AWS Thinkbox Plugins Released as Open Source

AWS Thinkbox Plugins Released as Open Source

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced AWS Thinkbox plugins Krakatoa and XMesh for Autodesk Maya are now available under the Apache 2.0 open source license. The source code can be accessed from GitHub for Krakatoa and XMesh for Autodesk Maya as part of a suite of AWS Thinkbox artist tools that simplify rendering, VFX, and simulation workflows. Krakatoa is a volumetric particle rendering, manipulation, and management toolkit, and XMesh is a geometry caching solution.

AWS is providing artists and studios broader accessibility to AWS Thinkbox products and is working towards open sourcing its artist tools. In addition, free pre-built binaries are available for download on the AWS Management Console.

“With the AWS Thinkbox tools available as open source, we can contribute to the path forward and take control of how it evolves,” explained James Braid, Scanline VP of Technology. “XMesh has always been part of the decision-making process for migrating to the latest content creation application version. Now we can determine our own timelines and add our own special enhancements if needed. Open sourcing gives us more control over our destiny.”

Scanline VFX’s 1,200 artists leverage an assortment of content creation applications, with almost all work bookended in the same manner, with Autodesk Maya used for animation and rigging, Houdini for effects, and Autodesk 3ds Max for simulation, effects, and rendering. Using AWS Thinkbox XMesh, a plugin for efficiently caching and loading large files, artists can transition shots between the two creative applications as the scenes progress.

As an early XMesh adopter, Scanline has relied on the tool since its initial release in 2013.

“XMesh is one of the first tools I installed at Scanline because I needed to reliably get data to and from Maya and Max,” said Laszlo Sebo, Supervising Technical Director, Scanline. “We have used it on every single show for every single asset since then, which is something a lot of our pipeline developers don’t even realize because it just works under the hood, and they never have to touch it. XMesh fixes a core problem that no other solutions solve properly.”

“Thinkbox Software, the creator of XMesh, was a small, development-centric company, so when it was acquired in 2017 by AWS, we had some concern about the long-term goals for these tools that are so important to us,” added Sebo. “Fortunately, Amazon has been very supportive of the tools’ ongoing development. With XMesh being made open source, we have the ability to better plan for the future and can count on what we need being accessible indefinitely. For us, this is the best possible outcome.”

In addition to XMesh, Scanline uses other AWS Thinkbox artist tools for select projects, with Krakatoa used most frequently.

Continued Sebo, “AWS Thinkbox plugins give artists the ability to iterate quickly. They were developed by people that understand the fast-paced nature of the VFX industry and how to optimize workflows, which make them ideal tools.”

A few of Scanline’s notable applications of Krakatoa include instancing rain particles for The Batman, generating crowd animation cycles and digital trees for Aquaman, and adding CG snowstorms to season eight of Game of Thrones.

More information is available on the AWS Thinkbox home page.

Source: Amazon Web Services

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.

This content was originally published here.