I just got a promo email from e-on offering Vue xStream 10 upgrade for $795 ($700 off). Anyone tried 10 and have opinions? I'm especially interested in relative rendering speeds...the 6 I have is slow as molasses.
We use Vue xStream at work with Lightwave. A few quirks you need to understand and get used to but it works great. We used versions 8 through 9.x for many jobs already; we have 10 but haven't used it on a job yet.
Here's one of our Vue+Lightwave projects from last year:
Fable: The Journey
At home I use Vue 10 Infinite. This is just my opinion but there's not a huge difference between Infinite and xStream. The main thing you will give up is direct access of Vue from within Lightwave, which is very convenient but if you composite it's not that big a deal.
As for render speed, Vue 10 is much, MUCH faster than Vue 6. Antialiasing is significantly better too. The 'big leap' in speed and quality happened with Vue 8 and it's been steadily improving with each new release.
Hope this is helpful.
If you get 10, make sure you download the latest beta. It fixes a serious positioning bug with imported objects (.lwo as well as other formats.) You'll especially need this update if you render from Vue 10 Infinite and want to composite objects, masks and shadow catchers accurately between Vue and Lightwave renders.
BTW, I just started watching AsileFX Vue 10 Crash Course to help me learn new features and a few new tricks. It was recommended by my friend Ken Wilder, who is the 'Vue Master' here at the Box. The course is fairly inexpensive ($59).
Edit: Oops, sorry. I mistyped the price; the above price is correct now.
That's also one hell of a discount. Do bear in mind that, if you want to use xStream on a renderfarm, you'll need to also purchase their license server (one time charge) as well as the requisite number of floating licenses. The node licenses that come with Vue are only for rendercows, i.e. distributed Vue-only rendering and are useless for rendering with a host application in xStream mode.
It's quite a hefty charge for the license server, sadly. You might try grousing about it and see if they'll give you a discount on it as well
Oh, that reminds me: E-on does the annual 'subscription' thing with Vue, whicy you'll need to consider. If you don't keep it up, you wind up paying more for upgrades. Unfortunately, that business model seems to be the trend with a lot of graphics/VFX software companies these days. Just to be clear, you do not lose access to your version of Vue when your plan expires, you just lose access to new beta releases and major version upgrades. You can buy back in later if you choose but I think there may be a penalty.
To be fair though, E-on has been developing cool new features at a much faster pace in recent years, which has made me a little less grumpy about keeping my subscription up-to-date.
Regarding lapsed subscriptions, section 4.3 of the agreement (http://www.e-onsoftware.com/support/?page=2#) contains this :
"Unless otherwise agreed by e-on software, if you do not renew your Maintenance Plan prior to expiration of its term, your Maintenance Plan will automatically expire and this Agreement shall no longer apply. If you wish to reinstate your expired Maintenance Plan, you will be required to agree to the then current e-on software Maintenance Plan Subscription Agreement, and you will be required to purchase at least both the then-current software product release and a Maintenance Plan for that Release. You may also be subject to the payment of additional fees and expenses.