Win With Squiggle from Insight Development Corp., architects, engineers, and designers can transform CAD-created, hard-line vector drawings into illustrations that look hand-drawn. With the new Version 4.1, users get better support for complex drawings, infinite support of varying line weights, and an improved printing engine. Also, a localization infrastructure to support multi-lingual versions has been implemented for future plans to develop Squiggle in different languages. Squiggle works with files from AutoCAD R12, R13, and R14; AutoCAD 2000 and 2002 DWG files; DWG/DXF/PLT formats; HPGL/2 plot files; and any application that supports these file formats. Price not available.
Insight Development Corp.;
Testing virtual products
Win An off-the-shelf tool that provides control engineers with a lifelike environment for testing software and hardware prototypes is now available from Lumeo Software. Lumeo Control Interface enables users to test and debug motion control software by connecting a real control system to Lumeo real-time simulations. Pricing begins at $11,995 per seat.
TrueSpace for design, engineering
Win dePak, the latest release from Caligari, brings toolkits, suites, plug-ins, libraries, and standalone programs from nine different developers to trueSpace 5 design and engineering professionals. Among the 31 tools in dePak are trueMirror, which enables integrated, real-time reflection modeling; and trueScape 2, a new version of the real-time landscape creation tool that provides additional drawing tools, filters, and fractal functions as well as added control over polygon density. The CK Modeling Suite comprises 11 plug-ins, including ClothMotion for cloth simulation and animation; Edge2Path for converting edges to paths; Fusion for fusing polygons together; and ObjRow, which facilitates the arrangement of plural objects. Meanwhile, three new path enhancement tools-PathArray, ConstantPath, and textPath-enable users to array objects along paths, evenly space keyframe divisions, and set text to flow along a chosen path. dePak sells for $199.
Win CrossPoint, a new enterprise application from Intersect Software, is designed to speed product time-to-market. Its capabilities include management of inter and intra-team commitments and deliverables, automation of management and administrative processes, and the capture of daily project transactions. CrossPoint streamlines project team communications by automating the negotiation, acceptance, and monitoring of team-to-team commitments or "contracts." Changes in contract status, for example, trigger related necessary actions, including schedule changes, resource allocations, and the identification and notification of the activities and personnel affected by the changes. Price not available.
With Oracle CADView-3D, users with a Web browser can participate in collaborative design reviews of 3D CAD models over the Web. According to Oracle, its patented streaming technology enables teams to view and mark up CAD models of any size over 56k network connections while prohibiting unauthorized distribution of intellectual property. Oracle CADView-3D is available as a stand-alone product or integrated with Oracle's Product Development Exchange. Price not available.
Waterloo Maple has released Maplets, an add-on package for its Maple 7 software. Maple 7 utilizes such technology as symbolic computation, infinite precision numerics, Web connectivity, and a 4GL language for solving mathematical problems encountered in modeling and simulation. The Java-based Maplets package enables users to create and customize their own GUI for Maple 7. Price not available.
Win Added to Corel Corp.'s product line since the acquisition of Micrografx last fall, Corel Designer 9 has been updated to facilitate the smooth integration of Designer into a technical graphics workflow alongside Corel's CorelDraw. Corel Designer 9 combines drawing, annotation, and creative tools for print and electronic output. Users can annotate drawings with associative dimension lines and callouts and create schematics and diagrams with sticky lines. Boolean operations enable users to join, fragment, slice, and contour objects, while drawing tools enable users to trim, extend, and bevel objects. Suggested retail price is $449.
Geomagic Studio enhanced
Win | SUN Faster processing of large, ordered data files for scan registration, along with support for additional scanners, highlight Version 4.1 of Raindrop Geomagic's Geomagic Studio. Geomagic Studio 4.1 now supports 3D scanners and file types that create and store point data in a grid-ordered format, known as ordered data. According to the company, preliminary tests indicate that Version 4.1 speeds processing of large ordered data by a factor of 10. The software also directly imports data from 3PI, AC, CAD/CDM, GTI, and PMJX formats, and can directly handle ordered data from Minolta Vivid 700 or 900 scanners. In addition, it features a new uniform-sampling technique for ordered data, and takes advantage of ordered data for shade points, manual registration, global registration, and merge operations. A new command to remove the shaded color view from point clouds enables users to conserve memory when working with very large data sets. Price not available.
MatchMover goes automatic
Win According to Realviz, its new MatchMover 2 Professional features a built-in automatic 3D tracker for tracking 3D camera data and motion from video and film sequences. MatchMover 2 Professional contains all the features in MatchMover 2, with the addition of automatic tracking, calibration, track cleanup, and support for matte sequences for tracking specific objects. The software exports to Alias|Wavefront's Maya, Softimage|XSI, Discreet's 3ds max, Newtek's LightWave 3D, Maxon Computer's Cinema 4D, and Discreet's Combustion. List price is $4999.
Win | LINUX The latest version of 2d3's automated tracking technology, Boujou 2, features new capabilities for tracking "extreme" material and new tools for expert intervention. For instance, special adaptive feature acquisition algorithms identify features in regions of the frame obscured by low lighting levels, poor contrast, or other shooting conditions and enable continued tracking of these image features. Meanwhile, precision intervention capabilities include new feature-location and track-editing tools that enable users to guide the processing of heavily stylized moves. Additional features include lens-distortion tools, built-in animated matte creation tools, and a context-sensitive advice system offering prompts and feedback on operational decisions. Boujou also now comes in an entry-level version, Boujou VE, which integrates with such 3D software as Discreet's 3ds max and Adobe Systems' After Effects. Prices not available.
