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Character Animation Technologies Releases Beta of New Muscle Deformation Tool

Character Animation Technologies Ltd., a New Zealand-based developer of innovative character animation software, announced the public, beta release of CATMuscle, its proprietary muscle deformation system. CATMuscle adds a whole new dimension to the company's flagship product, CAT (Character Animation Toolkit), a complete character system for 3ds max. The muscle system allows artists to achieve full-range, realistic movement in shoulders and other difficult areas with a minimum of setup. CATMuscle is the only muscle system that can be imported directly into a game engine.

CATMuscle, whose feature set can also make a strong complement to CAT, is available for download from Character Animation Technologies' website as a fully functional, unrestricted beta version.

Box Rocket Animations Craig Gulow said, "After struggling with skinning in Maya for weeks, and days out from our deadline, we switched over to CATMuscle and it saved us! We'll be using the CAT/CATMuscle combination from now on."

"CATMuscle fills the missing link for today's animators," added Scott Pearson, ceo of Character Animation Technologies. "To date, skinning a rig has been a difficult and often unrewarding experience. In conjunction with CAT, animators will not only be able to create great animation more easily than ever before, that ease of use will extend right though to the realistic muscle setup."

CATMuscle solves the crumpling and stretching that result in the mesh when underlying bones, such as shoulders and backsides, are put through a wide range of movement. CATMuscle provides the tools required to achieve a smooth, organic skin deformation across a large scope of motion.

Like all CAT tools, CATMuscle is designed by animators to meet the needs of animators. Set up is easy to learn and no understanding of anatomy is required. Artists can link CATMuscles to any 3ds max object, which means the software can be used in conjunction with Bipeds, custom rigs and, of course, CATRigs. Animators can design rigs to be as simple or complex as desired to fit the requirements of film or game development.

Key features of CATMuscle include:

* Smooth, organic skin deformation* Practical setup that works with any rig* A powerful preset system for transferring muscle configurations between characters* A tool as simple or as complex as the animator needs* Smooth playback in the viewport* New game engine export capability

The fully functional, unrestricted beta of CATMuscle is available immediately from the Character Animation Technologies website, www.catoolkit.com. CATMuscle will be available as a plug-in to 3ds max 6 and 7, and is expected to retail for about $445.

Character Animation Technologies Ltd., founded in 2002 by two Emmy-award nominated animators, is a New Zealand-based developer of next-generation character animation software.

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