I am pleased to announce that version 1.9 of PixelBerg is finally available.
If you are a VIP member you will find PB 1.9 in your VIP members download area. It has a few changes and fixes over the last prerelease which are detailed bellow.
If you made a purchase of PB in the last 14 days you will receive a link via email to download the latest release. (If you don’t receive the email with 48hrs please let me know with your original order number.)
For other or new users the store has been updated with the latest version and you can purchase and download it from there.
New Sky system
The sky system has been overhauled and the sky creation tab removed. There is now a single input for a lat/long image file and PB does the rest on the fly in real-time. This not only means a better workflow as you no longer have to bother with the conversion step but also improves the quality of the lighting from the sky as certain optimizations and approximations that were needed on the CPU for speed are no longer necessary.
The sky system also features another handy addition in the form of the ability to set a sky object as the “default sky”. When a sky is toggled as a default sky any materials etc. without a sky link will use the default sky. Again this improves workflow by saving you the step of assigning a specific sky to a material however that option remains if needed for certain circumstances.
When using the standard render Post effects are now done on the GPU meaning lighting fast renders and a massive speed up over previous versions when using the standard renderer. Pre 1.9 post effects were done on the gpu and took up most the rendering time now that they are on the GPU they are virtually instantaneous depending of course on the output size.
Improved AA options
When using the Hardware render a new SuperSampling Antialiasing method has been added. SuperSampling can be enabled from the Antialiasing post FX tab and you can choose either 1.5x or 2x ss for the Hardware render.
You can also choose to enable 2x ss for the viewport although in my opinion it is best used in the final render.
SuperSampling is a brute force AA method and basically internally renders the wholes scene at a larger scale then filters it down to the desired size which improves aliased artifacts. With that in mind It should be used with care as depending on the output size it can be a resource/memory hog due to actually being render at twice the size and requires a fairly powerful GPU.
This is the first step on improved AA and currently limited to 2x so expect further improvements to AA in the future.
Changes over 1.8 and 1.9 PR4
- Fixed Stability issue on Mac OSX with texture loading causing crashes.
- Fixed issue with sky shadow density not working properly.
- Fixed shadows appearing on backfacing polys.
- Added an option for POM bump mapping to generate normals.
- Fix Bug Crashing on sky creating with high end nvidia GPUs.
- Added default Sky option (Setting a sky to default means that any materials without a sky link will use the default sky).
- Added Sharpen post FX.
- Standard render post FX now done on GPU (massive speed up)
- Sky calculations improved providing better quality
- Removed Sky Creation Tab as the sky maps are now created in realtime from a LatLong input map. Fixed graphic issue with older GPUs (hopefully Iris gpu too).
- Standard render now replaces original alpha channel as this is used for data during post fx calculation.
- SuperSampling AA added to Hardware render (use with care as renders at twice resolution and scales down) and viewport.
- Filmic Tonemapping Added and now default.
- Fixed bug with mapping (Tile,seamless) so viewport matches standard render.
- Added basic material converter PB<>C4d (not perfect because C4D materials are very flexible but should get you about 90% there in most cases).
- Tweaked watermark so it can be set as a scale to the output imagesize.
- Various other minor fixes and tweaks.
- R18 build added (*Removed R15 build due to R18 and plan to support last 3 C4D releases this may change if there is enough call for a R15 build).
PB 1.9 took a bit longer than I expected because I was obviously aware of the improvements to the C4D viewport that Maxon had made in r18 and wanted to take a bit of time to reflect on how this would affect the future of PixelBerg. While the enhancements in R18 are not as feature rich as PixelBerg it does indicate that Maxon are putting more focus into this area.
Obviously PixelBerg occupies a different space and appeal than c4d standard work flow, materials etc. being a real time render system that is perfect for real-time artists (especially those who use other PBS/PBR based programs like ndo, substance suite, unity, unreal ...) while flexible enough to be used in a variety of other projects.
After taking about a week to think about it and examine Maxons changes I came to the conclusion that this is only a good thing for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that PB is tightly integrated into C4D so any improvements to the underlying Opengl systems by Maxon only helps PB which “mostly” uses those systems giving further opportunity to improve, expand and make PixelBerg even more powerful.
One example of this is painting, Maxon have announced that they are making improvements to Body paint to support Opengl painting within the r18 release cycle. I have been holding off on painting tools for PB trying to decide if I should just implement my own but with this improvement to Bodypaint I plan to make PB materials support painting in bodypaint which would be awesome (probably with some extras like defining materials to paint similar to substance painter).
So in short PixelBerg’s future with your help and support looks bright and there is still lots and lots of new things to add and improve.