Graphics, Hardware, Software Programs

MachStudio Pro is a jewel in the GPGPU crown

All the talk of GPGPU and GPU Computing from AMD and nVidia is nice, but let’s face it – video transcoding is not the killer app people hoped it to be. The reason for that was pretty simple – my Blackberry 9000 Bold is powerful enough to play Xvid movies in standard definition with no transcoding at all, and chips such as Tegra are making that conversation redundant.

But, GPGPU is a nothing short of a breath-taking monster in the fields of content creation. StudioGPU just shipped MachStudio Pro, a completely new 3D workflow that was built using GPGPU technology from the ground up. End result is nothing short of staggering – StudioGPU claims that their GPU-accelerated renderer rendering scenes up to 900 times faster than traditional CPU-bound renderers is more than enough to turn heads of every artist and management [imagine the amount of work you can load your artists with if they’re this fast].

MachStudio Pro supports Phyton scripting as well.

Guys from StudioGPU claim that they took "A complex 1.98 million polygon high-definition image, for example, renders in 14 seconds using MachStudio Pro while the same scene rendered with a traditional rendering package can take more than three hours to complete."

We know of the software in question, as we are using it daily – but we won’t disclose it here. Needless to say that package that proved quite a surprise a while back might stay in the dust, given their reluctance to accept the GPU.

MachStudio Pro is nothing else but a 3D workflow application built by artists that grew sick using well-spread apps such as Modo, Lightwave, Maya, Max and so on. The list of features is quite impressive:

  • Optimized shader and material pipeline
  • Ability to adjust and view all render passes independently
  • Full materials library
  • Interactive ambient occlusion (AO)
  • Fully configurable lighting and animation constraint system
  • Animatable and keyframeable properties for all objects, lights, cameras and materials
  • Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) cameras and lighting
  • Real-time depth-map shadows and depth-of-field
  • Exporters to support a wide range of file formats, including Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya and .fbx formats
  • Customizable interface with assignable hot keys, drag-and-drop tabs and fully functional scene manager
  • Support for the creation of unlimited lights and gels
  • Simulated global illumination, reflections, refractions and subsurface scattering
  • Resolution independent with support for all popular final file formats and codecs
  • Full Python scripting support

Since the application relies heavily on GPGPU capabilities, in order to deliver top notch performance, StudioGPU sealed the deal with AMD. With every license of MachStudio Pro, users will receive ATI FireGL V8650 graphics card with 2GB of frame buffer. This was the first graphics card with 2GB of memory in the professional space. Price for the single license is set at $4,999 [3,559 EUR].

Even though FireGL was released back in 2007 [based on Radeon 2900XT], this is still a card with the largest frame buffer in ATI’s line-up. For MachStudio Pro, the most important feature was exactly the frame buffer size, not just the number of shaders [FirePro V8700 comes with 800 shaders, as it is based on Radeon HD4870 – but only has 1GB GDDR5 memory].

Make sure we’ll put this features to a test as soon as we get a review copy of the product.