Adobe Systems Inc. launches After Effects 6.0, an extensive upgrade of its award-winning motion graphics and visual effects software. This major release integrates a new text engine for creating unique and compelling typographic animations. Available for Windows and Mac OS X, Adobe After Effects 6.0 helps professionals meet tough production challenges by increasing productivity with features such as OpenGL support, and other major performance improvements.
Oxford, U.K.-based 2d3, a developer of Emmy Award-winning professional 3D camera-tracking solutions, has announced that its new SteadyMove plug-in will be bundled with all copies of Adobe Premiere Pro. The advanced version of the shot stabilization software will be released on July 25, 2003 for $99.
Digital Film Lab has released DIGITAL FILM LAB 1.0, which allows filmmakers to simulate several film looks, glass camera filters, specialized lenses and optical lab processes. The program provides 8- or 16-bits-per-channel processing, and can mimic Color Correct, Bleach Bypass, Low Contrast, Flashing, Overexpose, Diffusion, Blur, Grad, Grain and Post Color Correct. By loading presets, parameters in the various modules are set to achieve a variety of different effects.
3Dlabs Inc., Ltd., a leader in professional visual processing, has released new drivers for its Wildcat VP family of professional graphics accelerators with a preliminary implementation of the new OpenGL Shading Language. 3Dlabs is the first company to ship an implementation that utilizes this high-level shading language, which was recently ratified by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board as official extensions to OpenGL, and is expected to form the foundation of the upcoming OpenGL 2.0 standard.
HP has introduced a powerful line of servers based on Intel Corp.'s new Itanium 2 1.5-gigahertz processor, intending to redefine data center economics by delivering up to $1 million in total three-year cost savings over IBM servers. The new 64-bit HP Integrity servers now combine with the 32-bit ProLiant servers to form a potent lineup.
HP's newly introduced Intel Itanium 2-based servers and workstations, delivering up to 50% faster application performance than previous Itanium 2-based systems, are perfectly suited to rendering large digital models.
The new Intel Itanium 2 processor with 6 MB of level 3 cache powers one- and two-way HP Workstations, as well as HP Integrity servers, which range from one- and two-way entry-level servers to the 64-processor Integrity Superdome server.
With the August, 2003 release of MOTIONBUIILDER 5, Kaydara offers a next generation solution for 3D character animators with wide ranging implications in feature films, series broadcasts, TV commercials, VFX, gaming and other interactive 3D media. With a realtime photorealistic rendering engine and Kaydara's "smart" character technology (HumanIK), complex character set-ups and animation can be created in minutes instead of days, according to president Michael Besner.
Oscar-winning VFX wiz Dennis Muren discusses lighting tricks, prioritizing elements in a shot and the importance of using real objects for reference.
VFXWorld's Bill Desowitz speaks with Hulk animation supervisor Colin Brady to find out how ILM tackled the giant task of bringing the big green superhero from the comic book page to the theater screens.
VFX supervisors from three top houses explain why they depend on Houdini for modeling, rendering and animation.
Apple introduces Shake 3, the next generation of its industry-leading compositing and visual effects software featured in the production of more than 100 films, including the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, FINDING NEMO, THE MATRIX RELOADED and X-MEN 2.
Vicon reported record sales of new and upgraded motion capture systems at the close of the first half of fiscal year 2003. The impressive sales figures included new system installs at customer sites worldwide in biomechanics, medicine, film, VFX, game development, broadcast, education, engineering and government market sectors. The sales period, tallied through March 2003, represents the best six months in the U.K.-based company's history.
In August, Apple launches the world's fastest personal computer with the Power Mac G5, featuring the first 64-bit desktop processor and the industry's initial 1 GHz front-side bus. Powered by the revolutionary PowerPC G5 processor designed by IBM and Apple, the Power Mac G5 is the first personal computer to utilize 64-bit processing technology for unprecedented memory expansion (up to 8GB) and advanced 64-bit computation, while running existing 32-bit applications natively.
