Peter Plantec explores recent advances in facial animation and crowd simulation software to see how different forms of virtual acting are converging in vfx-driven works.
Autodesk Inc. announced the availability of Autodesk Cleaner 6.5 for Macintosh, the newest update to its professional desktop media mastering and encoding software. Autodesk Cleaner is an industry standard application for encoding and optimizing video content for delivery formats ranging from the Internet and DVD to handheld mobile devices. On the heels of the release of Cleaner XL1.5 for Windows, Cleaner 6.5 for Mac brings extended format support and increased workflow flexibility to the Mac-based digital video encoding community.
Mary Ann Skweres looks into the new tools that are empowering artists to create more lavish and realistic CG worlds.
Pipelinefx has launched Qube! 4.0, the latest major release of the companys flagship enterprise-class render farm management software for film production and game development.
Announced at SIGGRAPH 2005, the new version of Qube! offers some of the following sophisticated features:
* Enhanced support for applications, including Maya, Softimage, 3ds Max, Shake, NUKE, mental ray and compatibility with OSX Tiger.
* Enhanced GUI called Qubic, which allows easy configuration of the Qube! Supervisor.
VFXWorld presents a new excerpt from Building Interactive Worlds in 3D by Jean-Marc Gauthier. This month's excerpt is a tutorial on creating an interactive path.
Realscan 3D, an industry leader in the creation of digital doubles using 3D scanning technology, announced innovations in its proprietary hardware and 3D scanning pipeline that will improve the way that digital assets are created for all CGI entertainment assets.
In this months Digital Eye column, Autodesks Tom Ohanian asks if there is such a thing as one-size-fits-all in todays accelerated production environment?
NaturalMotion Ltd. announced the immediate availability of the endorphin 2.5 Student Edition. The endorphin Student Edition contains all the same powerful features found in the endorphin 2.5 commercial version, including fully enabled export functionality; however, it is only available to students and teachers and is not to be used for commercial production. A single license retails at $995 and is available for immediate purchase from NaturalMotions online store at www.naturalmotion.com.
3D software developer MAXON has launched the first completely integrated professional CINEMA 4D module for the creation of hair, fur and feathers. Known simply as HAIR," this new module lets users quickly and easily add realistic-looking hair to objects. The hair can be styled using HAIR's extensive tool palette, and a custom 3D shader gives artists complete control over the appearance of the hair. HAIR is not only easy to use, it's very fast, offers excellent rendering quality, and requires very little memory. An average configuration can easily render millions of hairs.
MTV Films has acquired the feature film rights to MARC ECKO'S GETTING UP: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE, the highly anticipated videogame from Atari and Marc Ecko Enterprises. The videogame is scheduled for a February 2006 release for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, for the Xbox videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft and for Windows.
Immersion Corp., a leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, has started shipping its new CyberGlove II hand motion capture glove. The wireless CyberGlove II system was designed to help animators, product designers and virtual-reality researchers increase efficiency and realism for animated productions, design prototypes and virtual reality systems.
Tara DiLullo talks with Academy Award nominated ILM visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman about winning the invisible visual effects war with their work on Jarhead.
At the Digital Media Festival in Sydney, Australia, Autodesk Inc. launched its Toxik visual effects software running on the Linux operating system. Toxik software enables teams of digital artists to collaboratively realize feature film visual effects ideas, and is already available on the Windows operating system. With the introduction of Toxik software running on Linux, film studios and post-production facilities have more options for the back-end infrastructure and administration of their digital film pipelines.
Anzovin Studio Inc. has introduced The Setup Machine 2 for Maya, an all-new version of its automated character rigging plug-in for Autodesks Maya. The Setup Machine 2 for Maya is priced at $99 (single license). Store links, sample rigs, and demo movies are available at: www.anzovin.com/TSM2Maya.
The Setup Machine 2 for Maya enables Maya users to easily and quickly rig a wide variety of CG characters for film, television and game animation. It installs a high-quality control rig and applies accurate skin weighting to human, animal and creature models.
eyeon Software Inc. is now shipping version 5 of its digital video compositor, DFX+, a prominent compositing tool for effects, motion graphics and animation pipelines.
DFX+ is based on the image engine and award-winning architecture of eyeons lead film compositing solution, Fusion. Principal features of DFX+ 5 include 3D compositions with lights, cameras and primitives, OpenGL acceleration with display views and an essential change to ASCII files. Compositions created in DFX+ 5 can easily be opened in Fusion, to help move any project forward.
RE:Vision Effects Inc. announced 64-bit support of its Irix Discreet systems (Sparks) versions of Twixtor, its popular retiming solution, and ReelSmart Motion Blur, which adds and removes motion blur based on per-pixel calculated motion. The new releases also work within the Linux versions of Smoke and Flint and are available for Burn render farms.
Innoventive Software, Llc. announced that its previsualization and storyboarding software, FrameForge 3D Studio, is now available for Windows fully localized in French with a French Installation and Getting Started Manual included.
Polhemus has released the PATRIOT, a 6 Degree-of-Freedom (6DOF) tracking product, which been verified to meet the requirements of Class B digital device standards.
The PATRIOT is now available in both Class A and Class B emissions standards. The new Class B version of the PATRIOT meets the more stringent emissions requirements specified by the FCC and CE standards. The Class B PATRIOT also has a new look and is easily identified by the white plastic chassis. PATRIOT B can now be used in more rigorous residential and industrial laboratory environments.
Autodesk Inc. has released a new configuration of its Academy Award-winning Discreet Inferno visual effects system for the Japanese market. The system is designed to meet the specific platform performance and branding requirements of many Japanese post-production facilities.
NaturalMotion Ltd. announced the immediate availability of the companys free endorphin 2.5 Learning Edition (eLE). Based on endorphin, NaturalMotions award-winning character animation software, the new eLE includes all relevant product documentation and a comprehensive support network via the companys active endorphin forum. The software has no time restrictions and is fully functional; however, it is motion file export disabled and is not to be used for commercial production.
London based vfx house, MPC (The Moving Picture Co.) has licensed FlowLine, a fluid simulation system developed by Munich-based vfx house Scanline, which simulates and renders photoreal fire and water. MPC and Scanline are working together on integrating FlowLine into MPCs large-scale production pipeline.
MPC has elected to work with Scanline to continue ongoing internal R&D focus on the development of its sophisticated in-house character/creature pipeline.
Toon Boom Animation has released Opus II Service Pack 1 and Harmony Service Pack 1. As Harmony incorporates all Opus capabilities, all added features and enhancements apply to both products. Service pack highights include:
* Support of news scanners, namely Fujitsu fi-5750c and Epson GT 15000
* New shortcuts, optimized memory management and workflow enhancements in the Scanning module
* Optimization of templates management
* Batch rendering improvements
* Several other bug fixes
In this months Digital Eye column, Kim Davidson of Side Effects Software explores refining pipelines to improve production quality, reduce costs and remain competitive.
IMAGICA Corp. has added 15 seats of Autodesk Toxik software to its post-production pipeline, along with training from Autodesk Consulting. Autodesk has also released the first feature extension to the Toxik collaborative visual effects and compositing software. This extension, called Blend and Comp, contains tools that make frequent digital compositing tasks easier.
Avid Technology Inc., announced the worldwide availability of its leading asset management system for digital content production, Avid Alienbrain Studio 7.5. Designed to meet the needs of art teams working on next-generation game development and industrial design projects, Alienbrain Studio 7.5 comes in two new configurations with new pricing: Alienbrain Essentials (starting at $495) and Alienbrain Advanced ($1,495).