EDS PLM Solutions has announced a product that enables interoperability between the Unigraphics software from the former Unigraphics Solutions and the I-DEAS software from the former SDRC. With the new product, a Unigraphics user can directly access the I-DEAS Team Data Manager repository to open an I-DEAS part file and add that part to a Unigraphics assembly. The Unigraphics user can then add geometry and perform functions on that part, such as CAM. If the original file is modified in I-DEAS, the Unigraphics user is notified and the modifications can be automatically incorporated into the Unigraphics assembly and CAM model. The same scenario works if I-DEAS is used to access a Unigraphics file. Price not available.
EDS PLM Solutions; www.eds.com
Win Highlighting the list of new features in V8.1 of Noran Engineering's NE/Nastran finite element analysis software is a fast iterative solver for linear and nonlinear static solutions. According to the company, the new PCGLSS solver is 10-20 times faster than typical sparse direct solvers, yet it requires less memory and can handle models over 2 million degrees of freedom using any combination of element types. V8.1 also features improvements to nonlinear static and dynamic solutions, including a new surface-to-surface contact element that is fully integrated into FEMAP v8.1 and allows contact between two arbitrary surfaces. In addition, it includes a new line search algorithm combined with iteration acceleration and damping that reduces nonlinear analysis times up to 25% while stabilizing nonlinear solutions that previously would not solve. NE/Nastran V8.1 is priced from $890 to $4990 per license, depending on configuration.
Noran Engineering; www.noraneng.com
Real-time performance tester
Win Lumeo Software's Lumeo Motion 2.0 enables CAD engineers in the heavy-equipment and automotive industries to utilize 3D CAD models to test product behavior early in the development process, reducing time and costs. According to the company, users need not define motion paths and maneuvers prior to performance testing. Instead, users can interactively operate the product they're testing, just like they would a real prototype. In addition, the software's free simulation player, Lumeo Scenario, facilitates the collaboration of multiple groups within an organization. Using Lumeo Scenario, users can run a model on any desktop PC, without CAD software, enabling marketing, suppliers, customers, and other team members to participate in the product development process and enabling non-engineers to provide feedback. Pricing begins at $3995 per seat.
Lumeo Software; www.lumeo.com
Mechanical drawing software
Win Designed for drafters, mechanical engineers, and manufacturing engineers, Cadkey GraphX Version 20 is built on what Cadkey calls a new "contemporary" architecture. This architecture reportedly enables users to create drawings from scratch, or generate drawings from solid, surface, and polygon models that are imported from other systems, including ACIS and Parasolid models. Key among the software's additional features are its use of "intelligent" dimensioning on native or imported drawings to help prevent manufacturing errors by prohibiting the creation of dimensions that don't match geometry or aren't properly constructed. Referenced geometry can be stored in separate files or grouped in one file for data organization. Other key features include a unified graphics system based on the HOOPS Application Framework, and the software's use of ACIS components, enabling the generation of sectional views and the healing of surfaces into solid models. Cadkey GraphX is priced at $1800 and includes a one-year annual update contract.
Cadkey Corp., www.cadkey.com
Win | UNIX Building on its meshing and solver technology, CFX's new CFX-5.5 features a range of new models, meshing tools, and a new post-processor. New models include a multiple frame-of-reference capability, new turbulence models, combustion and radiation models, Eulerian two-phase modeling extensions, and a free surface flow capability. The automated unstructured meshing capability is improved with such technologies as 3D proximity sensing and greater tolerance to certain CAD problems. And the new post-processor features a user-friendly GUI, visualization tools, and a programmable, quantitative post-processing feature that automates standard calculations, such as efficiency of a mechanical design or yield of a chemical process. Price not available.
Win | MAC Working as a stand-alone application or as a plug-in for image-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop, DreamSuite Series One from Auto FX Software is a visual enhancement program designed to work with images, type, and graphics. The application features 18 different effects, including 35mm Frame, Chisel, Crackle, Ripple, Putty, and Hot Stamp, all of which are resolution-independent. Users can add an unlimited number of multiple light sources and shadows, each with independent controls, as well as save presets for capturing the look of an effect for later use. The software sells for $299.
