Originally published March 19, 2020. Scroll down for news about the 6.5 update.
The Japanese developer J Cube created Multiverse | releases USD 6.3, the latest version of Maya layout, look development, lighting and rendering for VFX and animation datasets.
The publication builds on the multiverse | in January to USD 6.0 version, which introduced a new, massively multithreaded, USD-native architecture, a new GUI and a native Hydra render delegate.
J Cube has also introduced a new free license that allows commercial use of the software but requires a permanent internet connection.
New "massively multithreaded" USD-native architecture
Multiverse is designed to create, play and modify complex scenes, such as: For example, those created during the recording layout or while adjusting visual effects or feature animations.
The software received a major update earlier this year with Multiverse | USD 6.0 Introducing a new architecture based on Pixar's Universal Scene Description format: Now standard in VFX pipelines.
In addition to reading and writing USD files, users can also create USD hierarchies directly in Maya using the new MEOW user interface, which is rated as “responsive, logical and extremely fast”.
The new architecture forms the basis for a unified rendering workflow, with various third-party renderers supported as viewport delegates within USD's Hydra rendering framework.
Currently, path-tracking output from 3Delight NSI bundled with Katana can be streamed into the viewport, and procedural renders can be streamed from 3Delight and Arnold, with other renderers "soon" supported.
J Cube describes the architecture as "massively multithreaded" and claims "up to 100 times faster performance in creating, reading, drawing, editing, playing and rendering time to the first pixel".
The process of streaming scene updates on Multiverse | USD's Hydra Storm native viewport is also GPU accelerated via OpenGL on Windows and Linux systems and via Metal on macOS.
New in 6.3: Better animation support when writing USD assets
Multiverse | USD 6.3 itself extends support for animation when writing USD assets, including animated cameras and skinned characters, as well as skin weights, shared hierarchies, and skeletal animations.
The USD library distributed with Multiverse can now coexist with USD libraries from third-party Maya plug-ins to avoid potential pipeline conflicts.
Updated May 11, 2020: J Cube has multiverse | releases USD 6.4, integration of RenderMan and V-Ray.
In either case, the integration allows USD files to be rendered with polygonal geometry, subdivision areas, points and curves. and supports all kinds of motion blur.
Both integrations also support "all rendering modes" including command-line rendering via RenderMan’s RIB format and V-Ray’s Vrscene format.
Updated August 8, 2020: J Cube has multiverse | released USD 6.5, support for rendering with Redshift on Windows and Linux.
Additionally, the 3Delight NSI rendering library now comes with Multiverse | shipped in USD so it can be used for rendering viewports without the need for 3Delight to be installed.
The update also enables layers to be muted in a multiverse connection. Import USD data from a connection directly from the MEOW interface; and synchronize imported data with USD again.
Prices and availability
Multiverse | USD 6.5 is available for Maya 2018+ on Windows, Linux and MacOS. It is compatible with Arnold 5.2+, 3Delight 1.7+, Redshift 3.0.22+, RenderMan 23.2+ and V-Ray Next and interoperable with Houdini 18+.
J Cube is now offering free licenses for freelancers and studios who want to evaluate the software.
They require a permanent internet connection for activation, receive fewer updates than commercial licenses and only have community support via Slack, but allow use in commercial projects.
Pro licenses can be used offline and include full product support. They are now only for rent. Pricing for interactive floating licenses starts at $ 285 / year and for render licenses at $ 95 / year.
Read more about Multiverse | USD on the J Cube website
Read a full list of what's new in Multiverse | USD 6.5 in the online release notes
Watch videos of the new features in Multiverse | to USD on J Cube's YouTube channel
Erratum: This story originally referred to Multiverse | USD as Multiverse Studio, the previous product name, and included more information on previous versions. Sorry for any confusion.
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