Toon Boom Technologies has released the LightTable module upgrade, which is compatible with USAnimation V5 and runs on Windows 2000. The LightTable module allows animators to work remotely and send their drawings electronically to their partner studio anywhere in the world. With the LightTable module, animators can hand-draw animation with a pressure-sensitive pen and graphic tablet based on the classical light table approach and use these vector drawings with all of the other USAnimation modules.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho has been hard at work creating THE GETAWAY, a highly anticipated game for Sony's Playstation 2 console. In THE GETAWAY the player takes on the role of Mark Hammond, a retired bank robber who is forced back into the world he left to save his son from an evil mobster. To animate the games characters, Team Soho used five motion-capture performers at once, in real-time. Each motion-capture performer wore an Ascension CyberSuit outfitted with 11 sensors and had a separate backpack and receiving base station.
Alias|Wavefront announced that its recently unveiled mental ray for Maya technology will be available as an optional plug-in renderer for Maya before the end of the year 2001. mental ray for Maya, currently in beta testing, is an optional and fully integrated plug-in renderer for Maya that offers all the features and tools available in mental images' mental ray renderer version 3.0. It will be available to customers in either node locked or floating license configurations. Alias|Wavefront will make mental ray for Maya and the mental ray Stand Alone renderer available in December 2001.
Macromedia, Inc. is offering a series of online tutorials designed to allow new and existing Macromedia Director 8.5 users to learn how to use the product more quickly and master the creation and deployment of interactive 3D content for the Web. The tutorials include lessons on 3D for current Director users as well as tutorials for 3D artists and Macromedia Flash developers who are new to Director. The video tutorials take users step by step through building a rich media Web experience that incorporates sound, video and 3D assets.
The Gnomon Workshop has released six new training videos on inverse kinematics and dynamics in Alias|Wavefront's Maya. This series, which includes two tapes on Inverse Kinematics and four more tapes on Maya's Dynamics engine, marks the fourth round of video releases and brings the total number of titles available from The Gnomon Workshop to 24. Each tape has 110 minutes of instruction. The objective of the tapes is to explain the tools with a focus on workflow, using a wide range of example effects.
Toon Boom Technologies Inc., has released Toon Boom Studio for Mac OS X Version 10.1. Toon Boom has optimized the performance of its software to fit to Apple's OS X upgrade. The free beta update installer, available for download at www.toonboomstudio.com, provides users with Toon Boom Studio's complete desktop application for Web productions. Based on feedback from participants, the beta update for Mac OS X Version 10.1 will be released in November and will be free for licensees of Toon Boom Studio.
BOXX Technologies, provider of digital content creation systems for the entertainment and digital film industries, has included the new AMD Athlon MP processor in their 3DBOXX R1 series of high-performance workstations and the RenderBOXX R1 series of rendering systems. The new AMD Athlon MP processor features QuantiSpeed architecture and Smart MP technology and is designed to provide the optimal performance needed for computation-intensive applications while providing IT managers with the highest standard in platform stability and reliability.
NVIDIA Corporation and Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation (E&S) have agreed to a broad strategic alliance under which NVIDIA will license its Shader Technology to E&S while acquiring key 3D graphics patents from the company. Additionally, the companies agreed to a broad cross-license of technology. The NVIDIA Shader Technology is a collection of patented 3D technologies enabling the creation of interactive, cinematic-quality realism through the use of highly programmable processing elements.
Viewpoint Corporation, a provider of digital marketing technologies, has launched the newest version of the Viewpoint Media Player. This latest version showcases Viewpoint's HyperView feature, which enables viewers to expand rich media content beyond the browser window and utilize the entire desktop as real estate for the content. The Viewpoint Media Player allows for the integration and interaction of rich media formats such as Flash, 3D, animation, text, audio and zoomable 2D graphics.
Software designer Ashlar-Vellum Inc. is offering a free beta test-drive of Neon, the company's 3D publishing tool. From now until November 15, 2001, users can download and use the $495 value software free of charge. In addition to its easy-to-use rendering features, Neon enables the publication of any engineering-grade 3D file in the most popular Web and print publishing formats including Macromedia ShockWave 3D, Viewpoint VET, Apple QuickTime, Adobe Illustrator, VRML and more.
Epic Games, best known for creating the hit games UNREAL and UNREAL TOURNAMENT, has installed a 12-Camera Vicon 8i Real-Time motion-capture system at their development studio in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Vicon 8i optical motion-capture system allows actors to move freely, unrestricted by wires, awkward suits or large body markers. The system can capture multiple actors simultaneously, and with Vicon's million-pixel resolution MCam, motion data is recorded at near perfect accuracy.
