Softimage Co. has released version 3.0 of its SOFTIMAGE|XSI 3D nonlinear production environment. SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 introduces new features and toolsets for use in feature film, television and video games.
Armaverse Armatures has unveiled its new line of Phase 3 stop-motion animation armature kits and parts. Dubbed "Humature" by Armaverse, the six-inch human armature is 100% stainless-steel and allows for smaller sets, lighter characters and easier animation. A revamped head support closely follows human form and makes a convenient base for replacement animation. According to the manufacturer, the precise human proportions of the Phase 3 Humature give completed characters extremely realistic movement with correct 90-degree articulation at the knee and ankle joints.
Montreal-based software developer Crater Software has released the latest version of its 2D cel animation software, CTP Pro version 1.5. In addition to reducing the list price of the software package to $1,299, the company has also released CTP Pro Lite, a limited version of CTP with the same ease of use interface, priced at $299. According to Crater Software President, Joe Alonso, "We have always looked out for the animation student and independent animator.
Spanish software comapny Next Limit has released RealFlow 2, a physical-based particle system that simulates a variety of fluid states based on advanced Computational Fluid Dynamic techniques. RealFlow make use of real fluid equations in a flexible way to accurately simulate a wide range of fluids like liquids, gases and viscous matter. Enhanced by a new streamlined user interface that includes time-sliders to preview fluid simulations over time, RealFlow 2 also offers an improved internal engine for greater particle management.
Digital effects studio Digital Domain has formed D2 Software, Inc. to develop, market and support digital image processing software based upon the proprietary technology developed by the company over the last decade. The flagship of the new companys software line will be Nuke, Digital Domains Academy Award-winning compositing software that operates on NT, Linux and IRIX platforms. "As a nodal-based compositing solution, Nuke is more advanced than anything currently available on the market," noted Michael Taylor, Digital Domains VP, Digital Studio.
Alias|Wavefront announced that it is now offering the mental ray for Maya plug-in at no extra charge to all Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited customers. The mental ray for Maya plug-in, previously priced at US $3,995 is available free to all Maya customers beginning with Maya 4.5. Maya 4.5 customers can now download mental ray for Maya 1.5 public beta at www.aliaswavefront.com/maya/getmental. This announcement covers all platforms which Maya is available for, including Mac.
BOXX Technologies has enhanced its OEM relationship with Sonic Foundry to offer its 3DBOXX workstation customers an array of preloaded software solutions for audio and video multimedia production. Under the terms of the agreement, BOXX is offering workstation configurations preloaded with Sonic Foundry's popular Vegas Video, Sound Forge 6.0 and ACID PRO 4.0 software.
House of Moves motion capture studio (HOM) will now provide facial scanning services at its Los Angeles studio, thanks to a newly signed deal with 3Q inc., a developer of 3D scanning technology. In addition, HOM is now the first non-exclusive third party distributor of 3Q products to the entertainment industry. 3Qs unique scanning approach projects a random light pattern on the subject and captures it with precisely synchronized digital cameras set at various angles. The scan itself takes only two milliseconds per frame.
LifeMode Interactive has released a plug-in version of LifeStudio:HEAD, its character creation and facial animation package for game developers and 3D studios. LifeStudio:HEAD Plug-In Package will include the stand-alone LifeStudio:HEAD tool for MS Windows 2000/XP and the plug-ins to load the tool's own file formats directly into either Discreet 3D studio max or Alias|Wavefront Maya.
Digital Film Tools, an offshoot of Los Angeles-based visual effects studio Digital FilmWorks, has announced the release of zMatte, a full-featured blue and green screen keyer for use with Adobe After Effects and After Effects compatible programs, Apple's Final Cut Pro, and Avid Editing Systems. Using proprietary matte extraction techniques and 16 bit processing, zMatte quickly and simply creates mattes with minimal parameters. ZMatte's features include multiple matte creation; blur, shrink and wrap functions; color suppression; and shadow, midtone and highlight color correction.
Discreet will promote the latest release of its 3ds max animation software by touring 15 cities in North and South America. Kicking off October 8 in Dallas, the "Defy Reality" Tour will allow attendees to view in-depth demonstrations of 3ds max 5, meet animation guest speakers from the film, television, design visualization and game development industries, and receive special 3ds max promotional pricing along with the opportunity to win an Intel Pentium 4 IBM M PRO Workstation.
Toon Boom Technologies Inc. has released the final version of its 2D animation application Toon Boom Studio v.1.2.1 for Mac OS X v.10.2. This latest version of Toon Boom Studio takes full advantage of the features and improvements available in "Jaguar," Apple's major update to the OS X operating system. Toon Boom Studio is a 2D desktop application for creative professionals in character animation, Web design and advertising. The update is available for free to all licensed owners at www.toonboomstudio.com.