Auto FX Software; www.autofx.com
New AE filters
Win | MAC Digital Anarchy's second plug-in package for Adobe After Effects, Geomancy uses a particle system coupled to a grid system to create geometric shapes and lines. The particle system, called GridSquares, generates the shapes, while the grid system, called GridLines, is used to control how they look and behave. A third filter, HairLines, is designed to create lines that flow like hair or water. The filter set sells for $99.
Digital Anarchy; www.digitalanarchy.com
Production management solution
Win | MAC | LINUX Targeted at interactive entertainment, animation, and new-media industries, NxN Software's alienbrain 5.0 boasts advanced project tracking and asset management tools, 35 additional productivity features, scalability to 100+ users, and new clients for Macintosh and Linux. Highlights include high-speed thumbnails and visual navigation through file and folder coloring; advanced searches, such as searching for files with a specific sign-off status or searching by due dates or keywords; instant messaging; and the ability to generate management reports from all list views as well as to export and re-use project data in other programs. Licenses for a 10-user project start at $9900.
NxN Software AG; www.nxn-software.com
MODELING AND ANIMATION
Win Caligari Corp.'s aniPak is a collection of 11 third-party animation plug-ins and libraries for trueSpace5 users. The three new plug-ins in the collection are DreaMotion PoseMixer, which enables users to combine individual poses of characters into a seamless animation; IK-Anchor 1.0, which keeps the constrained side or edge of a bounding box locked in position; and SkeleTool 1.0, which provides FK control for IK skeletons. Among the remaining eight plug-ins are DynaWave, which allows conversion of any subdivided surface into a water element; Marvellous Motions, a library of 31 motion-capture movements; and SpaceTime Morph 2, which allows multiple deformations made from a common object to be morphed, creating a blended vertex animation of a mesh. aniPak is priced at $199.
Caligari Corp.; www.caligari.com
Optimized object models
Win With MultiGen-Paradigm's MultiGen Creator 2.5, users can generate optimized object models, high-fidelity terrain, and synthetic environments for use in real-time visual simulation applications. Highlighting the new features in MultiGen Creator 2.5 is the integration of the Texture Editor and the Custom Tool Palette found in previous MultiGen releases. Meanwhile, the company also announced Creator Model Studio. Designed for use with MultiGen Creator 2.5, this new tool enables users to perform more organized modeling practices by supporting the full modeling lifecycle, including specification, creation, and verification. Creator Model Studio also provides a runtime visual validation tool to exercise the models in a Vega preview application. Price not available.
Animo 4.0 for Mac OS X
MAC Cambridge Animation Systems' Animo 4.0 cartoon animation system is now available to artists running Mac OS X machines. With this version, users can output to files, movies, digital disk recorders, or Macromedia Flash (.swf), and can output in high resolution for TV, HDTV, or film. Additional features include tools to scan painted backgrounds and overlays, color correction tools, and a graph-based compositor with special-effects functionality. Animo 4.0 for Max OS X starts at $5530.
Cambridge Animation Systems; www.cambridgeanimation.com
3D CAD models optimized
Win With Internet Model Optimizer (IMO) V1.5 from ParallelGraphics, users can optimize complex 3D models created with CAD/CAM/CAE and other design systems for use on the Internet. Using proprietary algorithms, IMO removes the polygons that contribute least to the visual impression of the models, while allowing for the optimal balance between rendering speed and visual quality. New features include support for the transformation hierarchy of a model's parts; support for inlining, which allows access to models whose parts are located in separate files; and increased support for editing and previewing materials. A license is $1499.95.
Strata rich media edition
Win | MAC Strata is now shipping version 3.6 of its Strata 3Dpro software. This Rich Media Edition version of the company's 3D design application enables users to render 3D images and animations and export them as Macromedia Flash files and in other vector formats for the Web or for print. According to Strata, users can produce images in both pixels (jpeg and video) and vector formats that are small enough to stream over modem connections. Strata 3Dpro 3.6 sells for $895.