WIN | LINUX | IRIX Version 2 of 5D Cyborg, 5D's effects editing system, delivers multi-resolution compositing and special effects for artists working in post-production houses. The system now comes packaged as either 5D Cyborg SD, HD, or 2K. The SD and HD indicate that the video card included with 5D Cyborg is capable of capturing and playing out SD or HD resolution material in real time. The 2K system can play back 2K material in real time. New features include a perspective camera with shutter, depth-of-field, and focus controls, hardware-accelerated lighting, and 3D object support. Another addition is Distort, a new Warper that includes sophisticated morphing tools; and a Timeline module that shows editing within the compositing pipeline for easier management of complex effects and edits. The Timeline keeps effects "live" and changeable without the need for pre-rendering, and maintains a full history of each composite. In the new version, text and imported vector files can also be extruded, texture-mapped, lit, and deformed. Prices for the systems vary according to configuration.
Virtual Lens Effects
WIN | MAC | IRIX Filter4 is a plug-in for Adobe Systems' After Effects that lends an out-of-focus camera lens effect to 3D images and depth-of-field perspective to video compositions. Reiji Sakurai, a professional photographer based in Tokyo, developed the plug-in for Windows users, and is now preparing a Macintosh OS X version as well. IrisFilter4 Professional costs $250. A Personal version of the Filter4 plug-in is available at no charge.
Reiji Sakurai; www.reiji.net/iris-e
Modeling and Animation
Modeling by Touch
Win FreeForm Version 5, the latest version of SensAble Technologies' modeling system, provides a touch-enabled interface for Sensable's Phantom digital modeling tool, enabling users to quickly and intuitively create complex, organic forms in digital format. The new version offers a Round Edge tool that lets users add numerically precise radii by simply swiping along an edge; an automatic draft option for the Wire Cut tool, import/export enhancements, better measurement tools, haptic guides that allow for precision modeling; and more efficient memory handling for larger models. Pricing for the FreeForm system starts at $15,000. A FreeForm Plus version is also available that adds advanced design tools for creating precise features, deforming models, and exporting models as NURBS surfaces.
SensAble Technologies; www.sensable.com
Win RealNat from Bionatics is a tree modeling program developed for real-time simulations used in applications such as military training, industrial databases, GIS, forest management, civil engineering, and architecture. With RealNat, a user can quickly and easily generate procedurally grown trees and integrate them with a variety of development tools. The product includes features for adjusting lighting directions and shadow angles, darkening or brightening billboards and tree trunks, setting texture quality, and more. Users can also see what a tree will look like when it's 10 years older, or view how the changing seasons will affect it. RealNat models can be exported as either openflight, VRML 1, VRML 2, 3DS, or OBJ files. The price is $1350, which includes 10 plants of the user's choice. Additional plants can be purchased from the company's Web site.
Blending 2D and 3D Animation
Win | MAC Animo 4.1, the latest version of Cambridge Animation Systems' animation software, features improved support for 3D data within the company's Scene III module for Director. The new Scene III enables animator to apply a consistent cartoon look to an entire scene that contains both 2D elements created in Animo and 3D models created in Alias|Wavefront's Maya or Discreet's 3ds max software. Animo 4.1 also comes with new features for its ScanLevel, InkPaint, and PencilTester modules. The software is available as a bundled package or in separate modules. Core modules are ScanLevel, InkPaint, Director, Render, Vector Editor, and ImageProcessor. Optional modules are SFX, Color Correction, Regging, Scene III, PencilTester, and SoundBreakdown. Pricing for Animo 4.1 Professional, which contains the core modules for creating animations, starts at $5530. Animo 4.1 Ultimate costs $13,999.
Cambridge Animation Systems; www.cambridgeanimation.com
Water Plug-in for Softimage
Phoenix Tools and Areté Entertainment have released Psunami 1.0, a photo-realistic water animation plug-in for Softimage XSI. Psunami includes tools for simulating and visualizing various water surfaces such as oceans and lakes, including related disturbances such as ripples, wakes, and swells. The cost of the Psunami plug-in for Softimage, which is available from Phoenix Tools, is $495.
Phoenix Tools; www.phoenixtools.com
Areté Entertainment; www.areteis.com
Win | MAC Pixologic has introduced Version 1.5 of ZBrush, its modeling and paint tool. A major new feature is the ability to produce high- and low-polygon count meshes with UV coordinates automatically assigned. The price is unavailable.