When in Dome…

The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center Production Blog

If its not broke, Fix it?

by Peter Althoff

October 12, 2009 | No comments | Gear, When in Dome

The  time has come for us to consider some software upgrades. Let me preface this with the fact that generally I’m a content generalist. The majority of my knowledge is in the design and creation of content in multiple software packages, but requires me to know a little bit about the technical aspects of the software the we use.

Currently we run the following software packages:

  • 3ds Max 2008
  • Pixologic Z-brush 3
  • Maya complete and unlimited 2008
  • Mental Ray for Maya 3.6.1
  • Adobe After Effects CS3
  • Frantic’s Deadline 2.7

When considering a software upgrade, there are multiple factors.  One might be inclined to think that the cost per product would be the largest factor, but really the main concern is cost in time to install, trouble shoot, and hope that the upgrade doesn’t disrupt the current pipeline setup.  Our hardware set up includes a mixture of PC’s and Mac’s. For our PC’s we have 2 primary workstations and and 23 Render machines supplied by BOXX technologies.WorkstationrenderfarmExtreme

On the Mac side of things we have 4imacs and 1g5 workstation. They’re generally used to create base assets that eventually get moved into the PC realm and finalized anyway.

We’ve got our eyes on upgrading the software to the following versions.

  • 3ds max 2010
  • maya 2010
  • mental ray 3.7
  • Deadline 3.1

We’ve also considered moving to cebas’s Final Render, but this change will be put on hold due in part to the fact we’re running 2 different 3d software packages. The support has arisen for both independently, but there is talk to have one standalone engine that both 3ds max, and Maya can use simultaneously.









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