Scott Jenkins reviews Combustion 2 and checks in with a production in progress to see how Combustion stacks up against key competitor After Effects.
Belmont, California-based LifeMode Interactive, Inc. has released LifeStudio: Head, a complete facial animation solution for interactive game and multimedia developers. Created using LifeMode's Macro-Muscle proprietary technology, LifeStudio: Head Tools allows artists to quickly create a wide variety of characters, complete with photo-realistic textures, real-time animation and lip-syncing.
LIPSinc, a provider of voice-to-animation speech technology for talking digital characters, has launched LIPSinc Impersonator, a software tool created specifically for game developers. LIPSinc automatically creates animation data files for talking characters by using an audio file as the only input. These data files are then interpreted by the game engine at runtime and played in synch with the audio for more convincing game characters with realistic facial animation.
SplutterFish, creator of the Brazil Rendering System, has announced Joe Alter's Shave and a Haircut for 3ds Max, and representatives from SplutterFish will be giving a demonstration of both Brazil and Shave at the Discreet booth (Booth #8062) at SIGGRAPH 2002, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, July 23-25, 2002. Shave and a Haircut is a hair grooming, dynamics and rendering system that creates photo-realistic hair for characters, animals and people, as well as creating leaves, grass and other organic systems. Shave and a Haircut for 3ds Max is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2002.
Animation software developer face2face animation will be at SIGGRAPH to demonstrate its new streaming MPEG-4 animation player, the face2face Player. The face2face Player enables animators to output streaming facial characters over any wireless network or device, including laptops, digital cell phones and wireless PDAs. face2face has announced that its demonstration of the Player will be on a laptop with a wireless cellular modem, streaming high-quality facial animation with perfect lip sync. "This is the era of everyday animation.
Blender, the free 3D software package that had been available through Dutch company Not a Number (NaN) until March 2002, when the company declared bankruptcy, is now making a comeback, thanks to Blender creator Ton Roosendaal. Roosendaal founded NaN in June of 1998, and the company offered the Blender Creator animation software free through their Website. Since the demise of NaN, Roosendaal has been working with shareholders to come up with a possible way to make Blender available to the 3D community as an open source development project.
Venice, California-based Digital Domain, the visual effects company responsible for digital effects in recent blockbusters like THE TIME MACHINE, LORD OF THE RINGS, X-MEN and ARMAGEDDON, will announce a new software venture at SIGGRAPH 2002. According to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Digital Domain will be offering a public version of its proprietary compositing tool, Nuke. Digital Domain hopes to compete with Shake, the popular compositing software owned by Apple.
Kaydara Inc. will be providing free training sessions at SIGGRAPH 2002 for their real-time animation software package Motionbuilder. The training sessions can accommodate up to 30 people at a time, and will be held every hour on the hour, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Monday, July 22, 2002 at the Bonham Exchange, located at 411 Bonham Street in San Antonio. At the end of the day, Kaydara will unveil the most recent version of the software, Motionbuilder 4.0. For more information about Kaydara, including a SIGGRAPH calendar of events, visit www.kaydara.com.
Bionatics has released its plant simulation and animation plug-in natFX v1.5 for 3ds max, and will present it at SIGGRAPH 2002 (Booth #20106). natFX v1.5 now supports 3ds max's native wind features, and offers increased control and quality of textures with new Texture Manager function, adjustable level of detail of both 3D and 2D elements and greater export flexibility. natFX v1.5 for 3ds max is available with a minimum package of 10 plants and will be offered at a retail price of US$990. For more information visit www.bionatics.com.
Discreet will be unveiling 3ds max 5, the latest release of its professional 3D animation and modeling software, at SIGGRAPH 2002 (Booth #8062). Discreet has added key new features in 3ds max 5 software including enhanced global illumination methods for subtle and accurate lighting; soft and hard-body dynamics software; and new texture mapping capabilities to marry image data to mesh models accurately.
Side Effects Software is making its animation software more accessible to users with the launch of the Houdini Apprentice Program. This program includes the Houdini Apprentice Edition, a non-commercial version of the latest Houdini family of products. Apprentice users can run the complete family of products which includes Houdini Master, a full-featured animation and effects package, Houdini Select, an entry-level 3D module, and Houdini Halo, a stand-alone compositor.
Pixologic, Inc. will be unveiling its ZBrush version 1.5 at the upcoming MacWorld Expo 2002 (July 17-19, 2002, Booth #1446) and SIGGRAPH (July 23-25, 2002, Booth #5048). ZBrush is a 2D and 3D image creation and processing application, powered by a real-time rendering engine. Based on proprietary "Pixol" rendering technology, ZBrush enables artists to paint with color, material, texture and depth as well as manipulate the canvas and sculpt and texture 3D models.
3D product developer Immersion Corporation has announced its MicroScribe Connections for Maya software, a new digitizing plug-in designed to streamline workflow and increase design performance and productivity, will be available beginning July 22, 2002. MicroScribe Connections for Maya is the first in a new series of plug-ins from Immersion. According to the company, these plug-ins will allow animators, game developers and industrial designers who use both Maya and MicroScribe to digitize and render 3D models, animated characters and digital content easily.
pmG Worldwide LLC has spent the last two years refining and redesigning its LightWave plug-in project: messiah 1.5 into messiah:animate, its new stand alone animation software. This new version has the ability to run alone or connect to 3D Studio Max, Maya and LightWave. messiah: animate has added new technologies and enhancements including messiah:compose, pmG's non-linear animation editor.
