Vue 10

The 3D landscape software Vue has hit version 10, and now has all its final versions and European-language editions available. I had another opportunity to have a play with Vue recently, in the new 10 version, and once again just came away asking… “why?

As you can see on Flickr and elsewhere, Vue is capable of great renders — but only if you have vast amounts of time and money to spare. I had a go at rendering a standard woodland scene that I was told ships with the software. And after two hours, this was the render I came away with…

Perhaps I was doing something wrong, since it looks so crap. But the point is that, give or take the realistic play of lighting, surely this looks a lot like a picture that a videogame engine can produce in a 20th of a second? So why on earth should it take two hours to render? And that’s just the one frame, with default lighting, nothing fancy. The poor sods who make animations in Vue must be waiting weeks for 20 seconds of film. For instance, here’s a Vue user in a forum I perused while trying to find if faster render times were possible…

“I have to exult. I re-ran the HDR panoramic sky scene in Vue that took roughly 72 hours to render on my old rig. I started it before bed last night, and this morning checked and it only took four hours! Wow, what a difference. I am now free to explore Vue’s rendering and scenery possibilities without being crippled by insane render times.”

That’s right, he’s “exulting” because a still image now “only” takes him four hours to render. At 1920px, which from what I could see seems to be the max. image size for a Vue render.

I started off in 3D with landscape software, and have always wanted it to live up to its promises. It never has. Masochistic landscape software such as Vue, Terragen, and Bryce really deserves to go the way of the dodo now. For work that’s only displayed online as a 1920px still image (that’s 95% of the hobbyist users, I’d guess), proper real-time landscape software seems likely to sweep it away. Probably in the near future, and based on the next versions of game-engines like Unreal or CryEngine. Lumion already offers a viable real-time option, although the software is geared for architecture and not for wild landscapes. The switch to real-time can’t happen too soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if vendors started porting the Vue scene packs to Lumion in 2012…


Real-time landscape render in Lumion.

6 thoughts on “Vue 10

  1. Wait a minute, now that I actually went to the Lumion website I see that they have these environments and terrains editable and built in to the software. So one would not have to import from Vue or Bryce. That’s pretty neat.

    The question is it possible to get iClone animations into Lumion then?

  2. “one would not have to import from Vue or Bryce”

    True. But, for the sake of a few OBJ exports, why not take advantage of the years of content that has been built up for the older landscape software? DAZ Stonemason stuff, too.

    “The question is it possible to get iClone animations into Lumion then?”

    I think the best way to do it would be to green-screen the iClone character animation, export via PopVideo, then layer the characters in front of the Lumion landscape video? Lumion is never going to be a character animation software, as far as I can see.

  3. I don’t know, but I went immediately to the specs and see that the free version is virtually useless except to practice on. The watermark alone is a deal breaker. The price immediately jumps up to 1500 (what are those, Euros?), and 3000 for the Pro version. The standard version has a sizable list of missing features, and relatively small library of models. Can you model your own items as in Bryce? And finally I see no Mac version which makes me wonder why I’ve taken the time to look it over thus far.

    I’m sure the software is advanced and well worth the price but your original question of “why” seems easily answered.

  4. Lumion can import models, even animated, via FBX, but not models with animation based on morphs or bones. Just parts animated in all axis, without hierarchy.
    Meaning, it can’t import animated human model, but we must chop up this model somewhere else, animate legs, hands or head moves (like a puppet without joints) and then import assembled and animated model.
    Quite unusable. For now.
    Even animated human models that comes with Lumion are not animated by bones; files are some encrypted point cache (vertex based) data.

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