Win 95/NT Delcam has upgraded its PowerInspect software for the inspection of prototypes, tooling, and sample parts against CAD data. The new version, PowerInspect 2, features a Geometry Explorer tool that simplifies the process of obtaining from CAD data the nominal dimensions for geometric features, including arcs, circles, cylinders, cones, and rectangles. In addition, a new CAD File Manager allows multiple CAD files to be used within a single inspection. To simplify the inspection process, each file can be placed on a separate level and displayed only when the corresponding part is being measured. The same functionality can be used when incomplete CAD data is provided. The software also includes a Wizard that simplifies the measurement of features using Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing. Price not available.
Win DP Technology's Esprit 2002 represents the fifth release of the company's flagship CAM software package in two years. Among the improvements are a new solid simulation and verification tool for production turning and milling, a new project manager for cutting tool and machine operation management, and an automatic feature recognition tool for wire-EDM that recognizes wire thread locations, start point, and cutting profiles. The software runs on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP. The price is unavailable.
DP Technology; www.dptechnology.com
Adams in the air
Win | IRIX | SOLARIS | AIX | HP-UX Mechanical Dynamics has begun to target the aerospace industry with its Adams virtual prototyping software. A landing gear module, scheduled for release in early 2002, will be the first offering in the company's new Functional Digital Aircraft product. Currently available as a toolkit, the software enables engineers to address critical issues inherent in landing gear design, including energy absorption, stiffness, vibration, and retraction, early in the design cycle. An intuitive interface provides modeling templates and standard components and assemblies of nose and main gear as well as brakes, wheels, tires, and fuselage. Design alternatives can be explored quickly by swapping assemblies. According to the company, it is working with key customers to develop additional modules in the Functional Digital Aircraft product, including one for the virtual design of aircraft flight control systems. Price not available.
Mechanical Dynamics; www.adams.com
Geomagic Studio enhanced
WIN | SUN SOLARIS Geomagic Studio 4, Raindrop Geomagic's 3D scanning, modeling, and reverse engineering software, now includes features for registering and processing multiple scans and color data; automatic color, texture, and bump mapping; Boolean polygon editing; and new macros that simplify sequential tasks. The new version also provides multi-threaded operations and wrapping algorithms that are reportedly 10 times faster than previous methods. In addition, the software includes Geomagic Capture, which simplifies processing of any kind of point data from 3D cameras, digitizers, and coordinate measurement machines. Additional new features include smoother NURBS surfaces, improved automatic patch layouts, text engraving onto polygon models, improved curvature hole filling for large and complex holes, interactive polygon editing, and improved mesh optimization. Price not available.
Raindrop Geomagic; www.geomagic.com)
Win With Geomate's GrafiCalc 3.0, users no longer have to manipulate external equations to approximate the requirements of a design, or iterate between making changes and manual measurements. Because the software incorporates geometrical goal-seek technology, users simply specify frequently required results such as area, perimeter, location of centroid, force, load, length of travel, moment of inertia, volume, cost, weight, clearance, distance, tolerance, stress, and deflection as function goals. The software then finds the exact solution that fulfills those design goals. GrafiCalc 3.0 sells for $295.
Win | MAC A pair of plug-ins designed to turn Adobe Illustrator into a 2D CAD program are available from CValley Inc. Consisting of 13 tools, BluePrintTools-Pro enables users to draw simple blueprints, design with dimension lines, and measure over a curved line. EXDXF-Pro, meanwhile, converts Bezier curves from Illustrator to a smooth line with minimal anchor points, while maintaining the curve's precision. The software also can convert files from the standard DXF CAD format to Illustrator format and exports Illustrator's Bezier curves to DXF. Each program sells for $89.95. Users can purchase both packages together for $139.95.
CValley Inc.; www.cvalley.com
Win | HP-UX |SUN | AIX | MAC OneSpace Select, the newest addition to CoCreate Software's OneSpace product suite, is designed to reduce or eliminate travel between locations by enhancing communications for real-time product design analysis and problem resolution. A collection of CoCreate's OneSpace products in a Web browser format, OneSpace Select enables design teams to perform such tasks as rotate, position, measure, and add/delete features, as well as highlight 2D and 3D data. The completely hosted service requires little IT involvement. Price not available.
CoCreate Software Inc.; www.cocreate.com
MODELING AND ANIMATION
Land and sky textures
Win | MAC | ALPHA | LINUX | AMIGA "Panoramica-Land & Sky," a set of background imagery CDs created by artist and photographer David Campbell, is available now from Marlin Studios. The CDs feature a collection of photographed and post-processed panoramic land and sky backgrounds, some as large as 10,000 x 2000 pixels and all in full hemispherical and 180/240/360-degree formats. Matching 3D models are included for the various-size textures, as is a set of six stop-action animated cloud formations. When the sky textures are used in a 3D program with radiosity applied, the radiosity effect picks up the illumination values of the skies and renders photorealistic lighting and shadows. The set sells for $249.