Phoenix Tools and AretéEntertainment recently released Psunami 1.0, a plug-in forSoftimage|XSI v. 2.X that allows photo-realistic animation of wavesurfaces including all the tools for simulating and visualizing avariety of water surfaces. The company is currently in an advanceddevelopment phase of its volumetric cloud/smoke effect Psyclone forSoftimage|XSI. By adding Psyclone to Softimage|XSI, the user cancreate evolving cloud/smoke simulations, including fly-through and
Digital content creation systems provider BOXXTechnologies is now featuring the AMD Athlon MP processor 2100+ withQuantiSpeed architecture and Smart MP technology in its 3DBOXX R1series of workstations and the RenderBOXX R series of renderingsystems. Available in dual processor configurations running MicrosoftWindows 2000 or Linux, the 3DBOXX R series includes enhanced systemarchitecture and accelerated graphics capabilities, and utilizes thenew NVIDIA Quadro4 XGL graphics adapters with NVIEW multidisplay
A Web-slinging superhero, fire-breathing dragons and bite-sized chocolate with a hard candy shell.What do these things have in common? They were all created usingHoudini 3D animation software. Side Effects Software, developer ofthe Houdini family of software, will be presenting visual effectsartists from Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPIDER-MAN), Walt DisneyFeature Animation (REIGN OF FIRE) and Rhinoceros Visual Effects(commercials for M&M's) at its annual Houdini meeting in San Antonio,
HP is once againproviding technology to another big animation studio. After recentlyannouncing a three-year, multi-million dollar technology strategicalliance with DreamWorks, designed to "revolutionize animationproduction," HP has announced that Walt Disney Feature Animation hasselected HP's Linux-based workstations and servers as components forits next-generation digital animation production pipeline. WaltDisney Feature Animation and HP have been working together for the
3D and multimedia software company Electric Rain, Inc. hasannounced a software bundling program allowing people who purchaseits 3D-vector graphics tool, Swift 3D, to have the option ofreceiving a discount on Macromedia Flash MX. Electric Rain Swift 3Dis a 3D application for creating low-bandwidth vector animations foruse with Macromedia Flash. Using Electric Rain's proprietary RAViX IIvector rendering engine, Swift 3D files are exported in the SWF fileformat, which then import seamlessly into Macromedia Flash. "Swift 3D
In his big light saberduel, Yoda battles Count Dooku like a live-action character, yet he'sall 3D. So how'd they do it? Well, Softimage Co.'s characteranimation and effects software, SOFTIMAGE|3D, was used by ILM tocreate many of STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES" stunningvisual effects and characters, including Yoda, the Kaminoans andDexter Jettster. SOFTIMAGE|3D was used to animate over 80 creaturesand give the CG figures believable expressions and movements. "We
DigiCel, Inc. has releaseda new version of its 2D animation software FlipBook, with improvedsupport for digital video capture and stop motion animation. Version3.5 features widespread support for digital video capture viaFireWire. A digital video camera and a FireWire port is all usersneed to capture high quality digital images directly into FlipBookfor pencil test and stop motion animation. DigiCel FlipBook also hasthe ability to rotate images 180 degrees during the capture process
Discreet's plasma, a professional animation software for creating 3D content for the Web, is now available. plasma software allows animators to work directly in a 3D space to create high-quality visuals for Web services such as instant messaging, greeting cards and interactive games. plasma features integration with Discreet's 3D and Macromedia's authoring tools including Macromedia Flash MX and Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio, making the creation of 2D and 3D Web elements easier. plasma is available now for a suggested retail price of US$650.
The recent release of Macromedia Flash MX contained new features and templates for creating content for Internet-enabled devices. Macromedia has now released its Flash Player 5 for the Nokia 9200 Communicator Series. The Nokia Communicator Series handsets are integrated devices that combine a wireless telephone with a high-resolution color display and multimedia capabilities.
Once again, a popular 3D-animation software is being made available at a reduced price. In April 2002, Alias|Wavefront discounted its Maya 3D animation software packages and now Softimage Co. has halved the price of its 3D character animation and effects software. SOFTIMAGE|3D v. 4.0 is now available for US$1,495. According to Softimage, this action is in response to the increasing demand for animation and effects content for use in areas such as graphic and architectural design, manufacturing, government/military, scientific/medical and the location-based entertainment markets.
Animation Toolworks has introduced its new MultiReel option to the LunchBox Sync, the electronic audio-video device for animators. The MultiReel option offers at least 18 separate storage areas, or reels, with each one giving the user as much storage as the standard LunchBox Sync. In addition, each reel is protected from editing any other reels, making MultiReel a good option for multiple shots or scenes, demo reels or separate animation projects. The LunchBox Sync with the MultiReel option can store over 120 minutes of video and over 1000 minutes of audio.