the latest with the fur and feathers tool.
Peregrine Labs recently released Yeti 3.5, the latest incarnation of its node-based procedural tool for creating feathers and fur inside Maya.
The tool now includes Alembic support, the adoption of OpenImageIO, a new default Volumetric guide model, Automatic Parting, a Switch Node, Projection based texture coordinates for feathers and Density based relaxation.
Yeti is now also available worldwide, including in the U.S., after an earlier patent issue. To get the latest on Yeti 3.5, we talked to Peregrine Labs’ Colin Doncaster.
b&a: In general terms, what has the past couple of years been like in terms of Yeti development? Where are things at with the availability of Yeti?
Colin Doncaster: Over the last year or so we’ve found our stride again with Yeti.
As a plugin that touches many places in a pipeline we have a fairly complicated dependency matrix so previously more time was spent on housekeeping, but with the industry adoption of the VFX Reference platform it’s been easier to stay on top of it – that has meant that our 3.x releases, especially 3.5, have felt more complete as far as features go.
We’re a small team (there’s 2 of us actually developing the product) but we have an amazing user base that is great at providing constructive feedback so it’s made it easy to stay focused – especially with so many fantastic products on the market it would easy to get distracted.
Our main areas of interest are artist productivity, speed and flexibility with the hope that leads to quality output.
It has been a great year for us, besides 3.5’s release our restriction of making Yeti available in the US has been lifted thanks to the fine folks at Epic. It’s clear that they’re keen on ensuring the industry is able to innovate by removing any road blocks as well as providing an amazing platform for the future of interactive entertainment.
b&a: With Yeti 3.5, what new features are you most looking forward to seeing users take advantage of?
Colin Doncaster: I’m happy that we finally have Alembic I/O, though I’m expecting a few customers to email complaining about disk space issues on export. 🙂 The import is really interesting to me as it starts to remove our dependency on Maya – watch this space.
The new Volumetric Guides should hopefully elicit a collective sigh from the community and provide much better control for artists.
b&a: What was involved, in particular, in implementing the new default Volumetric guide model?
Colin Doncaster: For non-Yeti users, our concept of a Groom and Guide are somewhat different – where Grooms define larger fields used for fur like characters and Guides have always been used for longer hair and details. Although different concepts they both shared a somewhat similar model for how the shape of the strands were matched – I concede this didn’t look great in some instances when dealing with long hair so they needed to diverge even more to provide better fidelity and control when styling.
This really came down to understanding how the artists wanted to work and the expected output while finding a model that matched that. What was implemented treats the space around the curves more as a volume vs. trying to explicitly match shapes, hence the original name. A side effect is that implementing additional control on top of the new model is much more predictable.
b&a: Can you talk about any where you’ve seen Yeti in action recently where you’ve been particularly impressed?
Colin Doncaster: I’m completely humbled by the quality of work our customers are producing, two that stand out are the amazing opening to the Venice Film Festival by Lightcut and Goose in Captain Marvel created by the team at Trixter in Germany. It’s worth noting that both of these use the Ziva muscle system that just adds so much realism to the motion of the fur.
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