On April 1, Testarossa ToolsInMotion, a developer of human motion editing applications for the 3D content creation market, announced the release of VROOM FOR MAYA, a motion-capture plug-in library for Alias|Wavefront's MAYA 3D animation software. The library includes plug-ins that let users readand write skeletal animation in the Acclaim ASF/AMC, Biovision BVH,and Motion Analysis HTR mocap file formats, as well as import themotion of a mocap skeleton into a MAYA skeleton regardless of thereference pose and skeletal structure. The library also provides
Electric Image announced that itsUniverse 3.0 3D modeling, animation and rendering system is shippingfor Windows NT/2000. Universe is an upgrade and a replacement for theaward-winning ElectricImage Animation System (EIAS), which has beenavailable on the Macintosh for over ten years. Universe 3.0 isavailable for $1,995. "There has been a consistent demand for aWindows version of Electric Image software for several years now, andwe are very proud to release Universe 3.0 in this market," said
Digimation has started shipping Cluster-O-Matic, a new clustering and animation plug-in for Discreet's 3ds max 3 and 4. Developed by Di-O-Matic, Inc., Cluster-O-Matic is designed for clustering collections of vertices together and linking them to other objects directly within 3ds max scenes. According to the company, Cluster-O-Matic can be used for modeling and animation, and it is especially suited for doing facial animation and touching up 3D models. "Cluster-O-Matic is a very handy tool! This plug-in gives you so much more control over your models than anything 3ds max provides!
Dosch Design has just released several new products, including version 2.0 products from its state-of-the-art Dosch Textures line. Rust & Metal, Stone & Concrete, Skin, Industrial Design, Broadcast-Design and Special-Effects now include many additional textures, plus a large number of textures which are provided in even higher resolution than in the previous version. The products have been expanded for a wider variety of contents and will soon be supported by the new Dosch Design InfoBase, which will be established on the Dosch Design Website.
Apple introduced artists to the new version of their award-winning video editing software, Final Cut Pro, late last week. Final Cut Pro 2 is an all-in-one editing solution, featuring real-time editing, breakthrough Power Mac G4 performance and a scalable architecture that allows users to output content into any video format. With Final Cut Pro 2, real-time editing and compositing functions are integrated into the video production workflow seamlessly.
Visual effects powerhouse Tippett Studio has recently purchased 10 Silicon Graphics Octane2 visual workstations, 25 Silicon Graphics 230 and Silicon Graphics 330 Windows NT OS-based and Linux OS-based workstations, an SGI 2100 visualization server and a 2TB SGI TP9400 storage system. The company has been using SGI systems since opening its doors in 1983, and continues to choose Silicon Graphics machines to realize their award-winning work.
Numerical Design Ltd. (NDL) has announced NetImmerse 4.0, the latest version of its 3D game-development toolkit. The new version will boast support for Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube, a new tool for previewing keyframe animations, new rendering capabilities and performance increases for the core product and free plug-ins. Already two titles for the much hyped Microsoft Xbox are in development: ODDWORLD INHABITANT'S MUNCH'S ODDYSEE and an as yet unannounced title from Totally Games.
U.K.-based Criterion Software recently announced its new RenderWare Platform - a middleware solution offering game studios a tightly integrated game development framework incorporating 2D/3D graphics, audio and physics modules. The RenderWare Platform builds on Criterion's highly successful 2D/3D graphics toolkit RenderWare3 to provide developers with a powerful, truly multi-platform development environment. Built on an open and flexible architecture, the RenderWare Platform initially incorporates 2D/3D graphics, audio and physics modules, with additional modules to follow.
Ascension Technology Corporation will preview their new infrared active-optical motion-capture system, the Ascension ReActor, at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose this month. The ReActor delivers extremely smooth, real-time optical data for a broad range of animation applications at less than half the price of existing systems. ReActor captures the motions of an untethered performer free to spin, kick or jump in a capture area delineated by modular snap-together bars.
pmG (project:messiah Group), the producers of the award-winning project:messiah 3D animation package, have recently revamped the company Website. The re-launch expands greatly on the previous version, adding strong news and informational components, a library of 25 easy to download MPEG-1 sample animations and promotes and sells online the company's full line of products, including project:messiah 1.5, the messiah:studio suite, messiah:animate and messiah:render.
Japanese software developer ExpressionTools, Inc. has released ExpressionToolsShade Professional R4/E (ETShade Pro R4/E), an English language version of their high-end 3D graphics application. With a fifteen-year history behind it, Shade offers an outstanding and intuitive user interface, leveraging Bezier curve modeling and high speed/high quality rendering. In Japan, Shade has been the leading tool for professional graphics, 3D design, industrial design and architecture, with user-base numbers in excess of 200,000.
