When I wrote my little article on the grid particles I wanted to sneak in a hint at modo 801, but somehow I forgot. I have been playing a bit with the late almost-ready-to-release-but-not-quite versions, so here are some of the goods:
- Better Snapping. Yes, finally. The old snap system was simply, and there is no way to say this differently, rubbish. The new one works just like you expect it to – it snaps to whatever you tell it to without flinching. This will make creating watertight meshes and aligning stuff much easier. This will also be handy if you use Mesh Fusion and need to create some items where the edges will need to line up perfectly.
- Enhanced References. Yepp, as someone who had been doing CAD-centric stuff the last 15 years I know the value of a working external referencing system. modo has had them already, but this new implementation they’ve basically reworked it from the ground up to provide better encapsulation of the referenced items and thus make them better usable across different scenes or as multiple instances in the same scene. BTW, xRefs are one of those things in Cinema 4D that drive me up the wall – it just doesn’t work and they always break one way or the other.
- Nodal Shading. We’ve all been waiting for that one, have we? But it’s not what you think. It doesn’t replace the shader tree, but works more like the other channel modifiers that you can access through the Schematic. So for now it really is more like a version 0.1. It has its uses, but it’s probably safe to say that you wouldn’t use it all the time and only resort to it if you can’t create a specific shading effect using the normal texturing tools.
Beyond that there is of course the usual tons of other enhancements, most of which I simply didn’t have the time to even give a look. There’s some new deformers, hair and fur enhancements, all that animation stuff with ghosting and timeline markers, Replicators that can be used in dynamics simulations and several other things. They also support color management with Open Color IO, but even after years of working with Adobe‘s color management such stuff confuses me and I’m always relieved when I get it working predictably. Well, either way, there’s lots of things to try and keep you busy.
In the meantime somewhere else on this planet and totally unrelated Video CoPilot have liberated their heat distortion plug-in from their jet aircraft pack, so it can be used by everyone for stuff like their hot tutorial. For 25 bucks it’s more than okay. Speaking of plug-in pricing, Houdini Engine is a different story. We now know that it’s gonna be at least 495 USD per year on a subscription model which isn’t exactly something to pick up while window shopping. That’s even more so since somewhere you are probably still going to need a full Houdini license to create customized assets if you can’t find a suitable pre-fabricated one. Ah, well, there go all my plans to geek out with this stuff… ;-)