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Issue: Volume: 24 Issue: 6 (June 2001)

Products - 6/01




Design Engineering

Browser-based design
Win 3G.web.decisions is a design environment that allows engineers to use their Web browsers to access and reuse CAD and engineering data. From a common URL, any member of a product design team can simulate the effect of parametric engineering changes on the fit, form, and functional behavior of the design. A slider bar allows users to scroll through design alternatives in real time. The price is unavailable. (3Ga Corp.; www.3gacorp.com)

Real-time collaboration
Win/Irix eReview is a Java-based program that allows users to collaborate on documents, drawings, and CAD files in real time over an Internet connection. It has a built-in Multiple Document Interface and Java Applications Programming Interface, and can handle more than 150 file formats, including scanned and raster images, vector formats, postscript, PDF, printer outputs, Microsoft Office documents, and CAD 2D and 3D drawings. The price is unavailable. (Web4; www.ereviewonline.com)




Team coordination
Win JobSite version 2.0 is a Web-based communication system with an open platform and software-independent collaboration tool that allows members of a design team to post requests for information, view change orders, and redline drawings on a Web site. Members can be notified of changes by email, cell phone, or handheld device. The system allows a project manager to control administrative functions, such as adding and deleting users. The price is $29 per user per month. (IronSpire; www.ironspire.com)




Modeling and animation

3D modeling
Win/Mac Shade Professional R4/E is software for 3D modeling, rendering, and animation. It uses Bezier curves and surfaces, lifelike environmental settings, and photorealistic raytraced rendering. R4/E offers real-time preview with quick rendering using OpenGL and QuickDraw 3D. Various rendering options are available, depending on the quality needed. Precise numeric settings and unlimited keyframe settings enhance animation. The price is $1399. (ExpressionTools; www.expressiontools.com)

Natural effects
Win Digital NatureTools Version 4.0 for Alias|Wavefront's Maya adds the ability to create nonlinear wakes or make an object appear to bob on the ocean. It also enables users to obtain the correct optical images for objects placed inside a cloud volume, and to cache Arete's P_Liquid surface information on a disk. A new fire and smoke plug-in creates coupled smoke and fire motion. The price is unavailable. (Arete Entertainment; www.areteis.com)

3D from 2D
Win/Linux/Irix ShapeSnatcher 3.0 allows game developers to create high-resolution 3D images from 2D photographs. Users can sample a model to half its original size during grid detection, reducing computation time. A high-resolution texture map maintains the original image size and maps onto the reduced model. A new matching algorithm stitches different patches together with a dense, uniform triangulated mesh. The software includes a built-in absolute scale, a new undo function, and automatic checking for graphics cards compatible with OpenGL. The price is $6000. (Eyetronics; www.eyetronics.com)

rendering plug-in
Win MAXimum3D is a plug-in for Discreet's 3ds max and 3D Studio Viz. The rendering tool allows users to launch full-screen and interactive views of their models. Applications include game development and education. The software comes with the company's VFX3D head-mounted display, with built-in head motion tracking, that shows models in stereoscopic 3D. The price is unavailable. (Interactive Imaging Systems; www.iisvr.com)

new universe
Win/Mac/Unix Universe 3.0 is the updated 3D modeling, animation, and rendering system from Electric Image. A hybrid modeler allows artists to create resolution-independent shapes with solids, NURBS surfaces, and "Uber-NURBS." It includes an inverse kinematics system and camera projection mapping with real-time image previews. A raytracing engine produces photorealistic images. Network rendering, reflection maps with occlusion, and channel-based controls are included. The price is $1995. (Electric Image; www.electricimage.com)

Bump textures
Win RealTexture Bump Texture Tools are plug-ins for Adobe Systems' Photoshop for preparing textures that capture the properties of rough surfaces so that the surfaces look natural under varying lighting conditions. Users provide a photographic image as input and the tools deduce the locations of surface variations from shading patterns in the image. Separate tools allow users to preview results or touch up the image. The price is unavailable. (Computer Graphics Systems Development; www.cgsd.com)




Internet animation
Win B3d Studio authoring tools allow animators to create animation for the Internet using standard modeling and animation packages such as Alias|Wavefront's Maya and Discreet's 3ds max. Models and animation clips from these packages can be imported into the software, where geometry, animation, and streaming technology outputs the project as highly compressed files suitable for a Web site. The price is $995. (Brilliant Digital Entertainment; www.b3d.com)

Object clustering
Win Cluster-O-Matic is a tool for clustering collections of vertices and linking them to other objects directly within scenes in 3ds max. Users can select vertices to get an even falloff for controlling individual clusters, or create non-uniform selection sets and add or subtract them from each other. It includes anisotropic soft-selection with splines, patches, meshes, NURBS, and FFD space warps. The price is $149. (Digimation; www.digimation.com)

