A leading professor of orthodontics has announced the development of a process for animating a patients planned orthodontic treatment. The process, called 3-D CIMAS, three-dimensional craniofacial imaging and motion animation system, allows both the patient and clinician to see the exact propsed treatment and outcome before work is ever begun. The brainchild of Dr. Orhan C.
Animation software developer DigiCel, Inc. has released FlipBook SE (Standard Edition), a 2D animation software program. The program give animators the ability to scan or shoot their drawings under a camera, in addition to drawing them on the computer itself using the programs built-in light table feature. As the drawings are captured, they are automatically positioned in a traditional style exposure and can be played back the moment capturing is completed. An editable exposure sheet lets animators experiment with timing changes while the scene is being played.
Artrack, 3DVF Studio and 3D Corum, three French CG companies, have entered into a partnership to create Showroom 3D, an all-inclusive solution for 3D content broadcasting on the Internet. Showroom 3D offers virtual presentations of client products and events, as well as rich media advertising. Artrack is a 3D animation, multimedia and video digital studio, while 3DVF Studio offers technology solutions for CG and Web projects. 3D Corum Studio is the 3D and multimedia department of IGTECH, a high-tech company. For more information on the solutions they provide visit www.showroom3d.com.
Electric Rain, Inc. announced the release of two new plug-ins for LightWave 3D and Discreet 3ds max users. The Swift 3D LW plug-in allows LightWave 3D users to render 3D scenes directly to a variety of vector-based file formats, including Flash (SWF), AI, EPS and the new XML-based SVG. Similarly, the Swift 3D MAX plug-in allows 3ds max users the ability to render 3D scenes directly from the 3ds max interface to the same set of vector-based file formats. Both plug-ins provide high accuracy 3D scene rendering, while staying true to colors, lighting schemes, camera views and animations.
Cambridge Animation Systems has announced Animo 4.0, the newest version of their flagship cartoon animation system. Available this month from Cambridge and their distributor network, the new version includes a number of new features, greater performance and the ability to output work in Flash format. Animo 4.0 users now can reduce their Flash file output size and optimize their content for the low bandwidth of the Internet through special controls such as disabling filter nodes and disabling animation of any bitmap image.
Alias|Wavefront has begun shipping Maya 4, the latest release of the companys industry leading 3D animation and visual effects software suite. The new release boasts numerous enhancements and optimizations designed to improve the programs overall ease-of-use and efficiency, with particular focus on rendering, character animation, brush and paint tools and games related functionality. The new release includes enhanced functionality and usability in several key areas. Focused improvements have been made throughout Maya to upgrade the UI and streamline the production workflow.
Phoenix Tools, an Italy-based computer graphics software developer, announced the release of Origami 2.0, a high-end set of modules and utilities for Softimage|3D, and a new Maya Shader plug-in. Origami 2.0 allows users to extract or reconstruct the lost 3D information from a set of photographs or a motion sequence. The new package is faster and easier, with greater reliability, giving the user a complete set of tools for all the steps that constitute the complex process of camera tracking and 3D reconstruction.
While you might not realize it, you've probably already seen some of Australia's top effects houses in action. Stephen Lynch explains.
Toon Boom Technologies has announced the release of ToonShader, the latest addition to the USAnimation system. ToonShader lets Alias|Wavefront's Maya users import their 3D models and motion capture data directly into USAnimation, giving animators the ability to bring a 3D flair to their 2D animation as well as ouput to all media platforms including the Internet. "Alias|Wavefront is very pleased to welcome USAnimation and ToonShader to the family of integrated plug-ins available for Maya," said Tom Reyburn, developer relations manager for Alias|Wavefront.
Cambridge Animation Systems has announced Animo for Mac OS X, Apple's next-generation operating system. Animo integrates 2D and 3D animation for development of feature films, animated television series, commercials, games and multimedia projects. "Mac OS X's UNIX-based foundation, advanced Internet features and stunning graphics capabilities make it an ideal platform for digital animation production," said Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of worldwide developer relations.
Italys Digital Video S.r.l., developers of the 2D animation package Toonz, has started shipping the new 4.5 release for the Windows NT/2000, Irix and Linux operating systems. The new version of Toonz provides a number of new features, including Flash support, a new palette extraction tool, native support for new scanners, DDR to VCR control, new effects, a new wizard button to make batches more efficient and others.
3D authoring technology vendor Caligari Corporation has released trueSpace 5.1, the newest version of its 3D modeling program that now features new support for Macromedia Shockwave3D and other web output capabilities. The company lowered the price for the stand-alone version of trueSpace, as well as launched a new paid subscription-based "proTeam" program of online tools, training programs, libraries and support services.
