Want to get started creating animation on your own computer? John Edgar Park tells you how to start from scratch. Let's find out how to select and assemble the correct components and then get them working!
Macromedia has unveiled Flash MX, the latest version of its Macromedia Flash development environment. Available March 15, 2002, this upgrade to Flash 5 has over 45 new and enhanced features including new graphic design, pre-built components and templates, a customizable ActionScript editor, timeline enhancements and video support. The integration of video support in Flash MX and Macromedia Flash Player 6 uses the Sorenson Spark codec, which enables designers and developers to deliver compressed video as part of Macromedia Flash content and applications.
Adobe Systems LiveMotion 2.0 software, the company's professional Web graphics and Flash (SWF) animation tool is now available. It debuted at the MacWorld Conference earlier this year. The new version provides expanded content creation features, improved integration with Adobe's Web and dynamic media tools, and new scripting capabilities.
Di-O-Matic's new facial modeling and animation tool Facial Studio for 3ds max 4.x is now shipping. With a regular price tag of US$699, Facial Studio is now available at the introductory price of US$499 until March 25, 2002. Facial Studio is a suite of plug-ins featuring more than 500 controls over the head creation process, allowing the user to deform anything from the facial features to the overall head shape including teeth and tongue, as well as controlling the shading, textures, wrinkles, deformations and muscle animation.
NewTeks Video Toaster 2, a Windows 2000-based live video production environment, is now available. The Video Toaster 2 includes a real-time nonlinear editor, live Web streaming, character generation, 2D painting and compositing, 3D animation and effects, real-time keying, video and audio processing, and a full range of production tools in an integrated package. It retails for US$2995 with a switcher expansion module available for US$1995. The upgrade from Video Toaster 1 is US$495. For more information about the Video Toaster 2s capabilities, visit www.newtek.com.
All three of the new gaming consoles those magical devices that have changed the face of gaming yet again have now been released. John Edgar Park sees where the chips are falling.
San Francisco-based interactive 3D media provider Pulse has incorporated the ProductionSync and InstantSync technologies from Automatic Sync Technologies into their Pulse Animation Studio v. 5.03. ProductionSync is used in the Pulse Creator module as an off-line animation tool. Speech is converted into animation as a production step that an animator can then enhance with expressions, gestures and behaviors. InstantSync is used in the Pulse Player to animate a face in real-time in response to the speech, which can either be downloaded or streamed to the player via streaming audio.
Alias|Wavefront has made a personal-use, non-commercial version of its award-winning Maya software available free to users of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Maya Personal Learning Edition 3D animation software can now be downloaded from the Alias|Wavefront Website. Maya Personal Learning Edition gives 3D graphics and animation students, current industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics an opportunity to explore Maya Complete software in a non-commercial capacity.
Digital ink & paint software company DigiCel, Inc. has just released FlipBook Pro, the latest enhancement to their 2D animation software. FlipBook Pro features 100 levels, including the background to expand the power of FlipBook and its uses. Other features include linear, multiplane camera moves with variable ease-in and ease-out to let you set the acceleration rate out of a key frame and the deceleration rate into a key frame. Plus high-resolution processing and soft-edged shadows and highlights.
New models are now available for Softimage Co.s flagship SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.2.0 nonlinear animation (NLA) system. The expanded product line introduces new Workstation and Enterprise variants to the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Essentials and Advanced packages, with the new models replacing all earlier versions. The Workstation and Enterprise options introduce both a new, lower-priced entry point for smaller production operations, and more flexible and extensible networked models to meet the needs of operations with distributed workflows and/or large-scale 3D pipelines.
The animated opening sequence for the February 3, 2002 broadcast of Super Bowl XXXVI on FOX Sports was created in Discreets 3ds max 4. The FOX network set the tone for the big game with a CG flythrough of a futuristic, stylized New Orleans scene and ended with a visualization of the Lombardi trophy during the beginning moments of the telecast. 3ds max software was used to model and animate low-polygonal CG characters creating a bustling atmosphere within the Mardi Gras setting.
Toon Boom Technologies Toon Boom Studio version 1.1 optimized for Mac OS X version 10.1 is now available. Developed by the Software MacKiev Company, this upgrade release includes new features, including export to iMovie projects, as well as a number of Aqua user interface improvements. New output options open up at least two new opportunities for iMovie users. Users can now use iMovie to add titles, transitions or effects to animated movies or enhance live-action footage with animated clips.
Digital Production Management (DPM) systems provider NXN Software and game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) have entered into an agreement where EA will use the NXN alienbrain DPM software to manage their game development projects at studios worldwide. Electronic Arts tested NXN alienbrain during the development of the game NHL 2002 and has implemented it completely for the production management of NHL 2003, as well as other titles. EAs worldwide implementation of NXN alienbrain will provide development management continuity throughout EAs internal studios.