Texture sets
Win/Mac Six sets of textures are available in Version 2.0 of Dosch Textures-Rust & Metal, Stone & Concrete, Skin, Industrial Design, Broadcast Design, and Special Effects. Each has additional textures, many of them at higher resolution. Some include spherical textures for mapping on round objects. They are compatible with most CAD and 3D animation applications. The price is $69. (Dosch Design; www.doschdesign.com)

Painting

Image creation
Win/Mac Cinema 4D Art is based on Maxon Computer's Cinema 4D XL and has a maximum render size of 16,000 by 16,000 pixels. It includes more than 100 modeling tools, HyperNURBS for subdivision surfaces, built-in parametric deformers such as twist and bend, 13 material channels, stackable materials, and a system that allows for photorealistic materials. It outputs images in TIF, Photoshop, and JPG formats. The price is $800. (Maxon Computer; www.maxoncomputer.com)

Rendering

scene control
Win RPC 2.0 rendering software is designed for Discreet's Viz 4 and 3ds max 3 and 4. With it, users can put more content in their scenes or reduce rendering times by up to 75 percent. It includes a new edit dialog box for managing content, a switch function for global replacement, and support for a number of Photoshop filters. The price is unavailable. (ArchVision; www.archvision.com)

Video/Multimedia

Compositing
Win Matrix compositing and painting software includes a FlowGraph interactive process tree for creation and management of links between nodes. Designed for post-production users, it allows color correction and matte extraction. All effects can be animated over time with a key-frameable and spline-based interface. Other features include rotosplines, motion paths, and masking tools. The price is unavailable. (Chrome Imaging; www.chrome-imaging.com)




Visualization/Simulation

Real-time viewing
Win/Irix Opus Realizer allows modelers to modify shapes, textures, and lights and immediately view results. It creates photorealistic images in real time. Users can develop material variants and define geometry variants. Models can be exported to Web formats. Simple behaviors, such as the opening of doors or the rotations of knobs and dials, can be defined for animation. The software can import from a variety of CAD formats. The price is unavailable. (Opticore; www.opticore.com)




Web development

3D extrusion
Win Extrusion Editor is a visual plug-in for the company's VRMLPad. It allows users to manipulate the primitive shapes that make up 3D models into more complex shapes, as well as to edit existing models or build new ones from scratch. The models can be created with reduced file sizes to make them more easily downloadable on the Web. The price is unavailable. (ParallelGraphics; www.parallelgraphics.com)

Talking heads
Win HeadFone uses virtual characters to simulate facial expression while users talk to each other over the Web. Users can choose from animated and photorealistic characters, which deliver realistic facial animation based on speech into a microphone. It includes a phonebook and a search engine to find other users. The streaming audio and animation require relatively low bandwidth. The price is unavailable. (LIPSinc; www.headfone.com)

Landscape creation
Win World Builder 3.0 software for the creation of animated 3D landscapes and scenery incorporates support for Discreet's 3ds max 4 platform. It includes a streamlined user interface; OpenGL support; an automatic variation wizard for sky, plants, and scripts; an undo-redo feature; support for translucency and anti-aliasing; point light shadows; a plant and grass editor; and new file format and unit conversion support. The price is $399. (Digital Element; www.digi-element.com)



Input/Output

Control glove
Win/Mac P5 is a glove-like 3D peripheral device for interactive gaming, entertainment, and other applications. The glove uses bend sensors and tracking technologies to translate hand movements into software control. A docking station stores the glove when not is use and also includes a tracker that allows the user to move the glove between devices. The size of the glove is flexible and it is fully USB compliant. The price is $129. (Essential Reality; www.essentialreality.com)




Storage

raid system
Win/Mac/Linux/Unix/Irix The FlexArray HI Ultra 160 SCSI RAID system is a host-independent data storage system with 160MB/s performance and 12 drive bays adaptable to any server OS that supports its SCSI interface. It has capacity support for up to 1.7TB and RAID fault tolerance. A single enclosure supports 12 3.5-inch LVD drives at either full or half height. The price is $7090. (Raidtec Corp.; www.raidtec.com)

Systems

Nonlinear editing
Win Edit 6 is a desktop nonlinear editing system with compositing features, workgroup tools, advanced effects, and integrated streaming media. It is interoperable with Discreet's other products, including its visual effects software, and allows the creation, hosting, and delivery management of media to intranets or the Internet. It uses Fibre Channel to create a workgroup environment across a storage area network (SAN). The price is unavailable. (Discreet; www.discreet.com)

Portable workstationsWin The MaxPac Transportable workstations for running applications such as mechanical CAD, digital video editing, and medical visualization have a 17-inch, 1280 by 1024 flat-panel display. They come with a choice of Athlon or Pentium III processors and up to 4GB of standard memory. External video support allows them to be connected to an analog large-screen monitor or LCD projector. The price is unavailable. (MaxVision Corp., www.maxvision.com)
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