On Thursday, May 17, 2001, Discreet announced licensing deals with both Microsoft and Microids to include gmax consumer customization tools in each game developers upcoming game titles. This integration of gmax, a product derived from the same code base as the industry-leading 3ds max, means developers can offer customers a flexible, customizable environment within the game where they can create, modify and trade content with fellow players.
Digimation Inc. announced on May 18, 2001 the immediate availability of Bones Pro 3, the latest version of the popular skeletal deformation tool for character and creature animation inside of 3ds max. The new release lets users build a set of underlying bones to deform a mesh, assign the Bones Pro 3 modifier to the mesh and pick the bones that will drive the animation. The new toolkit includes MetaBones and ParaBones, advanced tools that allow users further control of character deformations through the use of simple primitive objects that act as constraints within the skeleton.
Alias|Wavefront announced on Friday, May 18, 2001, that its Maya Shockwave 3D Exporter plugin is now available as a free download from the Alias|Wavefront Website. The plugin can be used to transfer content directly from Maya into Macromedias Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio. A special Website has been set up within the Alias|Wavefront site where the plugin, technical information and examples are available.
Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc., has formed a strategic development relationship with Microsoft Corporation to provide professional 3D art tools for modeling and animation for the Xbox video game system. Through this agreement, SOFTIMAGE|XSI animation software and SOFTIMAGE|RTK character middleware will support the creation of Xbox-specific content. "The stunning graphics performance of Xbox is powered by the NVIDIA graphics processing unit (Xbox GPU).
NewTek Inc. announced the release of LightWave [ 6.5]b, a maintenance upgrade that enhances the speed and stability of LightWave [ 6.5 ], and also includes new features and functionality.
Northern Lights Productions and Arete Entertainment announced the release of Arete's award-winning Psunami version 2.0 for Electric Image's Universe. Psunami is a hybrid plug-in/shader that allows users to create photo-realistic oceans and skies. "It's fun to watch people do a double-take when they see a Psunami animation. They can't quite tell that it's not real and that's the goal," said Blair Burtan, founder of Northern Lights.
RE:Vision Effects Inc. has released ReelSmart Twixtor, a re-timing solution for Shake. The plug-in enables artists to speed up and slow down image sequences. Twixtor synthesizes unique new frames by warping and interpolating frames of the original sequence, using proprietary tracking technology that calculates motion for individual pixels.
Advanced Rendering Technology (ART) is shipping its new RenderPipe plug-in for Maya, which offers a seamless interface between RenderDrive and Maya. The plug-in provides Maya users with tightly integrated control and access to RenderDrive's powerful rendering features -- including ultra-fast ray tracing, area lights, depth of field and physically accurate materials libraries -- all from within their Maya application. The new interface, shipping with RenderDrive, supports Maya on Windows NT, IRIX, Linux and Mac OSX, when Maya for the Mac is available.
Adobe announced at NAB the upcoming availability of a plug-in that will optimize Photoshop software for use with the Intel Pentium 4 processor. The new plug-in takes advantage of Intel's latest processor technology and reaffirms Adobe's commitment to providing outstanding performance on the latest technology platforms. Photoshop's software Pentium 4 processor plug-in is expected to be available in May, with no charge to all Photoshop users. Graphic artists who use Photoshop on Intel machines will directly benefit from the Pentium 4 processor's high performance and 144 new instructions.
On April 23, 2001, at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Alias|Wavefront announced Maya 4, the sixth major release of its professional 3D animation and visual effects software. This major new release features enhancements and optimizations that will improve the products overall performance and efficiency, particularly in the areas of rendering, character animation, brush and paint tools and games related functionality.
On April 23, 2001, at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Softimage demonstrated version 1.5 of its SOFTIMAGE|XSI software and hinted that a new release would be ready for SIGGRAPH in July. "I can't say much more," program manager Michael Smith commented, "but this next release will be big." Softimage introduced its "INNOVATE::CREATE::COLLABORATE" tagline and displayed the power of XSI with images of Manta, a 3D character created in XSI.
On April 23, 2001, Apple announced the immediate availability of QuickTime 5 and the upcoming availability of QuickTime Streaming Server 3 at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas. In addition, Apple is demonstrating a preview version of QuickTime with support for industry-standard MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 encoding and decoding. "QuickTime has been long established as the digital media standard for capturing, encoding and delivering content on the Internet," said Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing.
Macromedia, Inc. announced on April 24, 2001, the immediate availability of Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio, which will enable developers to bring 3D-enhanced Shockwave content to the Internet. The program features a new version of the Shockwave Multiuser Server, Havok physics engine for 3D game behaviors, support for Flash 5 and the ability to stream RealMedia content. 3D support in Director and Shockwave Player was jointly developed with Intel Corporation and is built on the Intel Internet 3D Graphics software.