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Category: Technology

Animation Headline News

Kaydara's New MOTIONBUILDER 5 Offers Next Generation Solution

With the August, 2003 release of MOTIONBUIILDER 5, Kaydara offers a next generation solution for 3D character animators with wide ranging implications in feature films, series broadcasts, TV commercials, VFX, gaming and other interactive 3D media. With a realtime photorealistic rendering engine and Kaydara's "smart" character technology (HumanIK), complex character set-ups and animation can be created in minutes instead of days, according to president Michael Besner.

Motion Headline News

Vicon Surpasses Projections with Mo-Cap Installs

Vicon reported record sales of new and upgraded motion capture systems at the close of the first half of fiscal year 2003. The impressive sales figures included new system installs at customer sites worldwide in biomechanics, medicine, film, VFX, game development, broadcast, education, engineering and government market sectors. The sales period, tallied through March 2003, represents the best six months in the U.K.-based company's history.

Headline News

Apple to Introduce 64-Bit Revolution with New PowerMac G5

In August, Apple launches the world's fastest personal computer with the Power Mac G5, featuring the first 64-bit desktop processor and the industry's initial 1 GHz front-side bus. Powered by the revolutionary PowerPC G5 processor designed by IBM and Apple, the Power Mac G5 is the first personal computer to utilize 64-bit processing technology for unprecedented memory expansion (up to 8GB) and advanced 64-bit computation, while running existing 32-bit applications natively.

Media Headline News

Discreet and 21st Century Media to Service Apple Developers Conference

21st Century Media will supply the video encoding services for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held June 23-27, 2003 in San Francisco, relying on Discreet cleaner 6 software to encode the 180 conference sessions. The WWDC sessions will be streamed in QuickTime MPEG-4 format from the Apple Developer Connection Television site, and will also be made available in a DVD-ROM box set.

Headline News

Rig Humans, Animals and Creatures with Anzovin Maya Plug-in

Anzovin Studio has introduced The Setup Machine for Maya 5.0, a character rigging plug-in fully compatible with the latest version of Alias|Wavefront's Maya animation environment. The Setup Machine for Maya 5.0 is downloadable for $149. Site licenses are available. The Setup Machine for Maya can be ordered from

Game Headline News

Discreet and Criterion Unite to Target Gaming Market

Discreet has teamed up with Criterion Software to deliver new solutions specifically aimed at improving the game development pipeline between Discreet's 3ds max and Criterion's RenderWare software.

Both companies will collaborate on integrating the 3D content creation process with "on-target viewing" capabilities, allowing game developers to preview content on multiple game console platforms. Artists and developers should benefit from improved efficiencies in the development pipeline for console and mobile games.

Headline News

Macromedia Authorware 7 Now Available

Macromedia has launched Macromedia Authorware 7, the dedicated solution for creating highly interactive rich media e-learning content. Macromedia Authorware 7 enables e-learning developers to import Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, play back content on Mac OS X, use industry standard JavaScript scripting and easily integrate content with learning management systems. Macromedia Authorware 7 is available for immediate download from the Macromedia Online Store at

Effects Headline News

New Pricing for RenderMan Pro Server

RenderMan Pro Server, a new software package featuring an upgraded version of Pixar Animation Studios' RenderMan 3D rendering software (version 11.5), will be released in July, 2003 and repriced at $3,500. The new release showcases increased rendering performance indicative of the studio's recent work with FINDING NEMO. Complex scenes using subtle lighting effects should see significant gains, and a new rendering mode boosts throughput by automatically harnessing the full power of modern multi-processor systems.

Pixar's RenderMan Pro Server Components:

Final Headline News

Apple to Release Final Cut Pro 4 on June 14

Final Cut Pro 4, the next generation of Apple's Emmy award-winning editing software, will go on sale June 14, 2003 at 4:00 pm at participating Apple stores ( The suggested price is $999. Registered Final Cut Pro users can upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 for $399.

Toon Headline News

New Strata 3Dpro Allows Better Toon Rendering

Utah-based Strata once again makes it easier for designers, illustrators and animators to create high quality content with Strata 3Dpro3.8, which runs on Windows 98, Me and XP as well as Apple's OSX.

New features include:_ Photon light refraction and reflection_ Stochastic sampling for enhanced realism in Raydiosity?_ Toon rendering for quick, high quality cartoon images_ Enhanced deform for modeling and animation effects_ Jiggle enhancements for more realistic motion_ Power user features for streamlined workflow

Dreamworks Headline News

DreamWorks to Render Sharkslayer in Mental Ray

In a further coup for German software giant Mental Images, DreamWorks will utilize its Academy Award-winning mental ray rendering program on the upcoming underwater gangster comedy SHARKSLAYER, due in theaters in 2004.

A direct competitor to Pixar's heralded RenderMan, mental ray now becomes a significant part of DreamWorks' rendering pipeline for SHARKSLAYER, the first computer-animated feature produced entirely at DreamWorks Animation facility in Glendale, Calif. DreamWorks began utilizing mental ray as part of its production process following rigorous tests in 2002.

Effects Headline News

Houdini Conjures Up Tornadoes and BAMFs for X2

Rhythm & Hues and Cinesite Hollywood used Side Effects Software's Houdini to create effects in the summer blockbuster X2: X-MEN UNITED. For example, Rhythm & Hues used Houdini and Houdini Mantra to animate and render chunks of snow and tree debris flying around the X-Jet in a scene where the plane flies through the woods. In addition, Rhythm & Hues artists were able to control water sources and turbulent current effects as well as the falling shards of shattered glass. For the X-Jet, they added engine thrusts, heat distortion and dust.

Headline News

Top 5 Game Firms Using Bionatics' natFX

A look at the recent E3 conference shows that Bionatics' natFX software is being used with 3ds max or Maya by five of the top gaming firms: Ubisoft, Lucas Arts, Eidos, Electronic Arts and Atari. The one-year-old plant modeler has been used on such games as RAVENSHIELD, RAINBOWSIX 3, DEUS EX II, MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN AND RTX: REDROCK 2. Bionatics announced that 22 more games will utilize the software within the next year.

Digital Headline News

Digital Video to Unveil New Paperless Software at MIFA

As a companion to its popular 2D animation software, Toonz, utilized on the Oscar-winning SPIRITED AWAY, Digital Video premieres its new paperless software, TAB, at MIFA 2003. More suited to animation than graphic design, TAB is intended to streamline computer-based cartoon production with speed and power.

Studio Headline News

Anark Announces Anark Studio 2

Anark Corp. unveils Anark Studio 2, the newest version of the company's multimedia authoring software. Anark Studio 2 features several product enhancements, including an upgraded timeline includes scalability, filters and a redesigned inspector palette. With the addition of Anark Player 2 and Anark Client 2, users can create Macintosh OSX files, allowing them delivery to both the Mac and PC. The update also features a screensaver export option for the creation of standalone, interactive 3D screensavers. In addition, the projector export allows for the production of standalone CD-ROM/DVD-ROMs.

Software Headline News

Wildform Releases WILD FX 3.0

Wildform, creators of video and animation software, have released Wild fx 3.0, a major upgrade to its Flash text animation software, previously sold under the name SWfX. The new version has more than 100 new effects, including 45 that are infinitely customizable. These custom effects can also be used as templates to create new effects, which can be saved and added to the Wild fx library. All the effects can be moved, deleted and organized in a drag and drop folder tree.

Effects Headline News

Particleillusion Gets Upgrade

Particle effects software producer wondertouch has announced the release of particleillusion 3.0, a major upgrade and expansion of the company's cornerstone 2D, sprite-based application. Animators who haven't used particleillusion yet have certainly seen the results it's facilitated, in many features such as BEHIND ENEMY LINES, DREAMCATCHER, HART'S WAR, GHOST SHIP, THE CORE AND SWORDFISH, as well as in TV shows including STAR TREK VOYAGER and THAT 70'S SHOW, and in numerous commercials.

Design Headline News

Discreet Offers Particle Flow Tool for 3ds max Subscribers

Discreet has made available a new Particle Flow Extension software for 3ds max customers registered under the Discreet Subscription Program, a component of the Autodesk Subscription Program. Discreet subscribers can use the new tool integrated into 3ds max software to create realistic fountains, fog, snow, splashes, contrails, explosions and other environmental effects. Along with standard maintenance downloads, subscriber program members receive valuable software "extensions," online learning tools, and specialized educational material.

Software Headline News

Discreet Talks Convergence Of Mobile Games And Hollywood At E3

Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc. will be at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 1416, 2003 to showcase its 3D animation, modeling, character design, rendering and game modification software and integrated partner software demonstrations. Discreet will also share educational "how to" sessions in its private suite, regarding rapid game development for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, and mobile games, the focus of the convention this year. The mobile games burgeoning market is predicted to reach more than $2 billion by 2004 and $7 billion by 2008 (Strategy Analytics, Inc. 2003 report). Discreet will also illustrate how its software is an effective bridge between Hollywood visual effects for motion pictures and the video game market, with market share in both industries.