What Is XMesh?
XMesh™ is a set of tools for saving animated scene geometry to an external file sequence and for loading this data later for rendering.
What Is XMesh MX?
XMesh™ MX is the 3ds Max implementation of the XMesh toolset.
It consists of a commercial Saver plugin (XMesh Saver MX) which exposes a MAXScript Interface for processing the scene and saving the XMesh files, and a FREE Loader plugin (XMesh Loader MX) which performs the loading.
The XMesh Saver User Interface was implemented using MAXScript and can be used as reference / starting point for custom caching solutions.
Does XMesh Support Other 3D Applications?
Thinbox Software currently ships only the 3ds Max versions of the Loader and Saver, but implementations of savers and loaders for Maya and other applications are in various stages of development.
XMesh MX clients are welcome to participate in the Beta test of the XMesh cross-application builds.
Please visit the XMesh Poll and give us your opinion about what other applications you would want to see supported by XMesh.
Is It New And Untested?
No. The underlying code of XMesh MX has been under development and in heavy VFX production usesince early 2006, giving it 6 years of preparation before it's official release in 2012.
Do I need an XMesh Loader License for each Render Node?
NO! The XMesh Loader is FREE and can be distributed and installed independently of the XMesh Saver and its licensing. This means that you can install XMesh Loader on hundreds or even thousands of machines and render already saved data using your preferred renderer at no additional cost. Also, you can send the saved data to other artists who can install the free Loader to see and render the cached geometry.
Only the XMesh Saver requires a license.
How Many XMesh Licenses Do I Need?
When using floating licenses, the XMesh Saver will acquire a license only during the actual saving to disk and will return it back immediately when finisehd. This means that multiple artists could use the same license, as long as they don't attempt to do so at exactly the same time.
If you intend to take advantage of the ability of XMesh Saver to run on the network and save multiple sequences in parallel (for example using the Thinbox Deadline network manager), you will need as many XMesh Saver licenses as the number of parallel saving tasks you want to run. Parallel processing is supported both within a single sequence and for multiple sequences.
What Are The Main Advantages Of XMesh?
XMesh MX has the following advantages over the 3ds Max PointCache modifier:
- Support for changing topology.
- Support for changing / animated mesh data channels other than vertex list - the complete mesh definition including Smoothing Groups, Material ID assignments and all 100 Mapping Channels can be saved and re-loaded.
- Smaller disk footprint for similar data thanks to built-in compression.
- Smart data referencing when data remains unchanging between frames.
- Human-readable XML Header Files can include additional information like Bounding Box and Scale as well as arbitrary Metadata.
XMesh MX has the following advantages over other Mesh caching solutions:
- Direct support for both sequential and parallel processing of a single animation on Deadline.
- The multiple files per frame data storage design allows for direct referencing of data channels and even the manual editing of XMesh XML Header Files for deeper TD access.
- Support for pre-calculated Velocity channel with various loading-time interpolation modes.
- Direct velocities acquisition from Cebas Thinking Particles.
- Optional saving of multiple objects as one mesh in World space, or as multiple sequences in World or Object space.
- Support for all 100 3ds Max mapping channels.
- Support for alternative (Proxy) sequence saving and loading for viewport display including built in save-time optimization, separate sampling rate and channel layout options.
- Additional simplified viewport display modes including Bounding Box, Percent of Vertices and Percentage of Faces.
XMesh MX has the following advantages over Alembic:
- The same XMesh sequence can be saved from multiple machines in parallel, esp. useful when saving complex particle and fluid simulations.
- Individual XMesh frames from an existing sequence can be freely overwritten for complex recursive update setups or for simple updating of a sub-range of an existing sequence with modified content.
- Already commercially available for 3ds Max.