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Next-Generation Turtle Unveiled at SIGGRAPH

Illuminate Labs introduced Turtle 2, the next-generation version of its core renderer, at SIGGRAPH 2005. The technology focuses on the needs of gaming studios and others using Maya it is fully integrated in the Maya GUI and uses native Maya shading networks and allows users to quickly open and render large scenes with advanced lighting effects. Turtle 2 begins shipping worldwide this month.

Turtle 2 is based on the second generation of Illuminates LiquidLight technology platform, which speeds and enhances the features of the original Turtle, used by companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Lockheed Martin. One improvement is the shading system, which is implemented from scratch based on the native Maya shaders (with new realistic materials and utility nodes added), rather than being based on Mayas API. This gives shaders predictable results, but with much better performance. Scenes with complex shading can be rendered at more than twice the speed as before. Other improvements include the render pass system, global illumination and baking.

Baking Improvements include super-sampling and filtering of the baked textures and the baking of surface properties from high-resolution surfaces to low-resolution surfaces. Turtle 2 texture baking of any shading or lighting, including ambient and reflection occlusion as well as global illumination. Batch baking of multiple objects and multiple frames is also supported for ease-of-use in large-scale production.

Its Surface Transfer function enables the user to transfer surface properties from high-resolution to low-resolution objects. Surface Transfer supports the output of normals, displacement and lighting/shading at levels of detail unseen in similar tools. This makes it possible for game studios to produce complex models with a minimum amount of polygons.

"Turtle is experiencing a strong surge of interest, especially in the gaming industry, said Per Hulthén, ceo of Illuminate Labs. The push for stunning visual quality in next generation games relies on next generation tools such as Turtle. Illuminate Labs' close collaboration with customers in the gaming industry has been very rewarding. We now look forward to continue developing Turtle to be the natural first choice for all Maya users."

"We have been very pleased with the rendering speed and visual results of Turtle, and plan on putting Turtle into our lighting pipeline for our next Harry Potter game, says Michael Talarico, CG supervisor for HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE GAME at Electronic Arts.

Turtle 2 is available for Maya 6.0, Windows 2K/ZP, Linux and Mac OS X, and is supported by distributed network rendering packages including ButterflyNetRender, FXCluster, Muster, qube!, Remote Control, Rush, Royal Renderer and Smedge.

Illuminate Labs is located at SIGGRAPH at booth #963.

Illuminate Labs (www.illuminatelabs.com), based in Gothenborg/Sweden, develops and markets rendering technology for film, broadcast, games, architecture and design visualization. Turtle is the first product from Illuminate Labs a radically faster rendering software for the Maya animation software. Turtle has been used in production since 2003. Reference customers include Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Lockheed Martin and University of California. Illuminate Labs was founded to commercialize research breakthroughs in computer graphics at the Chalmers University of Technology.

LiquidLight technology, both in present and future generations, is available on a licensing basis for integration in computer graphics applications. Illuminate Labs has been awarded in several competitions such as Innovation Cup, Venture Cup and the European IST Prize awarded by the European Council in the field of Information Society Technologies. Illuminate Labs is an official Alias Conductors partner. Additional partners include 3D Labs, Adobe, Apple, Angstrom, ATI, NVIDIA, Microsoft and Pixologic.

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