For Pixar's fifth feature, they digitally conquered the complex look and feel of the underwater world, with its undulating water and beautiful fish and plant life.
21st Century Media will supply the video encoding services for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held June 23-27, 2003 in San Francisco, relying on Discreet cleaner 6 software to encode the 180 conference sessions. The WWDC sessions will be streamed in QuickTime MPEG-4 format from the Apple Developer Connection Television site, and will also be made available in a DVD-ROM box set.
Anzovin Studio has introduced The Setup Machine for Maya 5.0, a character rigging plug-in fully compatible with the latest version of Alias|Wavefront's Maya animation environment. The Setup Machine for Maya 5.0 is downloadable for $149. Site licenses are available. The Setup Machine for Maya can be ordered from www.anzovin.com/setupmachine/setupmachinemaya.html.
Discreet has teamed up with Criterion Software to deliver new solutions specifically aimed at improving the game development pipeline between Discreet's 3ds max and Criterion's RenderWare software.
Both companies will collaborate on integrating the 3D content creation process with "on-target viewing" capabilities, allowing game developers to preview content on multiple game console platforms. Artists and developers should benefit from improved efficiencies in the development pipeline for console and mobile games.
RenderMan Pro Server, a new software package featuring an upgraded version of Pixar Animation Studios' RenderMan 3D rendering software (version 11.5), will be released in July, 2003 and repriced at $3,500. The new release showcases increased rendering performance indicative of the studio's recent work with FINDING NEMO. Complex scenes using subtle lighting effects should see significant gains, and a new rendering mode boosts throughput by automatically harnessing the full power of modern multi-processor systems.
Pixar's RenderMan Pro Server Components:
Final Cut Pro 4, the next generation of Apple's Emmy award-winning editing software, will go on sale June 14, 2003 at 4:00 pm at participating Apple stores (www.apple.com). The suggested price is $999. Registered Final Cut Pro users can upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 for $399.
Utah-based Strata once again makes it easier for designers, illustrators and animators to create high quality content with Strata 3Dpro3.8, which runs on Windows 98, Me and XP as well as Apple's OSX.
New features include:_ Photon light refraction and reflection_ Stochastic sampling for enhanced realism in Raydiosity?_ Toon rendering for quick, high quality cartoon images_ Enhanced deform for modeling and animation effects_ Jiggle enhancements for more realistic motion_ Power user features for streamlined workflow
SplutterFish LLC, has developed a bitmap I/O plug-in for use in Discreet's 3ds max and Autodesk Viz, in support of OpenEXR, a new open-source, high-dynamic-range image file format developed by Industrial Light & Magic.
In a further coup for German software giant Mental Images, DreamWorks will utilize its Academy Award-winning mental ray rendering program on the upcoming underwater gangster comedy SHARKSLAYER, due in theaters in 2004.
A direct competitor to Pixar's heralded RenderMan, mental ray now becomes a significant part of DreamWorks' rendering pipeline for SHARKSLAYER, the first computer-animated feature produced entirely at DreamWorks Animation facility in Glendale, Calif. DreamWorks began utilizing mental ray as part of its production process following rigorous tests in 2002.
Rhythm & Hues and Cinesite Hollywood used Side Effects Software's Houdini to create effects in the summer blockbuster X2: X-MEN UNITED. For example, Rhythm & Hues used Houdini and Houdini Mantra to animate and render chunks of snow and tree debris flying around the X-Jet in a scene where the plane flies through the woods. In addition, Rhythm & Hues artists were able to control water sources and turbulent current effects as well as the falling shards of shattered glass. For the X-Jet, they added engine thrusts, heat distortion and dust.
A look at the recent E3 conference shows that Bionatics' natFX software is being used with 3ds max or Maya by five of the top gaming firms: Ubisoft, Lucas Arts, Eidos, Electronic Arts and Atari. The one-year-old plant modeler has been used on such games as RAVENSHIELD, RAINBOWSIX 3, DEUS EX II, MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN AND RTX: REDROCK 2. Bionatics announced that 22 more games will utilize the software within the next year.