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.
fxPak, a collection of seven third-party special effects plug-ins and programs, is now available for Caligari trueSpace5. Using the new plug-ins like PyroCluster and PrimalParticlesFX, users can create photo-realistic smoke, fire, haze, cloud effects and fly-through animations, as well as particle effects, complex shader effects and other advanced special effects. Regularly priced at US$199, fxPak is available for a limited-time introductory offer of US$99 to trueSpace5 users.
Westwood Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of game publisher Electronic Arts, has licensed Discreet's gmax software and will be distributing it on COMMAND & CONQUER: RENEGADE, a 3D action game for the PC. In addition, Westwood will release a RENEGADE game pack that will allow content created in gmax to be exported into the game. The game pack will also be available as a free download on the RENEGADE Website.
Alias|Wavefront's Maya Complete software version 3.5.1 for Mac OS X v10.1.1 is now available. With the first release of Maya for Mac OS X, Maya Complete was made native to the Macintosh. The core features of the Mac OS X version of Maya are the same as those in Maya for other platforms. Features unique to the Mac version include support for QuickTime and AppleScript, tear off menus in the hot box, and a fully Aqua interface. New graphics cards supported under Maya 3.5.1 include ATI Mobility Radeon, NVIDIA GeForce2 MX and NVIDIA GeForce3.
Softimage|XSI v2.0 software, the latest version of Softimages nonlinear animation system, has been released. New features of Softimage|XSI v2.0 include a fully scriptable integrated compositor featuring more than 100 film quality effects (8, 16 and 32 bits per channel), updated rendering technology, an integrated dynamics simulator for creating short and long hair and fur for humans, animals or other characters, with advanced capabilities for grooming, photo-realistic rendering and interaction between hair and its environment.
Final Cut Pro 3, which will be available for Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 later in the month of December, was premiered at DVExpo in Los Angeles, California the week of December 2, 2001. Final Cut Pro 3, Apple's latest version of their video editing software, debuts OfflineRT, an offline format that holds up to five times as much footage as the DV format, and new professional color correction tools previously available only in solutions costing tens of thousands of dollars more.
Kaydara Inc. announced the release of FiLMBOX 3.2, the latest version of the company's real-time 3D character animation solution. With an enhanced user interface and workflow, FiLMBOX 3.2 introduces new features for both keyframe and motion-capture-based character animation for game, film, TV and Web productions.
Cambridge Animation Systems has released Animo 4.0 software for the Mac OS X allowing Mac OS X users to have the same functionality as users running on the Windows operating system. The Animo software package integrates 2D and 3D animation and is used for feature films, animated television series, commercials, games and multimedia development.
After the successful launch of Maya Builder, Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited for Linux in March 2001, Alias|Wavefront has now made Maya 4 for Linux available. Senior Maya product manager Chris Ford said, "Interest in Linux continues to grow, especially among customers with large Maya installations, and this much requested new version comes in response to a huge number of inquiries.
Anzovin Studio's beta of The Setup Machine, a software tool devoted exclusively to rigging a 3D character is now available for Windows and Macintosh. The Setup Machine is a 3D animation application that installs a high-quality animation rig -- the skeleton that allows control of a 3D character -- into any humanoid model created in Hash Inc.'s Animation:Master software. "A well-rigged character with efficient and accurate skeletal control systems is essential for successful 3D animation," said Steve Anzovin, co-founder of Anzovin Studio.
Black Belt Systems announced the release of WinImages R6 - a major new upgrade to their effects and image-processing suite. The new release boasts a complete overhaul of the "layering" system often found in image editing packages such as PhotoShop. Black Belt have added a broad range of new layer tools including a new "warp layer mode," which allows users to incorporate image distortions (such as ripples) in separate "warp layers" so that the actual pixel data in the layered image is never changed. This means that distortions can be stacked and slid around with instant results.
3D software provider Alias|Wavefront plans to assemble 3D artists from the film, video, game development, Web design, visualization and industrial design sectors in seven separate host cities around the world on December 3, 2001. The 3December event is an annual celebration designed to build a community amongst computer graphics professionals and those with an interest in learning from the industry's top talent and seeing the latest technological advancements. This year the free of charge event will take place in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, London, Tokyo and Seoul.
Pepper's Ghost Productions (PGP) has inked an agreement with Cambridge Animation Systems whereby Cambridge will be the exclusive worldwide distributor for PGP's production management software tool, PG Studio. PG Studio was developed by PGP to manage all facets of production for its 3D CGI properties. The software was an integral part of the award-winning television series, TINY PLANETS, which was co-produced with Sesame Workshop, and is already on air in Australia, sold to territories throughout the world, and with a U.K. version to be seen on CiTV in the spring of 2002.
