Running Maya Linux in Optimus Laptops

Autodesk Maya runs in Linux systems as a charm, fast and stable, you may have experiment it if working in some of the large studios which uses Maya Linux extensively, so let’s say you are used to Linux and decide to install Maya at home but if your computer has an NVidia Optimus GPU, and all modern laptops has this kind of card, you are going to get in troubles because NVidia hasn’t released a proper driver for Optimus GPUs in Linux and it seems they haven’t plans to release it, so what to do?

What is an Optimus GPU?

Optimus cards are actually a dual GPU, one card( INTEL) is welded in the motherboard and connect directly to the screen, this card is very limited, just able for 2D drawing and basic 3D features, not valid for using Maya,  specially it can´t support Viewport 2.0,  then there is another card( NVIDIA), a more powerful GPU which handles all the heavy 3D stuff, it is supposed this card auto activates when the system detect the application you are using needs demanding 3D features. The idea of a dual GPU is nice, because you save battery power by using only the basic card when running 2D applications or system menus and heavy 3D features are enabled by applications or games which needs it saving your battery and besides keeping the laptop temperature lower, all of this happens in Windows system but not in Linux because the lack of a proper driver by NVidia.

optmusPipeline

Making it work

There are two different strategies for making Optimus work in Linux, the simplest one is deactivating the INTEL card in BIOS so the system is forced to use the NVIDIA card always at the expense of your battery power, sadly only a few hi-end laptops allows to setup this feature in BIOS.

The other way is using a software bridge between both cards, at the beginning there was only BumbleBee, an independent software project which uses VirtualGL or Primus to communicate both GPUs,  there is a performance penalty when using these libraries and besides it doesn’t work with all applications, sadly Maya is one of them, in our tests using BunbleBee Maya launches with Viewport 2.0 but it crash by simple interactions with the keyboard, so no way.

Luckily in the middle 2016 NVidia itself fixed partially its Linux drivers to can do the switch between both cards in a fast way by using what is called NVIDIA-PRIME capabilities, this mechanism has a few limitations and needs an special configuration of your system to work which sadly it isn’t explained clearly in NVidia docs.

Installing NVIDIA-PRIME

We have been able to install NVIDIA-PRIME in an Optimus laptop with CentOS7 following this excellent guide by Ezequiel Mastrasso,

guide to install NVIDIA-PRIME in Centos 7

Some comments about our own experience with installation if this can help to someone:

In step 2 of the guide Ezequiel says a Xorg with ABI 24 is needed but according to NVidia ABI 23 is supported and actually our system is using elrepo kernel 4.19 which features Xorg ABI 23.

In step 18 of the guide our system turned black screen, but rebooting and skipping directly to step 19 did the trick, the rest of the guide worked perfectly for us.

Actually our system is a dual boot Windows 10 /Centos 7, this didn’t affect in anything the installation of NVidia-PRIME.

Finally before starting the Optimus setup we recommend to install and run nvidia-detect by elrepo, this little utility will shows up the exact NVidia driver your system needs and also check compatibility with your current Xorg server and displays its ABI number.

In our tests using this setup Maya Viewport 2.0 works perfect and Unigine benchmark seems not having any noticeable performance loss by using NVidia-PRIME .

Nevertheless, as Ezequiel mention this configuration is pretty sensitive to system changes, for example in our case NVidia-PRIME mechanism got broken just by installing the mesa-lib-GLU library, but luckily reinstalling the Nvidia driver again fixed it instantly, anyway it is a good idea to make a system backup when you manage to get it working just in case.

Hope this article helps you to enjoy Maya linux and of course Pulldownit plugin in your brand new Optimus laptop!

mayaRunningwithOptimus

 

 

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Evermotion Challenge 2018: A Day in the City

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Thinkinetic is proud sponsor of this year “A Day in the City” challenge by Evermotion.

 We invite our participants to take a look at the city and all it offers for inhabitants and tourists. Restaurants, amusement parks, wonderful buildings, busy streets, shopping malls – city is living and evolving all the time. This We believe that this theme will be versatile enough to bring many great arch-viz works to life.

You can summit your work until 16th of January, 2019

Pulldownit Pro license is one of the valuable prizes and there are plenty of them, those interested can check rules and prizes here:8

https://evermotion.org/challenge/rules/2018

Pulldownit 4.5 for Maya released!

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Our focus in this new update of Pulldownit plugin for Maya is making  user experience smoother and more responsive for FX artists and freelancers, we realize Maya is broadly used for animation so we have gone deep into the solver code and got a much faster update per frame of deforming meshes, so now there is almost no performance penalty for character skins or nCloth shapes included in PDI dynamics as kinematic objects.

Besides as any realistic destruction effect needs dust around we are glad to introduce a new tool “Attach particles to fragments”, by using this little utility you can stick Maya nParticles to faces per material and therefore emit easily fluids or additional debris from inner faces only, removing the need to go to another DCC tool to paint a white and black map as guide for emission, of course you can still use this classic workflow in Maya, this new tool is just an alternative a fast way to emit from selected faces only, actually this tool can be used for any task you need to attach particles to faces in Maya aside PDI itself.

