updated 08:25 am EDT, Thu July 28, 2005
Turtle 2 for Maya
Illuminate Labs today announced the next generation of its renderer for Maya. Turtle, which can open and render extremely large scenes with advanced lighting effects, is fully integrated in the Maya GUI and uses native Maya shading networks. "You can take any native Maya scene and render it with natural ease in Turtle. It quickly produces the highest quality images with any kind of advanced modeling methods and global illumination effects," says Nils Wirell, Product Manager at Illuminate Labs. Turtle 2.0 will begin shipping worldwide in August of 2005. Turtle is available for Maya 6.0 and newer for $1,200 (workstation license) or $1000 (renderfarm license).
Turtle 2 is based on the second-generation of the LiquidLight technology platform. It features a new Shading System, which is no longer based on Maya's API (application programming interface), but has been created from scratch based on the native Maya shaders. Artists can use the familiar native Maya shaders for predictable results, but with much better performance in Turtle, according to the company. The software also features new realistic materials and utility nodes to complement the native Maya shaders. Illuminate says the performance gains from the new shading system architecture are "dramatic," saying that scenes with complex shading can be rendered at more than twice the rendering speed than before.
The new Render Pass System offers users more control over the compositing of images. Component passes include Reflections, Refractions, Incandescence, Subsurface Scattering, Global Illumination and much more. In Turtle 2, users can build custom passes from any shading network, such as motion vectors, reflection occlusion and normals. Any shader can be rendered as a separate pass.
The improvements to Global Illumination include a new final gathering shading method, IES-light profiles and global adjustment of intensity and saturation. Users can combine indirect illumination (transparency, incandescence) within the direct light from a photon map. Photon Shaders also separate the photon scattering properties from the surface shader.
Baking Improvements include super-sampling and filtering of the baked textures and the baking of surface properties from high-resolution surfaces to low-resolution surfaces. Turtle 2 offers high-quality quality vertex and texture baking, including ambient and reflection occlusion as well as global illumination. It also supports batch baking of multiple objects and multiple frames for large scale production.
With the Surface Transfer function, users can also transfer surface properties from high-resolution to low-resolution objects. Surface Transfer supports the output of normals, displacement and lighting/shading at levels of detail unseen in similar tools.