On November 4th, 2008, E-on Software announced the availability of Vue 7 Infinite, which was probably just about the worst news day you could have picked to announce something. The US Presidential election was being decided that day, so if you haven’t heard that a new version of Vue is out, it’s not surprising. There is plenty in this new release to be excited about. Vue 7 xStream was also released the same day, but I will focus here on Infinite, since that’s the version I know and use.
What’s new with Vue?
Vue Infinite is a 3D scenery generator which is powerful enough for Hollywood studios (both of the latest Pirates of the Carribean and Indiana Jones movies used Vue) and yet it will run on your humble home computer. The entry-level version of Vue (now called Pioneer) has actually come down in price, from $89 to $49. To me, it’s just amazing that for fifty bucks you can buy software of this quality and power. While it’s true that the flagship products Infinite and xStream have gone up in price, E-on has recognized that a lot of their customers want the Infinite toolset but don’t have any interest in animation. For them, a new version called Vue Complete is available. (Actually, as of this writing, only Infinite and xStream are out, but the others should be available shortly.) E-on also seems to have realized that, while this release is good, it’s not a slam-dunk must-have, and so they have added a stunning 160 Solid Growth plants to help you make the decision to upgrade. And 20 of those plants are high-definition, using the new Solid Growth 4 technology.
In addition to the boatload of new plants, there are some other good reasons to upgrade. Here’s a quick rundown:
EcoSystem 3 technology: dynamic population, EcoSystem painting from any angle
Dynamic population means you no longer have to use materials to represent distant forests. Now can just assign trees to the new Infinite Terrain object and Vue does all the work for you. It renders only what needs be rendered, at the level of detail it requires. The new version of EcoSystem also lets you “EcoPaint” in any of the viewports, not just the top camera view. This, combined with the greatly improved Open GL display, makes it much easier to place objects in your scene exactly where you want them.
Spectral 2 cloud technology: highly realistic volumetric 3D clouds and cloud layers
The clouds in Vue 7 are truly remarkable. Clouds had been one of the weaker elements in Vue, but no longer. With the Spectral 2 clouds and the infinite terrains, Vue 7 establishes itself as the premiere 3D scenery generation software. There’s really nothing else like it.
New Radiosity engine optimized for Indoor and infinite scenery
Vue takes on the great indoors. Having mastered infinite scenery, E-on has now improved the radiosity engine in Vue so that it runs 4 to 6 times faster than Vue 6, and gives better results, both indoors and out.
This lets you control the appearance of water in your scenes. Create waves, and foamy shorelines. The waves are not curling yet, but we’re getting there.
Improved SolidGrowth 4 plant technology with high definition species for your “hero” plants
The high definition plants look more realistic in the way they “grow”, allowing you to move them close to the camera.
In Vue, all prodedural terrains are “smart”, in that they are only detailed near the camera. Version 7 introduces an “infinite” procedural terrain, which is really just a very large, 200km square terrain. Also new is that you create these by selecting a preset, much like you do for skies. Vue 7 extends the range of focus in your compositions beyond just the middle distance. Now you can do closeups as well as grand vistas, using the infinite terrain technology.
You can read much more about the new features of Vue 7 here on the E-on website.