Nearly ten years to the day that we first reported the release of Ivy by GuruWare, it would appear that this venerable 3DS Max plugin is to be discontinued. A message on GuruWare's homepage cites a donation of 0.01 Euros and general lack of appreciation as the main reason to stop development and remove existing builds of the tool. According to GuruWare the plugin was downloaded over 35,000 times, yet the income from donations has not even covered the cost to run the web domain. More information can be found on the GuruWare website.
Recordings of 5 presentations from the recent Houdini Procedural in Motion event have been made available online. Topics included: Entagma explaining why VEX is the key to mastering Houdini's power; Helge Maus discussing proceduralism with a focus on particles, instancing and creating PBR materials and rendering with Mantra; Simon Holmedal demonstrating how he uses Houdini to create abstract effects; Jeff Wagner illustrating the use of common Houdini operators and scripting for procedural modelling, population, deformation and growth systems; Finally, a panel discussion about the state of the advertising industry. You can see all of the recordings on SideFX's website.
Naughty Dog TD Hans Godard has released an impressive video demonstrating his research into a new technique to animate muscle and other kinds of mesh deformation using machine learning in Maya. The tool, named Muscle Training to Joint reconstruction (MTJ), requires a short sequence of input meshes from which it is able to identify the best joint locations, create a skinned mesh that matches the shape of the inputs, and create a rig from the joint locations that smoothly animates between the shapes. Watch it on Vimeo.