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Headline News 3D Toolkit Goes Free!

dvGarage, Electric Image and TheForce.net are bringing free 3D to the masses by offering a new trial version of the 3D Toolkit including the Electric Image Universe: 3D Toolkit Version, which saves and renders, without watermarks, for 30 days. In order to train users quickly, the trial version also includes 11 of dvGarage's tutorials, designed to get users familiar with the important aspects of using 3D software.

Headline News Vicon Delivers MCAM2

Motion capture systems developer Vicon has shipped their latest, most powerful mo-cap camera MCam2. With 1.3 million pixels and frame rates of up to 1000 frames per second, MCam2 builds on the success of MCam, the motion-capture industry's first million-pixel camera. More than 1500 MCams have been installed by Vicon users such as ILM, Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) and House of Moves.

Headline News Marlin Studios Releases People N Motion

Graphics studio and publisher Marlin Studios released PEOPLE N MOTION, two new libraries in its series of texture libraries created for use by 2D and 3D graphics artists. The texture maps can be used in any 3D program that makes use of animated textures, and can be composited onto backgrounds in 2D programs. No special software is required beyond the user's particular 2D or 3D program. Each PEOPLE N MOTION library has a set of sequential animation files that allows the graphics user to create the illusion of moving or standing people.

Headline News Adobe Ships Photoshop 7.0

Adobe Photoshop 7.0, the latest version of Adobe's image-editing software, is now available. Major enhancements to the new version include the File Browser, an image organization tool that allows users to browse image thumbnails, quickly rotate, sort, rank and batch rename images as well as view EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) information from digital cameras. The new Healing Brush feature simplifies the photo retouching process by allowing users to remove flaws while preserving the shading, lighting and texture of the original image.

Headline News Rhythm & Hues Acquires Vicon Motion Capture System

Rhythm & Hues has made its first investment in motion capture technology -- a dedicated facial capture system from Vicon. Rhythm & Hues plans to use a multiple camera Vicon configuration to develop a facial capture pipeline that will support the creation and animation of CG characters for forthcoming projects. "We have already installed and used our new Vicon system for full-body capture tests with very good results," said Rhythm & Hues visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer.

Headline News Advanced Alienbrain Interfaces With Softimage|XSI

Digital Production Management (DPM) systems provider NXN Software has begun shipping an upgrade to the NXN alienbrain plug-in for the Softimage|XSI v.2.0 nonlinear animation system (NLA). Using the advanced NetView technology of the XSI system, users can access many of the asset and workflow management features found in NXN alienbrain 5.0 directly from a pop-up window in the Softimage|XSI interface. This will enable users to access, edit, rollback and version control their scenes, textures and animations using NXN alienbrain's secure client/server environment.

Headline News Adobe Offers After Effects 5.5 Plug-In Power Pack

Adobe Systems has announced a new Plug-In Power Pack for Adobe After Effects 5.5 incorporating 16 new effects and Advanced Windows Media support. The After Effects 5.5 Plug-In Power Pack works with Adobe After Effects 5.5 software to produce motion graphics and visual effects for film, video, multimedia and the Web. The new Windows Media output module offers a comprehensive set of controls to create Windows Media streaming video content. Users can customize settings, embed metadata, create multi-stream movies and independently optimize audio and video.

Headline News Discreet's Visual Effects Software Gets Fired Up

At the 2002 NAB show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Discreet announced details of inferno 5, flame 8 and flint 8, the most powerful versions of the company's visual effects software to date. Offering enhanced feature sets, such as mixed resolution support, extended editing capabilities and support for background rendering on Linux, the new releases will also support the FBX file format from Kaydara, creating improved integration of 2D and 3D workflow and extending the 3D model support across different vendors writing with this industry standard.

Headline News Discreet Announces 3D Animation Software For The Web

At the 2002 NAB show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Discreet announced plasma -- its professional 3D animation software for creating 3D content for Web interface, graphics and interactive 3D. Discreet's plasma software will provide a 3D-animation toolset to create imagery for both Macromedia Flash Player and Shockwave Player. plasma has integration with all versions of Macromedia Flash including the recently released Macromedia Flash MX and Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio.

Headline News Pixar Announces New Features For Renderman

Pixar Animation Studios has announced it will release RenderMan Release 11 with support for ray tracing, global illumination and deep shadows. These new features, combined with significant performance gains, represent a major enhancement to the 3D rendering system.

Headline News Maya Available To More For Less

Effective April 4, 2002 worldwide, Alias|Wavefront will drastically reduce the standard list prices of its Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited 3D animation software packages. Maya Complete, formerly priced at US$7,500, will sell for US$1,999 and Maya Unlimited, which formerly sold for US$16,000, will be priced at US$6,999 (list prices for node-locked licenses). Maya is well known for its use in the film, commercial and games industries by companies including Blue Sky Studios, ILM, Sega, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Weta Ltd.

