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CAT Adoption Escalates Around the Globe

Character Animation Toolkit (CAT), a fully integrated next-generation character animation system plug-in for 3ds max, is experiencing rapid adoption around the globe since its introduction in November 2003, according to developer Character Animation Technologies.

Key markets for CAT include the U.S., Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Germany and Australia. In addition to its outstanding adoption rate, the company also announced significant enhancements to CAT with the immediate availability of CAT 1.15.

Underlying CAT's strong momentum is its groundbreaking approach to character animation -- most notably in the area of character rigging. With CAT at their fingertips, animation professionals in film, video, broadcast and games development can now create fully customizable rigs and animation sequences easily, intuitively and in record time. Early production studio adopters voicing enthusiasm for CAT include Digital Dimension, Frantic Films, Iloura Post Production, Osmosis Solutions, PRPVFX, Relic Entertainment and Uncharted Territory, LLC.

Osmosis Solutions, a leading Australian animation and visual communication company, recently deployed CAT for the first time to produce more than seven continuous minutes of high-quality character animation for the "Australian Polar Dinosaurs" Virtual Room exhibit at Melbourne Museum.

Director Vu Nguyen said, "CAT is the plug-in we've been waiting for and marks a huge improvement over the current character animation tools available for 3ds max. It completely overhauls the character rigging process without the associated steep learning curve and technical expertise usually required to setup a rig from scratch. With CAT, we can now create a large amount of quality animation in a very short period of time, and the toolkit's unique, non-destructive procedural workflow gives us the control to rework sequences in a truly intuitive way."

George Port, director for PRPVFX, an Auckland, New Zealand-based production studio (XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS and HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS), added, "The speed, power and ease-of-use of CAT is genuinely impressive. It's faster and more intuitive to use than any existing system on the market today, and makes animating characters easier than ever before."

"Our animation customers are constantly seeking solutions to meet the sophisticated workflow challenges and tremendously tight deadline pressures that epitomize today's competitive production environments," said Scott Pearson, president and co-founder of Character Animation Technologies.

CAT features a parametric motion cycle system that does not limit the animator's creativity; intuitive keyframe controls that can be assigned to all 3ds max animation controllers; a powerful mo-cap importer that supports popular motion capture formats; and a non-linear animation system that allows animators to use all of the above at once on different parts of the rig simultaneously.

CAT v. 1.15 combines all the powerful capabilities of the original software release plus the following key enhancements:

*Preset List Box Navigation -- allows presets to be organized in sub-folders.

*Full Support for Physique and Reactor -- ensures seamless workflow between CAT and both software systems.

*Automated Character Stop -- when activated automatically stops character from taking steps when not in motion and intuitively detects turning on the spot, initiating steps as appropriate.

*Animation Limb Symmetry -- allows for symmetrical limb transformation, reducing repetition.

*Intuitive Limb Manipulation -- The arms and legs are even more intuitive to work with. While in FK mode, the arm can be manipulated as if it is IK mode, and vice versa. Pose an arm using the FK controls, and grab the hand and pull it around as if it were in IK mode.

*Inheritance Control for Hubs -- CAT now supports the use of standard 3ds max transform inheritance flags between hubs. For example, you can now control whether the ribcage will inherit rotations from the pelvis.

Commercial licenses of CAT Version 1.15 are available as a plug-in for Discreet 3ds max 5 & 6 at a cost of $995. Student/Faculty and School/Institutional pricing are also available. The software can be purchased directly from Character Animation Technologies at www.catoolkit.com and through select Discreet Resellers (www.catoolkit.com/resellers/default.asp).

Character Animation Technologies Ltd. (www.catoolkit.com), founded in 1992 by two Emmy-award winning animators, Pearson and cto Philip Taylor, is a New Zealand-based developer of next-generation character animation software.

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