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Autodesk 2009 Software Announcements From SIGGRAPH

Autodesk unveiled a plethora of new software for 2009, including Maya, MotionBuilder, Toxik, Stitcher Unlimited and Image Modeler, at SIGGRAPH on Monday evening.

Autodesk Announces 10-Year Anniversary Release of Maya Software

At SIGGRAPH 2008, Autodesk announced Autodesk Maya 2009 3D animation and visual effects software, in celebration of the software's 10-year anniversary. Maya 2009 includes a host of advancements in modeling, animation, rendering and effects that maximize productivity, optimize workflows, and provide new creative possibilities. Maya 2009 will be showcased at the Autodesk booth (#501) during SIGGRAPH 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center Aug. 12-14.

"We are celebrating the work done with Autodesk Maya over the past 10 years by many artists and creative visionaries in film, television production and games, as well as in industrial design and architecture." said Marc Petit, Autodesk's Media & Entertainment SVP. "We designed Maya 2009 as a tribute to creative innovation and production efficiency. The new release will allow artists to raise the bar and deliver even more ground breaking computer graphics work."

Mike Romey, senior technical director at Zoic Studios was a beta tester for Maya 2009. "The future of Maya is shining brightly with the upcoming release," said Romey. "Autodesk Maya 2009 will change the way artists think about dynamics, rendering, compositing and pipelines. With the solid mental ray multi-render pass workflow, production will be far more effective. This new workflow will optimize render times for multiple render layers and, in turn, elevate the quality of work. The creation of nParticles builds on the unified dynamics engine introduced in nCloth, allowing for greater integration of advanced effects."

While the complexity and size of scenes continue to rise, Maya 2009 provides new tools to make them more manageable. These tools include the new Maya Assets toolset, which enables users to encapsulate a set of nodes into a single container and publish a view of the data suited to the artist's task. The release also offers a new Render Proxy feature in mental ray, and additional multi-threading work and algorithmic speedups that boost interactive draw, simulation and rendering performance for even the heaviest scenes.

Maya 2009 gives modelers and texture artists unprecedented control over polygon modeling and UV texturing through powerful selection management features, efficient modeling workflows and precision UV unfolding and layout options.

Tighter schedules and budgets demand that projects and pipelines take full advantage of available resources. Maya 2009 supports collaborative, iterative workflows and promotes data reuse. The software has a new animation layering paradigm that provides animators with increased non-destructive flexibility, as well as an updated Render Pass toolset that offers precise control over render output and optimizes integration with Autodesk Toxik procedural compositing software.

Maya 2009 offers an innovative Maya nParticles dynamic simulation module and an extensive Maya Muscle feature set. nParticles is part of the Maya Nucleus Unified Simulation Framework, a ground-breaking approach to creating complex physics simulations that interact directly with each other. Furthermore, to help studios capitalize on the growing popularity of stereoscopic 3D films, Maya 2009 offers a flexible new stereo camera rig, complete with in-viewport stereo viewing.

For a complete list of new features and enhancements in Maya 2009, visit www.autodesk.com/maya.

Autodesk anticipates that Maya 2009 will be available in English in October 2008. Maya 2009 will be supported on the Windows (64-bit and 32-bit versions) and Linux (64-bit version) operating systems as well as Mac OS X for Intel-based Macintosh computers (32-bit version)

Autodesk suggested retail pricing is $1,995 for Maya Complete 2009 (Standalone) and $4,995 for Maya Unlimited 2009 (Standalone). The upgrade price from Maya Complete 2008 to Maya Complete 2009 is $899, and the upgrade price from Maya Unlimited 2008 to Maya Unlimited 2009 is $1,249.

Autodesk Subscription with Gold Support is available for purchase simultaneously with the product or upgrade purchase. The Autodesk suggested retail price for Subscription with Gold Support for Maya Unlimited is $1,495 per year, and for Maya Complete is $1,295. Subscription with Gold Support customers qualify for access to the latest software updates, valuable product extensions, telephone and web support, a comprehensive knowledge base and e-Learning materials.

For information about Maya learning tools, visit www.autodesk.com/learning-tools.

Autodesk Announces MotionBuilder 2009 3D Character Animation Software

Autodesk announced Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009 software, the latest version of its real-time 3D character animation solution for games, film, and television projects. The 2009 version offers high-quality visualizations within the 3D viewport, an intuitive toolset for real-time simulation, and expanded scripting capabilities for tighter pipeline integration. MotionBuilder 2009 will be showcased at the Autodesk booth (#501) during SIGGRAPH 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center Aug. 12-14.

"Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009 is one of the most significant releases of the software since its inception," said Marc Petit, Autodesk's Media & Entertainment SVP. "This version includes improved workflows for technical directors, as well as an increased focus on interactivity with capture, simulation and high quality rendering in real time. It lets animators be more productive, and puts total creative control into the hands of directors and cinematographers."