Headline News RTV's Roboroach Ready For Delivery

German entertainment company RTV International will introduce the new animated series ROBOROACH at MIPTV 2002. Starring a cockroach superhero named Rube who can morph into almost anything and Reg, Rube's street-smart big brother, the series was inspired by a Japanese newspaper story in which scientists claimed to be able to control cockroaches through implanted computer chips. ROBOROACH is a co-production between RTV Family Entertainment AG, VIDEAL and Portfolio Entertainment. RTV International holds all distribution rights except for North America.

Headline News Electric Rain Announces Swift 3D Importer For Macromedia Flash MX

Electric Rain, Inc. has announced an improved solution for incorporating Swift 3D vector animations into projects created in the newly released Macromedia Flash MX. The Swift 3D Importer, which will be accessed through the Macromedia Flash MX menu system, will recognize a new proprietary Swift 3D file format. Currently, the entire Swift 3D product line exports to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format. As a compiled format, SWF files inherently limit the type of 3D information able to be imported into Macromedia Flash.

Headline News Exluna's Entropy Rendering System Available Through Digimation Inc.

Digimation Inc., publisher and distributor of 3D animation software, has agreed to distribute Exluna's Entropy 3.1 rendering system, which includes an integrated interface for Discreet's 3ds max software. Entropy 3.1 features a hybrid scanline/raytracing architecture and extensive feature list including analytic anti-aliasing, global illumination, sub-pixel displacement, depth of field, caustics, motion blur, comprehensive geometry support and programmable shading with full support for the RenderMan shading language.

Headline News Animo 4.1 Provides New Support For 3d Animation

Cambridge Animation Systems has released Animo 4.1, a new version of its animation software featuring improved support for 3D data within the company's Scene III module for Director. According to the manufacturer, the new Scene III in Animo 4.1 enables animators to apply a consistent cartoon look to an entire scene that contains both 2D elements created in Animo and 3D models created in Maya or 3D Studio Max software.

Headline News Macromedia Ships Macromedia Flash MX.

Macromedia Flash MX, the latest version of the Macromedia Flash development environment, and Macromedia Flash Player 6 are now available. This upgrade to Flash 5 has over 45 new and enhanced features including new graphic design, pre-built components and templates, a customizable ActionScript editor, timeline enhancements and video support. The integration of video support in Flash MX and Macromedia Flash Player 6 uses the Sorenson Spark codec, enabling users to deliver compressed video as part of Macromedia Flash content and applications.

Headline News Maya Unlimited For The Price Of Maya Complete

Alias|Wavefront's "Completely Unlimited" promotion is in effect throughout the month of March 2002 and entitles anyone acquiring a license of Maya Complete to automatically receive an upgrade to Maya Unlimited. Features found only in Maya Unlimited include Maya Fur, Maya Live, Maya Cloth, subdivision surfaces and other advanced modeling functionality. In addition, annual full maintenance packages for Maya Unlimited licenses acquired through the promotion may also be purchased at the cost of Maya Complete full maintenance.

Headline News Houdini 5 Released

Side Effects Software has released Houdini 5, the newest version of the companys 3D animation and visual effects software and Houdini Select, a lesser-priced selection of the same tools. In conjunction with the launch, Side Effects Software has also made available a free non-commercial, 4-month license of Houdini Select to be offered to individuals attending the launch events. Side Effects Software will be hosting Houdini launch events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and London featuring guest presenters from effects studios Digital Domain and Rhythm & Hues.

Headline News Electric Rain Offers Swift Import Capabilities To USAnimation

Electric Rain, Inc. has released a special edition of their Swift 3D plug-in line, which includes Swift 3D MAX and Swift 3D LW. This special edition offers an additional rendering format allowing users of Discreet 3ds max and NewTek LightWave 3D to export their scenes to a format that imports natively into USAnimation.

Headline News Experience Softimage|XSI For Free

First Alias|Wavefront offers their Maya graphics software for free and now, not to be outdone, Softimage has announced the availability of the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Experience. This free two-CD pack includes the full feature set of the SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.2.0 Advanced system, the complete searchable SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.2.0 Online Documentation Library and a comprehensive video-based training module. The SOFTIMAGE|XSI Experience CD gives unlimited, free access to the company's nonlinear animation system and tools and is available to order from www.softimage.com/experience.

Headline News Toon Boom Studio Importer For Flash MX Launched

Toon Boom Technologies Inc. has released the Toon Boom Studio Importer (TBSi) for Macromedia Flash MX. TBSi provides integration between Toon Boom Studio and Macromedia Flash MX, resulting in a streamlined workflow for adding interactivity to professional quality 2D animations. And what is this Flash MX you ask? Read on.

Eric Oldrin reviews a new way to create animation for the Web. Toon Boom Studio brings USAnimation's expertise to vector-based animation.

Headline News Macromedia Announces Flash MX

Macromedia has unveiled Flash MX, the latest version of its Macromedia Flash development environment. Available March 15, 2002, this upgrade to Flash 5 has over 45 new and enhanced features including new graphic design, pre-built components and templates, a customizable ActionScript editor, timeline enhancements and video support. The integration of video support in Flash MX and Macromedia Flash Player 6 uses the Sorenson Spark codec, which enables designers and developers to deliver compressed video as part of Macromedia Flash content and applications.

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