In the unsuspecting town of Lille, lies some of the most cutting-edge Web animation companies in the world...and what's more...they are all working together to create an environment of exploration and innovation. Tony Coates and Franck Levis explain.
Discreet is now shipping inferno 4.6, flame 7.6 and flint 7.6, the latest version upgrades to its visual effects system software. The new releases of Discreets inferno, flame and flint software comprise more than 100 new features and enhancements, focusing on product design, workflow, performance and extending the range and depth of their toolsets. inferno and flame now have new modes for color correction and other options in the Color Warper tool. The Modular Keyer rendering performance has also been optimized along with other key feature improvements.
Houdini artists will soon have the option of working with Hewlett Packard's 64-bit Itanium-based systems on both the Linux and Windows platforms. Side Effects Software has announced their intention to make Houdini 5 and Houdini Select available for Itanium-based systems in the first half of 2002. "We made a name for ourselves as an early adopter of emerging technologies as the first professional 3D software developer to support Linux," said Paul Salvini, chief technology officer of Side Effects Software.
Macromedia has announced the availability of a free update to Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio that adds Windows XP compatibility and anti-aliasing support to improve the quality of 3D imaging. The updates can be downloaded immediately from www.macromedia.com/go/dir851/. Macromedia will also make a native Mac OSX version of the Macromedia Shockwave Player available at the end of January 2002.
Turbo Squid, an online marketplace that brokers 3D animation assets for content creators in the film, video, broadcast, Web and game development sectors has added 3D models from visual effects house Rhythm & Hues to its inventory. The Rhythm & Hues models, which will be sold both individually and as collections, include animals, military, office, household and transportation items. The first collections to be released are: Office Volume 1, Home Pack Volume 1, Military Volume 1, Transportation Volume 1, Animals Volume 1, Farm Animals Volume 1 and Marine Animals Volume 1.
Artmachine, a provider of brand management software, announced the availability of Studio Edition, a customized version of its flagship software product, Artmachine 2.0. Studio Edition provides television and motion picture distributors with asset digitizing, management and delivery of marketing and press materials for their media properties worldwide.
Discreets combustion 2, the latest version of its award-winning paint, animation and 3D-compositing software is now available. Unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2001, the combustion 2 software features were designed to provide artists with new capabilities and improved performance, all within an efficient workflow environment designed to make complex visual effects creation faster and simpler. combustion 2 provides new multi-format project capabilities for film and video, including 64-bit image-processing, advanced film grain tools and color Look-Up Table (LUT) management.
Adobe Systems unveiled the latest versions of its GoLive Web authoring and LiveMotion animation software during the Macworld Expo in San Francisco on Monday, January 7, 2002. The products represent Adobe's foray into software for authoring wireless content just as momentum builds for creating content that can be viewed on cell phones and other handheld devices. Adobe is positioning GoLive as the product of choice for Web designers looking to create dynamic content for mobile devices.
Adobe Systems has shipped the newest version of its award-winning motion graphics and visual effects software Adobe After Effects 5.5, which allows professionals to streamline their workflow and work with more media types than ever before. Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator Classic is included with the After Effects 5.5 production bundle and is standard to the production bundle upgrade, allowing users to turn 2D artwork into 3D elements without leaving the After Effects environment.
The beta release of Toon Boom Studio 1.1 for Mac OS X is now available. The latest version of Toon Boom Technologies 2D desktop application can now export animations as iMovie projects or add them to existing iMovie projects. This release also simplifies the workflow required to create an animated movie using Toon Boom Studio to draw and animate personalized characters and objects. The final release of Toon Boom Studio 1.1 will be available at the end of January 2002.
Software development company Silicon Grail recently announced the latest release of their compositing software RAYZ v. 2.0. RAYZ v. 2.0 is the only compositing software that incorporates Cineon tools, including CineSpeed, Cineon Grain, and CineSharpen. For implementation in RAYZ, the Cineon source code has been rewritten to take advantage of todays advancements in technology, delivering more speed and tighter integration. RAYZ v. 2.0 comes with a built-in image morphing and warping tool that is spline based and very easy to learn and use. The flipbook technology within RAYZ v.
Alias|Wavefront has shipped its recently unveiled mental ray for Maya technology. As an optional plug-in renderer for the Maya 3D software package, mental ray for Maya provides an integrated rendering solution that maximizes the strengths of both products. In addition to this new rendering option, Alias|Wavefront offers mental ray stand-alone licenses for increased interactive rendering speed within Maya as well as for use in batch rendering.