Exluna is currently beta testing Entropy 3.1, the first major upgrade for Exluna's groundbreaking new rendering system. The release, available in January 2002, will include a number of improvements such as a plug-in that integrates Entropy directly with Discreet's 3ds max and 3D Studio VIZ software, allowing advanced programmable shading and lighting, in addition to 3ds max network rendering.
Digital content creator BOXX Technologies has announced the release of Juggler, a powerful, easy to use network render management solution supporting Alias|Wavefront's Maya on Windows 2000 or Linux. To help promote Juggler to animators and creative professionals, BOXX is offering a free, fully functional two-node evaluation version for download from the BOXX Website at www.boxxtech.com. Juggler is optimized to high performance and ideally suited for RenderBOXX, BOXX's suite of rendering systems, which utilize the newest AMD and Intel processors.
Toon Boom Technologies has released the LightTable module upgrade, which is compatible with USAnimation V5 and runs on Windows 2000. The LightTable module allows animators to work remotely and send their drawings electronically to their partner studio anywhere in the world. With the LightTable module, animators can hand-draw animation with a pressure-sensitive pen and graphic tablet based on the classical light table approach and use these vector drawings with all of the other USAnimation modules.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho has been hard at work creating THE GETAWAY, a highly anticipated game for Sony's Playstation 2 console. In THE GETAWAY the player takes on the role of Mark Hammond, a retired bank robber who is forced back into the world he left to save his son from an evil mobster. To animate the games characters, Team Soho used five motion-capture performers at once, in real-time. Each motion-capture performer wore an Ascension CyberSuit outfitted with 11 sensors and had a separate backpack and receiving base station.
Alias|Wavefront announced that its recently unveiled mental ray for Maya technology will be available as an optional plug-in renderer for Maya before the end of the year 2001. mental ray for Maya, currently in beta testing, is an optional and fully integrated plug-in renderer for Maya that offers all the features and tools available in mental images' mental ray renderer version 3.0. It will be available to customers in either node locked or floating license configurations. Alias|Wavefront will make mental ray for Maya and the mental ray Stand Alone renderer available in December 2001.
Macromedia, Inc. is offering a series of online tutorials designed to allow new and existing Macromedia Director 8.5 users to learn how to use the product more quickly and master the creation and deployment of interactive 3D content for the Web. The tutorials include lessons on 3D for current Director users as well as tutorials for 3D artists and Macromedia Flash developers who are new to Director. The video tutorials take users step by step through building a rich media Web experience that incorporates sound, video and 3D assets.
The Gnomon Workshop has released six new training videos on inverse kinematics and dynamics in Alias|Wavefront's Maya. This series, which includes two tapes on Inverse Kinematics and four more tapes on Maya's Dynamics engine, marks the fourth round of video releases and brings the total number of titles available from The Gnomon Workshop to 24. Each tape has 110 minutes of instruction. The objective of the tapes is to explain the tools with a focus on workflow, using a wide range of example effects.
Toon Boom Technologies Inc., has released Toon Boom Studio for Mac OS X Version 10.1. Toon Boom has optimized the performance of its software to fit to Apple's OS X upgrade. The free beta update installer, available for download at www.toonboomstudio.com, provides users with Toon Boom Studio's complete desktop application for Web productions. Based on feedback from participants, the beta update for Mac OS X Version 10.1 will be released in November and will be free for licensees of Toon Boom Studio.
BOXX Technologies, provider of digital content creation systems for the entertainment and digital film industries, has included the new AMD Athlon MP processor in their 3DBOXX R1 series of high-performance workstations and the RenderBOXX R1 series of rendering systems. The new AMD Athlon MP processor features QuantiSpeed architecture and Smart MP technology and is designed to provide the optimal performance needed for computation-intensive applications while providing IT managers with the highest standard in platform stability and reliability.
NVIDIA Corporation and Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation (E&S) have agreed to a broad strategic alliance under which NVIDIA will license its Shader Technology to E&S while acquiring key 3D graphics patents from the company. Additionally, the companies agreed to a broad cross-license of technology. The NVIDIA Shader Technology is a collection of patented 3D technologies enabling the creation of interactive, cinematic-quality realism through the use of highly programmable processing elements.
Viewpoint Corporation, a provider of digital marketing technologies, has launched the newest version of the Viewpoint Media Player. This latest version showcases Viewpoint's HyperView feature, which enables viewers to expand rich media content beyond the browser window and utilize the entire desktop as real estate for the content. The Viewpoint Media Player allows for the integration and interaction of rich media formats such as Flash, 3D, animation, text, audio and zoomable 2D graphics.
Software designer Ashlar-Vellum Inc. is offering a free beta test-drive of Neon, the company's 3D publishing tool. From now until November 15, 2001, users can download and use the $495 value software free of charge. In addition to its easy-to-use rendering features, Neon enables the publication of any engineering-grade 3D file in the most popular Web and print publishing formats including Macromedia ShockWave 3D, Viewpoint VET, Apple QuickTime, Adobe Illustrator, VRML and more.