e-onsoftware Vue 11, review. First look.

Vue 11 review


It’s become a tradition to have a new version of Vue every six months, spring-summer for half (.5) versions and November for full versions. All of the releases have nice additions, have bolstered the ‘back end’ programming, and keep the application on the cutting edge for environment renders. Not all our wishes and hopes have come to life in previous new releases, but they have been getting closer and closer.

This last release has given us a lot of what we’ve hoped for, including a total re-haul of the EcoSystem and particle effects.

The EcoSystem now updates interactively, as you change options. In previous versions, when you modified settings for the EcoSystem, you needed to repopulate the scene to see any changes. That takes some time. With this new update of Vue, the EcoSystem updates instantly and fast.

A drawback that I’ve found so far with this is that it’s not totally accurate. For example, if you place an EcoSystem layer on an object like a tree, then add objects to the EcoSystem with the fast population option checked, it will show right. But when you change the shape of the tree, the EcoSystem will keep the form of the old shape. This is easy to fix; just click on repopulate and it adjusts to the new shape. That’s because it’s using a cached object shape to make it work. So that’s not a big deal, especially with the advantage gained.

Over all it was a very needed change.


EcoSystem 360 is a fantastic update. Before, you had to do  quite a few tricks for the effect, but now the EcoSystem populates objects on all sides, even the underside. This ability is really useful for creating realistic looking populations on overhanging cliffs, inside caves, and more with things like plant roots, rocks, and other objects. For instance, now you could create a tree and populate it with leaves or blossoms that could then be made to flutter, drop off, and fly on the wind. This may seem like a “small” addition, but it required a major update with how the EcoSystem was calculated and interacted with objects. It’s another big addition in this version of Vue that makes it worth upgrading.

EcoSystem brushes are another thing that have experienced some leveling up. How many times have you wished to have tools that allow you to work with the EcoSystem as an artist. How would you like to swirl trees in tornado or realign in grid on farm field with the flick of your brush? The wide collection of new brushes allows you to do those things, plus you can combine them to create unique brush effects. This gives you the ability to use your Wacom pad to paint your populations onto the terrain with more control than you’ve ever had before.

One of the most anticipated tools in Vue has been a particle system. Vue 11 gives us this in two different ways: through the EcoSystem and through the Atmosphere editor.

Reading about the other additions of the Ecosystem, you can see that particles would be a natural extension of Vue’s ecosystem engine. Any object that is part of an EcoSystem material can now emit particles. You could also have an EcoSystem object that also has an EcoSystem material and be populated by other objects that also emit particles. This will let you create smoke, waterfalls, and a variety of gaseous or liquid or particles in the air that have complex behavior in animations.

I have been testing and playing around with this a lot. Check out these videos I’ve created while I’ve been experimenting with Vue’s EcoSystem particle effects.

Simple collision detection:


Bee hive behavior:


Steam engine:


And more :


You can also just paint emitters on a material like in ant colony test in our Discovering Vue 11 tutorials.


Or use to grow or create hanging plants:


Particle effects have a wide range of applications in both animation or still images, and this is a grand leap forward for Vue. However, you can see that things aren’t perfect. Collision detection is still a bit problematic and there are a couple of other limitations.

There are no spring physics yet, which means that we can’t simulate cloth or other flexible objects. Vue’s simulation doesn’t give us true liquid or smoke behavior. Using metablob in Vue will simulate it to an extent, but it’s not a replacement for Real Flow.

Treating particles as an EcoSystem population gives some bonuses and minuses. Effectors for particles are closely related to EcoSystem brushes due to relations of both. And this means you have easier artistic control over them. But it’s probably this same association that makes Vue act slow with a large amount of particles.

It will take a long time to write all about particles. It might be faster if you check out some of my video tutorials: http://www.geekatplay.com/dv11.php

The other approach Vue takes to particles is as a weather system through the Atmosphere editor. Here, rain and snow are both true particle systems now, allowing you to add realistic effects to your  environment.

Both options are added to the Atmosphere editor as an additional tab, and are available for all type of atmospheres. Snow/Rain area make it match easer to setup affected areas and control over all particle influence to minimize the use of resources.


In the early stages of this release, the library of snow and rain particles is very limited, but you can easily extend it in your regular material library. Also they can be replaced by other materials. For example, instead of rain you could make mosquito’s in a forest. This freaks my wife out.

I found some performance issues when using Snow or Rain, but it’s easily related to the overall performance of computer you’re currently using. In other words if you want to use all the bells and whistles, get a powerful computer.

Again Vue has given us another excellent addition in the new weather system.

