You have to hand it to The Foundry – when you think you have figured them out, they surprise you with an unexpected move. Buying Mischief and thus the underlying technology is an interesting, if surprising move. Let’s admit it – very few of us will even have heard of that app before. While the FXGuide article goes into some of the technical details, of course for us as users the thing that is most relevant is what comes of it and how we can actually use the technology to make our lives better. Some of the potential applications are:
- Sculpting with almost infinite detail, both texture and volume based. Yepp, this could be potentially big and the demo embedded on that page is interesting. I would caution against expecting it to appear in modo too soon, though. There are a few other things that need to be ironed out firs in my humble opinion.
- Of course the obvious use for all this is any form of 2D painting and I’m specifically thinking huge matte paintings and composites. With 4k/ Ultra HD becoming the norm even for more ordinary workflows and some filmmakers going crazy on IMAX you need plenty of headroom because your plates in post production need to be even larger than that.
- Similar to the previous, of course large textures with almost unlimited detail come to mind. Be it just your ordinary slap-on UV texture or a sky dome HDRI, there is any number of uses for this. We all know situations where we zoomed into our 8k texture and it still looked crude. Multi-level OpenEXR files and LOD (level of detail) can help of course, but the memory demands, file sizes and other things like “jumps” between the detail levels are still an issue. Loading data more adaptively as needed could improve such workflows considerably.
- While we’re talking EXR, the one thing that jumped to my mind immediately was deep compositing. Similar to the previous point one of the big issues with “deep” files is their huge size and all the problems that come from that like slow file access. Having smarter compression and data reduction no doubt could work miracles here.
There could be any number of additional uses, but we’ll have to see how this unfolds. I was also pleased to see Taron mentioned on that page. I worked with him on ZBornToy, if anyone remembers that little plug-in for After Effects a long time ago…