MODELING, ANIMATION, EFFECTS, RENDERING
Win Designed as a plug-in to Alias|Wavefront's Maya, EzCurve is a corner-like drawing and editing tool that enables the drawing of three-degree NURBS curves based on colinear calculations for CV groups. Users can then smooth the corners and manipulate the tangents. Users also can insert new keypoints without changing the shape of the curve.
Particle-based text effects
Win | SGI Win/SGI Digital Anarchy's Text Anarchy enables users of Discreet's Flame, Flint, Fire, Smoke, and Inferno to produce text-based effects using particle systems. Text Anarchy can generate text or other characters randomly, or it can accept user-specified text. Almost any TrueType or PostScript Type 1 font can be used. Text Anarchy sells for $1295.
Growing plants and trees
Win | MAC Among the features in e-on software's Vue d'Esprit 4 (Vue 4) is SolidGrowth 2, e-on's tree and plant creation and rendering technology, which is designed to make every plant and rock unique when dragged into a Vue 4 scene. The software also takes advantage of Mac OS X technologies such as innate multi-threading and multiple processors for extra rendering power. Vue 4 comes with two CDs featuring 30 SolidGrowth 2 trees and plants, more than 100 atmospheres, 100 different types of clouds, 300 materials, 250 fully textured 3D objects, and more than 50 example scenes. The price is $199.
Noise manipulation filters
Win | MAC Visual Infinity has released Version 2 of its Grain Surgery suite of intelligent noise manipulation filters for After Effects. With the new release, users can remove film grain, video noise, CCD noise, compression artifacts, and halftone patterns while preserving image detail. Users also can generate grain, or cut and paste the noise between two images. Grain Surgery Version 2 features enhanced speed and control, OS X support, and compatibility with After Effects 5.5 and Final Cut Pro 3, as well as with Avid Systems via Elastic Gasket. List price is $399.
Cebas enhances finalRender
Win Cebas Computer is now shipping FinalRender 1.1, the latest version of its rendering plug-in for Discreet's 3ds max and 3ds Viz. The new version is fully integrated with Shag:Hair and features updated and optimized area light types, double-precision anti-aliasing, a streamlined Material Editor interface, and a new Skylight feature for improved illumination handling. It's also faster than the previous version. The plug-in costs $695.
Digital ink and paint
Win | UNIX Among the many features in Mediapegs' Pegs 3.2 digital ink and paint software is a WebDrive module that enables fast and efficient conversion of broadcast files into Flash format for Internet viewing. The company also offers I-Pegs, which is targeted specifically at 2D Web animation. Other Mediapegs products include a scanning module that can scan more than 1000 drawings per day per station, a painting module that enables users to paint 350 drawings per day per station, and a Rendering module that renders 26 minutes of film per day per station. Prices not available.
Win With the DVD authoring feature in Ulead Systems' MediaStudio Pro 6.5, video editing software users can output video to VCD, SVCD, and DVD. The software creates a project database to store projects for editing or to be used at a later time. This software add-on also allows for direct burning to CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD-R hardware. Other features in MediaStudio Pro 6.5 include variable bit-rate MPEG-2 encoding, limitless capture, and DV scene detection as well as usability enhancements including instant playback and Automatic A/B Roll. The price is $495.
Adding 3D to video
Win | MAC Conoa has released an After Effects plug-in that enables users to add 3D elements to their motion graphics. The plug-in supports 12 canonical shapes, including spheres, cubes, and cylinders; the shapes can be viewed through After Effects' camera and lit with its lights, or with Conoa's own camera and lights. The shapes are then rendered with a raytracing engine, which supports texture mapping onto any shape, reflections, refractions, Phong shading, specular highlights, and multiple material models. Furthermore, any After Effects layer can be applied to any shape as a texture map, shapes can intersect each other, and any shape can cast a shadow onto any other. Conoa is available for $299 through Toolfarm; www.toolfarm.com).
A new Pinnacle
Pinnacle Edition, the latest video-editing application from Pinnacle, enables corporate/event video professionals, educators, and hobbyists to directly transfer video clips from a DV or Digital8 camcorder, VCR, or TV to the Pinnacle Edition timeline, or to multiple destination drives. Here they can use the software's editing features-including dynamic fast/slow motion, music, integrated voiceovers, TitleDeko title generator, Hollywood FX 3D effects and transitions, and real-time previews-to get just the look they want. Users can then burn DVDs, VCDs, SVCDs, and DLTs directly from the time line. Price not available.
DigiSuite to the Max
Win Some features in Matrox's DigiSuite Max 7.0 editing platforms include real-time effects layering on video and graphics; Matrox MediaTools for real-time, automated scan and capture of DV material; and up to 15 simultaneous real-time effects powered by Matrox. Three platforms are available. All provide broadcast-quality analog video and audio I/O as well as optional SDI I/O, and are compatible with standard video equipment. The DigiSuite LX Max provides native-DV and MPEG-2 I-frame 50Mbps editing and sells for $5995. The DigiSuite DTV MAX provides native-DV, DV50, and MPEG-2 I-frame 50Mbps editing and sells for $7995. And the DigiSuite LE MAX offers M-JPEG image quality and sells for $5995.
Matrox Video Products Group;
19-inch flat panel
The Dell 1900FP 19-inch flat-panel monitor allows for viewing angles of up to 85 degrees from all sides. The monitor utilizes Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA) technology, which gives it a high contrast ratio of 500:1, thereby increasing the sharpness and vividness of colors. Prices begin at $1299.