Written by T. Michael Testi
Vue 6 Infinite is the professional version of e-On Software’s Vue 3D product line which is used to create realistic 3D environments. In total there are five versions of Vue. Easel is the entry level version for newcomers to 3D graphics. Esprit is designed for artists and illustrators. Pro Studio is geared for the advanced artist. Infinite is designed for the professional 3D animator and production studio. And xStream is the integrated solution; this is a version of Infinite that can integrate directly into other 3D applications such as Maya, 3ds, Lightwave, and Cinema 4D. To see all of the differences, you can check out the comparative matrix from e-On software.
The main difference between Vue 6 Infinite and xStream is that Vue 6 Infinite is meant to run as a standalone product and xStream is built to run in other products; other than that difference, the features are the same.
Vue 6 Infinite runs on Windows (2000 or greater) or Mac (OS X 10.3 or later) with 2 GHz or faster recommended, 1 GB RAM (2 GB or more recommended); an OpenGL enabled graphics card is not required but highly recommended with 1024x768 in 65K colors/16 bits (24+ bits recommended), and 200 MB free hard disk space. Multi-processor rendering is only available on all multi-processor OS X, 2000, XP Pro and Vista systems.
Originally developed by French College student Nicholas Phelps in 1992, Vue was created to construct animated landscapes. e-On Software was founded in 1997 with the release of Vue d'Esprit 2. Embraced initially by artists and animators, it has now become a feature in Hollywood and has been used to create scenes in such movies as Pirates of the Caribbean II and the Spiderwick Chronicles as well as for television shows such as those produced by the Discovery Channel. It is also finding its way into advertising and the fine art industry.
So, what's new with Vue 6 Infinite? A lot! Since this latest release is actually version 6.5, I will focus more on these items, but you can check out the complete feature list.
• EcoSystems Generation II – lets you directly paint over surfaces with pressure sensitive tablets. You can create stacks of layered EcoSystems, change the size and color on the fly, and control everything right down to individual instances. You can have multiple layers, each with its own complete set of parameters for easy control of separate populations. The new affinity setting allows control of one layer by another. You can even choose from EcoSystem display modes.
• Unlimited Overlapping Spectral Cloud Layers – will allow you to create complex and realistic cloudscapes. The spectral atmosphere engine is capable of rendering volumetric clouds with lighting and shadows. Spectral cloud layers are 3D renditions which allow you to create everything from thin ground fog to massive cumulonimbus.
• New Cloud Lighting technology – lets you set local lights that affect spectral atmospheres and clouds. Create true to life thunderstorms, searchlights or illuminated objects that fly through clouds.
• Faster Atmosphere rendering – lets you render spectral atmosphere animations faster than ever before with a new optimized anti-flickering technology.
• High resolution rendering – is now capable over a network of computers. The render control panel gives you precise control over every parameter which gives you the flexibility to do what you need without sacrificing quality. You can render in stand-alone mode or via network rendering. You can even integrate Vue 6 Infinite into a render farm that is capable of running several different applications.
• Animated Graph Editor – now lets you animate using keyframes, time curves, tangents and interpolation. It has been redesigned to give you all of the tools and controls you will need to create your animations. Along with traditional techniques, you also have an animation wizard that lets you create path animations as well.
• Omni and Directional Ventilators – give you much greater control in creating wind and special effects. These two new wind generators enhance the ability to create localized wind effects that can be linked to the movement of other objects in the scene.
• SolidGrowth 4 – Plant rendering technology will let you can produce flicker free animations. This is based on random growth technology so no two plants of the same species will ever look exactly alike. It also simulates the different color tones found in nature for greater realism. There are over 50 plant species (grass, shrubs, trees, etc) and you can develop your own, or purchase more online.
Vue 6 Infinite is nothing short of incredible! At first blush, one might look at this product and say that this is really only useful for animation and film production, but that would not be taking into account all of the other industries that could benefit from its use.
For example, if you are a builder, architect, landscape designer, or other professional that needs to emulate an environment, Vue 6 is the perfect application to model your design and/or prototype as a proof of concept design. If you are in advertising, what better way to provide backgrounds and other layout art without having to go on location or pay a high dollar firm to do equivalent work? The uses are endless.
With five different versions of Vue 6 ranging from $99 to $1035 USD there truly is a version for everyone and considering what this product can do, each is well worth its price.
If you want to see what some have done with Vue 6 Infinite you can check out the gallery that is located on the e-On Software website. There is also a pretty active community forum available as well. I very highly recommend Vue 6 and especially Vue 6 Infinite.