Airbus Germany has recently purchased a second Vicon motion-capture system for tracking human interaction with virtual models of proposed new planes, including the Airbus 380. Airbus Germany's Virtual Reality department is using both Vicon VCam (0.3 million pixel camera with powerful strobes) and SVCam (low-impact, unobtrusive small format camera) systems to enable engineers to interact with new planes before building practical prototypes. This is the same motion-capture system used on THE POLAR EXPRESS, TROY and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
MAXON Computer has released its software in a 64-bit final release version for the Windows 64 operating system. Users will benefit from increased available memory and improved speed thanks to optimized performance for 64-bit processors.
Tara DiLullo explores the challenges of mixing practical and visual effects for Photon VFX in updating House of Wax for the Paris Hilton crowd.
Character Animation Technologies Ltd. released its latest version of CAT, the fully integrated, next-generation character animation plug-in for 3ds Max. CAT 1.4 provides animation professionals in games development, film, video and broadcast with an advanced toolset that transforms the way character animation is done, resulting in greater flexibility for the artist and much more efficient production times.
endorphin, the valuable dynamic motion synthesis application from NaturalMotion, will be distributed in the U.K. by Escape Studios beginning in June. Working dynamically, the package uses Adaptive Behaviors, a unique system of parameters and settings, enabling 3D characters to self animate. Using artificial intelligence (AI), biomechanics and dynamics programming, endorphin provides animators with unrivalled power and speed. This, combined with the flexibility to integrate various types of animation data, presents a valuable new tool.
Peter Plantec reports back from fmx/05 in Stuttgart, Germany, after experiencing an invigorating and intimate kind of DCC conference rooted in real-world and academic synergy.
Professional facilities of all sizes now have the ability to get more from their investment in Alias MotionBuilder Pro software with the features and services of Platinum Membership. Benefits of membership include early access to software updates, upgrades, live and online support, and improved licensing flexibility. Pricing for Alias MotionBuilder Pro Platinum Membership starts at $699.
Thomson will have a leading role at the 2005 Cannes International Film festival by showcasing its advanced cinema technologies and as an official partner of the Short Film Corner at the Palais des Festivals. In addition, many of the films screened at this year's Festival were created using a variety of film and post-production services from Thomson.
Lifemode Interactive has signed an agreement with Digimation to distribute LifeStudio:HEAD in the U. S. This will bring the companys facial animation technology to a larger number of new users.
Lifemode also announced that it is launching a new educational license that is a fully functional version of LifeStudio:HEAD for students, teachers, lecturers and institutions. The educational license has flexible terms and is available as an annual license or can be renewed on an ongoing basis.
NewTek Inc. announced the release of the free 8.3 update to Emmy award-winning LightWave 3D, and a new breakthrough LightWave  upgrade price of $250 for registered owners of previous LightWave versions, available through June 30, 2005. Version 8.3 offers full support of the new generation multi-core processor systems, enhanced vector blur routines and improved integration with other production tools via updated PSD support.
Perforce Software announced that the 2005.1 version of its software configuration management system (available beginning May 16) enables users to preview multiple versions of an image and increases productivity for technical and non-technical users.
Turbo Squid recently announced the release of Flight Studio 1.5 from Bluerock Technologies. Flight Studio 1.5 offers visual simulation professionals the ability to:
* Import, edit and export OpenFlight scene graphs and databases from within 3ds Max easier and more efficiently* Quickly and efficiently build accurate models and complex scenes* Leverage features such as an easy-to-use hierarchy browser, familiar user interface controls, and direct node attribute editing* Retain scene graph structure and attributes
Vicon, developer of Academy Award-winning motion capture technology, has sold Curious Pictures in New York a top-of-the-line 16-camera Vicon MX 40 motion capture system. This marks the first sale of Vicon motion capture to the New York television and commercial production market, and underscores the recent advancements in Vicons realtime technology to meet the challenges and demands of creating and directing motion capture animation for broadcast.
In this months Digital Eye column, Peter Plantec looks at the nomadic nature of the visual effects industry.
Responding to the rapidly increasing performance demands of cinematic quality imagery, Pixar Animation Studios announced the release of version 12.5 of its award-winning RenderMan Pro Server software.
Key features of RenderMan Pro Server v12.5 include accelerated ray tracing, support for hierarchical subdivision surfaces, an API to read and write point cloud files, ray tracing visibility and shading attribute simplification and many other improvements and optimizations.
Autodesk has begun deploying Autodesk 3ds Max 7.5 software to its base of subscription customers. Significant enhancements range from a robust integrated hair and fur system and the most current version of mental ray 3.4 together with eight satellite render node licenses to a new design toolset that combines the feature sets of 3ds Max and Autodesk VIZ software. 3ds Max 7.5 files are completely cross compatible with the current 3ds Max version 7 software.
Shinya Yarimizo, formerly of Square USA and the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawaii School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, has joined Pipelinefx as a senior software engineer. Yarimizo worked on the Production Software Group that developed the technical infrastructure for creating FINAL FANTASY THE SPIRITS WITHIN, the 3D-animated feature film produced by Square USA in Honolulu. Led by Pipelinefx cto, Troy Brooks, the Production Software Group was also responsible for building the predecessor to qube!
Alienware announced the availability of the new Alienware Aurora: Star Wars Edition, the first-ever officially licensed STAR WARS PC. Aurora: Star Wars Edition systems are based on AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processors and packed with exclusive STAR WARS content such as desktop skins, fan club membership and movie soundtrack samples. The systems are available in two versions, Dark Side and Light Side, which feature breathtaking STAR WARS artwork on the cases.
e-on software announced its successful Vue line of products has been optimized to support Mac OS X Tiger. e-on software also announced the immediate availability of the free MetaVue plug-in for Spotlight. MetaVue will enable Mac OS X Tiger users to manage their Vue resources with unprecedented efficiency.
Digital-Tutors announced the worldwide availability of MAYA ADVANCED: BUILDING ADVANCED SHADING NETWORKS training kit, the first release in a collection for advanced artists and latest release in a library of industry leading training resources for emerging digital artists. Digital-Tutors offers more than 2.5 hours of comprehensive project-driven training, giving users a step-by-step guide through the intricacies of building advanced shading networks in Maya.
Rendercore Inc., a leader in remote rendering solutions, announced complete integration and support for the latest version of Alias Maya 6.5 on Rendercore's state-of-the-art render farm, based in downtown Los Angeles, California.
BOXX Technologies announced the BOXX 7400 series of workstations featuring dual AMD Opteron Dual Core processors and the NVIDIA nForce Professional Media and Communications Processors (MCPs).
Alienware announced the availability of the new Alienware MJ-12 7550A workstation featuring dual AMD Opteron processors and dual PCI Express graphics with support for SLI-enabled NVIDIA Quadro graphics. Powered by the new NVIDIA nForce Professional chipset and featuring an exciting new case design, the MJ-12 7750A is the ultimate tool for computer aided design and manufacturing, digital content creation and other rendering-intensive applications.
3Dlabs Inc. Ltd. has released a driver that supports OpenGL 2.0 for Wildcat Realizm professional graphics accelerators. OpenGL 2.0 integrates the OpenGL Shading Language into its core so that software developers can create advanced shader programs and easily port them to any OpenGL 2.0-enabled platform.
HP launched the first business desktop system for Microsoft Windows x64 Editions. The new business desktop PCs and workstations with advanced security features are specifically designed to take advantage of enhancements planned for Microsofts upcoming Longhorn operating system. HP also is enhancing system performance with support for the new Microsoft Windows x64 Edition operating systems across the HP ProLiant server line and on new business desktops and workstations.