Marlin Studios; www.marlinstudios.com
Win | MAC Motion graphics and visual effects artists can create 3D fire and smoke effects with eFX Pyro, a new After Effects plug-in from electricFX. Incorporating animation technology developed by Arete Entertainment, the $195 plug-in uses dynamic simulation methods to create fire and smoke behavior and employs volumetric rendering techniques to generate the effects. Artists can control buoyancy, turbulence, vorticity, color, illumination, density, and external lighting using the plug-in's keyframeable parameters.
Search utility for Mac artists
MAC Now Mac-based 3D artists and animators who buy and sell content through Turbo Squid's online marketplace can more easily access 3D content developed in such programs as Maya, LightWave, and Poser. Using a free search utility available from Turbo Squid, these users can browse the company's collection of more than 75,000 3D models, motion-capture files, textures, and shaders. The software is available for download at the company's Web site.
Turbo Squid; www.turbosquid.com
Maya for Mac OS X
MAC With this first release of Alias|Wavefront's Maya for Mac OS X, all of Maya Complete becomes native to the Mac. Features unique to this version include support for QuickTime, tear-off menus in the hot box, and a full Aqua interface. Those ordering the Mac OS X version of Maya before December 31, 2001, will be entitled to 12 months of maintenance, which includes product upgrades and support. Maya for Mac OS X retails for $7500.
Image processing plug-ins
Win | MAC FoveaPro 2.0, the professional version of Reindeer Games' image processing toolkit, is a set of Photoshop-compatible plug-ins for processing scientific measurement of 8- and 16-bit-per-channel images for Mac and Windows applications. Version 2.0 features new measurement capabilities, particularly those for shape (including topological and fractal parameters) and relative position (including nearest neighbor distance and direction). It also features additional processing tools and enhanced automation capability, including multivariate expert system feature classification. Price not available.
Reindeer Games; http://ReindeerGraphics.com
Digital mastering solution
5D Colossus is a software-based digital grading and finishing solution, available from 5D, that enables directors and directors of photography to grade movies digitally, before the imagery goes back to film. The final output from 5D Colossus is a high-quality, graded digital master that can be used to prepare final film prints, in digital film projection or for mastering to HD and SD video, DVD, and the Internet. Features of the resolution-independent product include log and linear grading, as well as interactive color correction. 5D Colossus is supplied as a turnkey solution, including a workstation, control surface, storage, and monitor calibrator. The configurations run on a certified system from Boxx Technologies and come with a Sony FW900 24-inch monitor running at 2048 by 1024 at 72Hz. Price not available.
The Air rendering program from SiTex Graphics offers programmable shading, advanced filtering, motion blur, and depth-of-field effects as well as load-on-demand geometry and textures, raytracing, and global illumination. Network rendering is supported, as are scene files and shaders that conform to the RenderMan standard. Plug-ins that support Air are currrently available for 3ds max, Softimage, Maya, Rhino, and 3D Exploration. The price is $300.
SiTex Graphics; www.sitexgraphics.com
Win | MAC | ALPHA | UNIX According to 3D Nature, its new Visual Nature Studio software can import, grid, and render terrain in a variety of formats, projections, and datums. For instance, the software can drape georeferenced, remotely sensed imagery in various projections to color landscape or control landcover, while task automation features such as Templates, Thematic Maps, Search Queries, Dynamic Linking, and automatic Shapefile ReImport simplify workflow by linking with shapes and attributes to control visualization. The software also includes features for bump mapping, automatic 3D object alignment and randomization, stereo camera options, and extruded walls for depicting fences, buildings, and regions. Price not available.
3D Nature; www.3Dnature.com
Streamlined motion capture
Vicon's new Vicon iQ software is a single unified application for seamless data handling from motion capture to animation. Rather than discarding data at each stage of the motion-capture process, the software keeps all the captured data intact throughout the process, and automatically refers to it if ambiguities arise. Vicon iQ reportedly applies this type of intelligence from the point at which the data is processed, to the point at which it is fit and re-targeted to the character or characters. According to the company, keeping all the data throughout the motion-capture process almost completely eliminates manual cleanup. Price not available.
Vicon Motion Systems; www.vicon.com
Image management tool
Win Offered as a plug-in to ACDSee, ACD Systems' image management software, RoboEnhancer is designed to manage large quantities of images quickly and easily. With ACDSee users can search, view, and manage their images. Then they can invoke RoboEnhancer to utilize such batch processing features as crop, resize, overlay text or watermarks, filters, and special effects. Users also can create and save scripts that perform multiple functions on batches of images. RoboEnhancer also works with the company's PicaView 2.0 or later. It sells for $69.95.
ACD Systems International Inc.; www.acdsystems.com
OS X upgrade hits store shelves
MAC OS X version 10.1, the first major upgrade to Apple's next-generation operating system, offers a refined Aqua user interface and support for digital media and devices including DVDs, MP3 CDs, MP3 players, printers, digital cameras, and DV camcorders. It also boasts enhanced performance: applications launch two to three times faster, Aqua menus are up to five times faster, resizing of windows is up to five times faster, and file copying is up to twice as fast, according to Apple. Mac OS X v10.1 requires at least 128MB of memory and runs on the Apple iMac, iBook, Power Mac G3, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G4 Cube, and any PowerBook introduced after May 1998. Price is $129.
