The 5 best new 3D tools for April

We select the best new tools for 3D and VFX artists this month.

This time of year can often be a quiet one for those of us working in 3D art and visual effects, with developers gearing up for the events season and new releases being a bit thin on the ground.

However there are a few notable updates and newcomers, so have a read below to see what could help you improve your work or help you be more efficient.

01. Modo 10 series

Modo has been around for a while but continues to develop and grow

Recently announced is the latest version of the now long running Modo, the full solution for 3D artists that includes tools for modelling and texturing animation and rendering. Previous updates had followed the x01 naming convention, lending a feeling of continuity to the brand but The Foundry have broken from that with what would have been 1001. Instead they have refocussed a little and changed the way they are targeting their products.

10.0 v1 is the first of the new system and is aimed squarely at the interactive market, so if you are on the lookout for a solid 3D app for your VR work or game content then this is the one you want. It hasn't quite been released at the time of writing but it's just around the corner and will be followed later by 10.1 and 10.2 which will each have their own focus.

02. NVIDIA Iray VR and Iray VR Lite

Rendering power is steadily moving to the GPU and Iray VR looks set to a strong contender

Most artists will usually have thoughts of graphics cards when you mention the name NVIDIA but they are also software developers and one of their main applications of recent years is Iray, now with additional versions for VR. Iray VR has many uses but the obvious benefits are for engineers and architects, where they will be able visualize not just form and function but also lighting interaction.

If you are into architectural visualization and want a step up then look at Iray VR, as it will let you light your spaces on the fly without the process of having to wait for test renders. Imagine taking the power of your GPU to run interactive demos to clients, showing them how their desgins will look in any situation. VR looks to be having a resurgence and Iray wants in on the party.

03. Forest Pack 5 and Railclone 2.6

These two heavy hitting max plugins are well respected and rightly so

Possibly the best known plugins for 3ds Max is this pairing from iToo. Well regarded even amongst non-Max users, the software's abilities in rapidly populating a scene in an organic yet controllable way has always been a huge benefit but they've announced their newest version which promises to add even more features.

There are a few new features for both apps but the main ones are expression support, so all you maths tweakers can use expressions to control your clones and their placements. Second up and one that will please many is support for V-Ray 3.3 including motion blur.

Check the website for a full list of new options as there are many new render options and a bunch of GUI options which make for more efficient working.

04. popVideo 3

The popVideo keying tools allow easy background removal, with a single colour picker

If you work in VFX it's pretty likely you will have to work with green or blue screen footage. That's okay and working with different keying solutions is getting easier but there's still a lot of room for improvement. Reallusion has announced its latest version of popVideo, which includes some simple to use keying options that have sophisticated uses.

Using popVideo you aren't limited to the tradition blue or green screen studios but can effectively remove any colour background. The possibilities this opens up are enormous, from basic paper rolls that can bought from any photo supplies shop to working with sky removals or annoying artefacts. The tools is operated with a colour picker meaning traditional chroma values aren't a limitation.

05. Pixel lab NAB sale

The pixel lab packs are winners for quality and price

If you are a Cinema 4D artist and need plugins, materials and models then look no further. Joren Kandel has a huge range which is growing steadily, month by month. The news here is that he is currently running an NAB sale where you can save over $1000 on the complete set of products. Sales like this don't come around that often and, although this isn't about a specific product, it's well worth sharing.

Many of the items are After Effects compatible too, so check it out. Even out of sale these packs are heavily discounted and well worth investigating.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Redman is a 3D artist working in VFX and motion graphics for print, TV and film.

Topics

3D