Esteban Cuesta has done this great tutorial showing some of the enhancements inside Pulldownit 4.5 and featuring how to emit dust from fragments using this new PDI tool along with Maya fluids.

 

Also several fracture parameters can now be animated if you need to, and we have added a new event to switch cracks propagation mode at desired frame, so you can make your model getting damaged locally for some time and then destroy it completely at specific frame just by enabling this event.

And there are more enhancements regarding usability, a new tool for easier fragments selection when creating clusters from small shards, generation of different takes for standing models getting damaged is now an easy task with the improved behavior of “Static-Only Break” fracture option and quite a few annoying bugs of previous version has been fixed.

Below listed the most relevant highlights in Pulldownit 4.5

 NEW FEATURES                                                                                    

New Tool for adding particles to faces per material, this little utility spread Maya nParticles over faces per material, so you can later emit easily extra debris, dust or smoke only from chosen faces.

emmitMayaParticles

Hi-poly animated meshes 3x times faster update in dynamics, animated or deforming meshes such as character`s skin are now updated very fast during simulation providing a smoother experience when including them in destruction scenes.

New “increase Selection” option for easier clusters creation, selecting groups of small fragments is much easier now using this new tool which select neighboring fragments in the same area just with one click.

“Only Breaks” fracture option captures larger cracks and detachments, this useful feature forces the model to stand while being impacted, its behaviour has been improved so now it can generate larger cracks and detachments when they doesn’t jeopardize the overall structure, this effect is more noticeable when using it in conjunction with Clusterize level.

onlyBreak_clusterizePlates.png

Fracture body Friction, Bounciness, Sec cracks and Damping parameters can be animated, get more artistic control over your fracture simulation by animating these parameters if needed.

Rigid body Friction, Bounciness, and Mass parameters can be animated, get more artisitic control over your rigid bodies simulations by animating these parameters if needed.

Added ability to change propagation scheme at frame, user can now damage an object only locally for some time then change to continuous propagation at desired frame to break it completely.

local2continuosFracture

New option to show/hide/select all disabled rigid bodies in scene, it is easy to lost track of disabled rigid bodies, with this handy new option you can select all at once to enable or delete them or hide from the viewport all disabled rigid bodies with just one click

Adquire Shatter can transfer animation from single shape node to multi shape nodes, transferring fragments animation to nodes with multiple combined shapes is now supported by Shatterit tool.

Read the full list of fixes in the Pulldownit web site version logs

Hum3D CAR Render Challenge 2018

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Time for the Annual Car Render challenge by Hum3D ,

you have to create a car 3d model, put it into 3D environment and make a beautiful render. There are no limits for your creative ideas..

You can summit your work until December the 4th, 2018.

Pulldownit Pro license is one of the valuable prizes and there are plenty of them, those interested can check rules and prizes here:

Visit Challenge Home Page

God Of War game using Pulldownit

Ruben Morales, Lead FX Artist at Sony Santa Monica,  has posted  an awesome reel showing his work at God Of War game using extensively Pulldownit plugin for destruction effects in Autodesk Maya.

Ruben kindly explain his experience with Pulldownit plugin during the production:

“When looking for good plugins to use for God of War  in 2013 I had heard of
pulldownit as a tool some places were using for destruction. And from the start it
felt so user friendly with its options. And instantly chose this as the tool to add
for the destruction pipeline. On the latest God of War (2018) we used it heavily for
simulations and shattering of some objects. With larger scale breaks we still hand
cut the geo but would take that new mesh that needs to go away and shatter it. then
run any number of simulations needed with Pulldownit.

 I even tell my students to look up pulldownit, if they want to try destruction work. it’s very easy to learn and allows me the control I need.  Highly recommend it for anyone wanting to dabble with destruction.”

Ruben morales
Lead destruction artist
Sony Santa Monica
website: Morales3d.com

thank you very much  for your testimonial and showing those amazing videos Ruben.

Pulldownit 20% OFF during this summer

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Thinkinetic is offering Pulldownit 4, the latest version of its destruction plugin with a 20% discount  during this summer.

discount code : summer18

just input the code before selecting your product in the Thinkinetic online shop to get your discount applied, by licensing the plugin you will get fixes and updates during one year.

This code is valid until 31st August for either 3ds Max or Maya plugins, single or floating licenses.

Pulldownit 4 was released recently with several new features you can review here,

See new features Pulldownit 4 for Maya

See new features Pulldownit 4 for 3ds Max

3dArtist reviews Pulldownit 4 for Maya

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3d Artist Issue 120 includes a 2 pages review of Pulldownit 4 for Maya by Paul Champion, For testing the plugin Paul has done diferent fracture tests with a  final verdict of 4/5 stars, that means  “Essential” tool for 3dArtist magazine.

“A stride forwards in creating more realistic simulations in less time”

Paul Champion

You can read the whole review in the magazine.

3dArtist Issue 120 website