Apple Computer; www.apple.com
Win Priced at less that $50, the Video deLuxe recording, editing, and video-creation package from Magix Entertainment Corp. supports both analog and DV formats, so users can record footage from either source and transfer it into the program. When they've finished editing the footage and mixing it down, they can then transfer it back to their camera or VHS VCR, or burn presentations onto CDs, send them via video-email, or publish them directly onto the Internet. The software includes more than 800 video and sound samples and up to 16 tracks, and is compatible with a number of multimedia formats, including AVI, Windows Media, MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, BMP, MXV, JPG, WAV, MIDI, and MP3.
MAGIX Entertainment Corp.; www.magix.com
Multimedia authoring studio
Win An object-oriented design tool for creating interactive multimedia presentations, Version 1.5 of the Visviva Authoring Studio incorporates image painting, vector drawing, and 3D composition tools in a point-and-click interface. Available for $799 from Visviva Software, VAS 1.5 also features FileBrowsers for designing Web pages, PageLoaders for designing hyperlinked files, and PageControl objects for designing slideshows with 3D animation. The software can import, edit, and export several different types of file formats, including 3DS, VRML, AVI, and MOV.
Visviva Software; www.visviva.com
A new wave in editing
MAC CineWave 1.2, the newest version of Pinnacle Systems' professional video creation program, is a software/hardware combo that provides numerous editing capabilities for acquisition, post-production, and delivery in most formats, including DV, DigiBeta, uncompressed 601, PAL, NTSC, 1080i, 1080p, 4:3, 16:9, DVD, and the Web. The product comprises Pinnacle Commotion 4, a full version of Apple's Final Cut Pro 2, Knoll Light Factory, and the Targa Cine Engine. Features in version 1.2 include support for 16-bit YUV and 8-bit RGBA codecs; HD qualification and support for Final Cut Pro 2 with most HD formats; and CineOffline, which enables users to edit footage at its full size and store a scaled-down version of the footage to disk. Prices start at $6495.
Pinnacle Systems; www.pinnaclesys.com
The VolumePro 1000 from TeraRecon is a 3D volume rendering accelerator that provides real-time performance for imaging workstations and CT, MR, EBT, ultrasound, and PET scanners. The VolumePro's target market is medical imaging manufacturing and system integration. The PCI board can provide real-time interactivity for medical images as large as 512 CT slices. Up to 2gb of volume data can be visualized and manipulated on a single VolumePro 1000. The cost is unavailable, as the VolumePro 1000 is sold on an OEM basis. The product comes with an OEM development kit.
A digital CAVE
Fakespace Systems has announced the commercial availability of a digital version of its CAVE immersive visualization system. Developed at the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with input from Fakespace, the digital CAVE incorporates new screen and reflective materials, as well as a new corner design. In addition, the digital stereo projection is based on either 5000-lumen or 2000-lumen DLP projectors from Christie Digital, making this CAVE reportedly up to six times brighter than previously available CAVEs. The digital CAVE is available with either 8- by 10- or 10- by 2-foot walls. Price not available.
Fakespace Systems; www.fakespacesystems.com
Targeted at engineers, animators, and game developers, the LPX-250 3D laser scanner features a rotary mode, in which it scans entire objects on a fully integrated rotating table; and a plane scanning mode, in which it scans as many as six different planes to capture undercuts and cavities. Able to scan objects up to 10x16 inches, the LPX-250 ships with PIX Form reverse engineering software, which enables users to decimate, edit, and heal scanned data. Users also can take a polygon solid and automatically convert it to a NURBS file, then export it as an IGES file to industry-standard MCAD software in IGES, STL, DXF, and VRML formats. The scanner with software sells for $9995.
Roland DGA Corp.; www.rolanddga.com
Advanced Rendering Technology's new PCI rendering board, Pure, incorporates eight raytracing graphics processors for photorealistic rendering on graphics workstations. According to the company, Pure is more than 10 times as fast as software-based raytracing. Visualization and animation applications such as Maya, 3ds max, or 3ds viz work with Pure via ART's RenderPipe and RenderMan plug-in interfaces. The cost of the board is $3699.
Advanced Rendering Technology; www.art-render.com
Win | LINUX Hewlett-Packard has announced a trio of personal workstations with 2GHz performance. The HP workstation x2000 with Linux is based on the Intel Pentium 4 processor, while the HP workstation x4000 Linux and Windows versions run on the new Intel Xeon processor. All three ship with a range of 2D and 3D graphics solutions, and they support the Matrox G450, NVIDIA Quadro2 MXR and Quadro2 Pro, and ATI FireGL2 and FireGL4 graphics cards. Prices not available.