It just became a little easier for users of the Nvidia Iray renderer and Allegorithmic Substance Designer to translate the properties of physical materials into virtual objects.

Pantone parent company X-Rite said Iray and Substance Designer both have added support for its Appearance Exchange Format (AxF) for communicating physical properties of a material, including color, gloss, texture, refraction, reflection, transparency and translucency, and special effects (like those found in automotive paint) in one file. Allegorithmic will allow the AxF format to exist alongside Nvidia’s Material Definition Language (MDL) in a unified workflow. That means an engine that supports MDL can incorporate data defined by AxF, and MDL materials can be used in AxF-compliant workflows, X-Rite said.

Integrating AxF with Nvidia’s MDL technology means physically measured materials can now be combined with procedurally generated textures in a fully GPU-accelerated working environment. The AxF format, part of what X-Rite calls the Total Appearance Capture (TAC) Ecosystem, dramatically compresses scanned data from the terabyte range to megabytes, X-Rite said.

X-Rite Pantone TAC7 scanner

The TAC Ecosystem includes the X-Rite Pantone TAC7 scanner for capturing the properties of physical material samples, Pantora Material Hub software for storing, managing, viewing and editing the resulting AxF files carrying the appearance data, and a 3D visualization environment for evaluating material appearance called the Virtual Light Booth. AxF files can be shared using product lifecycle management software, CAD tools, and rendering applications including Autodesk VRED Professional 2017, Lumiscaphe Patchwork 3D, and Luxion KeyShot, in addition to Substance Designer and Iray, X-Rite said.

“The TAC ecosystem is the most accurate, fastest and easiest way to take real materials and migrate them into the digital world,” said Dr. Tobias Rausch, X-Rite Portfolio Manager, TAC, in a prepared statement. “NVIDIA’s support of the AxF format means that Iray users can significantly streamline the overall creation process by starting with physically accurate files.”

Rausch will present a “scan-to-material” workflow at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, in Room 404AB of the Los Angeles Convention Center during SIGGRAPH. A demonstration of TAC with the AxF format working with Iray can also be seen at X-Rite’s booth, #1104, the company said.

X-Rite TAC Ecosystem: