Edmonton's Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital's Syncrude Centre for Motion and Balance has used motion-capture software to help a six-year-old boy walk, reports THE GLOBE AND MAIL. Using the same technology that was used to create Gollum from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, the hospital's "gait lab" helped doctors determine a surgical strategy to help Quinn Kozlowski, who suffers from cerebral palsy, walk.
NewTek Inc. has just released LightWave 3D , the latest edition of its Emmy-winning 3D software package. LightWaveÆ  adds a wide range of new character animation tools and dynamics to the robust modeling, animation and rendering capabilities that have made LightWave a leading production tool in film, broadcast, print, game development and Web development.
Toon Boom Animation will release OPUS and Concerto for Mac OS X in September. OPUS and Concerto are advanced solutions for the production of traditional and digital animation, providing customers with an integrated production workflow, powerful 3D scene planning, sophisticated effects, compositing tools and seamless 2D/3D integration.
NVIDIA Corp. announced that its GeForce 6800 series graphics processing units (GPUs) will equip the competition PCs featured at the rendering invitational worldwide finals of the Imagine Cup 2004, a multi-faceted technology competition sponsored by Microsoft Corp. The Imagine Cup challenges student teams of programmers and digital artists from around the globe to extend their artistic affinity beyond the classroom using the latest software development tools from Microsoft.
Alias recently announced the impending availability of Maya Unlimited for the Mac OS X operating system at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). Responding to increasing customer demand from the Mac community, Alias is porting the entire Maya Unlimited feature set for Mac OS X with all tools that are available to artists with Maya Unlimited 6. Maya 6 is the latest version of the award-winning Maya software. Maya Unlimited 6 for Mac OS X will be available to purchase later this summer.
NVIDIA Corp. broadened its already expansive graphics line with the introduction of four new NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions based on PCI Express. Leveraging this next-generation bus architecture, NVIDIA doubles the bandwidth of its AGP 8X-based products to more than 4GB per second in both upstream and downstream data transfers.
NVIDIA Corp. unveiled a new technology that enables multiple NVIDIA GeForce 6 Series or NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards to operate in a single PC or workstation for a stunning increase in graphics horsepower. Appearing later this year in PCI Express-based PCs and workstations from top manufacturers, the new NVIDIA SLI technology takes full advantage of the additional bandwidth and features of this new high-bandwidth bus architecture.
HP announced a new line of personal workstations- the xw4200, xw6200 and xw8200 -- that are engineered to offer customers increased power, reliability and support, which is good news for 3D animation and vfx.
Avid Technology announced the worldwide availability of its Avid Xpress Studio all-in-one production suite. Designed for DV professionals, the award-winning Avid Xpress Studio system combines video editing, audio production, 3D animation, compositing and titling, along with DVD authoring capabilities with professional video and audio production hardware - all of which interoperate seamlessly on a single computer. Customers can purchase Avid Xpress Studio through Avid's global reseller channel and the Avid store (www.avidstore.com).
Hash Inc. will be shipping Animation:Master for Apple's MacOS X operating system on June 28, 2004. Already available for Windows, and Apple's MacOS 9, Hash's Animation:Master is a complete 3D character animation studio in one application.
It includes modeling, texturing, animation and rendering tools, and is designed for artists to tell their stories through organic character animation. Animating characters and objects is very tactile, and can be done in full real-time shading using OpenGL hardware acceleration.
REALVIZ announced that it is offering a free copy of the award-winning image based 3D modeling software, ImageModeler 3.5 (which retails for 750 Euros/$850) with all purchases of MatchMover Pro 3.0 (which retails for 9,600 Euros/$11,000) made between June 14- 30, 2004.
Digital Video, the makers of Toonz animation software, has launched TAB 2.2, the new version of its paperless animation software, tailored to create original animation content for the Web. Based on a new technology that includes an intuitive vector handling technique that uses dynamic control points and an adaptive fill system, the TAB allows animators to draw in a natural and intuitive way.
With the kick off of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention in Chicago (June 10-12), Discreet announced that leading architectural firms are using its design visualization offerings for a competitive advantage in winning new commissions and securing approval for high-profile design concepts, including Perkins & Will, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Kohn Pederson Fox, Ellerbe Becket and Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum.
Turbo Squid, worldwide publisher for the Discreet Certified 3ds max Plug-in Program, has released the first two TURBO TOYBOX 3D content packs. Each TURBO TOYBOX contains 30 or more 3D models for gamers to use in customizing their favorite games created with Discreet's gmax. The first two products, Starter TOYBOX and Vehicles TOYBOX, are now available and sell for $9.95 each.
Pixar Animation Studios has set a Q3 release for RenderMan Pro Server Release 12 (now entering beta).
Highlights from RenderMan Pro Server Release 12:
3D Baking * The point cloud file format has been extended to support arbitrary data, and Pixar's innovative format, the brick map, supports data of arbitrary size. Together, any kind of data can be baked to disk and then retrieved with great efficiency.
Softimage Co. announced the worldwide availability of SOFTIMAGE|XSI version 4.0 -- the latest release of its industry leading nonlinear 3D production environment. Starting on June 7, 2004, Softimage customers with maintenance contracts can download version 4.0 at www.softimage.com/download, and first-time orders are scheduled to start shipping next week.
Given the preeminence of CG characters in movies and gaming, Vicon Motion Systems has acquired Los Angeles-based House of Moves (HOM) in an effort to expand its U.S. motion capture presence. The move formally establishes HOM, an indie motion-capture service bureau of long standing, as a new technology test-bed for Vicon.
Alias and Motion Computing agreed to include the full version of Alias SketchBook Pro on all Motion M1400 Tablet PCs configured with the Motion Pak software package sold worldwide. The bundle combines Motion Computing's cutting-edge Tablet PCs with Alias SketchBook Pro's best-in-class digital pen-based sketching and annotation software.
On the eve of the industry transition to PCI Express, ATI Technologies announced a complete line-up of FireGL workstation graphics accelerators with full native support for this new bus architecture. The newly branded Visualization series will offer four new graphics accelerators: the high-end FireGL V7100, mid-range FireGL V5100 and, redefining the entry-level segment, the FireGL V3200 and the FireGL V3100.
EI Technology Group has launched Electric Image Animation System 5.5, an update to the cross-platform professional 3D animation application. It includes dozens of new features, including caustics, a built-in scripting tool, new shaders, HRDI support, an array of new Animation capabilities, new deformation tools and GrangerFX Plug-in support. The software also features Radiosity, multi-processor support, Match Move, Material Library System, Macromedia Shockwave support, unlimited network rendering, character animation tools, global illumination and more. It runs on Mac OS 9/X.
Xfrog the number one selling organic modeling and animation tool for MAXON's CINEMA 4D from greenworks organic-software -- has been updated to version 4.1. The update includes new controls for shaping branches more naturally, enhanced modeling controls in general and faster screen updates.