Over all, particle effects were a very needed and the biggest addition in this version of Vue. e-onsoftware’s clever strategy of being able to add them into your scene through materials or atmospheres allows a more intuitive approach to creating a CG environment. It’s easy to use and adds a lot of power to the application. But Vue’s particle effects still have plenty room for improvement.

Illumination caching gives improvements in controlling speed vs quality when rendering an animation. What happens is that the application now checks for changes in illumination when rendering an animation and adjusts only the area where things have changed, while keeping some cached lighting information for the rest of the scene This gives you the high quality you need while optimizing the speed of the render.

There are several other small additions, like new vector nodes in the Function editor, improvement in render quality and speed, and more optimizations in some algorithms on back end to reduce any possible memory leaks or needlessly slow renders.

If for one reason or other you have not yet upgraded your version of Vue, I would recommend upgrading to Vue 11, due to all combined changes (10-10.5-11) that makes this version more flexible, powerful, and very easy to use.

I must add a warning that the introduction of new systems and some major rewriting in the application may lead to instability in some areas. Before upgrading you need understand the possibility that the application will require a few updates before it becomes more stable with its new features. If you are in a strict production environment on a tight schedule and these new additions are not must haves, you probably want to wait a couple of months for bug fixes and updates.

In conclusion:  This version is worth to upgrade for early editions. With cation to introduction of new technology.


Test PC:

CPU Intel Core i7 first generation Quad core 2.4Ghz, 12 Gbt Triple channel memory, Nvidia 265 Video card 1Gbt . Windows 7 64 bit. All drivers updated to latest version in time of installation.

For more details about Vue 11 check our new tutorials : Discovering Vue 11



There are 6 comments

  1. Michael Davey

    Thanks for the review! I’ve already decided to upgrade, but I appreciate your look at the new features and especially your video examples.

    I really love the look of the rain drops on windows, I can see those being used in all sorts of ways for effects, such as rain on leaves, or looking through a window at the rain.

    One thing I keep hoping for is accurate water effects from rain drops or other objects causing ripples. I didn’t see anything like this.

    Anyways, thanks again for this and all the other work you and your team do.

    Michael Davey

  2. Phil Stopford

    I do like Vue, but I do want to post this – it came as quite a shock and sours the matter :

    E-on software have changed their business model so that you now *rent* the license server that polices Vue floating licenses (including render nodes). The license server used to be a perpetual license, requiring no payment to migrate the server to another machine and it would run forever (supporting licenses up to the last version released under your maintenance contract). This was a pretty fair and reasonable approach. Thinkbox, for example, requires 100 USD to issue a key to activate a license server on a different machine out-of-maintenance.

    With version 11, e-on now provides only a 365 day license for the server. After that point, if you’re not on maintenance, they require 199 USD to issue a key to keep your license server running for another year. It’s really distasteful. E-on’s beancounters have apparently chosen to keep customers hostage – you’ll pay if you’re on maintenance; you’ll pay if you’re off-maintenance.

    Something to be aware of – even if you never plan to use another version of Vue because the current version does everything you want, you’ll need to pay them every year to keep using it, if you have render nodes or floating licenses.

    It’s massively disappointing from a company that seemed to have made great inroads into correcting both their software and their customer focus.

  3. Michael Clark

    Yeah, e-on seems to have taken on a policy of trying to drain the customer of every penny they can and terrible customer service. I will never purchase from them again.

  4. Ramey73

    I’ve recently upgraded to VUE 11, already had the EcoSystem and just installed KRONOS FX. The Snow Rain tab does not show up in the Atmosphere editor. Any ideas? I’ve uninstalled everything, tried again, no change.
    I’m using i7 950 intel cpu, 3.04GHZ, 12 Gig DDR3 Memory, Nvidia GTX580 Video and Windows 7 Premium. Latest video drivers added.
    Thanks. I even went so far as to uninstall Vue 11 and reinstalled Vue 10 since both Eco System and Kronos says they’re for Vue 10. No change.

  5. jason267

    Any idea why renders on Windows 7 64bit would take 5 times longer than on the mac side? PC config: Intel i7 6 core @ 3.2GHz, 64GB ram, Nvidia GTX 680 4GB VRam, Open GL 2.1 enabled in Vue 11.
    MacPro config: OS 10.7.5: Intel Xeon 8 core @ 2.26 GHz, 16GB ram, Nvidia Quadro 4000 2GB Vram, Open GL 2.1 enabled in Vue 11.
    Lake Tahoe 630X360 render @ final quality took 2:50 on Mac, 12:53 on Win.
    This is my first foray with Vue 11. Is this normal?

    Thanks in advance

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