Thinkbox Stoke

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Old 02 February 2013   #1
Thinkbox Stoke

I don't think this has been posted yet...

http://www.thinkboxsoftware.com/stoke-mx/
 
Old 02 February 2013   #2
Who let the Stoke out?
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Bobo
 
Old 02 February 2013   #3
It all looks very nice, I use Frost a fair bit, but haven't been able to justify the rest of the Thinkbox toolset so far unfortunately.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #4
Originally Posted by Steve Green: It all looks very nice, I use Frost a fair bit, but haven't been able to justify the rest of the Thinkbox toolset so far unfortunately.


I hope you have Krakatoa Evaluation installed, it costs nothing, but makes Frost, Stoke, and Max in general a better place to work.
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Bobo
 
Old 02 February 2013   #5
Yep, I do - I still don't use it a huge amount - I should use it more, but I'm doing a lot more work in After Effects these days than Max.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #6
Originally Posted by Bobo: I hope you have Krakatoa Evaluation installed, it costs nothing, but makes Frost, Stoke, and Max in general a better place to work.
What do you mean, it's free?
Also, what's the link?
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[Invivo Animation Reel]
 
Old 02 February 2013   #7
Originally Posted by DanHibiki: What do you mean, it's free?
Also, what's the link?

What is the link for what?

Krakatoa MX has had a free evaluation mode since its release in 2007. In this mode, it renders with a watermark if the resolution is higher than 480x360 (YouTube low-res), cannot network render and a couple of PFlow operators are disabled, as well as the new Atmospheric effect. ALL other features including PRT Loaders, PRT Volumes, PRT FumeFX, Magma modifiers, deformations, particle culling, particle management and so on are freely available. The goal was to get people to use Krakatoa for other things and hook them up, so when they get a job at a company, they would ask for a full license to get some work done

Over time, all our other products like Frost, Genome etc. were developed in a way that can use the free evaluation version of Krakatoa as an added bonus layer (esp. the Magma channel editing) that would extend their capabilities. This was especially obvious with Frost where you can control nearly every parameter of Frost meshing through channels specified in Magma. In other words, you buy Frost for $495, but you get the Krakatoa Evaluation (normally a $1000 product) as a free extension to its workflow.

Stoke plugs into Krakatoa and Frost (and others) in a similar way. Obviously, Stoke is best used to produce particles to render in Krakatoa, but you could use it to produce particles to mesh with Frost and render in Scanline, mental ray or VRay...

The price of Stoke has not been announced yet. It won't be free though and it won't have a demo mode like Krakatoa.
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Bobo
 
Old 02 February 2013   #8
That was a faster beta cycle than even Genome!

LOL Stoking the fire
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poof ~>Vimeo<~
 
Old 02 February 2013   #9
Originally Posted by JohnnyRandom: That was a faster beta cycle than even Genome!

LOL Stoking the fire


The Beta cycle is just ramping up, but it was definitely the fastest development cycle of any Thinkbox product. Let me just say that we started it in 2013, and two weeks later it was already being used in VFX production
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Bobo
 
Old 02 February 2013   #10
Hi Bobo,
why not a particle flow operator version of this tool? too many power restrictions than advantages?
 
Old 02 February 2013   #11
Originally Posted by savat: Hi Bobo,
why not a particle flow operator version of this tool? too many power restrictions than advantages?


There is an operator that connects Ember with Particle Flow, but that is not the point.

Particle Flow is, as you might have noticed, still single-threaded.

The original idea of Stoke was to take one workflow that our customers use often and make it fast and easy - the advection of millions of particles with a fluid simulation. (Think Matthias Mueller's Krakatoa renders!) This had to be multi-threaded, several times faster than the existing solutions, produce PRTs for further processing through our particle pipeline, and as easy as pie.
The secondary goals of Stoke were to
*Provide some very useful Ember workflows to the masses in a much simpler UI before Ember is released.
*Allow for fast advection of millions of particles following very few particles to boost particle counts of existing simulations (including PFlow, TP, Naiad, RealFlow and even the ancient Snow and Spray).
*Allow the conversion of PRT objects (PRT Loader, PRT Volume, PRT Maker etc.) into dynamic particle clouds (something that is needed for Ember anyway)
*Be as simple to operate as Frost (people seem to love power+simplicity).

So Stoke was never meant to replace Particle Flow as a general particle system, it was designed to take one thing you do with Particle Flow and make it much faster and a lot easier to set up. All the additional things you can do with it are just a bonus. And obviously the only way to make it fast (and portable, as we have a whole new Krakatoa for Maya out there now) was to stay away from Particle Flow.

