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Category: Technology

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

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.

Headline News Adobe Livemotion 2.0 For Web Designers And Developers

Adobe Systems LiveMotion 2.0 software, the company's professional Web graphics and Flash (SWF) animation tool is now available. It debuted at the MacWorld Conference earlier this year. The new version provides expanded content creation features, improved integration with Adobe's Web and dynamic media tools, and new scripting capabilities.

Headline News Di-O-Matic Puts A New Face On Character Modeling

Di-O-Matic's new facial modeling and animation tool Facial Studio for 3ds max 4.x is now shipping. With a regular price tag of US$699, Facial Studio is now available at the introductory price of US$499 until March 25, 2002. Facial Studio is a suite of plug-ins featuring more than 500 controls over the head creation process, allowing the user to deform anything from the facial features to the overall head shape including teeth and tongue, as well as controlling the shading, textures, wrinkles, deformations and muscle animation.

Headline News NewTek Ships Video Toaster 2

NewTeks Video Toaster 2, a Windows 2000-based live video production environment, is now available. The Video Toaster 2 includes a real-time nonlinear editor, live Web streaming, character generation, 2D painting and compositing, 3D animation and effects, real-time keying, video and audio processing, and a full range of production tools in an integrated package. It retails for US$2995 with a switcher expansion module available for US$1995. The upgrade from Video Toaster 1 is US$495. For more information about the Video Toaster 2s capabilities, visit

Headline News Pulse Animation Gets In Sync

San Francisco-based interactive 3D media provider Pulse has incorporated the ProductionSync and InstantSync technologies from Automatic Sync Technologies into their Pulse Animation Studio v. 5.03. ProductionSync is used in the Pulse Creator module as an off-line animation tool. Speech is converted into animation as a production step that an animator can then enhance with expressions, gestures and behaviors. InstantSync is used in the Pulse Player to animate a face in real-time in response to the speech, which can either be downloaded or streamed to the player via streaming audio.

Headline News Alias|Wavefront Makes 3D Computer Graphics Available To All

Alias|Wavefront has made a personal-use, non-commercial version of its award-winning Maya software available free to users of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Maya Personal Learning Edition 3D animation software can now be downloaded from the Alias|Wavefront Website. Maya Personal Learning Edition gives 3D graphics and animation students, current industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics an opportunity to explore Maya Complete software in a non-commercial capacity.

Headline News Digicel Releases Flipbook Pro

Digital ink & paint software company DigiCel, Inc. has just released FlipBook Pro, the latest enhancement to their 2D animation software. FlipBook Pro features 100 levels, including the background to expand the power of FlipBook and its uses. Other features include linear, multiplane camera moves with variable ease-in and ease-out to let you set the acceleration rate out of a key frame and the deceleration rate into a key frame. Plus high-resolution processing and soft-edged shadows and highlights.

Headline News Softimage Expands Softimage|XSI Family

New models are now available for Softimage Co.s flagship SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.2.0 nonlinear animation (NLA) system. The expanded product line introduces new Workstation and Enterprise variants to the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Essentials and Advanced packages, with the new models replacing all earlier versions. The Workstation and Enterprise options introduce both a new, lower-priced entry point for smaller production operations, and more flexible and extensible networked models to meet the needs of operations with distributed workflows and/or large-scale 3D pipelines.

Headline News 3DS Max Animates Super Bowl Opener

The animated opening sequence for the February 3, 2002 broadcast of Super Bowl XXXVI on FOX Sports was created in Discreets 3ds max 4. The FOX network set the tone for the big game with a CG flythrough of a futuristic, stylized New Orleans scene and ended with a visualization of the Lombardi trophy during the beginning moments of the telecast. 3ds max software was used to model and animate low-polygonal CG characters creating a bustling atmosphere within the Mardi Gras setting.

Headline News Toon Boom For Mac OS X

Toon Boom Technologies Toon Boom Studio version 1.1 optimized for Mac OS X version 10.1 is now available. Developed by the Software MacKiev Company, this upgrade release includes new features, including export to iMovie projects, as well as a number of Aqua user interface improvements. New output options open up at least two new opportunities for iMovie users. Users can now use iMovie to add titles, transitions or effects to animated movies or enhance live-action footage with animated clips.

Headline News EA Using Alienbrains Worldwide

Digital Production Management (DPM) systems provider NXN Software and game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) have entered into an agreement where EA will use the NXN alienbrain DPM software to manage their game development projects at studios worldwide. Electronic Arts tested NXN alienbrain during the development of the game NHL 2002 and has implemented it completely for the production management of NHL 2003, as well as other titles. EAs worldwide implementation of NXN alienbrain will provide development management continuity throughout EAs internal studios.