In an attempt to reach out to the growing desktop visual effects community, Discreet has announced it is repricing the update to version 2.1 of its paint, animation and 3D compositing software combustion to US$995. Discreet's combustion technology has been used to produce visual effects in recent blockbuster films such as STAR TREK NEMESIS, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS and both LORD OF THE RINGS films.
NVIDIA Corporation's new GeForce FX and Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs) are compatible and compliant with the Microsoft DirectX 9.0 application programming interface (API). DirectX 9.0, the latest version of Microsoft's suite of multimedia application programming interfaces, offers advances in graphic technology making it easier for game developers to create 3D immersive titles.
Side Effects Software, developer of the Houdini family of 3D software, is promoting its Houdini Apprentice Edition with the announcement of the Houdini Apprentice Challenge 2003, an art and animation contest based around the software. Co-sponsored by Hewlett Packard and ATI Technologies, the contest aims to support existing users and uncover new animation talent for leading studios that use Houdini.
IMAX is incorporating more and more entertainment only fare to their distribution slate. Not only are the results good for their bottom line but also for adding even more "event" to already special films.
NVIDIA Corporation, and Alias|Wavefront, have made available a Cg plug-in that integrates advanced real-time shaders into Alias|Wavefront's Maya 4.5. Cg, also known as High Level Shading Language (HLSL), is a C-like high-level graphics programming language that allows 3D artists and content developers to create cinematic-quality images and interact with them in real-time.
DigiCel, Inc. has released version 3.6 of its FlipBook Pro software for traditional animation. This new version offers more palette control to simplify large productions, additional lighting effects for shadows, and highlights and glows with soft edges for a more natural and three-dimensional look.
RE:Vision Effects has released RE:Flex, a set of plug-ins designed to bring intuitive morphing and warping directly to Shake, Apple's compositing software. Using Shake's existing drawing and rotoshape tools, RE:Flex allows users to warp and morph image sequences by combining hand feature-matching with automatic image registration. After aligning the hand matched shapes, RE:Flex uses the automatic image registration found in RE:Vision's Twixtor product to align the non-handmatched parts of the image automatically.
Dosch Design has released the first two titles of its newly created product line, Dosch HDRI (High Dynamic Range Images). Both Dosch HDRI: Nature and Dosch HDRI: Skies contains 56 HDR-images, which are presented on three CDs. The new product line offers the user a comprehensive library of HDRI effects for use in 3D design and animation applications. Eliminating the need for manual definition of multiple light-sources and lengthy experimentation with color choice and light-volume, the HDRIs contain information as to whether there is a direct light-source (e.g.
NewTek, Inc. is celebrating the season with its LightWave Holiday Bonus Pack, an offering which provides $1,400 in learning materials free to purchasers of a full commercial license copy of LightWave 3D. The bundle includes instructional books; LightWave training DVDs from companies including Desktop Images and Class on Demand; CDs from Lost Pencil Animation; a discount on NewTek-sponsored seminars; and magazine subscriptions to NewTekPro Magazine and Keyframe Magazine.
REALVIZ has released its ImageModeler 3.5 for the Macintosh platform. A Windows XP/2000 version of the application is also slated for release in the first quarter of 2003. Using advanced algorithms, REALVIZ ImageModeler 3.5 extracts 3D information from photographs and helps users to measure and re-create accurate 3D models with realistic results. Compared to traditional 3D modeling applications, automatic texturing from photographs reduces the time necessary to create high-quality models.
Digital title and logo software developer Zaxwerks has released a standalone software product called the Invigorator ProAnimator, enabling video editors to create 3D title and logo animations easily. The developers say that the workflow of the ProAnimator resembles video editing more than it does traditional 3D animating. Animation clips are spliced, arranged and trimmed to create a story. As the user progresses through the edit, clips can be added, deleted, rearranged, lengthened, shortened and duplicated.
Ulead Systems, Inc. has released COOL 3D Studio, its 3D animation software for video production. Based on Ulead's COOL 3D software for creating 3D animation and text for the Web and presentation multimedia, COOL 3D Studio offers additional tools specifically designed for video editing professionals. The software offers features typically found in high-end 3D animation tools at a lower price point.
Steve Oedekerk fresh off his experience of making his first IMAX film in 3D like the type of 3D where you need glasses! explains his love of these mediums and the new challenges he found.
NewTek, Inc. is offering registered owners a free update to Video Toaster , the company's NLE/live video switching system. This latest update adds new support for Adobe After Effects, Commotion, Combustion, 3ds max, Power CG and Digital Fusion. "This past year we've devoted a lot of energy toward enhancing the way our products interface with other popular content creation tools," said Jim Plant, President and CEO of NewTek.