"Autodesk MotionBuilder has long been one of the most powerful and reliable character animation tools on the market -- both for keyframing and motion capture processing," said Petr Mores, senior animator at Crytek, and MotionBuilder beta tester. "As an animator, I love the new rigid body physics and Rag Doll solvers in the 2009 version, which help to perfect a multitude of movements that would otherwise be quite painful to capture realistically. Technical directors will also be happy to see the new Python script editor and ability to create custom UIs, which will allow them to fully integrate MotionBuilder into pipelines like ours."

Animators now have the ability to perform rigid body dynamic simulations inside the software, giving them a more efficient workflow for producing realistic animations. Support for real-time collisions prevents interpenetration of characters, objects and other scene elements. This is particularly useful for those looking to efficiently edit 3D animations involving characters interacting with objects. Also, the addition of a Rag Doll solver allows users to perform simulations dynamically, such as a character falling and hitting the ground. Artists can control the behavior of their character easily by layering animation on top of this simulation, for increased realism.

MotionBuilder 2009 enhances support for industry-standard digital content creation applications, so that both technical directors and developers can integrate the software into a production pipeline and bring data across, quickly and accurately. The Python scripting language now includes a full script editor with syntax checking and command highlighting, which enables technical directors to create custom tools and scripts more efficiently. Enhanced support is also available for workflows involving MotionBuilder and the Autodesk 3ds Max software's Biped system or the Autodesk Maya software's Full Body Inverse Kinematics (FBIK) character rig.

MotionBuilder 2009 provides support for advanced hardware shaders, improving the quality of the real-time display in the viewport. New Normal Mapping CG shader support allows artists to work with existing normal maps created in Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max or Autodesk Mudbox software and view them in real-time in the viewport. Furthermore, the new Light Attenuation CG shader lets artists achieve greater levels of subtlety and realism by giving them more control over the attenuation and fall-off of their real-time lighting. Also, MotionBuilder now supports version 2.0 of the CgFX library, enabling animators to take advantage of the latest CgFX shader technology.

For a complete list of new features and enhancements in Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009, visit www.autodesk.com/motionbuilder.

Autodesk anticipates that MotionBuilder 2009 will be available in October 2008. The software will be available for 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, now including the 64-bit Microsoft Windows Vista Business operating system. The Autodesk suggested retail price for MotionBuilder 2009 software is $3,995. The Autodesk suggested retail price to upgrade from MotionBuilder 7.5 to MotionBuilder 2009 is $995.

Autodesk Launches Toxik 2009 Visual Effects Software

Autodesk announced Autodesk Toxik 2009 procedural compositing software. Toxik 2009 offers high-performance compositing and visual effects capabilities, particularly for large-format digital film and television projects. When combined with the new Autodesk Maya 2009 modeling software, the two products provide an accelerated and iterative 3D-to-2D workflow. Both products are being showcased at SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles, California, August 12-14 at Autodesk booth #501.

"A growing number of post-production facilities are embracing Autodesk Toxik as a companion to Autodesk Maya," said Stig Gruman, Digital Entertainment Group VP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. "As the entertainment industry grapples with the challenges of stereoscopic production, Toxik 2009 bridges 3D and 2D workflows, facilitating the production of stereoscopic films and virtual set extensions."

Fernando Zorilla, vfx exec producer at Bling Imaging, said, "We're already working with Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Flame, so Toxik was a natural choice for our pipeline. It gives us the power of a node-based compositor -- necessary for professional, high-end post-production work, along with a look and feel that's completely comfortable." Hollywood-based Bling Imaging creates photo-realistic visual effects, motion graphics and animation for broadcast and motion pictures.

Joerg Bruemmer, head of compositing at PICTORION das werk, said, "The Toxik software's tight integration with Maya and intuitive color correction tools have improved the way I composite. Toxik lets me focus on finishing shots faster, as I no longer have to worry about data management." PICTORION das werk in Germany offers digital post-production services for film, TV, advertising and music video projects.

Toxik 2009 can generate compositions based on Render Pass and Render Layer setups imported from Maya. Artists can pre-visualize their scene as it will appear when composited, allowing them to only iterate and refine required elements. This accelerates the 3D-to-2D workflow, eliminating unnecessary re-renders and reducing the need for round-tripping.

Toxik 2009 offers new tools that bring a pseudo third dimension to 2D imagery. These tools facilitate the creation of virtual set extensions, and the production of stereoscopic films.--Artists can import geometry via the Autodesk FBX file format from Maya or other 3D applications, and project a matte painting or rendered image onto it through the camera.--The illusion of depth or perspective can be further enhanced through a new mesh displacement feature.--Render pass setups can be imported directly from Maya.--Stereo output can be viewed while playing back a scene and while interacting with it.

Toxik 2009 offers a range of customer-requested enhancements, including:

--A new Warp 2D tool to deliver advanced, non-linear, spline-based image warping.--A new Lens Blur tool to change the shape of the lens in the virtual camera, to simulate real-world camera effects such as rack de-focus.--The ability to view images created in Toxik on Windows on broadcast-quality display devices.

