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By Bruce Bicknell
When I heard that the new version of Vue xStream from e-on Software (www.e-onsoftware.com) was ready, I was very curious to see what the folks at e-on software had come up with to make the computer graphics crowd take notice and buy this latest version.
I was skeptical -- to say the least -- as new releases are coming out far more frequently for our favorite programs, some of which are definitely not worth the upgrade costs vs. the new feature benefits, for sure. I do have to state here that e-on software does not fall into that category and I’m not disappointed with the latest release of Vue 10 xStream, which has quite a few new features that make it an upgrade worthy of investing in.
e-on software has packed in many new features in this version, so let’s get right to it! Vue has been tagged by many as landscaping software, but it really is much more robust than that. Vue can render landscapes, vegetation, architectural visualization, photorealistic animations, and anything that can take advantage of the software’s photorealistic lighting and rendering.
On top of that, Vue 10 xStream gives professional computer graphic artists the capability of creating and rendering stunning environments in Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Lightwave, and Softimage! The possibilities are endless. We’ve seen the results in movies such as Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name just a few.
Now for the cool new features that have me (as well as many others) very excited. One of them is the new Roads tools, which is based on the new Spline technology. It offers a built-in road construction tool that allows you to draw a road path directly onto your terrains, and then automatically applies an asphalt texture to it. And, all the while, it adjusts the terrain surface to your path. How cool is that?
Next is the brand-new Physical Water feature, which introduces an accurate water-shading engine that adds absorption and scattering parameters to the mix. The realism that this brings to the table raises the bar for all other programs out there and allows you to create results easier than ever before.
Another notable tool is the library of Dynamic Rock templates that can be used to create single rocks or groups of rocks, generating a new and unique variation each time.
Next up are some of the back-end improvements that have me just as excited as the cool new tools, the most important of which have to be in the rendering department. Because of major changes to the structure of the internal scene processing, render times have seen an increase of up to 30%—this is huge! Also offered is a powerful new Render Stack with Comparison tools that allows you to easily stack your renders and test various postprocesses on the same image without losing valuable information.
There are many more new features in Vue 10 xStream but I’m running out of space on this page to cover them all; however, I do think that e-on software has really stepped it up with the release of Vue xStream 10. We computer graphic artists have been hoping for a more robust environmental tool that would allow for more flexibility and creativity, without leaving our favorite programs. And after seeing this new version, I think we’ve found it.
Vue 10 xStream costs US$1,495; upgrades are $395.
Rating: 10 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)