Thursday, November 21, 2013

Faceshift is now compatible with Unity!

This isn't brand new but Faceshift is one of those programs that I've grown to really enjoy using since I saw the initial demos at Siggraph. What I love about this system is how easy it is to use and how little you need to do to ramp up and get something going and ready for production. While you're not going to get insane MOCAP quality animation like a Vicon marker system, you get the benefit of having a realtime capture system just using a Kinect or similar camera that gets you decent results that can get to production quality with some clean up. I also love to do live demonstrations with this program when I do talks because there's a great interactive element to using this program with brand new users.

The big news these days is that on top of having Maya and Motionbuilder support, Faceshift now has a plugin to connect it to Unity. I think for games considering how much facial animation needs to be done on a regular basis with bare minimum resources, this is a great way to get a high volume of decent quality animation with quick turnaround.

Here's a link to the information of the Unity plugin:

Houdini Engine is out!

This is huge news for Houdini/Maya users! Houdini now has their back end exposed as a stand alone engine that can be interfaced by other major CG applications like Maya and Unity. It's in its testing phase so it's free to test until it goes beta. This is really big especially for procedural nuts who love the way Houdini handles VFX and procedural modeling. Basically you can create your digital asset in Houdini and directly interface said asset in Maya or Unity directly without having to bake anything out or figure out some clever pipeline trick to see your work show up in the other applications. Now you can literally merge to power of Houdini and power of Maya seamlessly!

I'm really excited about this and I'm jumping on it immediately to see what I can come up with using this new potential workflow.

Hit the jump for resources on how to set up the engine along with demonstrations and to see a video of a digital asset working in Maya from Houdini.

Maya 2014 LT is out!

Really great news coming from Maya these days. Now for indie game companies who want to make great assets for their games but can't afford Maya comes Maya 2014 LT. This is pretty much a stripped down version of Maya that left all of the new and old game related tools like the Directx11 viewport and HumanIK rig. There is one bonus however that comes with this version. The new big thing from Maya is the node based DX11 shader editor (seen above). Rather than write out your code, you can set up the logic via nodes like a polished shader editor in a top engine. The great thing is that at the end, Maya will optimize and export out your node setup as a shader file so you can apply it to your respective game engine now!

This is huge to hear from Autodesk and I'm really excited to use it. The shader editor is currently the only feature that you can only get with the LT package so it's worth a shot to give it a quick look to see how it all works. Unfortunately, you loose big stuff like Maya scripting with this version of Maya which I think is a huge loss. A big draw to this program is that to get a license, you just need to pay 50 bucks a month for it like a rental. I'm assuming this also means that when a new version of Maya comes out, you can switch over.

Hit the jump for a trailer video and the feature set comparison between Maya 2014 and Maya 2014 LT.