Vue 11.5 Infinite review
Price: €1009.80 (£857) plus VAT
Pros: Particle system now interacts with EcoSystem instances, improved material management, some tweaks to the render stack, camera attributes can be frozen, GI pre-pass rendering on RenderNodes.
Cons: Still visual glitches in Ecosystem display, cameras are crude, rain and snow are lightweight, only a few EcoParticle emitter presets included, viewport windows aren’t independent
With the twice-yearly updates to Vue, anyone not on the automatic maintenance plan has to make the call as to whether the updated version offers enough new features to warrant an upgrade.
The first thing to note about Vue 11.5 is that it updates into your existing Vue 11 folder, replacing the version there, but retaining all your files like objects and materials.
The headline addition to the feature set has to be EcoCollisions. EcoParticles were introduced in the previous version and, as expected, development has continued on this front to enable the particles to collide with EcoSystem instances. There are a small number of particle emitters included to show how they work and the particles themselves can fall, bounce and interact with other particles.
It’s the animation side that will see the best use of the particles with parameters covering how they evolve over time once emitted. The rain and snow effects interact and now have a tick box for collisions. The collision settings include resolution, face rate and maximum impact. There are further tick boxes for storing impact energies, smoothing the effects out and creating collisions with static EcoSystem instances.
Most of the other changes are relatively minor, though if you are struggling with a high-poly scene on a relatively low speed Mac then the world browser responsiveness increase will come as a welcome. On a fairly fast Mac you won’t notice much difference unless the scene is heavily loaded.
When dealing with materials the summary has been improved so that the materials can more easily be manipulated and there are some tweaks under the hood for making them more efficient. For those with network licences, the RenderNodes can be set to render the Global Illumination pre-pass and save it, speeding up future network rendering.
A couple of points to notice in the post-render phase include the render stack and post production. Firstly, renders can be flipped horizontally but the interesting feature is merging a couple of renders on the stack. It enables you to get some idea of the results of combining certain features, especially atmospheric ones.
The comparing option is a little strange so that instead of putting images up, full screen, side by side, the cursor hides one render and reveals the other as you move it up and down. Other new features include reloading camera settings and setting specific numbers of stacks per scene.
Also in post-production, under the post processing tick box there’s a new option for input/output on the colour channels. Either all colour channels, or separate combinations of the RGB channels can be adjusted with a filter. This could be easier to use but at least it is precise, though if you head for Photoshop as soon as the rendering is completed, rather than trying to tweak in Vue’s post-prod, then it isn’t going to get much use.
The continuation of development on the particle system is very welcome but there’s still a lot more to come from it. The rest of the improvements for this version are all customer requests and nice little additions rather than killer new features. Even though this is not a must-have upgrade, Vue remains the number one choice in digital landscapes.