The world of computer graphics is evolving every day. As artists reach new boundaries they are faced with new challenges and problems. In today’s world an artist needs to be able to work quickly and efficiently. I’ve come to learn as an artist that there is no such thing as one program that can do it all so I’m constantly looking for better tools to engage my work efficiently. I’ll be taking a look a program called Faogen by Rusted Dreams which is an ambient occlusion generator for windows platform. I was lucky enough to get a go with the program thanks to the staff at Rusted Dreams. I have to say that it truly is a real time saver when doing ambient occlusion with the little time that I’ve had with the program.
When you first open Faogen you’ll notice a really clean interface for the program which is essential for an artist in navigating around without losing time on a project. As with a lot of programs you’ll find four basic tabs up top which consist of file, edit, view and help. Below that you’ll find your menu icons which any artist is familiar with in today digital art field. Over all, the program has a really great feel when it comes down to the navigation. Faogen offers more than just clean interface. The program is loaded with options like ambient aperture lighting, object information and bent normals as well as many more options for an artist to perfect their ambient occlusion maps. These things are essential when producing a good quality ambient occlusion map or maps. In working with other programs like Autodesk Maya or Autodesk Max, bent normals lighting is an option that is not offered in these packages. Bent normals are an extension to ambient occlusion to allow more intesting lighting. The idea is to average the unoccluded vectors and use this vector (which is "bent" in the direction of unoccluded hemisphere) to look up in an environment map. In the past dealing with other programs that have generator for ambient occlusion built in within the program still do not compare to the quality that Faogen brings to the table. Faogen also brings speed that programs like Autodesk family cannot do in comparisons to when rendering maps with Faogen since programs like Max or Maya use the cpu instead of graphics card to do the work. Artists that use professional workstation graphics cards with notice this speed more then someone that is using a gaming card. Faogen instead uses the gpu instead of the cpu doing the work which also produces a better map and faster results since it’s uses the graphics card.
Faogen is also great in keeping your work organized so when you’re ready to save your map it also saves a copy of the obj file with your map into the directory that you have it set which is also handy if you misplace your original obj file. I have notice some flaws with the program that I’m sure in future releases could be fix for example importing high density models. I notice if a sculptor like myself or anyone else brings in a model consisting of one million ploys the programs comes to a halt. Though by any means does not mean that Faogen is not worth the money for the time that it saves you creating ambient occlusion maps. The program offers a lot for the msrp of sixty nine dollars. It’s a small program that has a lot to offer for its price. As an artist that works on contracted work for various projects Faogen is definitely recommended. Again I want to thank the staff at Rusted Dreams for the opportunity to review the program it has been a blast.
Clean and easy for beginners or professional alike.
Easy to adapt and learn your way around without cumbersome or complex menus systems.
6.5 Performance does take a hit for not being able to handle high density models. Artist that use sculpting programs might be turned off but nothing a future update could fix.
Great program that will save you time and money when working in this field. At $69.99 is not a bad deal considering that other programs do not compare for what it does in its field and usually cost more.
7.5 Overall Score