For some projects, Scanline employs AWS Thinkbox artist tools in addition to XMesh, most often Krakatoa.
The AWS Thinkbox plugins Krakatoa and XMesh for Autodesk Maya are now accessible under the Apache 2.0 open source licence, according to a recent announcement from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Both Krakatoa and XMesh’s source code for Autodesk Maya are available on GitHub. Top studios all around the world use Krakatoa and XMesh as part of a suite of AWS Thinkbox artist tools that streamline rendering, VFX, and simulation workflows. Krakatoa is a toolkit for managing, manipulating, and rendering volumetric particles, and XMesh is a program for caching geometry.
Open source AWS Thinkbox artist tools assist Scanline, a customer, in making future plans
Global visual effects (VFX) firm Scanline has amassed an outstanding list of feature film and episodic credits since its founding in 1989, including demolish downtown Hawkins for the Stranger Things 4 last episode or crafting thrilling action sequences around multiple settings for The Gray Man. The studio’s 1,200+ artists must use a variety of content development tools spread over seven sites in order to bring their dreams to life. Almost all Scanline work is bookended in the same way, using Autodesk Maya for animation and rigging, Houdini for effects, and Autodesk 3ds Max for simulation, effects, and rendering. The methodology changes depending on the project requirements.
Since the tool’s debut in 2013, Scanline has depended on it as an early adopter. According to Laszlo Sebo, Supervising Technical Director at Scanline, “XMesh was one of the first tools I installed at Scanline since I needed to dependably get data to and from Maya and Max. “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 realise 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.”
Due to the fact that XMesh was developed by programmers with experience in content creation, it stood out from other programs. “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. Fortunately, Amazon has been very supportive of the tools’ ongoing development,” Sebo said. “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.”
Instancing rain particles for The Batman, creating crowd animation cycles and digital trees for Aquaman, and adding CG snow storms to season eight of Game of Thrones are just a few of Scanline’s significant Krakatoa uses.