BOXX Technologies has entered into an agreement with NewTek to bundle and distribute NewTek's LightWave3D graphics and animation software on 3DBOXX workstations. NewTek recently unveiled version 7.5 of LightWave 3D, which includes features for soft-body dynamics, particles, hair and fur and unlimited render nodes. From now until December 15, 2002, BOXX is offering its 3DBOXX customers the opportunity to purchase LightWave 3D 7.5 for a special introductory price of US$995. Visit the BOXX Website at www.boxxtech.com or call toll free at 877-877-BOXX for more details.
Bionatics is making wind generation a breeze with EASYnat, a plant simulation and modeling plug-in for Autodesk VIZ that enables users to generate photo-realistic plants and trees from a vast and diverse library of plants. Intended for the architect market, EASYnat trees and plants may now be animated with wind affects. To learn more about the applications of this effect, download the tutorial, "EASYnat Foliage Animation Technique," at www.easynat.com. A free 30-day fully functional demo may also be downloaded. EASYnat for Autodesk VIZ and 3ds max is offered at a retail price of US$495.o
At November's COMDEX tradeshow in Las Vegas, California, NVIDIA Corporation introduced the NVIDIA GeForce FX graphics processing unit (GPU). According to NVIDIA, this new GPU, which is based on the new NVIDIA CineFX architecture, delivers cinematic-quality graphics and special effects to video games. "Computer games today are fast and exciting, yet they still lack the ability to engage us emotionally," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO at NVIDIA.
Alias|Wavefront's Maya 4.5 Personal Learning Edition will be available starting December 4, 2002, but users will have to wait until January 2003 to download the software for free. The initial version of Maya Personal Learning Edition, launched in February 2002, has had more than a quarter of a million downloads to date. The Maya 4.5 Personal Learning Edition includes all new features found in Maya Complete 4.5 software. Substantial enhancements have been made in response to requests from the community, allowing the new version to be a more effective learning tool.
Pixar Animation Studios has released RenderMan 11, the latest version of its Academy Award-winning visual effects software. According to Pixar, RenderMan 11 combines significant performance gains with important new features such as ray tracing, global illumination and deep shadows. "We have added major features to this release of RenderMan, and we will keep doing so. The studios who choose RenderMan expect the best in both features and performance, and we will continue working to satisfy their needs," said Ed Catmull, president of Pixar.
Anzovin Studio has introduced The Setup Machine for Maya, a new character rigging plug-in for Alias|Wavefront's Maya. The Setup Machine for Maya, newest member of The Setup Machine family of cross-platform animation utilities, enables Maya users to rig a wide variety of CG characters including humans, animals, insects and fantasy creatures that would be difficult and tedious to set up by hand.
NewTek, Inc. and Digimation, Inc. have teamed to create a suite of plugins providing integration between NewTek's Video Toaster 2 and Discreet's 3ds max. The plugins will ship standard with Video Toaster 2, NewTek's Windows 2000-based live video production environment. According to NewTek, Video Toaster 2 complements 3ds max's toolset with compositing, video editing, video painting, video in and out, digital disk recording (DDR), and other tools that let 3ds max animators take their work to a new level.
Digital Film Tools has released 55MM 2.0, a comprehensive set of digital optical filters for Adobe After Effects and After Effects compatible programs, Apples Final Cut Pro and Avid Editing Systems. 55MM includes twenty plug-ins that until recently were only available in-house at Digital Film Tools' parent company, visual effects facility Digital FilmWorks. The unique set of plug-ins was created to simulate popular glass camera filters, specialized lenses and optical lab processes, allowing images to be treated in a controlled digital environment.
Curious Labs, Inc. is now offering Content Paradise in Poser 5, its 3D-character animation tool for artists and animators. Content Paradise enables Poser 5 users to browse a database of 3rd party Poser content, then purchase and download their selected items. Curious Labs has partnered with Renderosity to provide the first collection of content. Other market partners that have agreed to participate and will be adding their content collections later in 2002 are bbay, TurboSquid, Virtualchemy and RuntimeDNA. For more information about Content Paradise go to www.contentparadise.com
Interactive media developer MindAvenue has launched AXELpublisher for 3ds max, enabling 3ds max professionals to publish interactive 3D content to the Web easily. This is the first in a series of publishing tools MindAvenue is developing for high-end 3D software programs. With AXELpublisher, 3ds max users can generate both QuickTime and AXEL streams and instantly publish to the Web in a scripting-free environment. In addition, current users of AXELedge, MindAvenue's award-winning authoring tool, can now import 3ds max content directly into the software.
SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 software has become the first digital content creation application to take advantage of Cg, the high-level programming language NVIDIA developed in close collaboration with Microsoft Corporation. Softimage and NVIDIA announced that the SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 environment is now able to work seamlessly with the C-like language to provide users with a simplified process for authoring complex, highly realistic digital content. "When NVIDIA announced Cg earlier this year, we immediately recognized the value this technology would provide animators and developers.