August 14, 2017
Developed by X-Rite, AxF is a vendor-neutral format that enables the communication of all aspects of a physical material’s appearance – color, texture, gloss, refraction, transparency, translucency, special effects (sparkles) and reflection properties – in a single, editable file to improve design virtualization, X-Rite reports. AxF gives designers and visual effects artists using NVIDIA Iray, access to materials that simulate appearances to enhance the overall design process and deliver photorealistic 3D visuals, the company reports.
AxF is the foundational component of the X-Rite Total Appearance Capture (TAC) ecosystem. TAC offers capabilities in material scanning coupled with an ability to share the resulting data, via AxF, across an expanding set of rendering tools such as Iray, X-Rite reports.
Moreover, Allegorithmic Substance Designer allows connecting AxF and NVIDIA Material Definition Language (MDL) definitions in a unified workflow, allowing any engine supporting MDL to incorporate scanned data definition from TAC ecosystem, or any MDL material to be mixed or ingested by AxF compliant workflow.
NVIDIA MDL defines the materials properties for Iray cross-vendor rendering engines, enabling the quick exchange of materials between multiple software and rendering technologies. MDL supports popular material models such as those in AxF without additional changes in a renderers core shading code. Thus, Iray’s integration of AxF through the MDL technology combines measured materials with the fully programmable support for procedurally generated textures and functions with full GPU acceleration of MDL.
The TAC ecosystem is comprised of the TAC7 scanner, PANTORA Material Hub desktop application, and Virtual Light Booth (VLB). Physical material samples are scanned using the TAC7 scanner, which captures appearance properties digitally to create AxF files that store appearance data. The files are stored, managed, viewed and edited in the PANTORA desktop application. The AxF files can be shared with PLM, CAD, and state-of-the art rendering applications including Allegorithmic Substance Designer, AMD Radeon ProRender, Autodesk VRED Professional 2017, Lumiscaphe Patchwork 3D, Luxion KeyShot Next Limit Maxwell and NVIDIA Iray.
The TAC Virtual Light Booth is animmersive 3D visualization environment for evaluating material appearance. It allows users to visualize and compare 3D digital material renderings side by side with physical samples. The VLB combines X-Rite’s SpectraLight QC professional light booth technology with a high-brightness, color-calibrated, LCD display; color management technology and motion tracking sensors. This allows the VLB viewing environment to control parameters that influence the perception of appearance from illumination to contextual to observational factors. With the VLB, design teams can verify these conditions to see changes in material performance, X-Rite notes.
Sources: Press materials received from the company.