Machstudio 2 pro is a very attractive looking realtime render and animation system for those who can use the power and style of GPU based shading systems. Think about it as Blender GLSL shading on steroids. It offers extreme powerful tools such as realtime Ambient Occlusion, programable shaders, HDR lightning, Screen Space Global Illumination, render passes, individual light to object linking, Depth of Field, Real-time displacement mapping using hardware tessellation, reflection and refractions, and others. It also features a very intuitive to use character animation system including NLE timeline. Best of it is that it was released as free.
Machstudio 2 pro reminds me very much about a commercial product I used for rapid material and product presentations. Those packages such as Alias Portfolio cost most times around 10k per licence. So in case you are working in the product or architecture area this might be a great additional tool for you to visualize your 3D models. I for myself find the GLSL implementation in Blender lacking many features and speed and this seems to be great for the task of producing fast material previews.
You can get Machstudio 2 pro at: http://www.studiogpu.com/
- Robust Shader and Material Pipeline
- Optimizes material creation using industry standard (blinn, phong, lambert, etc.) and specialized shaders (sub-surface scattering, reflection, car paint, etc.).
- Interactive Ambient Occlusion (AO)
- Streamlines one of the most time consuming processes in the production pipeline, the powerful real-time AO generator reduces days to hours and hours to seconds.
- Fully-configurable constraint systems for lighting and animation
- Provides unprecedented artistic freedom to design complex lighting rigs with the flexibility to quickly alter them at any point in the production process.
- Fully animatable properties for all objects, lights, materials and cameras, including auto-keying
- Bring static images to life with a flexible auto-key system. All objects, down to the fragment level and property keys can be animated.
- Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) cameras and lighting
- Provides powerful settings, which allow artists to choose the best exposure for their images.
- Discreet light-linking functionality
- Allows artists to easily connect lights to any object, material and even render pass.
- Fully-configurable Python Scripting, Attributes and Expressions Interface
- MachStudio Pro is fully scriptable which allows easy customization into any production workflow.
- Pixar RenderMan Integration
- Provides the flexibility to switch between or combine fast high-fidelity MachStudio Pro GPU-based rendering and industry-standard Academy Award®-winning Pixar RenderMan CPU-based ray tracing rendering software on-the-fly to create beauty shots and/or specific render passes.
- MetaSL and mental ray Support
- Allows 3D artists to quickly and easily build MetaSL-based custom procedural shaders using an intuitive mental mill® node graph user interface for rendering out to both the mental ray and MachStudio Pro renderer.
- Improved Pipeline Rendering Functionality
- Offers a new Unified Pass Renderer (UPR), which breaks out all passes for the final render, and an EXR Sandwich Tool that combines all EXR files into one layered file for compositing.
- DirectX 11-Based Workflow
- Offers more efficient rendering, tessellation, and multi-threading capabilities for improved performance throughout the pipeline.
- Volumetric and Screen Space Global Illumination (GI)
- Takes into account the bouncing of light from surfaces, allowing for more realistic renderings.
- Spot and Directional Lights
- Allows for greater freedom towards achieving perfect lighting conditions.
- FBX Output
- Exports models and baked textures in the FBX file format for compatibility with all leading 3D modeling and animation software programs.
- Increased Python Support
- Allows for the creation of custom properties, parenting objects, and spot and directional lights.
- Workflow Improvements
- Eases organization and viewing of everything in a scene, including groups, hierarchies, context menus, light sets, influencers and render pass isolation.
- Real-time material creation and manipulation
- Percentage-Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS) depth map shadows
- Physically-based camera lenses with depth of field
- Stereoscopic camera support
- Procedural ramp texture generation for projected lights
- Real-time displacement mapping using hardware tessellation
- Vertex animation compression
- Depth-peeling for higher precision AO and transparency sorting
- Reflections and refractions
- Subsurface scattering
- Floating point velocity maps
- Multi-threaded interface and renderer
- Custom configurable anti-aliasing algorithms
- Industry standard render passes for streamlined integration with compositing