LIPSinc has announced of the release of AniMeter, its latest facial animation application for creation of talking digital characters. The software is a metered, batch processing application that uses the pre-recorded voice to generate facial animation data, including lip-synchronization and corresponding speech gestures for 2D and 3D talking digital characters. The product gives animators great results at first pass for automated lip-synchronization, while giving production managers more control over costs on a per project basis.
Softimage Co. has announced the release of SOFTIMAGE|3D v4.0 and SOFTIMAGE|XSI 2.0. "SOFTIMAGE|3D, an industry-standard for more than 10 years, has been used extensively by more than 13,000 customers in the animation, special effects and games development industry. The product's great success is a direct result of our long history of listening and responding to our customers' needs," said Michael Stojda, managing director, Softimage.
Curious Labs, developers of 3D character and design tools Poser and Poser Pro Pack, has signed an agreement with Adobe Systems where the two companies have agreed to work together on technology, content and marketing activities for Adobe Atmosphere software and Curious Labs' avatar-creation tools. Atmosphere world builders will have an easy system for building custom avatars. Additionally, both Adobe and Curious Labs incorporate Viewpoint technology, resulting in smooth skinned, bending 3D characters from Poser Pro Pack that can be used as avatars in Atmosphere 3D worlds.
Discreet has announced combustion 2, the latest version of its award-winning paint, animation and 3D compositing software. combustion 2 will support new multi-format project capabilities, including video, HDTV, and 64-bit color, offering enhanced image quality and performance.
Macromedia and Discreet announced a strategic partnership that will accelerate the deployment of interactive 3D content to the Web by uniting the worlds of 3D authoring and Web design. The partnership will bundle Macromedia Director 8.5 within 3ds max. The co-marketing partnership and bundle arrangement will begin in mid-August 2001.
WildTangent has announced that their direct-to-Web exporter for 3ds max will be packaged along with the software. WildTangent's integrated solution gives artists the ability to pull animated scenes directly from 3ds max into a Web page. The encryption options allow artists to pinpoint where Web page assets can be viewed. If someone attempts to copy and paste an artist's page into a new source, they will receive a refuse to load response.
At QuakeCon, the world's premier multi-player gaming event, Discreet unveiled gmax, the company's licensable game development platform and free consumer game-content editor. The consumer version of gmax will be available as a free download to gamers in fall 2001 and will come with 3D modeling, animation, texturing and character building tools. Discreet previously announced that elements of gmax will be bundled with MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR 2002: PROFESSIONAL EDITION, shipping in Q3 this year.
Exluna, a new start-up dedicated to developing affordable 3D tools, is releasing Entropy, an advanced 3D rendering product. Entropy is the first offering of Exluna's "Look Development" tools and technologies, which allow digital artists to manipulate the appearance of 3D objects, using shading, lighting, painting and rendering techniques. Entropy will be unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2001 in Los Angeles on August 14-16, along with a first look at Exluna's bridge product for Discreet's 3ds max and 3D Studio VIZ scheduled for release this fall. Entropy will sell for US$1,500.
Side Effects Software has announced that Walt Disney Feature Animation made a significant purchase of the company's Houdini 3D animation software package. Houdini has been used in many projects at the Walt Disney Company including FANTASIA 2000, GONE IN 60 SECONDS and TARZAN. "Houdini's flexible procedural paradigm helps our artists be more creative, while maintaining an efficient production environment," said John Carey, VP of technology at Disney.
REALVIZ has announced upgrades to ImageModeler and MatchMover. The new ImageModeler will be the first to be Mac compatible. ImageModeler 3.0 feature highlights include a newly designed user interface and contextual menus allowing for improved calibration workflow and easier camera navigation. ImageModeler is compatible with all major 3D animation packages, including Maya, Lightwave 3D, Softimage, 3D Studio Max, and Cinema 4D.
Curious Labs, Inc. has announced that their Poser and Poser Pro Pack will be supported within the Cinema 4D and PiXELS 3D applications. The Cinema 4D plug-in will be available for download at no charge to Pro Pack customers from the Curious Labs Website and will enable Pro Pack users to integrate and render their animated Poser scenes directly in Cinema 4D. The PiXELS 3D plug-in will offer similar functionality. Distribution details will be announced once they have been formalized.
Pinnacle Systems has shipped Commotion Pro 4, the company's integrated paint, composite and special effects software. Commotion Pro 4 offers speed gains of 30% in compositing and 200% in painting. New grouping and browsing controls provide a comprehensive solution for managing composites and working with multiple layers. Users can add mattes, color corrections or other filters and motion controls to multiple layers at once. A new timeline browser gives users an overview of the entire composite with controls for selecting, moving and deleting groups and layers.
