talking about CG fur development and their own path
Neoglyphic Entertainment is a story company building advanced entertainment technologies. Driven by the belief that story is at the heart of the human experience, Neoglyphic develops platform technologies for all types of storytellers to create and share their stories seamlessly across every medium, including the written word, visual art, music, film and videogames. Neoglyphic, headquartered in Campbell, California, has a unique blend of the best creative and technical talent passionate about bringing the best stories to light for every audience by using cutting edge data science, machine learning and advanced visual development tools.
Story company building advanced entertainment technologies
What research or references were used to develop realistic fur behavior and ultra-realistic fur quality?
Fundamentally, we believe in the power of real-time engines and the flexibility and speed they can provide creators across different mediums. The general approach we used is not new. We used shells stacked on top of each other with custom shaders, creating a beautiful illusion of millions of strands instead of rendering each strand individually. In real-time engines this technique has been utilized in the past, but it had never progressed to the higher levels of fidelity required by modern games or VFX houses.
By taking existing concepts and applying them to modern constructs like compute shaders on the GPU and physically-based real-time rendering, the Neoglyphic team was able to achieve some phenomenal results. We were able to take a lot of inspiration and concepts from existing research, particularly concerning lighting & shading, and apply those to our real-time shaders. That research has also partially inspired some of our advances in per-strand normals and lighting, poisson strand packing, vector map driven clumping, and UV-offset curling.
Did you consult with other developer experts?
Internally we have a team of Senior Developers with game experience ranging from AAA FPS, MMOs and Mobile – as well as film industry experience from studios such as Blur, Paramount, and Weta. Our wide variety of development experience helps us tackle these difficult issues and bring together the best of both industries for our real-time solutions.
What were the fundamental principles that guided the creation of NeoFur?
Fast, easy-to-use and highly scalable were our main goals in creating this solution. We wanted to make it simpler than ever to create beautiful fur for whatever your needs, and we wanted a solution that could scale from use in highly cinematic 4k content, all the way down to mobile phones, easily.
We believe that NeoFur is unique in that you can change and tweak parameters and see your results instantly, allowing faster iteration and fine-tuning without slow render times. I believe this makes it accessible for anyone to use this software, and not just highly trained specialists.
is the best solution
Traditionally fur, fibers and plush surfaces are complex scene elements to create, simulate, and render. In our quest to bridge the gap between traditional CG and real-time graphics, we created NeoFur. NeoFur allows artists to create these types of beautiful elements in real-time engines like Unreal Engine 4 – complete with physics-based simulation, high fidelity visuals, and no rendering time.
NeoFur at its heart is really a tool to create soft surfaces - including woven materials, moss, rugs, towels, etc. Architects could use it to bring more life and realism to their visualizations. VFX teams can use it for accuracy in their pre-visualization work. Game developers can bring new kinds of surfaces and dynamics to their games. We don’t think we’ve seen it used for everything it’s capable of, but we are really excited to see what uses others come up with!
Is NeoFur involved in any gaming projects? What achievements has the tool been awarded?
NeoFur is being licensed for use by a variety of studios across industries for use in VR Experiences, Video Games, Architectural Visualization, Pre-visualization, Cinematic Animation, and more.
NeoFur was awarded an Unreal Dev Grant from Epic Games in June of this year - the prestigious award provides recognition and financial support to outstanding Unreal Engine 4 teams for their inspiring work and impactful contributions.
Do you plan to develop this tool for production software such as Maya or 3dsMAX?
We don’t currently have plans to bring this tool to market for Maya or 3dsMAX. However, we do support the traditional hair and fur combing tools from these software packages. You can author that type of data and export splines via FBX for use in NeoFur. Our focus is on real-time rendering platforms and pipeline support for authoring in traditional DCC applications.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Keep your eye out for Sunborn Rising; an IP that spans across written word, visual art, music and video game mediums. Sunborn Rising is what drove us to create NeoFur - as we began developing it, we felt the need for this type of technology, and began creating it to solve our own needs internally.