Issue: Volume: 23 Issue: 6 (June 2000)

SPOTLIGHT: News - 6/00

The latest Apple G4s are optimized for 3D applications, but the main impetus for the Mac port, according to an Alias|Wavefront spokesperson, was an outpouring of letters, e-mails, and Web-page petitions from Mac users. "We've had an amazing amount of requests for this product to be on the Macintosh," says the spokesperson, "more than we've had for anything we've ever done."

For more on Maya for the Mac, and an in-depth look at the latest 3D-optimized G4, look for our upcoming Macintosh feature in next month's issue.

This month, we list new results from the 10 workstations that received the best dollar-per-composite ratings for the Lightscape viewset of the SPECviewperf benchmark, Version 6.1.1. The Lightscape viewset consists of walkthroughs in four differently rendered environments. The dollar-per-composite score is arrived at by dividing the cost of each workstation by its mean composite performance results.

To see how the same workstations fared in different benchmark tests, and to view results from additional workstations, visit SPEC/GPC's Web site at

A new SPEC/GPC benchmark can also be found at the same URL above: SPECapc for Unigraphics V15 is now available as a free download. The benchmark is written as a series of UG macros that run on Windows NT and Unix platforms.

Sales of rapid prototyping machines reached a record high of 1195 systems in 1999, according to a recent report published by market analyst Wohlers Associates (Fort Collins, CO). In 1998, only 981 systems were sold, which marked a decline from the 1036 sold in 1997. According to the report, 3D printers, a class of RP machines that is less expensive to buy and maintain, played an important role in 1999's growth.

Last December, MetaCreations (Carpinteria, CA) announced that it was divesting itself of its graphics products to focus on MetaStream, its 3D streaming format for the Web. The last of those graphics products, Poser, a popular 3D character animation and modeling package, has been sold to Curious Labs (Santa Cruz, CA), a new company formed by German parent egi.sys and co-founded by the original creators of the Poser program. Recently, MetaCreations sold its Canoma and Carrara 3D packages to Adobe Systems (San Jose, CA) and its Painter, Bryce, Kai's Power Tools, and KPT Vector Effects programs to Corel (Ottawa, Canada).

Graphics board maker 3Dlabs (Sunnyvale, CA) has agreed to acquire the Intense3D operations of Intergraph (Huntsville, AL). Intense3D is the maker of Wildcat graphics accelerators. The acquisition of the Wildcat technology will complement 3Dlabs' Oxygen line of 3D graphics boards, adding a high-end component to 3Dlabs' range of offerings....Broadcast graphics vendor RT-SET (New York) has acquired the Virtual Studio technology and product line from Evans & Sutherland (Salt Lake City). The E&S offerings will complement RT-SET's virtual studio products, and will also be incorporated into RT-NET, RT-SET's new media division, which is developing Internet virtual set systems....Autodesk (San Rafael, CA) has launched Point A, its new Web portal serving designers and engineers. Autodesk also plans to spin off a new business-to-business e-commerce company, called RedSpark, which will target the manufacturing industry with a broad range of manufacturing services, including RFQ/RFP systems for custom parts....Engineering software developer Visionary Design Systems (Santa Clara, CA) has relaunched itself as a Web-based business-to-business company under the name of Alventive. The new entity will host an online design community, with products and a portal designated as its Design-to-Order line....Video editing and animation software developer Discreet (a division of Autodesk) has announced that it will offer interactive television programming services in partnership with interactive Web content developer Spiderdance (Los Angeles). The services will be based on Discreet's Frost 3D graphics systems.... Graphisoft (Budapest, Hungary), an architectural CAD vendor, has acquired Drawbase Software (Newton, MA), a computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) software provider, for approximately $2 million. Drawbase will continue to operate out of Massachusetts as a wholly owned subsidiary of Graphisoft US.... Visualization software developer Muse Technologies (Albuquerque, NM) has acquired Simulation Solutions (Manchester, UK), a software and consulting firm specializing in plant and equipment manufacturing. Muse has also announced that it intends to acquire data visualization provider Advanced Visual Systems (AVS; Waltham, MA)....Graphics chip manufacturer S3 (Santa Clara, CA) has transferred its processor operations to a joint venture with fabless manufacturer VIA Technologies (Taipei, Taiwan), in order to focus its operations on Internet-related business. S3's Fire GL line of OpenGL graphics accelerators is not included in the transaction, however. S3 has introduced a new S3/PG (professional graphics) division that will handle the Fire GL line of entry-level, mid-range, and high-end boards.

News is written and compiled by Jenny Donelan.