There were other reasons, but they might become obvious later...

Stoke is currently between 2 and 7 times faster than Particle Flow in the tasks it was designed to perform (measured on my ancient quad-core i7), and we haven't even spent time optimizing it yet. We hope that existing Krakatoa and FumeFX users struggling to advect 100 million particles in a reasonable time will "get it".

Hope this helps!
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Bobo
 
Old 02 February 2013   #12
"Stoke MX supports FumeFX simulation objects as Velocity Fields directly"
What about Phoenix FD?

"There were other reasons, but they might become obvious later..."
[speculation]Is pflow about to be substituted/ become deprecated?[/speculation]
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Hofer+Krol
 
Old 02 February 2013   #13
Bobo:
I know that PFlow is the black hole of hopes for hi res performances
All your (ThinkBox) sw pipeline tends to expell it more as possible from a serious (in terms of amount of particles) workflow and I admit this is a right way to avoid frustrating forced breaks.
However, ThinkBox don't points to an effective "birth and dynamic" particles solution but at a manipulation of existing fluxes of them.
At this point the better way to make all fastest is to start directly with a TinkBox particles generator without ever filtering external datas as first thing...or not?
 
Old 02 February 2013   #14
Originally Posted by hkrol: "Stoke MX supports FumeFX simulation objects as Velocity Fields directly"
What about Phoenix FD?


I am pretty sure it is (since Ember and Krakatoa also support Phoenix), but I don't have it installed on my machine, and I have not tested it. So it slipped my mind when writing the docs. Will confirm with the lead developer and update the docs. Thanks!
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Bobo
 
Old 02 February 2013   #15
Originally Posted by savat: Bobo:
I know that PFlow is the black hole of hopes for hi res performances
All your (ThinkBox) sw pipeline tends to expell it more as possible from a serious (in terms of amount of particles) workflow and I admit this is a right way to avoid frustrating forced breaks.
However, ThinkBox don't points to an effective "birth and dynamic" particles solution but at a manipulation of existing fluxes of them.
At this point the better way to make all fastest is to start directly with a TinkBox particles generator without ever filtering external datas as first thing...or not?


I don't agree.
PFlow is quite flexible, esp. in the context of Krakatoa particle clouds generation. I like working with PFlow very much, and it has the benefit of being available to every 3ds Max user. It has its drawbacks and slowdowns in some cases though, but I have no idea how you came up with "expel" in the context of Thinkbox products. PFlow tends to be the main source of data in our pipeline, and we even added several operators to extend it as part of the Krakatoa toolset.

As you can see from the Stoke videos, we are not excluding anything and attempting to integrate with everything, even with the pathetic particle systems introduced by Max 1.0 in 1996! The videos don't show TP integration, but Stoke (as well as all other Thinkbox products) supports TP already.

Our goal at this point is not to replace what is out there, but to plug in puzzle pieces into the existing picture to advance what people can do and make it easier, faster and more powerful.

We believe that every source of data is a valid source of data, including any Max particles, RealFlow and Naiad particles, LIDAR and Kinect scans, mesh vertices, surfaces and volumes, hair simulations, 3D fractals, texture maps and procedural field functions, FumeFX and Phoenix simulations, Max Space Warps, even pure text files. This belief is reflected in both Krakatoa, Frost, Ember and Stoke and we want to push for even tighter integration with some of these sources.

In the Webinar "The big picture" I showed a bunch of slides with various products and arrows criss-crossing between them hinting at all the different workflows that the combination of these tools allow. We also made sure to make the majority of the Krakatoa toolset freely available to everyone as the backbone of a more efficient data processing and caching pipeline. Some of our customers have found ways to use our products that we never envisioned, and for me that shows that the concept works.

You will not see us ever telling anyone that tool X is not a valid data source or target in the workflow. We also hope that every person or company purchasing a Thinkbox tool does so because it solves a problem or allows new workflows, not because of hype. I believe there is a target audience for both Ember and Stoke (which is, to a large extent, Ember Light). I know that power users and TDs might prefer the power and flexibility of Ember over the simplicity of Stoke, but I personally prefer to solve some problems with Stoke. I guess I am... stoked.

Somehow we got into a philosophical discussion. I am not sure why Stoke has this effect on people
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Bobo

Last edited by Bobo : 02 February 2013 at 06:21 PM.
 
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