I have been working with Vue 9 Infinite since its pre-release in mid October, 2010. I use a PC with 12 gig of ram using Windows 7 64-bit. I found that E-on has added a number of great new features while improving a number of others. I will be discussing Vue 9 Infinite mainly from the aspect of still work and not animation although I will list the latter's new features. For me, this release has been incredibly stable. The number of new features and their worth and power have been growing on me as I keep working with Vue 9 Infinite and finding new additions or the streamlining of older ones.

Sometimes new features that do not appear important at first become very important. One of these is the new Relighting feature which I will discuss at length.

First, I found Vue 9 Infinite faster than Vue 8.5 Infinite. I did a series of tests before I updated. I purposely chose a long render using User Settings for the render. The only importance is the relative times. For Vue 8.5 Infinite, the render took 11 hrs 38 mins 56 secs; while for Vue 9 Infinite pre-release, it took 9 hrs 20 mins 49 secs.

Vue 9 uses real world units and has changed their internal measurement system. Prior to Vue 9, 1 Vue Unit = 0.1 meters. Screen capture is from Vue 8.5 Infinite.

In Vue 9, 1 Vue Unit = 1.0 meters.

This has been creating the need to make changes when using some materials and atmospheres, the majority of which have been based on the older system for generations. So, if something looks "out-of-wack" be aware of the new default system. You can always change the Vue Unit to anything you like, so with new materials always coming out, you might want to be aware of this change. I would like to see more information on this change so that users can manipulate textures created in earlier Vue versions with more confidence and efficiency.

Personally, if desiring to deal in "the real world," I believe these changes make sense because no background mountain is 5 meters high.

New Features in Vue 9 Infinite is from the E-on website. I though I would include the links because this will make it easy for the reader to navigate.

  • EcoSystem 4
  • HyperBlob Technology
  • Rocky Mountains Fractal
  • Terrain Retopology
  • Improved Terrain Editor
  • Relighting
  • Inverse Kinematics
  • Custom Interfaces
  • New Interface Design
  • Auto Saving and Scene Snapshots
  • Interactive Network Rendering
  • Native Cocoa
  • HDR Multi-Pass Rendering
  • Real-World Units
  • Catmull-Clark Subdivision
  • Improved Texture Management
  • Below is a screen capture of the new interface.

    The top toolbar has been expanded and partially rearranged.

    E-on has created many types of "shortcuts" to speed up the work flow such as creating Custom Interfaces. You can customize Functions that you use frequently by publishing them to the Material Editor, Terrain Editor, and Object Editor. This is extremely easy to do and adds a new level of functionality. Below is an example of one parameter now appearing in the Material Editor. I could have included all of them from the Function Editor.

    A new Fractal node has been added called Rocky Mountains Fractal, and there is one also called Eroded Rocky Mountains. This fractal produces terrain features of the tertiary geologic period. As with many different nodes, experimentation is the key. I played around with adding a Rocky Mountain fractal to various outputs as well as substituting the node for that of a Simple Fractal. The results were varied and interesting. If you already have the program, I recommend reading that section of the manual. "Two flavors of this fractal are available in the Overall aspects section. The Separate mountains checkbox drives this difference."

    There are a number of other new features that directly work with terrains such as Terrain Retopology, an Improved Terrain Editor, new brushes, a global freeze mask, canvas terrain extensions and more. Terrain Retopology automatically reorganizes the underlying terrain mesh in order to optimize distribution of polygons over irregularly shaped terrains, such as cliffs. This makes it easier to paint details on vertical cliffs, for example. The Terrain Editor has grown so much over the years.

    With these new brushes, I can create materials and, then, change them in the Material Editor. I have to admit that having used Vue for so many versions, I sometimes forget about the great new features when I am working on a scene and have to remind myself that there are new ways for creating diverse terrains available. The environmental brush controls are really a neat addition, also. Basically, I can create a brush with multiple parameters.

    Auto Saving and Scene Snapshots are a fantastic addition. When you auto-save, there is no decrease in performance. Both the snapshot capability and the auto-save are not only marvelous safeguards, but make it easy to go back to prior versions of the scene. Previously, I would save a scene many times with consecutive numbering. Now I don't have to do this so frequently. You will find these new features in File>Options and under File on the top toolbar.

    It is really nice when a new "rendering" feature does not increase the rendering time. Such is the new Relighting feature. It is a snap to change the lighting once an object has been rendered. No more do you have to wait for Photoshop or another image editing program to relight part of a scene. In this scene I had spotlights and the sun. I can change color, intensity, and other lighting properties and save multiple version of a render with different lighting characteristics.

    Different spotlights lit different parts of this scene. You need to remember this when you make changes. If you have set up your lights so they light only specific parts, you can now change the whole tenor of a scene easily by changing the lighting for different parts. I really love this function and will in the future build scenes with this new feature in mind. (This scene is a work in progress.)

    EcoSystem 4 is a definite improvement over earlier versions. Dynamic EcoSystems work more efficiently. Flicker Reduction has also been improved in this latest version with new algorithms.

    Creating objects using HyperBlob Technology is a lot of fun. What are Hyperblobs? According to E-on: "Vue 9's new HyperBlob technology automatically converts HyperTextured MetaBlobs into polygon meshes at render time, retaining the full accuracy and detail of the HyperTexture. Contrary to pure Hypertextures which cannot be displaced, those Hyperblobs can be displaced using standard displacement algorithms.

