Fabric Engine 2.6 is here

August 21, 2017

Hello everyone,

We are pleased to tell you that Fabric Engine 2.6 is now ready.  As we ship this -the 3rd release of Fabric Engine in 2017- we thank all of the customers and other Fabric community members who have contributed their ideas and energy toward making Fabric Engine ever more powerful for custom tool development.

Fabric Engine 2.6 is a very significant release and includes:

  • New framework for creating custom manipulators
  • Rigging and animation improvements, including the use of AnimX and RBF solvers
  • New Fabric extensions (USD, Lidar) and re-wrappings (Bullet, FBX)
  • Asset Patterns workflows run inside Maya
  • UI / UX and workflow improvements

 

Fabric 2.6 video:

 

Fabric Engine Hair system example

Hair

(image courtesy Tom Sporer)

New Manipulation Framework

Custom Manipulators – You can now construct custom manipulators of your own design inside of Fabric Engine.  The new manipulation framework simplifies building tools and massaging data interactively in Fabric. Manipulation tools allow you to interactively select objects and their components, perform transforms, or paint and sculpt data.  With the ability to design your own manipulators in pure KL, you get to create tools and assets that are portable and decoupled from Maya and other digital content creation (DCC) applications in your pipeline.

Custom manipulators – code example

 

Custom manipulators – user interface result in Maya

 

Selection
Selection manipulator example

 

Rigging and Animation

F-curve widget –  A new widget integrated in the value editor lets you create or adjust curves to control animation of objects or use as modeling helpers (e.g. defining the profile of an extrusion).  This new widget reduces the need to interact with Maya or another DCC application to adjust values that change over space or time. Your Fabric Engine applications can now set or tweak function curve values directly.

Function curve
Function curve editor in Fabric Engine 2.6

 

Function curve
Function curve editor (deformation example))

 

Function curve
Function curve editor (modeling example)

 

AnimX support – Fabric Engine now natively evaluates curves exactly like Autodesk Maya through use of the AnimX open source library from Autodesk. The adoption of AnimX increases Fabric’s consistency with the leading DCC application and eliminates any need to approximate “Maya-like” behavior.  Interpolation methods in Fabric Engine are now fully transparent, which can be useful in matching behaviors from other DCC packages. The results are currently validated with Maya 2017 and will be kept up to date as new releases of AnimX are made available.

AnimX in Fabric Engine
AnimX curve matches Maya (see “z”)

 

Radial Basis Function (RBF) – Fabric Engine can now utilize an RBF to produce smooth approximations of surfaces that precisely pass thru measured sample data. This is particularly useful for pose-based deformations that need to be solved in real-time such as facial animation or secondary animation of cloth over a muscle system. RBF is also applicable to 3D reconstruction problems where sample data is sparse but accurately located, and to support kernel-based learning algorithms.

RBF solver
Radial Basis Function in Fabric 2.6

 

Extensions

Universal Scene Description (USD) – Fabric Engine can now process USD files that can describe arbitrarily large digital scenes. Developed by Pixar Animation Studios, USD organizes vast scenes composed of elemental assets that Fabric Engine can manipulate and process. With new support for USD in Fabric you can extract data subsets for specific needs, applying specialized solvers and renderers, or prepare data for consumption by downstream processes.

USD
USD support in Fabric 2.6

 

Lidar – Fabric Engine can now read files captured by Lidar digital imaging technology (which measures precise locations real-world environments in the form of dense 3D point cloud datasets). The new Lidar support facilitates the construction of 3D models from these point clouds that accurately capture building interiors, topography or as-built roadway intersections. Lidar support in Fabric can be used to prepare data for use in VFX and real-time pipelines or to build specialized applications that create and navigate virtual sets.

Lidar
Lidar point cloud in Fabric

 

Bullet – A rewrapping of the Bullet physics library, exposes functionality that was not present before (like soft body dynamics) and in a higher-level fashion.

FBX – A rewrapping of FBX extends the previously limited support of this library in Fabric .

 

Asset Pattern workflows inside Maya

Asset Patterns – These are rule-based recipes (formerly referred to as “import patterns”) in Fabric which read and write scene data with precise control.  Asset Patterns are now exposed into Maya, facilitating the use of Fabric Engine to import and export scene data from/to the industry standard formats such as Alembic and USD. Data processing and interoperability between Maya and other DCC’s is easier than ever.

Asset pattern in Maya
Asset pattern in Maya

 

UI/UX and other workflow improvements

There are several other UI / UX improvements that make using Fabric Engine 2.6 more productive to use:

  • Improved grid snapping when moving nodes and backdrops
  • The font size of the Function editor and Log widget can now be changed interactively
  • Removed unused presets in Canvas to improve discover-ability
  • Added visual feedback for inspected nodes in Canvas
  • Added film gate capabilities to the viewport
  • Implemented automatic Backdrop resizing in Canvas based on node selection
  • Improved the connection anchor toggle in Canvas Graph View and gave connection wires a consistent width
  • You can now automatically expose unconnected ports of a node selection
  • Added Type predefined ports to the SidePanel context menu

Additionally, we have optimized RTval compilation, implemented local storage capabilities for function nodes, added new functionality to the Geometry primitives such as UV to location capabilities for polygonmeshes (sample the UV space).  We created new presets like ambient occlusion, relax points in space or smoothstep, made a bunch of fixes and even added a new splash screen 😉

Last, but not least, we put to the test some of the new features of Fabric Engine 2.6.0 in a new Hair System production sample.  For a complete description, go here.

Hair
Hair system example in Fabric Engine (image courtesy Tom Sporer)

 

Fabric Software