Vancouver-based Electric FX has released the public beta test of eFX Extract3D, a new effects plug-in for Adobe After Effects. According to Electric FX, the plug-in is designed to integrate 3D information with regular 2D imagery in the desktop compositing workflow, thereby enhancing the ability for visual effects and motion graphics artists to create effects based on a variety of 3D metadata, such as pixel depth (distance from the camera), object identifiers and surface characteristics.
NVIDIA, based in Santa Clara, California, has released the beta 2 version of its Cg Compiler and Cg Toolkit for Cg, a high-level programming language for content creation developers. This new version of the compiler and toolkit, includes support for the OpenGL GL_ARB_vertex_program extension, and allows developers to create shaders in the Cg language specification and implement them in the OpenGL 1.4 application programming interface (API). The NVIDIA Cg Toolkit beta 2 also contains new Cg shader examples that are NVIDIA CineFX architecture-specific.
Utah-based DAZ Productions, a company that specializes in providing 3D models for the animation tool Poser, has acquired lip sync software Mimic from LIPSinc. DAZ Productions sees the acquisition as a chance to help bring a powerful animation tool to more of the general public with a more competitive price point. Dan Farr, president of DAZ Productions, explained: "Thousands of people in the Poser community have already purchased Mimic at the $195 price and have been very happy with it.
Softimage has made available its new set of tools for transporting data between 3D applications. The Softimage "Connect" suite of tools significantly expands the interoperability of Softimage|XSI and Softimage|3D systems with other 3D formats and applications. It brings together free or open-source tools, including converters and libraries for building custom pipelines, with commercial solutions from partners such as Right Hemisphere, Born Digital and Okino.
Klasky-Csupo has implemented DigiCel's FlipBook pencil test system into the production pipeline at their Hollywood studio, replacing the Amiga/Take-2 systems. With a need for a more integrated working environment to eliminate the studios dependence on non-standard equipment, Klasky-Csupo's technical department investigated the options and went with DigiCel's FlipBook. For Klasky-Csupo's animators, FlipBooks thumbnail Xsheet offers multiple editing options including the ability to edit a scene while it is playing and see the results immediately.
Software piracy is costing the animation industry millions if not billions. Brett Rogers explains why the cost of software piracy goes beyond the losses suffered by the software manufacturers and affects everyone.
The world of wireless animation is sneaking up on many of us. Christopher Harz outlines the current state of the industry, its players and its potential.
Using REALVIZ MatchMover Professional, UK-based visual effects and animation company Clear Ltd. has completed key effects for the music video projects Jamiroquais "Corner of the Earth" and Sugababes' "Round Round." Steve Garrad, producer on both projects, explains how the different elements came together. "For 'Corner of the Earth,' the aim was to create a photo-real representation of the solar system revolving around [lead singer] Jay Kay.
Graphics studio and publisher Marlin Studios has announced the release of PREMIUM 3D MODELS - CITY BUILDINGS. The 16th in a series of 3D models and texture libraries created for use by 2D and 3D graphics artists, the CITY BUILDING models consists of 182 detailed building models for use in an urban 3D environment. The 3D models are presented in the 3DS, LWO(6) and OBJ file formats and all the models are fully licensable and royalty free. A special edition of Right Hemisphere's 3D Exploration is included with each library for viewing, transforming and manipulating the models.
Adobe Systems has updated its Digital Video Collection so anyone with $1249 has the tools to complete a professional video project on the desktop from start to finish. The Adobe Digital Video Collection, which is now compatible with Macintosh OS X and Microsoft Windows XP, includes the recently announced Adobe Premiere 6.5, Adobe's digital video editing software, as well as the latest versions of Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The Adobe Digital Video Collection is available at an estimated street price of US$1,249 and can be purchased from www.adobe.com.
Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a division of Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC, revealed its latest Intel technology deployment of 600 Pentium 4 processor-based animation workstations. "The visual effects industry has traditionally been a land of proprietary systems and software," said Cliff Plumer, ILMs Chief Technology Officer. "At ILM, were increasingly using Intel-based systems to expand our range of software choices for animation and compositing.
Leading compositing and visual effects software Shake 2.5 will be available for the first time for Mac OS X. Shake is high-performance compositing software designed for large format productions, and has been used on many high-profile feature films, including the past five winners of the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects: LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, GLADIATOR, THE MATRIX, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and TITANIC. Shake 2.5 is scheduled to be available in August for Mac OS X, Linux, IRIX and Windows.