Toonstruck has placed its animation project tracking and asset management software into open beta. Toontrack provides a spreadsheet-style status of all shots, private login for each member of the team, and allows for the assigning of tasks, daily submission and review. In addition, asset management and version control and history tools are included that link directly with Maya animation software allowing the import, reference or opening of files directly into Maya from Toontrack.
Discreet's burn, a new Linux-based background rendering software for visual effects systems, recently debuted at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam. burn is designed to reduce time to project completion by utilizing PC-based render stations for processing effects. Using burn, rendering is completed offline in a Linux-based render farm, freeing up Discreet online effects workstations, which will allow artists to focus more on the creative process.
House of Moves Motion Capture Studios (HOM) has made more than 5,000 stock motion files available online. The moves can be browsed and ordered online by installing House of Moves custom 3D-motion viewer called DivaView. A free beta version of the viewer can be downloaded at www.moves.com/divaview/divaview.zip. Available libraries of moves include football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, special ops, medieval combat, dancing and more. Some moves are available in multiple formats, and all 3D motion-capture formats are available for an additional charge.
Electric Rain, Inc. has announced the release of Swift 3D version 3.0, a standalone application allowing designers to build and export 3D animations to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format, as well as other major vector and raster formats. This latest version provides realistic vector rendering with new RAViX III rendering options, photo-quality raster export and SmartLayer Technology for direct integration with Macromedia Flash MX.
Visual effects plug-in vendor The Foundry, presented technology demonstrations of Furnace, its new set of plug-ins for Apples Shake compositing and visual effects system at the IBC show in Amsterdam. The suite of plug-ins, which helps film compositors correct common problems when working on film effects shots, is currently in its Alpha test phase. Furnace is the culmination of two years research and development working closely with film effects houses in London.
The world's largest online plant library just got bigger with the addition of 50 new plants. Plant modeling and simulation company Bionatics has increased its library to more than 250 plants, including plants from North America, South America, Europe, Japan and the Mediterranean. Increasing its plant diversification in response to client demand, Bionatics offers foliage for a variety of environments (mountains, coastline, roads, forests, parks and gardens, ponds, and countryside) for architects, 3d studios, video game developers, real-time and landscape simulations.
WIZZ, a new game show for Radio Canada public broadcasting station, is using Kaydara Inc.'s 3D production tool Online 3.5 to integrate 3D character animation and live video in real-time. Bo and Pixel, the 3D characters that are part of WIZZ's cast, interact with the host and contestants in real-time and serve as virtual game pieces -- walking, running and flying their way through WIZZville's animated game board.
Maya 4.5, the seventh major release of Alias|Wavefront's popular Maya 3D animation software is now available for the Windows, IRIX and Linux operating systems, with Maya Complete 4.5 for Mac OS X available on September 23, 2002. Maya 4.5 boasts a number of major technological developments such as Maya Fluid Effects and modeling improvements, the largest collection of API enhancements since version 1 and version parity with Maya Complete 4.5 for Mac OS X.
Realviz has announced that MatchMover 2.5 Professional is now available. The software is a professional solution used to track 3D camera data and motion from videos and film sequences. With this new version, users can move smoothly back and forth between automatic and manual tracking with no interruption of workflow.
Digital effects plug-in provider GenArts Inc. has released version 1.0 of its Sapphire plug-in for Shake 2.5 for Mac OS X. The company is also reducing the price of Sapphire plug-ins for Shake on all platforms by 25%. "Shake users tell us that Sapphire Plug-ins are a natural extension to their systems, so it was important for us to make our plug-ins available for Mac OS X," said Karl Sims, GenArts' President and Founder.
Curious Labs has begun shipping Poser 5, the new version of their award-winning 3D-character animation tool for artists and animators. Dynamic cloth and strand-based hair, photo-based facial mapping, and the new FireFly render engine are some of the new features included in Poser 5.
BOXX Technologies has announced that its R and H series of high-performance 3DBOXX workstations and its RenderBOXX rendering systems now feature the AMD Athlon MP processor 2200+ with QuantiSpeed architecture and Smart MP technology. BOXX stated that the 3DBOXX and RenderBOXX series featuring the new AMD Athlon MP processor provides optimal performance for compute-intensive applications such as 3D modeling, CAD, animation and digital video editing. "Our customers are eager for processing power and continually driven by deadlines," said Rick Krause, president and CEO of BOXX.