Alias|Wavefront has signed an agreement with Microsoft Corp. to become an official tools and middleware developer for the Xbox Video Game System. Xbox, Microsoft's next-generation gaming system scheduled for release this fall, is positioned to become one of the most advanced on the market. Alias|Wavefront's Maya software, with its powerful modeling and animation toolsets and its open, extensible API is strongly established in the game development market as the package of choice for top quality interactive entertainment with many of the top-selling next-generation games producers.
Over the past five years the changes in special effects technology for film and television have been monumental, causing large shifts and new issues for production companies and the software/hardware companies that service them. Bruce Manning outlines the issues and then sits down with Richard Taylor to discuss. Includes an image gallery from industry veteran Richard Taylor!
With today's new software packages becoming more and more efficient for less and less money, one can definitely do more with less. John Edgar Park discusses the different software and hardware combos that can get you on the fast track to great looking CGI work.
Exporting your animation to Flash so that it plays smoothly and soundly over the Internet is getting more complicated with every new product crowing about its 'Flash-export capability.' Mark Winstanley is here to make sense of it all for you.
Giant Studios' new animated short film FRUITS OF LABOR premiered this week in San Jose, California, and received a warm and enthusiastic response. The film features a cast of simple computer graphics characters - a shiny red apple, a man and a fly - animated in a stylized way and rendering with startling photo-realism. Rudy Poat, creative director for the project described the look as being, "something that looks like stop-motion and that fooled both the mind and the eye.
Nothing Real, the producer of popular compositing tool Shake, has announced that their new Tremor compositing system has entered into worldwide beta testing. Tremor is a front room, client-based compositing solution, engineered to handle the most demanding needs of HDTV, commercial video and broadcast production professionals. The product is built around a new, simplified and streamlined interface and incorporates the mature and production proven technology based on Shake's rendering engine. Tremor will be sold as an integrated compositing hardware/software product.
QEDSoft's QEDStream product line now natively supports the Kaydara FBX format. QEDStream users are now able to read FBX files, simplifying their production pipeline and enabling Web-content creation from the Kaydara suite of real-time 3D authoring tools. Designed to provide an authoring hub between major 3D packages, FBX provides a centralized working file format for vendors wishing to acquire, author and retarget 3D data and animation. "Using FBX and QEDStream in combination provides a superb channel for streaming both current and legacy content on the Web," said Michel Veys, COO of QEDSoft.
This week, Adobe has been teasing us with a taster of what's to come in their long-awaited upgrade to their compositing software After Effects. In order to compete with other packages on the market (namely Discreet combustion), Adobe has broken After Effects into two packages - a Standard version and a Production Bundle.
REALVIZ and Alias|Wavefront are now offering REALVIZ's award-winning ImageModeler to all new customers of Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited. ImageModeler provides computer graphics professionals with more intuitive and innovative image-based solutions to complex production challenges for the creation of graphics and visual effects for film, broadcast, game development and the Internet.
On March 6, 2001, U.K.-based Kelseus will release Version 1 of CLOTH, a new plug-in for 3D Studio MAX. CLOTH produces highly realistic animation of clothes on animated figures and objects, taking into account all of the cloth geometry that collides with another object - not just the vertices. It also boasts complete integration with Max Dynamic Effects such as the Wind and Gravity Space Warps, and it can maintain libraries of cloth materials, which can be re-used between scenes.
The Web3D Consortium has announced the Rich Media 3D (RM3D) initiative, which is developing an open standard to enable rich media content containing 3D graphics, video and audio to be sent over the Internet and used in broadcast applications. RM3D is intended to enable an emerging category of media-capable Internet and broadcast devices and appliances to receive and present advanced content optimally while simplifying the media authoring process.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America has recently installed a 16 M-Series Camera (MCam) Real-Time Vicon 8 system in their 5,000-square-foot motion-capture studio. The system, which can capture the nuances of multiple actors simultaneously, will be used in the development of games for Sony's new PlayStation 2 system. "Vicon 8 motion-capture technology is a state-of-the-art hardware and software system with no equal in the industry," stated Jason Parks, motion-capture manager, Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Alias|Wavefront is celebrating due to the fact that their award-winning 3D animation system Maya was used to create the top four selling December 2000 titles for the PlayStation 2. Research by PC Data Inc. shows Electronic Arts' MADDEN NFL 2001 leading the list of top-sellers with SSX: SNOWBOARD SUPERCROSS (EA) second, TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT (Namco) third, and NHL 2001 (EA) fourth. All of these titles were developed by companies using Maya for the creation of game graphics such as characters, environments and effects.
Screamline Rendering Services, provided by Intel's Internet Computing Services, is offering the 3D animation and visual effects community a special trial of their Web-based rendering services and project management software. Those wanting to take advantage of this free trial offer can download a copy of the JobAnalyst management tool from the Screamline Website. Then, at no cost, rendering projects can be uploaded and artists can enjoy free rendering services for the first 1000 frames of their work. Robert J.