Toxik 2009 features a new file-based data model, facilitating collaborative workflows without adding complexity for those who prefer to work standalone.

For a complete list of Toxik 2009 features, visit www.autodesk.com/toxik.

Autodesk anticipates that Toxik 2009 will be available in October 2008. Suggested retail pricing for a single seat of Toxik 2009 (Standalone or Network) is $3,495. The suggested retail price upgrade from Toxik 2008 to Toxik 2009 is $875.

Autodesk Announces Stitcher Unlimited 2009 and ImageModeler 2009 Software Products

Autodesk announced Autodesk Stitcher Unlimited 2009 and Autodesk ImageModeler 2009 software products. These are the first versions of the former REALVIZ products to be released as part of the Autodesk product portfolio. Both products are being showcased at SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles, California, August 12-14 at Autodesk booth #501.

"ImageModeler and Stitcher make 3D technology more accessible," said Marc Petit, Autodesk Media & Entertainment's senior vice president. "They enable the creation of 3D models from simple 2D images, and dynamic virtual environments from conventional photographs. These products are used on many types of projects -- from architecture and photography to film and game development."

Stitcher Unlimited 2009 helps create wide-angle and panoramic images in a few easy steps. With an intuitive user interface and an automatic photo-merging engine, the software is ideal for generating virtual tours for the Web, matte paintings for movies, environment maps for 3D rendering and panoramic prints for artistic display.

ImageModeler 2009 offers a new approach to 3D modeling: generating 3D models from 2D digital images. The software's easy-to-learn, three-step workflow of calibration, modeling and texturing lets users achieve photorealistic results with real-world accuracy.

"Autodesk ImageModeler 2009 crosses a new frontier in the field of architectural image-based modeling. It offers the possibility of integrating photos and panoramas, for a complete interior and exterior structural survey," said Livio De Luca, research engineer at CNRS, MAP-Gamsau, Marseilles, and professor of Digital Surveying Techniques at the University of Architecture of Venice.

"Since the beginning, Stitcher has consistently been the fastest and most user-friendly panoramic image editor," said Michael Eleftheriades, a U.K.-based media developer. "It remains the software of choice for our panoramic projects. Autodesk Stitcher 2009, with its graphics-accelerated previews and renders, as well as the new automated features, will make it even more indispensable to our panoramic workflows." Eleftheriades fuses his passions for architecture, virtual reality and computer graphics in the creation of large-scale panoramic imagery for virtual tours, computer games and exhibitions.

New Feature Highlights in Stitcher Unlimited 2009:--Fully Automatic Engine: Create partial or full spherical panoramas in just a few clicks. Stitching, alignment and color correction can be automated.--Double Shot: Stitch images taken with a two-shot fisheye lens; an effective way to create fully spherical virtual tours with only two pictures.--High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support: Create exceptionally high-quality environment maps and panoramas through the embedded HDR workflow, with support for EXR and HDR input and output.--Full interoperability with Adobe Photoshop and support for many industry-standard image, Web and video file formats.--Hotspot Support: Create QuickTime VR hotspots for Web content with links that can be integrated within a panorama, and reference another panorama.--Tripod Cap: Users can cover up the tripod in their image with an image of their own.--Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Acceleration: Optimized to take advantage of graphics card GPUs for preview rendering in the main Viewport. The GPU is now also used to accelerate final renders.--Selectable Rendering Area: Using the crop tool, artists can precisely select an area to be rendered, even in full-screen mode.--Redesigned User Interface and Workflow: Includes new icons and a new palette to manage thumbnails more efficiently.

New Calibration Engine: Generates a 3D model or scene using calibration points based on one or more panoramas or photos:

--3D Measurement: The ruler toolset calculates real-world distances and angles between points, eliminating the need for complex laser measurements onsite. This is of particular benefit to architects.--High-Performance Photo Texturing: High-quality texture extraction; texture mapping is a one-click, automatic process and photorealism is built-in.--User-friendly Interface: The UI color can be customized and source images can be viewed as thumbnails.--Improved Interoperability with other Autodesk software products: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk 3ds Max Design, Autodesk MotionBuilder and the AutoCAD family of products.--Full interoperability with Adobe Photoshop and support for many industry-standard image, Web and video file formats.

For a complete list of what's new in Stitcher Unlimited 2009 and ImageModeler 2009, visit www.autodesk.com/stitcher and www.autodesk.com/imagemodeler.

Autodesk anticipates that Stitcher Unlimited 2009 for Microsoft Windows will be available in English, French, German and Japanese in October 2008. The Autodesk suggested retail price for Stitcher Unlimited 2009 software is $350. ImageModeler 2009 for Microsoft Windows is expected to be available in English in October 2008. The Autodesk suggested retail price for ImageModeler 2009 software is $995.

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