When you work in 3D it can be difficult to keep up with the latest software because, quite frankly, there's so much of it flying about. And how do you know what's worth using and what's best ignoring.
That's why the CG Awards (opens in new tab) are so important. Every year these awards, run by 3D World magazine (opens in new tab), sees the industry vote for their favourite tech. And in the Software Innovation category, these are the three tools that were voted overall winner and runners up, respectively, in last year's awards...
01. MeshFusion (Modo) (opens in new tab)
Dubbed "the most amazing piece of software written in a decade" by one designer, The Foundry's Modo has built a reputation as a powerful modelling, rendering and animation package that rethinks common workflows from the artist's perspective.
Its MeshFusion plug-in, developed by Braid Arts Labs, and based on its standalone GroBoto modelling software, offers a whole new approach to Boolean modelling, taking away the complexity and frustration of Boolean operations and making the process of producing high-quality subdivision surface models consistent and accurate.
Brad Peebler, president of the Americas at The Foundry, believes that, "Modo raises the bar for artist-first workflows and that the industry is now starting to follow. MeshFusion appeals to so many because it delivers on the promise of better content creation faster. This approach resonates with the end-user community significantly and is a key reason why so many 3D artists love the software."
02. Bifrost (Maya) (opens in new tab)
The technology that once powered standalone application Naiad has returned as the basis for Bifrost: Maya’s powerful built-in fluid simulation system.
Fully integrated into Maya from the 2015 release, Bifrost enables you to preview simulations interactively in Viewport, helping you develop photorealistic results quickly and easily.
Designed to be accessible even to non-TDs, Bifrost adds a high level of realism to animated scenes. Autodesk believes its innovative nature, as well as its many features, contributed to readers and judges voting for the technology.
03. ChronoSculpt (standalone tool) (opens in new tab)
Although developed by NewTek’s LightWave Group (opens in new tab), ChronoSculpt is designed to work with a wide range of 3D software. Providing users with the tools they need to manipulate animation and simulation cache data, it can save countless hours by enabling artists to 'paint out' errors in baked caches by hand, instead of forcing them to re-run the entire simulation.
With support for common file formats, including Alembic and Autodesk Geometry Cache, it slots neatly into any production pipeline.