The Intel Corporation has established the CAD (Computer Aided Design) 3D Working Group to define, develop and deploy a common format to represent 3D images on the Web. The working group is part of the Web3D Consortium, a forum for the creation of open standards for Web 3D specifications, and includes members from various segments of the 3D graphics industry, including CAD software vendors, CAD users and digital content creators.
Caligari Corporation's trueSpace6, thelatest version of its award-winning 3D modeling and animationprogram, is now available. Caligari has added more than two dozen newfeatures to trueSpace6, allowing for more powerful modeling anddesign, as well as increased functionality for game developers,professional engineers and designers. New trueSpace6 features includefull color-coded layers to make creating complex models easier; a newScene Editor that combines six trueSpace editors (objects,
Ed Catmull, president and co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, announced at a SIGGRAPH press conference that Pixar will integrate NXN alienbrain VFX into its production process to provide media asset management for its upcoming CG film projects. NXN alienbrain VFX is the first of its kind digital asset and production management system designed specifically for high-end computer graphics projects.
SplutterFish, LLC, a 3D software solutions provider, announced at SIGGRAPH 2002 the launch of its Brazil Rendering System v1.0, a fully-integrated rendering suite for Discreet's 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ.
At SIGGRAPH 2002, Discreet announced and demonstrated for the first time its character studio 4, the latest extension to Discreet's 3ds max animation software. character studio 4 includes significant enhancements designed to provide animators an easy-to-use system. Additions such as a non-linear animation mixer, an animation analyzer and fixer and Quaternion Function Curves were implemented to help expand users' character animation techniques and capabilities.
At New York's MacWorld Expo,Alias|Wavefront announced Maya 4.5, the seventh major release of itspopular Maya 3D animation software. With this new release, Maya forMac OS X will be synchronized with Maya on other supported hardwareplatforms. Current Maya for Mac OS X users will benefit from asubstantial number of feature additions and enhancements includingnew modeling tools, integrated 3D Paint, multi-processor support forrendering and numerous UI and workflow enhancements. "Maya 4.5 for
At the SIGGRAPH 2002conference, Side Effects Software has announced Houdini Halo, astand-alone compositing and image-editing application, which will beavailable in the fourth quarter of 2002. Houdini Halo is the newestaddition to the Houdini family of 3D software products, which alsoincludes Houdini Master, Houdini Select and Houdini Escape. Halo'sfeatures include an interactive, visual way of creating customshaders, composite operators and more, without the need to write
This week at SIGGRAPH 2002, 3D animation software developer Kaydara,Inc. has announced that both Discreet and NewTek products willsupport Kaydara's FBX file format. Discreet will integrate supportfor FBX into upcoming versions of its 3D animation and visual effectssoftware, including 3ds max, inferno, flame and flint. FBX is a 3Dfile interchange format that allows for the universal interchange of3D data between every major 3D package and a number of second-tierapplications. "Discreet is excited by the numerous opportunities
NVIDIA Corporation announced from SIGGRAPH 2002 that it is open sourcing the NVIDIA CgCompiler technology under a nonrestrictive, free license. Availablein August 2002 for download from the developer.nvidia.com andwww.cgshaders.org Websites, this code will contain the parser thatreads the language and creates intermediate code for compilation, aswell as a generic back-end. Together, these components provideeverything required to create optimized Cg compilers for other
Thisweek at SIGGRAPH 2002 (Booth #8062), Discreet announced new productreleases for its visual effects and compositing systems inferno 5,flame 8 and flint 8. According to Discreet, these latest versionsinclude software architecture modifications designed to improvepost-production workflow by offering digital artists increasedfreedom, flexibility and speed. New features include support formixed resolutions, enabling artists to combine various film, video,graphics and other multimedia formats within one project at any
Belmont, California-based LifeMode Interactive, Inc. has released LifeStudio: Head, a complete facial animation solution for interactive game and multimedia developers. Created using LifeMode's Macro-Muscle proprietary technology, LifeStudio: Head Tools allows artists to quickly create a wide variety of characters, complete with photo-realistic textures, real-time animation and lip-syncing.
Scott Jenkins reviews Combustion 2 and checks in with a production in progress to see how Combustion stacks up against key competitor After Effects.
LIPSinc, a provider of voice-to-animation speech technology for talking digital characters, has launched LIPSinc Impersonator, a software tool created specifically for game developers. LIPSinc automatically creates animation data files for talking characters by using an audio file as the only input. These data files are then interpreted by the game engine at runtime and played in synch with the audio for more convincing game characters with realistic facial animation.