• Price When Reviewed: 411 . 274 . 199 . 343

  • Pros: EcoSystem for creating and rendering foliage and other scenery containing billions of polygons. Multipass rendering and unlimited network rendering as standard. Poser-scene integration, including animation.

  • Cons: Some of the high-quality antialiasing settings can be slow, and Smartgraph is a little unstable. The candy interface is not to everyone’s taste.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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E-on software’s Vue range of 3D landscape rendering software (formally known as Vue d’Esprit) has become the de facto standard for mid-range work, but has always stopped short of offering high-end features for professionals. Vue 5 Infinite tackles this issue face-on with some impressive new features aimed at those wanting bigger, better landscape scenes at higher quality and with greater flexibility.

The most attention-grabbing addition is the new EcoSystems. E-on has sorted the significant problem of populating landscapes with flora. You used to have to do this by hand, but now the program can plant trees over a mountain range
or grass on a field – even buildings in a city – automatically. Such scenes might contain billions of polygons, but new optimizations allow Vue to handle such huge data sets on any desktop computer. This is what pros have been desperate for. It produces much better images, and saves a lot of time.

Secondly, Vue 5 Infinite offers multipass rendering – essential for tweaking renders for utmost quality without having to re-render. There’s also improved illumination methods that include GI or full Radiosity and illumination baking to allow optimization of the indirect lighting solution for animation or real-time use. HDRI is supported too. Quality is further enhanced through post-render effects such as colour-correction, and gamma adjustment. Vue 5 Infinite now uses a 96-bit internal colour space.

 border=0 /> </div>SmartGraph is a new front-end for Vue’s very deep material function editor, which used to be overly complex and fractured in use. This new nodal-based system will be familiar to users of Maya or Softimage shading networks and is a very welcome improvement to the interface. This new addition is a little flaky at times, and was the cause of a few crashes.
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If there’s a downside, it’s that the interface still carries a lot of baggage from its past as an easy-to-use 3D application. It’s not as raw and streamlined as a professional 3D program, and can feel as though it favours aesthetics over speed and performance. 
Nevertheless, quality results are possible if you’re prepared to dig deep, and with the improvements made to performance, quality, and usability for more advanced 3D work, the program really seems to be blossoming.
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