John Edgar Park takes a look at the new Maya 4 and reveals a solid redux. It might not be all brand new...but it is definitely better.
auto.des.sys Inc. has released form.Z 3.8 which replaces form.Z 3.8g that was originally shipped in May. Although only a gamma version, the reception of version 3.8g has been like a "warm welcome home," said Alexandra Yessios, vice president of sales and marketing at auto.des.sys. form.Z is a hybrid solid and surface 3D modeler that combines polygonal with smooth parametric modeling under a single roof. It is complemented by drafting, photo-realistic rendering, Radiosity, walk through animation and advanced CAD capabilities.
Zona, Inc., a massive multiplayer online game server solution provider, has announced that they has developed a new server engine called Terazona for online 3D games capable of supporting tens of thousands of users on a server. Terazona is capable of supporting a minimum of 32,000 concurrent users per server. Existing server loads can only support around 6,000 concurrent players. In addition, the servers contain fault tolerance, which prevents downgrade in game play experience within a growing base of concurrent users.
Softimage has created advanced tools to support the creation of new titles for the Nintendo GameCube console. This is the result of a six-month collaborative effort by Nintendo and Softimage to define a suite of new features in the SOFTIMAGE|3D system that leverage the run-time capabilities of the Nintendo GameCube.
Xara has launched its new desktop graphics software - the online 3D Heading Maker. The 3D Heading Maker allows potential customers to test-drive Xara's 3D desktop software, Xara3D, in real-time on the Xara Website, without downloads or any required installations. Users can create, customize and save text-based 3D graphics live on the Web page. Content can then be embedded in any third-party Website with all the same functionality.
Toon Boom Technologies has teamed with Electric Rain to extend its support for 3D animation. These new plug-ins will feature a special edition that outputs in the USAnimation format, allowing USAnimation users to import 3D animation created with 3D Studio MAX, LightWave or XSI into the 2D world. Electric Rain is a leading developer and supplier of 3D to vector solutions with Swift 3D MAX, Swift 3D LW and Swift 3D XSI. "Toon Boom is pleased to offer its customers the option to integrate 3D animation created with the leading 3D animation software.
Kaydara Inc. announced the release of FiLMBOX 3.0, the latest release of the company's real-time 3D content authoring and delivery tool. FiLMBOX 3.0 brings real-time mixed-media authoring capabilities to Apple computers, with support for Mac OS X. Enhancements made to the new edition include improvements to the Control Sets feature, enabling 3D artists to animate CG characters without having to program complex IK rigs and constraints as is usually required by this type of advanced feature.
Digimation, Inc. has shipped FaceGen, an all-purpose head generator for 3ds max 3 and 4. FaceGen is built around a series of published anatomical metrics for real-life male and female heads. With the software, users receive full control over each feature independently. FaceGen also offers a complete set of Custom Mesh components so that after users create their preferred head style, they can add a skeletal structure beneath that will fit perfectly.
Alias|Wavefront, an SGI company, has announced that its Maya Complete software for Mac OS X is scheduled to ship on or before September 25, 2001. Beta tester and 3D artist, Kevin Baille, said, "All of us here at The Orphanage are ecstatic about the progress Alias|Wavefront has been making with the OS X implementation of Maya. Being a completely Mac-based visual effects and production studio, we are extremely impressed by how easily Maya for OS X fits into and enhances our existing production pipeline.
Toon Boom Technologies, a leading supplier of 2D animation software, announced the commercial release of Toon Boom Studio v1.0 for Mac and PC. Toon Boom Studio increases productivity for digital animators with improved drawing accuracy, an automatic lip-sync feature, 3D scene planning and compact Flash-compatible file rendering for greater scene complexity. The software package also incorporates the feel of traditional animation with a rotating light table, "X" sheet visual representation of the work and a "flip-book" feature.
Caligari Corporation, a provider of 3D authoring technologies, has announced that its 3D modeling and animation package trueSpace 5.1 now supports Macromedia Flash. This is in addition to Caligari's existing support for Macromedia Shockwave3D, Director8.5 and Viewpoint Experience Technology. Web developers can now convert their trueSpace5.1 objects (including NURBS) and scenes to Flash format, including all trueSpace geometry, materials, lights, views and even advanced animation techniques such as script animations, bones and key-frame animations.
Macromedia, Inc. has teamed with Intel Corporation to optimize the Macromedia Flash Player for the Intel XScale microarchitecture utilizing the Intel Integrated Performance Primitives (IPP). As a result of this partnership, users will be able to experience high quality MP3 audio when playing Macromedia Flash content on devices built using Intel applications processors. The optimized code will be available to device manufacturers for use with the Macromedia Flash Player Software Development Kit (SDK) later this year.
Alias|Wavefront has shipped StudioTools 9.7, the company's latest upgrade to its CAID (computer-aided industrial design) family. Through a new filleting tool, StudioTools speeds the process and adds modeling power for rounding edges between adjoining surfaces in the model. By combining this function with StudioTools advanced evaluation tools, such as reflection maps, curvature maps, draft angle evaluation and cross-sections, designers can interactively manipulate the fillet and evaluate results immediately.