Thursday, September 27, 2012

3Delight render engine in AE and Nuke

Just found out that company Jupiter Jazz has released their AtomKraft toolkit for both After Effects and Nuke. I read about AtomKraft sometime last year but as it was still in beta or whatever phase I forgot about it. Now I rediscovered it and guess what! It offers 3Delight engine in AE for only 99$ and in Nuke for 399$. They also have a free watermarked version for AE and free 2-thread version for Nuke. Kind of cheap really considering what it can do.

So what can it do?

Basically it can:
  • read obj, Alembic and RIB files
  • read Renderman Shading Language shaders and compile them render-time
  • provide almost all features of 3Delight including GI, SSS, primitives, micropolygon displacement, motion blur, dof, HDRI lighting, image based shadows,  and so on
  • use Cortex tools
  • do camera projections (in After Effects!)
  • texture baking
  • render passes
  • proxy geometry
A whole bunch of stuff and I missed a lot of features. These are the primary ones that I noticed while reading their docs.

This whole thing made me think that maybe it is time to try to render our next animation project in 3Delight through Aftereffects. Sounds a bit odd but it's probably worth a try. Only thing to do now is get Blender Alembic exporter working and simply stuff things together in AE...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trip to Dolomites

In the first half of February I was off to Italian Dolomites for some rockclimbing with my girlfriend Kairi. We chose Dolomites as our destination because it is relatively easy to get there (Tallinn -> Bergamo by plain, train afterwards) and there are lots of different trad routes. Our main target were the Sella Towers group in central Dolomites, near Bolzano (50 km).

We really enjoyed the trip even though we had to retreat a bit early due to snowfall and cold weather. Sella towers are a beautiful place for climbing and really easy to access. At first we thought we would sleep in the refuge that is located on Sella pass but when we got there we decided to sleep in tent. Finding a place for tent there wasn't a very easy task but eventually we found a place that had been used before and was well hidden also :)

Due to our general lack of shape we managed to climb only two longer routes, the Steger route on First Sella tower and the Kasnakoff route on Second Sella. Steger was nice and easy, on Kasnakoff we made some quirky variation through rotten rock that deviated from the IV+ variant that is recommended in newer books. In addition we climbed some single-pitch routes on the Citta dei Sassi boulder field nearby.

Kasnapoff route on Second Sella - variation pitches