SiTex Graphics Air 12 Powers New Air Stream Rendering Plug-in for Maya
Denton, Texas - SiTex Graphics has released the first official version of its new Air Stream rendering plug-in for Maya, powered by version 12 of the Air production rendering suite.
Air Stream for Maya
The new Air Stream rendering plug-in for Maya provides access to the full range of SiTex Graphics’ rendering tools: Air for final frame rendering, TweakAir for interactive preview rendering (IPR), and BakeAir for texture baking. Key features of Air Stream include flexible output, advanced shading, scalable performance, and support for complex geometry and instancing.
An Air rendering task can save an arbitrary number of output images, and each image may have multiple output channels. Air Stream includes an extensive list of standard outputs (such as diffuse, specular, and shadow) as well as per-light output channels for re-lighting in post. Users can also create custom channels storing any shader output. Any channel can be configured to include only objects belonging to a list of groups, with other objects treated as mattes.
Air Stream automatically translates Maya shading networks for rendering with Air. Custom nodes allow Air shaders to be added to a Maya scene, and users may combine Air shader nodes and Maya shader nodes in a single network. Air Stream provides simple controls for ray tracing and global illumination effects, and acceleration techniques such as irradiance caching and texture baking are also supported.
Over the years Air has gained a reputation for outstanding performance on complex scenes such as Massive crowds. Air Stream provides an easy way to add a Massive crowd to a scene at render time for efficient final rendering and IPR. To accelerate the export and rendering of complex scenes, Air Stream has an automatic archiving feature that writes individual objects to separate files. Air can load such archives on-demand at render time, minimizing memory use and file bandwidth since each object is only loaded when and if it is visible.
Complex Geometry and Instancing
Air Stream users have access to Air’s high performance rendering of particles, fur, and hair. Air Stream exports Maya particle systems for rendering with Air including support for most Maya particle render types. An Air instancer shader can be used to convert a particle system into arbitrary geometry at render time, with new geometry loaded from an archive or generated procedurally. User-defined particle attributes can be used to customize the geometric or shading properties of instanced geometry on a per-particle basis.
Air Stream also uses Air instancer shaders to produce Maya fur at render time, with user customizable shading and instancing on fur curves if desired. Maya hair is exported as RIB curve primitives, and hair geometry can be archived to accelerate interactive renders.
Air Stream is available for Maya 2009-2013 under Windows or Linux.
Release 12 of SiTex Graphics Air rendering suite offers important performance and feature improvements including the following: Air 12 is the first release to include a 64-bit version of Air for Windows (in addition to the existing 64-bit support for Linux). Ray tracing may now be used for primary visibility determination, and the new trace hider offers new sampling options for motion blur and depth of field. A new cache for the global illumination contribution from environment shaders produces faster and smoother results. The Air 12 distribution includes more than a dozen new and augmented shaders, including new shaders for ocean water and ocean waves. Instancer shader evaluation is now multithreaded, and instancer sampling of surfaces using 2D coordinates has been greatly accelerated with a new data structure for faster fur and grass rendering. TweakAir has a new per-pixel occlusion cache for faster IPR updates. Texture conversion has been improved to support very large texture maps stored in the BIGTIFF format.
About SiTex Graphics
SiTex Graphics (Denton, Texas) has provided advanced rendering software for visual effects, industrial design, architecture, and digital content creation for more than a decade. SiTex Graphics' products include: Air, a highly advanced 3D production renderer; BakeAir, the only standalone dedicated renderer for producing high-quality texture maps; and TweakAir, a custom rendering engine for tweaking shading and lighting of production scenes.
More information is available on the SiTex Graphics web site: