Owlet 1.6

08 Jun 2018

This update adds some nice features like multiple channel support and transition animations. Read on for details.

Linear Workflow

First of all, starting from this version Owlet uses linear rendering workflow. This is somewhat a breaking change, as may affect your scenes. Previous versions of Owlet converted all the input images and colors to sRGB color space, rendered scenes there and exported resulting images “as is”. This worked more or less OK, but was not physically correct.

Starting from this version Owlet converts all the input artwork into linear color space, does all the processing there and converts the result back to sRGB. Here is the difference:

Non-linear vs linear processing in Owlet

Old rendering is on the left, new rendering is on the right. You may see the lit area is pretty much the same, but the light distribution is different. The right one looks more natural.

How exactly does it affect your scenes? In a couple of ways. First of all, you may notice everything looks slightly brighter and less contrast. That’s because the main difference between sRGB and linear color spaces is at the “dark” part of the gradient. Reflective surfaces might look more reflective and some lights may not look that bright, as on the picture above. However, exactly as with adverse effects of some medication, most of the scenes will barely be affected at all. No worries, give it a try, embrace and accept it. That’s for good and all the other our products will end up there in the near future.

You can read more about this by googling for “linear workflow”, there is plenty of information about it in the Internet.

Multiple Channels Support

There is a small checkbox in the Advanced section of the rendering parameters window called Render extra channels. Once checked, Owlet will render additional images with depth and normals information of the current scene. It will also render so called “clown pass” images for objects and materials.

Images are saved next to the main one with special suffixes, so you can easily spot them. It is recommended to save to HDR formats like EXR, HDR or PSD to get the most of the feature, especially for depth and normals passes.

PSD Output

Saving to PSD format is now supported. Owlet makes floating-point 32-bit PSD files to save all the little details with maximum precision. The resulting images are quite heavy, so feel free to convert them to 8 or 16 bits if you want to send them somewhere. 32-bits are perfect for post-processing, but not for sharing.

Also, if you check that Render extra channels box and save image as PSD, you’ll get all the chanells as layers in the PSD file for your convenience.

Transition Animations

Exactly as in Boxshot, you can now render transition between two snapshots in Owlet. Click Tools -> Render Transition… in the menu, select two snapshots, setup parameters and render it in job manager. It is pretty much the same as in Boxshot.

Other Improvements

Besides the above we’ve added some new features and fixed some old bugs. The brief list is below:

  • OBJ format loading improved, including the Adobe 3D stock format extensions;
  • Reload Images command added to the Tools menu for your convenience;
  • Environment parameters can be now saved to snapshots;
  • Gizmo can be switched between global and local coordinates by holding Alt/Option key;
  • Missed watermarks are now looked for in the project folder;
  • Default material is now exported to Collada format;
  • Output format selection added to queued scenes in Render Later section;
  • Last used image saving format is set by default;
  • Last used folders for loading and saving files are now opened by default;
  • Improved click selection on high dpi (retina) displays;
  • Boxshot/Origami scenes import has been improved.

There are some other fixes of less common problems, but I don’t really want to make this list too long. It is much better to download a new version and give it a try, right?