Caligari Corporations aniPak, a collection of 11 third-party animation plug-ins and libraries for Caligari trueSpace5 users is now available. aniPak includes three new plug-ins, DreaMotion PoseMixer, IK-Anchor 1.0 and SkeleTool 1.0. DreaMotion PoseMixer allows users to combine individual poses of characters into a seamless animation. The movements of all affected joints can be influenced simultaneously, without adjusting each element separately. IK-Anchor 1.0 keeps the constrained side or edge of the bounding box locked in position.
Activeworlds Corp, provider of three-dimensional technology on the Internet, has released Active Worlds' version 3.2, the most sophisticated addition to its 3D software. Version 3.2 will offer users many significant improvements including OpenGL support, software-rendering support, simplified modes for new users, skyboxes, cell grids, increased visibility ranges and additional firewall support. The new version is available for consumers to download free at http://www.activeworlds.com.
3D and multimedia software company Electric Rain, Inc. has released Swift 3D version 2.0, a stand alone application allowing users to design and render 3D scenes to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format, as well as Adobe Illustrator EPS and the latest XML-based SVG. Swift 3D V2 includes many new modeling tools that empower designers of all levels of 3D experience to quickly build and animate complex 3D scenes.
Ascension Technology Corporation, manufacturer of motion tracking devices, has introduced winBIRD, a versatile program that allows users to experiment with Ascensions products in a standard Windows environment. For use with single and multi-sensor or multi-transmitter configurations, winBIRD lets users change all major device and system options while monitoring how the changes affect returned data.
Plazmic, creator of the Mobile Media Platform, which enables the creation and distribution of rich mobile media to wireless devices worldwide has partnered with Walt Disney Internet Group Japan to launch an enhanced rich mobile media entertainment service on NTT DoCoMo's i-mode network. Disney-i customers can access a graphically enhanced, interactive and animated version of the entertainment service Magical Fortune using the Plazmic Media Engine, an interactive wireless media player based on Java technology.
Anark Corporation is seeking beta testers for its public beta program of Anark Studio, an integrated media platform that combines 3D and 2D graphics, video, audio, text and data into an interactive, television-quality presentation.
The Macromedia Flash Player has been integrated into Liberate's open, standards-based interactive television platform for commercial deployment. The integration of the Macromedia Flash Player makes it possible for the more than one million Macromedia Flash developers to create compelling content and applications for interactive TV on the Liberate TV Platform software.
Graphics studio and publisher Marlin Studios has released PANORAMICA - LAND & SKY, a 2 CD-Rom set created by artist and photographer David Campbell. The product is the twelfth in a series of texture libraries created for use by 2D and 3D graphics artists. PANORAMICA is a collection of beautifully photographed and post-processed panoramic land and sky backgrounds, in full hemispherical and 180/240/360-degree formats. Matching 3D models are included for the various size textures. Also included is a set of six stop-action animated cloud formations, suitable for video and other applications.
NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of 3D animation and video products, has released a maintenance update for the immensely popular LightWave 3D version . LightWave  was announced and released on August 13, 2001 during SIGGRAPH, and has been embraced by the 3D-user community since that announcement. Only a month later, the LightWave development team has completed massive speed increases and optimizations for both the Intel SSE2 instruction set and the Apple AltiVec instruction set (also known as the Velocity Engine), allowing for an unprecedented performance improvement.
pmG Worldwide LLC has released an advance version of messiah:studio, the company's new, integrated 3D animation, rendering and developers' package. Featuring an all new intuitive interface and highly stable and efficient architecture, the advance version of messiah:studio is on sale right now for US$1,395 (MSRP $1795) and is expected to ship the first week in October 2001. Purchasers of the advance version will automatically receive the final version of the software when it ships on November 26, 2001.
Alias|Wavefront, an SGI company, announced that Maya for Mac OS X has shipped. This much anticipated release of the 3D animation and effects software package on the Macintosh platform will make 3D graphics more accessible to professional graphics artists. With this first release of Maya for Mac OS X, all of Maya Complete becomes native to the Macintosh. Features unique to this version include support for QuickTime, tear off menus in the hot box, and a fully Aqua interface. Alias|Wavefront is offering a special order promotion that will continue until the end of the year.
Pinnacle Systems, Inc., announced the immediate availability of CineWave 1.2, the newest version of the company's award-winning professional video creation solution. CineWave version 1.2 contains many new features including CineOffline, support for 16-bit YUV and 8-bit RGBA codecs, and HD qualification and support for Final Cut Pro 2 with most popular HD formats. CineOffline allows CineWave users to maximize costly storage space by using offline qualities to reduce the size of the media within a project.
John Edgar Park not only delves into the history and purpose of graphics cards but also reviews nVidia's Quadro DCC, the latest in graphics cards.
Blue Sky Studios is using Nothing Real's Shake as the exclusive compositing software for the new animated feature ICE AGE, currently in production. According to Andrew Beddini, compositing lead and lighting technical director on ICE AGE, Shake has been in use at the company since 1999 where it was first used to composite the animated feature, TITAN AE. Beddini explained that at Blue Sky, the overall compositing process is handled by its lighting department.