Autodesk has unveiled the latest versions of its character animation, 3D modelling and 3D animation applications.
MotionBuilder 2014 is now available for Linux and features new flexible motion capture workflows allow you to assign markers directly and an improved IK solver helps create higher-quality animation faster. There are also custom renderer and file referencing APIs, a new Ruler tool (above), the ability to set up scenes as if you're looking through a camera, and updated selection tools.
New Heads-Up Display elements include a Bloop Slate that enables editors viewing the rendered feed to make selections based on takes indicated by the artist; and a Timeline that displays heads and tails enables virtual camera users to see where they are within the scene's time.
Mudbox 2014 features fully automatic and user-directed options for retopologizing. Autodesk says that with the Mudbox Retopology toolset, artists can concentrate on aesthetic considerations as they sculpt, exploring and iterating freely without worrying about the underlying structure; when they have completed their model, they can use Mudbox to automatically or manually create an animation-ready mesh with high-quality topology.
The multi-touch workflows first supported in Autodesk Mudbox 2013 software have been extended to include direct manipulation of stencils on the screen, and support for Wacom's Intuos5 touch graphics tablet, the Wacom Cintiq 24HD touch tablet. These devices are able to sense input from more than one point at a time, enabling artists to benefit from the ability to use multi-finger, or simultaneous pen and hand gestures to manipulate the model, the camera view, or certain tool settings. As a result, creative sculpting and painting productivity is increased.
A new Camera Sequencer toolset in Softimage 2014 offers the ability to cut between multiple cameras, and to trim, reorder, and retime clips nondestructively - leaving the original animation data unchanged.
The CrowdFX crowd simulation feature set (above) introduced in Softimage 2013 software has been enhanced to provide improved performance and ease of use. Artists can now more easily adjust characters' behavior, while TDs (technical directors) can more easily blend and modify predefined animations.
It's now possible to override exposed ports of compounds within the ICE procedural framework. This enables artists to use the concept of passes and partitions, where the value for any parameter can be different in each pass, in combination with any aspect of ICE. In addition, performance while interactively editing complex ICE trees has been improved.
Exchanging animation data with other solutions that support the FBX 2014 asset exchange format is now easier, thanks to improved support for constraints and blend shapes.
A number of enhancements have been made to the High-Quality Viewport, providing a higher fidelity interactive experience: shadow maps now work with transparent objects; the quality and performance of Ambient Occlusion has been improved; and shadows are now higher quality.
UK pricing for the three applications hasn't been announced yet.
Motionbuilder 2014, Mudbox 2014 and Softimage 2014 also features new branding as part of Autodesk's new identity.