Except from Vue Frontier which is a cheap and fun way to become somewhat familiar with Digital Landscape Creation, the Vue arena is divided in an Artist and a Pro section.
What’s in the Artist line?
The Artist line consists of the main (and free) Vue Pioneer, plus 12 add-on modules which can be purchased separately or in bundles. With the RenderUP module, Vue uses 2-core (4 threads) on 32-bit systems, and 4-core (8-threads) on 64-bit systems. Which means that some modern CPU’s are not fully utilized. Not too bad, you can do the rendering in the queue manager, and probably work on a second scene (including test renders) or on another program (like Poser) at the same time.
Esprit (+$200) adds to Pioneer:
- Vue Content
- $ 70 RenderUP – no more limits to the render size or restrictions to the output
- $130 3DImport – use OBJ, 3DS and other formats as well
Studio (+$200) adds to Esprit:
- $ 70 HyperVue – enabling multi-CPU / network rendering
- $ 40 DeepAccess – for improved management of full scenes
- $ 40 LightTune – arrange light effects per object
- $ 40 Botanica plant editor – make your own plants
- $100 Ecosystem – make your own Eco materials
Complete (+$200) adds to Studio:
- $150 Exporter – export scenes in 3D format to other software
- $ 40 KronosFX – add high-end animation to your scenes
- $ 40 AdvancedGraph – create advanced materials and object interactions
- $ 40 Zephyr – add wind effects t forests and other vegetation
- $100 Ecopainter – distribute your Eco material using your mouse or stylus
Conclusions: Esprit is simply the next step up from Pioneer. When you consider the step from Esprit to Studio or from Studio to Complete, you might find yourself In the situation where two modules are attractive, one is / two are just nice and two are / one is not necessary. So this extra bundle price is just, or just not, attractive compared to purchasing separate modules. Well, clever pricing from e-onsoftware.
From Vue 9 to Vue 10?
Upgrading brings us:
- Improved GI lighting
- Improved handling of cloud layers and cloud portions
- Custom star maps
- Improved EcoSystem distribution and animation
- Massively improved terrain creation tools, including Road Construction
- Improved Rock functions in Library and Ecosystem
- Improved render speed and quality
- Improved Water and Underwater scene handling
- Improved texture mapping en interactive (Viewport) handling
- Render Stack for result comparison, difference calculation and better post-processing
- Importing and Using splines for terrain creation and ecosystem distribution
- Multiple UV layouts
- Guarding against OpenGL failure issues
Upgrading costs $200 ($150 for Studio, $100 for Esprit), or 150% of that when you leapfrog (from 8 to 10). I generally recommend leapfrogging versions to those who are learning the software and don’t work at the edge of the product’s possibilities yet.
However, taking a “subscription” (paying a monthly amount) is cheaper than leapfrogging on the longer term and gives you the most recent version every time. So that would be my recommended strategy for this product.
From the Artist line to the Pro line?
Vue Infinite costs about $1000 but you can hand in your recent Complete for a $400 buy-back. Since it’s a physically different product, there is no such thing as a simple upgrade path. He maintenance contract ($200/year) is cheaper than regularly upgrading and equality expensive as leapfrogging versions, but gives access to intermediate (.5) versions and various forms of support. Recommended when considering the Pro product.
The other Pro product is Vue xStream, which actually is similar to Infinite but completely integrates into the other high-end 3D software like 3DS MAX.
What are the main extras of Infinite 10 over Complete 10?
- Baking illumination into textures, great for game development
- Planetary clouds
- Advanced object mesh subdivision
- Extensive multi-pass rendering for optimal post processing results
- Unlimited network rendering (Complete: 5)
- Higher quality, more realistic camera options
- Network and render management functions (logging, diagnosis, …)
- Full gamma control (input, output, display)
- Advanced handling of mattes and real world footage
- Camera / light synchronization with Max, Maya, Cinema4D, …
- Export to After Effects
- Motion blur on mesh deformations
- More flexibility in user Interface (to line up with other software), more control over OpenGL viewport handling
- Python scripting, macro recording, embedded backup tools
- Object decimation (reduce level of detail)
- Texture map search
- Better handling of HDRI and EXE images
- No limits to threads and CPUs
Personally, I would love the multipass rendering. Vue gamma correction has some flaws (see my article on that) and I don’t have such a current use for the other features to justify this price-doubling. So I stick with Vue Complete, but your considerations might be quite different of course.