Unreal Engine Plugin Market Opens Up

Take a look at what’s possible, Theia Interactive built Optim as a plug-in for Datasmith thanks to how Epic Games Unreal Engine enables Python developers to get in, under the engines hood to make custom plugins possible for all kinds of functionality.  This is another example of how Epic Games is inventing new markets in its own ecosystem.

Optim 

With Epic recently making the editor 100% scriptable with python, developers have total freedom enabling them to write simple code to automate everyday actions like imports processes, or deleting and generating UVs. Simple tasks made automatic saving developers time, efforts and speeding up production.  

Optim uses Datasmith’s 20+ format support to get high-fidelity data out of those core applications. Epic has focused their technical skills on accurately bringing over metadata, converting materials to Unreal Engine, and dealing with a wide range of data-prep issues. Optim builds on that base to simplify the optimization process. 

Some examples of things that you could automate with Optim are: 

  • Skip the import of any meshes with names containing a certain string 
  • Create LODs for any mesh larger than a given number of triangles 
  • Instance any mesh with a particular name 
  • Merge everything with a particular property under a single group 
  • Replace all materials by name with existing materials from the Content Browser 

Python Scripts 

Unlike Blueprints, the Python environment is only available in the Unreal Editor, not when your Project is running in the Unreal Engine. That means that you can use Python freely for scripting and automating the Editor or building asset production pipelines, but you cannot currently use it as a gameplay scripting language. If you wish to use a gameplay scripting language blueprints are the best option for now.  

Python coding in Unreal Engine

New Markets? 

Optim shows the newly found possibilities of Unreal with the help of python being integrated with Datasmith it allows all developers to make the Unreal Engine theirs and customize every aspect of it. Optim will also be sold as a subscription package in early 2019. Could this be the start of a new market? Epics developed a design engine which is now stable enough to possible be the home of a totally new market. A market where third-party teams like Theia Interactive can take advantage of the Unreal Engine creating services and content without any barriers to enter the market and profit to be made.

Octane Render Plugin for Unreal Engine News 2019

It’s happening, just waiting on 2019.1 features in core for wider beta release” was the response of OTOY CEO Jules Urbach in a comment in the OctaneRender Facebook Group, when OSF pushed for release date news of the new OctaneRender UE4 plugin and integration.  

Earlier this year OTOY and Epic Games announced that OctaneRender and Unreal Engine will be integrated in the first half of 2019. The software’s have been designed together to help improve AI-accelerated GPU path-tracking and light field baking for unreal powered games, films, VFX, arch vis and mixed reality and virtual production applications.   

The new software abilities and features will be included in the OctaneRender’s $20/month baseline subscription package. This subscription enables you to have 20 GPU’s, network rendering and over 20 DCC integrations all at your fingertips.  

See the source image

Earlier this year at SIGGRAPH where there was an Unreal Engine integration display the engine showed abilities to: 

  • Rapidly do automatic conversion of Unreal Engine scenes and materials into OctaneRender. 
  • Brigade Engine was demonstrated during the display, an OctaneRendering tool was used to realtime path trace games and interactive content, the tool was powered by the Unreal Engine. 
  • The display showed the ability to AI Light, AI Scene, AI Spectral and Volumetric Denoising, and Out-of-Core Geometry, UDIM Support and Light Linking for production-ready final rendering.  
  • Volumetric Geometry and Lighting for infinite detail and granular lighting control. 
  • By using OTOY’s ORBIX scene format you’ll able to support more than 20 of the industry’s leading DCC tools- including Cinema 4D, Autodesk Maya, and 3DS Max. This enables artists to create scenes wherever they prefer and easily drop them into the Unreal engine and the content be fully responsive.  
  •  OctaneRender is optimized to support: NVIDIA RTX Ray Tracing, Vulkan, DXR, CUDA and Metal iOS/Mac OS backends built on OTOY’s cross-platform RNDR framework.  
OSF virtual set Octane render in Unreal Engine

Above: OSF virtual sets rendered in octane, baked in Unreal Engine.

This isn’t the first collaboration between OTOY and Epic Games, this collaboration expands on the previous release of Paragon assets which was given to all Unreal Engine developers. Which included OTOY’s LightStage and this gave the developers more facial scanning technology to reach new levels of photorealism. The integration of OctaneRender 2019 into Unreal Engine will gain developers access to the RNDR SDK which will serve as the portal for OTOY’s end-to-end holographic mixed reality.  

 

UK TAX Breaks for Film Production

UK Film Tax Breaks

Here’s a quick introduction and round up of what’s on offer Tax Break or as what’s called ‘soft money’ to Producers who are looking to produce films and television in the UK.

