterprise subscriptions get a new Cinema 4D integration plugin, available as a tech preview. 3ds Max and Maya integrations are already available.
Pricing and availability
The latest versions of Vue and PlantFactory are available for 64-bit Windows 8+ and macOS 10.13+ as rental-only product bundles. You can see a comparison chart here.
A Professional subscription costs $75/month or $750/year, while an Enterprise plan costs $99/month or $990/year for node-locked software licences; $1,490/year for floating licences.
Both include Vue plugins for Maya 2015+, 3ds Max 2016+, Cinema 4D R20+, and LightWave 11.6+.
A Creator subscription, which includes the software’s core tools, but lacks any export options or Python scripting, costs $19.95/month or $199/year.