Blue Sky Studios is using Nothing Real's Shake as the exclusive compositing software for the new animated feature ICE AGE, currently in production. According to Andrew Beddini, compositing lead and lighting technical director on ICE AGE, Shake has been in use at the company since 1999 where it was first used to composite the animated feature, TITAN AE. Beddini explained that at Blue Sky, the overall compositing process is handled by its lighting department.
Discreet, a division of Autodesk Inc., announced a variety of new products at the 2001 International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) held in Amsterdam September 14-18, 2001. Among the new products unveiled to the European community were frost 3, the latest version of Discreet's real-time 3D-broadcast graphics creation and delivery system and combustion 2, the latest version of its paint, animation and 3D-compositing software for Windows and Macintosh platforms. Both products are expected to begin shipping by end-of-year 2001.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has licensed Eyetronics' ShapeSnatcher software to experiment with what researchers call videorealistic talking humans that would be used in TV, film and games. ShapeSnatcher Suite 3.0 is an integrated software package that transforms an average slide projector and digital camera into a sophisticated 3D scanning and modeling system.
CineGroupe Interactive developers have created a PC game prototype based on the childrens tale about a wooden puppet that wants to become a live boy. PINOCCHIO 3001, a third-person puzzle game, is based on an upcoming feature-length animated movie of the same name, which is being developed by CineGroupe Inc., Castelao Productions SNA (Spain) and AnimaKids Productions (France). CineGroupe Interactive, is using NDLs NetImmerse to give the classic story of Pinocchio a futuristic facelift for young gamers.
Immersion 3D, a division of Immersion Corp, announced a 30 day trial offer of Immersion's new VirtualHand Studio software available for download at Immersion's Website, www.immersion.com/products/3d/interaction/virtualhandstudio.shtml. VirtualHand Studio is an intuitive software tool used by designers for verifying, testing and evaluating 3D digital models in real-time. This software converts data from the subtle movement of the physical hand into a graphical hand, letting the user interact with 3D objects.
Germany-based EGISYS AG is set to release its 3D Content Brokerage system later this year. It will be integrated within Curious Labs' Poser and Poser Pro Pack, and also be available as a standalone product. The database targets professional modelers, Web designers, animators, multimedia artists and hobbyists. With the Content Brokerage system, all 3D content and components developed and submitted through the system by individual artists will be available as commercial offerings or shareware to the entire 3D community.
MorphInk has announced their commercial release of MorphInk 2.0, a Web-animation authoring tool. MorphInk 2.0 enables the creation and publishing of high-resolution animations playing at high frame rates (up to 30 frames per second) without increase in file size. In addition to its own ANC animation format, MorphInk 2.0 also supports other Web formats. MorphInk animations can be converted to Flash or Animated GIF. The MorphInk 2.0 package includes a stand-alone player, a Java player and ActiveX/Plug-In Web players.
Electric Image has announced a new version of Universe 3D animation system. The software is expected to begin shipping this fall for Windows NT/2000, Macintosh/OS X and Sun Solaris platforms. The update price for the new version has not yet been announced. New features include a new constraint system, paint-on weight mapping, an advanced skinning system, previews for motion blurs and depth-of-field rendering, global illuminator lighting options and optimized OpenGL support in its Modeler.
DigiCel, Inc. has announced the release of DigiCel FlipBook Lite, a full-featured 2D animation program with all the same features, resolution and image quality of their higher-end broadcast quality products. Artists can use either a camera or the program's built-in light table feature to create their animations. The drawings are automatically positioned in a traditional style exposure sheet. While the scene plays, animators can experiment with timing changes by editing the exposure sheet, immediately updating the preview.
REALVIZ, a leading developer of image processing software solutions, has announced the preview of SceneWe@ver, an application that enables users to view 3D models in Web-based 360° panoramas. Combining technology from REALVIZ' ImageModeler and Stitcher, SceneWe@ver offers multimedia artists, Web designers and Webmasters that use Macromedia Director a complete solution to creating photo-real, 3D environments that export to Director.
Visual effects software developer eyeon Software and effects facility Frantic Films have signed a strategic agreement to provide next-generation applications for eyeon's award-winning Digital Fusion product line. Frantic Films in-house programming talent will use the highly optimized modular Digital Fusion architecture on specific production solutions, which will then be incorporated by eyeon into future product versions. "Frantic Films helps eyeon Software return to its roots.
LIPSinc has announced of the release of AniMeter, its latest facial animation application for creation of talking digital characters. The software is a metered, batch processing application that uses the pre-recorded voice to generate facial animation data, including lip-synchronization and corresponding speech gestures for 2D and 3D talking digital characters. The product gives animators great results at first pass for automated lip-synchronization, while giving production managers more control over costs on a per project basis.