UK Film Tax Relief: Up to 25% cash rebate of qualifying expenditure. Must pass a cultural test or qualify as an official co-production (that is, made under UK’s co-production treaties). Project cap: 80% of qualifying expenditure. Minimum spend: 10% of qualifying production expenditure

Google – National Funding: National funding incentives available to international producers include BBC Films, BFI Production & Development Funding, Film4 and Pinewood Pictures. Also see Regional Funding:  Regional incentives include the following:

(1) the Yorkshire Content Fund (will invest the lower of up to 10% of the total production budget or up to £500,000);

(2) Ffilm Cymru Wales Production Funding (provides grants of up to £300,000 for writers, directors and producers who are either born or currently residing in Wales working in English or Welsh);

(3) Creative Scotland Screen Funding (provides single project development Funding of £3,000-£50,000, Slate Development Funding of £50,000-£100,000, production funding of £50,000-£500,000, and distribution and exhibition funding of £5,000 – £15,000);

(4) Northern Ireland Production Funding of a maximum of £800,000 for feature film and television production and £500,000 for interactive content production, up to a ceiling of 25% of the overall project budget. Funding is in the form of a recoupable loan with profit participation or in limited circumstances a grant. Available to productions with more than 65% of funding already in place.

Google buys Lytro for next to nothing.

Insiders at Google and Lytro are saying that the sale price of Lytro could be as little as $25m. Google is in talks with Lytro over its assets which include some 59 patients in light field and optical technologies.

Google buys Lytro

To much too soon for this Light-field pioneer.

Its a case of too much too soon, as the once shiny Lytro took to the front of the light field development scene. But then, Lyto’s consumer product flopped and expensive cracks started to appear. Not to say the company was wrong, but more a case of too soon for a market that was just not ready to support such ideas.

Typical, think back to the start of the web, have you even heard of Compuserve? No, well history seems to be repeating itself as early market entrants get overtaken, sold off or worse they simply fade out of business. [CompuServe was the first major commercial online service provider in the United States. It dominated the field during the 1980s and remained a major influence through the mid-1990s] Some of the companies at the front of the light-field, volumetric, 360, and VR race seem to be running out of fuel, meanwhile others, in some cases who may not be pushing the envelope so far, are seeing a rush of funding.

The world’s not a fair place, the tech world is down right savage. The sale of Lytro to Google is the start of a mopping-up wave that will see bigger companies harvesting the IP assets of these early pioneers. We feel quite sad as Lytro was indeed a true pioneer of what is today becoming the vital component of virtual experiences – the ability to see light and depth.

What will Google do with the Lytro technology? For the cost of the purchase, Google will probably just pass the IP into its own hardware developments, the learning itself is worth the cost, which could be as low as $25M. Even if the price of Lytro was double that, the hard work that the Lytro team have done over the past few years is like hitting a quick key, to the Google teams.

Why The VR Industry Needs to Re- Build The IT Channel

Mo-sys-startracker

Back in the 90’s creating strategies for the likes of IBM, Dell and Cisco, I found out the importance of having a good channel strategy. Everyone in IT knew that…

Without The Channel the IT industry would not have been able to rapidly serve the demands of a global market with physical products and services.

I firmly believe that its time for companies in the VR space to think about their channel strategy. Ask this, are you a manufacturer of VR hardware, a distributor of VR products, a software company, a Value Added Reseller or System Integrator?

Why the VR industry needs to re-build The Channel.

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Netflix only accept 4K footage for Original Productions

On Set Facilities On Set Colour Grading

A sign of our times, Netflix has firmly stated that it would only use 4K cameras for its original productions, which has been a source of frustration for some cinematographers, especially those that use ARRI gear and work on Netflix projects.

Post-production pipelines must also meet Netflix Original Productions 4K delivery requirements.

Re camera hardware Netflix says “The ARRI Alexa and Amira are fantastic cameras, and we stream plenty of content that was captured with these cameras. However, since these cameras do not have true 4K sensors, we cannot accept them for our 4K original productions.”

Netflix explains, “For those who pay a premium for our UHD 4K service, we only deliver content that was shot and delivered at a true UHD 4K resolution.”

Ultra HD. 4K UHD (2160p) has a resolution of 3840 pixels × 2160 lines (8.3 megapixels, aspect ratio 16:9) and is one of the two resolutions of ultra high definition television targeted towards consumers, the other being 8K UHD which is 7680 pixels × 4320 lines (33.2 megapixels).