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EmberGen 0.7.5 Release Notes

EmberGen 0.7.5 is finally here!

This is our biggest release yet! It has been a long time coming, but it's finally here, and we sincerely hope that EmberGen can be a valuable tool to your work. We have spent 1 year and over a million dollars on this release, which to us is huge. During the time we started working on 0.7.5 we hired ~10 new people and we're blown away by what we've been able to accomplish.
EmberGen is a completely different beast now. We revamped the entire interface, massively improved the built-in renderer, made big changes to the simulation, and added a ton of features throughout.
There is way too much to list since this has been in development for a year, but here's a list of the major changes to give you an idea of what to expect.

Scene Viewport

  • Viewport controls and visualizations - New gizmos, manipulators, and visualizers oh my! These gizmos and visualizers now let you interact with the scene more intuitively.
  • You can now control the camera in a much more intuitive way, with your mouse, keyboard, or tablet.
  • When selecting the Camera node, The camera even has it's own gizmo and visualizer directly in the viewport.
  • Check out the Render and Export tabs for previewing, cropping, and export results.
  • For when you need to see the different components that you can export, you can preview them directly in the viewport.
  • There are now separate settings for both viewport quality and export quality, so you can gain a bit of performance by downgrading viewport settings.

Node Graph

  • You should have an easier time creating simulations due to our new tab system in the node info window.
  • We also added a few fancy features like double-clicking connections to delete, the ability to auto-link selected nodes with CTRL + L, and even some handy auto-organization features.
  • There is a new Combine node that can produce some pretty crazy results with via our new Oscillator nodes.
  • The new Math node does what it says on the tin... Math
  • You can now edit parameters of multiple nodes at once by selecting them and modifying the common parameters amongst all selected nodes.
  • Using the new node graph tree view can give you a different way to see an overview of what your node graph looks like.
  • Most parameters can be exposed to either the timeline or as an input pin on the node itself.
  • We added a new vorticles node to allow you to inject velocity with an insane amount of customization.

Timeline

  • Easily animate simulation and render parameters with our new timeline and curve editor.
  • Toggle between the timeline view with keyframes and the curve editor for extra control over animating your parameters.
  • The timeline now shows seconds and frames, and you can freely switch between them.
  • When you need some extra control over your timeline keys, you can use the autokey feature to create keys as you
  • move objects in the viewport.
  • You can now scrub through your animated mesh animations and backplate sequences by dragging the timeline playhead while the simulation is paused.

Node Parameter Controls

  • Inline graphs for advanced control over parameter details.
  • Visualizations for noise so you can clearly see how changes affect the simulation.
  • Watch out for various info and warning icons with tooltips that should clear up any confusion.
  • When you really want to push things to the limit, customize the bounds on parameters by typing in any number that you want.
  • You can now pop out the node details via a right-click menu on the node itself, which gives you more ways to work in our interface.
  • The new color picker looks great and gives you the ability to restore recent colors. Gradient saving will happen in the future.

Settings, Hotkeys, Search, Favorites, and more

  • A complete revamp of the UI means we could rethink how the interface is organized, making it easier to optimize your workflow and find the parameters that you use most.
  • Ctrl + Enter now opens a command pallet, so all the commands and settings you could want are right at your fingertips.
  • We now have a Favorites tab for grouping up your most-used parameters, and you can even save them in your project files. Favorite any parameter by clicking the star icon beside it.
  • Speaking of project files, you can drop a .ember file directly on EmberGen to open it up.
  • Export filenames can now make use of 'user variables' for precise control over export file names and extensions.
  • Take advantage of the search bars sprinkled throughout the UI, because they're really powerful for finding exactly what you need.
  • Added support for a user-defined 'template' project that will be the new project default.
  • Make sure you browse all the settings and hotkey options, there is a ton of stuff in there you can tweak. For example, you can change the camera controls to match Blender or Maya.

Animated Meshes, Camera, and Backplate Imports

  • The ability to import FBX and Alembic animations. Its time to take advantage of one of our most requested features. It's finally here!
  • Bring in your meshes and cameras, and composite directly inside of EmberGen.
  • Get your scene setup just right so you can see how your simulation looks with an imported backplate sequence via the camera node.

Shading and Rendering Improvements

  • We separated volume post processing and shading into two separate nodes.
  • Point and spotlights lights? Have as many as you want.
  • Want your custom shapes or meshes to emit light? Spawn a collider node and in the visuals tab set it to emit light.
  • With the new Volume post-modulation features, you now have enhanced control over how your volume renders. Add extra noise, visualize vorticity, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  • Combining the new viewport visualizers with our new renderer, it's easier to get the shading and lighting just right.
  • You can now toggle between simple and advanced modes for things like simulation parameters and shading. Jump in and get something looking good right away, or toggle on advanced mode and get access to all backend parameters.
  • It's tough to describe the improvements of our new renderer in text. You really have to see it to understand it.

Particles Galore

  • GPU particles, for those crazy effects that require lots of little bits flying through the air.
  • Shape particles, for the times when you need big chunks and trails flying through the air.
  • Burst particles, for those scenes that really need an sporatic explosive element.
  • Shape Particle collisions, for the extra oomph when you want those particles to really hit their mark.

Exporting Features

  • Cleaner faster exports including VDB, EXR, PNG, and TGA.
  • There is a huge array of ways you can export your sim, from rendering your entire scene, to scattering maps, and shape holdouts.
  • You can now choose an export background color for flipbooks and image sequences to prevent nasty alpha blending issues.
  • VDB exports now have their own node pin on the volume node, because it just makes more sense. Changes in the volume node DO propigate to VDB exports.

That's Not All Though

  • There is so much packed into this update, that we honestly can't even remember what else is new.
  • Dive in and make something amazing, we can't wait to see it!

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