    "The HyperBlob technology lets you define a maximum level of subdivision of the resulting mesh, and will automatically handle all intermediate levels of detail in order to optimize rendering time and resources according to distance.

    "With the new HyperBlob technology, you can automatically "shave off" any parts of the HyperTexture that are disconnected from the main object (an artifact of standard HyperTextures).

    "As an example, HyperBlobs are ideal for the creation of extremely rich and detailed rock formations."

    With the Improved Texture Management I can double click on a texture in the World Browser, open it on my computer, and then edit it. Thus, I can reduce size of textures as well as increase them. This is a wonderful addition and one I have been wanting for many versions. This is great!

    Each texture map can be opened and modified.

    To see a complete feature list of Vue 9 Infinite, click on link. This is taken from the E-on Software website.

    Click on Maintenance for information on Maintenance Agreements.

    All the Requirements are from the E-on Software website:

    "Minimum System Requirements

    Vue 9 is a 32 & 64 bits application, designed for the Windows® 32/64 bits XP, Vista and Windows 7 and Intel Mac OS X platforms.

    Like all 3D packages, it is highly demanding in terms of computer power. Although the application is totally multi-threaded to ensure the smoothest possible response, you have to realize that there is a lot going on when you work in Vue 9.

    Please note that using Vue on a system carrying the below specification may result in slow response time and longer render times!

    Please read further on for recommended minimal specification for an optimal Vue experience.

    Macintosh Windows

    Recommended System Specs

    Native Cocoa

    Vue for the Macintosh platform was rewritten from the ground up to reap maximum benefits of Apple's latest Mac OS X operating systems.

    Vue will now run natively on the Mac in 64 bit. On top of the added benefit of accessing more memory, performance is also dramatically improved with an overall boost of up to 3 times faster over previous Carbon 32 versions!

    Supported Video Boards

    Vue 9 Infinite now includes an automatic configuration tool that will set all OpenGL options just after install, for optimized previewing on your video board / driver.

    The following boards/chips will perform using the new Shader engine:

    Brand Model Required Driver Version Supported OS Limitations
    nVidia geforce 8800GT ForceWare 190.38 + Windows only
    nVidia geforce 9800GT ForceWare 190.38 +     Shaded Billboards not supported on Mac
    nVidia GTX 260 -> 280 ForceWare 190.38 +     Shaded Billboards not supported on Mac
    nVidia GTX 460 -> 480 ForceWare 190.38 +     Shaded Billboards not supported on Mac
    nVidia Quadro FX 1800 -> 5800 ForceWare 190.38 +     Shaded Billboards not supported on Mac
    nVidia Quadro 4000 -> 6000 ForceWare 190.38 +     Shaded Billboards not supported on Mac
    nVidia Quadro 600 & 2000 (GF100 based) Any Windows only
    ATI Radeon HD 26xx Any Mac only
    ATI Radeon 48xx Catalyst 9-3, 9-4 & 9-5     Shaded Billboards not supported on Mac
    ATI FirePro V8700 Catalyst 9-3, 9-4 & 9-5 Windows only
    ATI Radeon 5700 -> 58xx Catalyst 9.12 + Windows only (may display some minor glitches), Shaded Billboards not supported

    Other boards (such as the nVidia GeForce 210/220/240, 300 and 300M series, 6000 and 7000 series...) may not perform using the Shader engine, but will perform using the older fixed-pipeline one.

    Older boards such as Voodoo, Rage Pro, Radeon 8000 up until Geforce FX chips included, and all Intel video boards will run in software OpenGL mode only.

    Due to recent changes in the Mac OS 10.6 OpenGL implementation, which resulted in a massive slowdown of OpenGL intensive applications, Shaded Billboards are not supported at all on Mac.

    In any case, Vue can perform in software OpenGL regardless of the video board.

    Boards that are not on this list may work with Vue, but haven't been extensively tested. If you run into any OpenGL issues, try disabling background draw and antialiasing in the Options panel. Worst case scenario: you can always run Vue in software OpenGL mode.

    Warning: Laptops using Nvidia's Optimus or ATI's BinaryGFX technologies may present severe OpenGl problems. We recommend that users deactivate this option when running Vue!

    Chips we do not recommend:

    Poser™ SDKs

    There are three Poser™ SDKs that you can choose from:

    You might need to experiment with these to find out which one works best for you."

    I have tried to highlight many of the new features, especially those I use the most. As I continued to explore and use Vue 9 Infinite, I found myself saying, this feature alone is worth an upgrade. If you purchase the Standard Maintenance plan with your purchase of Vue 9 Infinite, you are basically getting 1 or 2 upgrades a year (depending on when you purchase it and when the upgrades are released) for less than $200 for both. If you buy the Standard Maintenance plan separately, you will pay more.

    To sum up my findings: This is the most stable and smooth version of Vue in many years. So many of the new features were those I wanted and are those I know I will use that with the Standard Maintenance plan, I am getting it for a lot less than other companies charge for upgrades. If you are considering purchasing Vue, I highly recommend purchasing this version. If you are new to Vue, your learning curve will be greatly diminished by the Vue 9 tutorials offered at Geekatplay and through vendors on the conrnucopia3d website. Enjoy using Vue. I certainly am as I get to know the new features of Vue 9 Infinite. For more information, go to the E-on Software website