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Taking a Closer Look
In the next part of this article we’ll cover many screenshots of our test runs of the Octane Cloud Workstation. In our first web meeting with Autodesk’s John Schmier we tested out and saw John demo Autodesk 3ds Max with OTOY’s Octane Render as Max’s renderer. (see image 03)
The real-time performance of Octane Render on OTOY’s Octane Cloud Workstation was excellent. And the entire experience of manipulating a model, orbiting, accessing menus and seeing the render viewport update in real-time was nearly as nice as a native experience on the desktop. On this first session we saw frames per sec (FPS) rates up to 60 and at least no less than 22.5 FPS. (see images 04-06)
In our second sessions we did two separate things in terms of accessing the Octane Cloud Workstation. We discovered when working through Amazon Web Instances that another way to run this cloud workstation is to use a Microsoft Virtual Desktop application for the Mac. That solution was another method but not what Autodesk wanted us to focus on.
Closing Comments – So Where Is All This Going?
Autodesk says that at this time this is a Technology Preview open to developers and selected press. The goal says Autodesk is to eventually turn this into a service of some sorts. There was no specific mention of how this may get packaged nor the timing of a delivery on some sort of service.
Some other interesting aspects of what we have explored thus far is that up to four (4) people can be logged into the same instance at the same time. In one session with Autodesk it was noticed that different people can take over the mouse. It is not coordinated through software however, it just kind of happens. You have to verbally announce to the others that you want control of the mouse. Having a collaborative work session via an instance on the OTOY Octane Cloud Workstation could be useful in many situations.
Another question folks may have is how do you get your work to the Octane Cloud Workstation via an instance? There are several ways. One way would be to use something like Dropbox or Autodesk 360 cloud accounts. Other types of cloud storage could work as well. You could email materials back and forth through popular web mail services like Google’s Gmail.
Autodesk is working on technology that will make accessing files even more easy and automated, particularly with Autodesk 360.
What Does This Mean for Native Mac Development?
It is not clear and certainly Autodesk isn’t going to say how this technology will affect larger development plans for Windows and Mac OS X. Various markets have wanted different apps native on OS X for quite some time. In the AEC market Revit for the Mac is in big demand. A large part of that demand is actually by current Autodesk Revit users who simply want to run the popular BIM application on Apple hardware rather than Windows machines.
Autodesk 3ds Max has long had a similar user base wishing for Mac support. Also the fact that Autodesk Maya 2014 was shown on the Octane Cloud Workstation may concern some Maya Mac users that perhaps the company is planning on ditching native OS X support.
The market will just have to wait to learn more about where Autodesk takes this technology and how it packages it as software as a service (SaaS). One thing is clear. There are unique advantages to having engineering software delivered over the Web as a service. Chief among them is the rent to access economic benefits. Another is the possibility to access your work from anywhere on just about any computer or device. And a third is the Nvidia GRID GPU technology which can aid workflows by speeding up “real-time” rendering far beyond what you may get off your single workstation in your office.
We’d love to hear reader’s feedback on this technology so do post comments below.