Electric Image has announced a new version of Universe 3D animation system. The software is expected to begin shipping this fall for Windows NT/2000, Macintosh/OS X and Sun Solaris platforms. The update price for the new version has not yet been announced. New features include a new constraint system, paint-on weight mapping, an advanced skinning system, previews for motion blurs and depth-of-field rendering, global illuminator lighting options and optimized OpenGL support in its Modeler. "Traditionally our key strengths have been robust animation coupled with extremely fast and high-quality rendering, which has made Electric Image unbeatable for projects requiring high output quality and tight production deadlines. But the number one request we've had from our customers in the film, television and gaming markets has been additional character animation tools," said Dwight Parscale, chairman and CEO of Electric Image. "Universe 3.0 addressed this with a new Inverse Kinematics system, but version 4.0 adds much more substantial tools to the mix. Combine that with its new resolution-independent modeling, swift production workflow, real-time camera mapping and the world's fastest rendering engine and Universe should continue to be the production artist's tool of choice at the best price in the industry." The software is used for graphic design, engineering, Web development and broadcast television and film animation.