It took us a couple more weeks than expected, but we finally released today a new build of Maverick Studio and Maverick Indie with lots of improvements both on the Core and the UI/UX side.
On this blog post we will run through the changelog, which you can find here. Note that in the weeks of work passed since our most recent release in September, we have worked on many more features than presented on this post. As a matter of fact, we have more releases planned for the rest of this month. So stay tuned.
Here we go!
New “proxy” materials
Aside from its speed, the most remarkable feature in Maverick is the flexibility and quality of its materials model. However, flexibility comes at the price of exposing many parameters, and mastering those is one of the keys to producing photo-real images.
One of the top requests we’ve received in the past months is to make an effort in simplifying our UI. This is a daunting task, because keeping the right balance between being all-capable and presenting a short UI is not even always possible. But one feature that we really wanted to add to Maverick to really simplify material creation, which we finally added, is what we call “proxy” materials.
Proxy materials are simplified versions of our full-fledged standard material node. With proxy materials you can very easily create typical materials such as glass, plastics, metals, … and each of these nodes will expose only the attributes that make sense for each particular type of material. For example, this is our new lambertian node:
And here is a list of all the material nodes you can create in Maverick now:
basic, emissive, emissive_coated, gemstone, glass, lambert, liquid, metal, metal_coated, plastic, plastic_advanced, plastic_coated, skin, and translucent are all proxies of standard. You can think of them as wizards for material creation. Instead of starting with all the parameters with pre-fixed defaults, now you can say “I want to create glass”, go ahead, get glass on one click, and then fine-tune glass-only attributes from then on.
The standard node stays there for the most advanced users who still wish to unravel all the power of our materials.
Improvements in the UI
In our never-ending quest to make the UI as straightforward as we can, we have made some improvements based on common remarks made by our users.
The old Expert Mode that used to be a switch (all Basic vs. all Expert) with no granularity, has now turned into pre-folded rollups with advanced attributes. This gives a view similar to the old Basic mode, but with expert attributes nearby to the mouse cursor at all times.
The 3 Library panels have been fused into a single tabbed panel. This contributes to lighten the UI a bit. We have also added a new category for Projectors (more on this later).
We have pumped up the HUD a little bit. This feature is Work In Progress, but now non-renderable nodes that you may want to track on the IPR and views, display their own manipulator (a.k.a. gizmo).
For example, cameras are displayed like this now. They are selectable and trackable (Translation/Rotation/Scaling) like regular objects. The same will apply to other new nodes we are currently working on.
Usability: Projector Lights
Projectors are not a new feature. They have been there since our first release some months ago. But now we have improved their usability by creating a new category in our Lighting Library:
It is now possible to drag-and-drop projector maps onto lights and get really fancy effects, as described in detail in this new video tutorial we uploaded today.
Click the image below to view the video on YouTube.
Accompanying this feature, we have added a new option to the Create Light context menu to create a Hard Spotlight with its attributes set to a spotlight with hard shadows.
Displacement mapping is a strong addition to Maverick since the release of Maverick Indie. We have improved its usability now by adding a button in the maps toolbar to apply a map as displacement to the selected object. This button carries out for you the hassle of creating and a displacement node, and connecting it to the map and the selected object.
Additionally, moving lights (and objects in general) in scenes with heavy geometry such as those with fine displacement, is up to 4x faster in this build.
We added a new video tutorial today introducing this feature in depth. Click the image below to view the video on YouTube:
Shadow Catcher and Backplate
Shadow Catcher and, in general, photo-integration, are prominent features in Maverick. We have received some requests that we have started to process in this build.
The backplate is now resistant to all lens effects. This means that no matter what lens you enable in the camera (tilt, shift, roll, distortion, …) the backplate will stay in place. And this holds true not just for the backplate, but for the camera _projection map, and for the Shadow Catcher (which uses camera_projection itself).
Shadow Catcher and the Alpha AOV. The shadow_catcher node allows to imprint whatever shadows it catches in the Alpha AOV. This is Work In Progress in the sense that we will extend this feature to the Shadows AOV, which is not working yet.
As always: thank you for reading!