Softimage Co. has announced the release of SOFTIMAGE|3D v4.0 and SOFTIMAGE|XSI 2.0. "SOFTIMAGE|3D, an industry-standard for more than 10 years, has been used extensively by more than 13,000 customers in the animation, special effects and games development industry. The product's great success is a direct result of our long history of listening and responding to our customers' needs," said Michael Stojda, managing director, Softimage.
Curious Labs, developers of 3D character and design tools Poser and Poser Pro Pack, has signed an agreement with Adobe Systems where the two companies have agreed to work together on technology, content and marketing activities for Adobe Atmosphere software and Curious Labs' avatar-creation tools. Atmosphere world builders will have an easy system for building custom avatars. Additionally, both Adobe and Curious Labs incorporate Viewpoint technology, resulting in smooth skinned, bending 3D characters from Poser Pro Pack that can be used as avatars in Atmosphere 3D worlds.
Discreet has announced combustion 2, the latest version of its award-winning paint, animation and 3D compositing software. combustion 2 will support new multi-format project capabilities, including video, HDTV, and 64-bit color, offering enhanced image quality and performance.
At QuakeCon, the world's premier multi-player gaming event, Discreet unveiled gmax, the company's licensable game development platform and free consumer game-content editor. The consumer version of gmax will be available as a free download to gamers in fall 2001 and will come with 3D modeling, animation, texturing and character building tools. Discreet previously announced that elements of gmax will be bundled with MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR 2002: PROFESSIONAL EDITION, shipping in Q3 this year.
Exluna, a new start-up dedicated to developing affordable 3D tools, is releasing Entropy, an advanced 3D rendering product. Entropy is the first offering of Exluna's "Look Development" tools and technologies, which allow digital artists to manipulate the appearance of 3D objects, using shading, lighting, painting and rendering techniques. Entropy will be unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2001 in Los Angeles on August 14-16, along with a first look at Exluna's bridge product for Discreet's 3ds max and 3D Studio VIZ scheduled for release this fall. Entropy will sell for US$1,500.
Side Effects Software has announced that Walt Disney Feature Animation made a significant purchase of the company's Houdini 3D animation software package. Houdini has been used in many projects at the Walt Disney Company including FANTASIA 2000, GONE IN 60 SECONDS and TARZAN. "Houdini's flexible procedural paradigm helps our artists be more creative, while maintaining an efficient production environment," said John Carey, VP of technology at Disney.
Macromedia and Discreet announced a strategic partnership that will accelerate the deployment of interactive 3D content to the Web by uniting the worlds of 3D authoring and Web design. The partnership will bundle Macromedia Director 8.5 within 3ds max. The co-marketing partnership and bundle arrangement will begin in mid-August 2001.
WildTangent has announced that their direct-to-Web exporter for 3ds max will be packaged along with the software. WildTangent's integrated solution gives artists the ability to pull animated scenes directly from 3ds max into a Web page. The encryption options allow artists to pinpoint where Web page assets can be viewed. If someone attempts to copy and paste an artist's page into a new source, they will receive a refuse to load response.
REALVIZ has announced upgrades to ImageModeler and MatchMover. The new ImageModeler will be the first to be Mac compatible. ImageModeler 3.0 feature highlights include a newly designed user interface and contextual menus allowing for improved calibration workflow and easier camera navigation. ImageModeler is compatible with all major 3D animation packages, including Maya, Lightwave 3D, Softimage, 3D Studio Max, and Cinema 4D.
Curious Labs, Inc. has announced that their Poser and Poser Pro Pack will be supported within the Cinema 4D and PiXELS 3D applications. The Cinema 4D plug-in will be available for download at no charge to Pro Pack customers from the Curious Labs Website and will enable Pro Pack users to integrate and render their animated Poser scenes directly in Cinema 4D. The PiXELS 3D plug-in will offer similar functionality. Distribution details will be announced once they have been formalized.
Pinnacle Systems has shipped Commotion Pro 4, the company's integrated paint, composite and special effects software. Commotion Pro 4 offers speed gains of 30% in compositing and 200% in painting. New grouping and browsing controls provide a comprehensive solution for managing composites and working with multiple layers. Users can add mattes, color corrections or other filters and motion controls to multiple layers at once. A new timeline browser gives users an overview of the entire composite with controls for selecting, moving and deleting groups and layers.
John Edgar Park takes a look at the new Maya 4 and reveals a solid redux. It might not be all brand new...but it is definitely better.
auto.des.sys Inc. has released form.Z 3.8 which replaces form.Z 3.8g that was originally shipped in May. Although only a gamma version, the reception of version 3.8g has been like a "warm welcome home," said Alexandra Yessios, vice president of sales and marketing at auto.des.sys. form.Z is a hybrid solid and surface 3D modeler that combines polygonal with smooth parametric modeling under a single roof. It is complemented by drafting, photo-realistic rendering, Radiosity, walk through animation and advanced CAD capabilities.