Issue: Volume: 24 Issue: 7 (July 2001)

Products - 7/03 - Part 1


Image processing system Win/Mac/Linux Digital Fusion version 3.1 compositing and special effects software has a flexible flow system that includes definable groups in which tools can be expanded and collapsed and cut, copied, or pasted as an entire group within that flow or another flow. A new tool allows Web-ready text animation to be output to Flash. The software also includes a spreadsheet editor for editing frames, new paint brushes, new controls over the timeline, and a new color correction tool. The price is $4995 and an upgrade from Version 3.0 is free. (Eyeon Software;

Design Engineering

Design data capture Win/Irix/Unix EnCapta provides CAD users with tools for capturing and communicating specialized non-geometric design data for product definition. Customizable templates allow users to capture separately stored information such as design details, cost estimates, change orders, materials specifications, and assembly instructions. A user interface manages non-geometric product information from within the CAD session. XML tools allows the design information to be extracted and reported to other systems. The price is unavailable. (Vistagy;

E-manufacturing Win A new tool for eMPower software, eBOP, defines the relationship among parts, manufacturing resources, and manufacturing operations for Web-based manufacturing operations. Files are stored on a server to be accessed by different users in the supply chain. Along with the tool are a browser that allows users to search, navigate, and view the system at different levels of detail, a tool to generate instructions for shop-floor managers, and a reporting tool. The price is unavailable. (Tecnomatix Technologies;

CAD system Win/Mac VectorWorks 9 supports a 64-bit floating point coordinate system for a more stable core CAD engine. It can read and write native AutoCAD 2000 files and is backward compatible with AutoCAD 2.5. It includes a spelling checker; a callout tool; new controls in the Hatch dialog box; a 2D/3D lasso selection tool; associative dimensioning; the ability to undo, restore, and switch tools; spacebar control of pan and zoom; control over fill printing; and parametric constraints that establish relationships between objects. The price is unavailable. (Nemetschek N.A.;

Mechanical components Win/Linux VariCAD 8.0 has a redesigned GUI. It includes libraries of mechanical parts, unbending surface development, and tools for working with non-graphical information. It offers calculations of standard mechanical components. The software can import and export common CAD file types such as DWG, DXF, and IGES. The price is $399. (VariCAD;

Modeling and animation

GIF animation Win GIF Animator 5 is a standalone GIF animation tool that automatically updates animations with changes to frames in an external image editor such as PhotoImpact, Photoshop, or Paint Shop Pro. An object-based model allows quick creation of multiple object animations. A wizard lets users add images, video, or animation. The software uses compression techniques to shrink the size of animation files, and a preview window lets users check the quality of the animation while optimizing it. Output options now include raster-based Flash (SWF) files, AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime. The price is $49.95. (Ulead Systems;

3D content authoring Win/Mac/Irix/Linux Filmbox 3.0 real-time, 3D content authoring and delivery software has new workflow enhancements designed to reduce the setup time for producing animated characters. The character engine has been improved to cover a complex range of movements. A new control curves tool lets users edit additive layers of animation without modifying the original data. A new menu bar shows second-level navigation commands. Transformation handles provide interactive visual cues from the 3D views. The price is unavailable. (Kaydara;


FEA Tool Win/Mac/Irix/Linux/Unix. A new chemical engineering module for computation of problems in which components of the solution vary on different time scales is included in FemLab 2.1, a finite element package for simulations of physical phenomena in 1D, 2D, and 3D. The differential algebraic equation solver allows the user to solve combined dynamic and stationary multiphysics problems and is available directly from the GUI. The solver is fully compatible with Matlab 6. The module's price is $1595. (Comsol;

Image processing toolbox Win/Linux/Unix Image Processing Toolbox 3 for MatLab includes new tools for performing mathematical morphology operations on binary and grayscale images, with functions such as dilation, erosion, opening and closing, watershed transform, Euclidean distance transforms, and reconstruction-based operators for analysis and segmentation. The software includes new functions for applying a variety of spatial transformations to images and points, new functions for registering two images, new fundamental algorithms for image deblurring, and support for reading image data in DICOM format. The price is $900. (The MathWorks;


TV production system CyberSet 4.0 television production tools include a GUI for animation authoring and real-time control. The company's previous Main Control Module and Animation Module have been combined into one software program, providing a single tool for creating animations, scripting, previewing, and controlling both real-time productions and external studio systems. A new user interface creates a tree hierarchy that provides access to elements and macros. New automation functions have been added. The price is unavailable. (Orad Hi-Tec Systems;

Notebook video editing Win Xpress DV version 2.0 software allows video editing on notebook computers. It includes new editing management features such as separate audio and video marks, copy source locators, and a find bin command. New audio features include solo multiple tracks, custom templates, and change sample rate enhancements. Additional compositing functions include a fit-to-fill motion effects button and persistent effects. The software has a customizable user interface, mappable keyboard and command palette, resizable source monitor, and configurable timeline toolbar. The price is $1699. (Avid Technology;

Effects plug-ins Win/Mac Grain Surgery is a suite of plug-ins for Adobe After Effects 4.1 and 5.0. It includes a filter to remove grain for noise reduction that relies on statistical estimation and signal processing techniques rather than on blurring or averaging. A filter to add grain lets the user define the size, density, and color of the required grain. A grain matching filter lets the user extract the noise model from the image or sequence and apply it to a different one, modifying the model as desired. The price is $499. (Visual Infinity;

New Toaster Win The Video Toaster 2 desktop video effects, editing, and live switching system is PC-compatible and allows real-time nonlinear editing of compressed and uncompressed media, as well as Internet streaming of edited productions or live events. It allows eight component, eight Y/C, or up to 24 composite inputs to be switched live. A 5-unit, rack-mountable expansion module has 100 audio, video, and data connectors. Audio mixing, color correction, and playback are available in real-time. DV clips can be imported via Firewire. The price is $4995. (NewTek;

Web Authoring

Web-based animation Win/Mac Axel is an authoring tool and viewer that allows artists to model, animate, texture, light, add interactivity, and publish to the Web. Its modeling capabilities for 3D characterization include high-level relations and constraints and surface deformation.

It can handle inverse kinematics, shape animation, particle dynamics, and timing control. It provides real-time rendering and has customizable streaming features. The software allows users to import content from other products. The price is $950. (Mind Avenue;

VRML viewer Win Contact version 5.0 is a browser plug-in that allows the visualization of 3D objects and navigation in the company's Virtual Worlds. It allows drag and drop to move objects around in the virtual world and import objects from outside the world. Particle systems can produce rain, snow, and fog. The product allows users to assign the left and right mouse buttons to certain functions to adapt navigation to the needs or e-commerce sites of gaming environments such as Quake. The price is unavailable. (Blaxxun Interactive;

Character creation Win The Tulip Interactive System includes a high-speed animation authoring system and a streaming 3D player for creating and viewing interactive digital characters on the Internet. Character development is modeled through normal computer graphics processor with real-time techniques. An advertiser can e-mail a voice track to the company along with instructions, and will receive the animation. The advertiser can also get a report of Web-site hits that includes user information or aggregate demographics. The price is unavailable. (Exstream Media; xx

Web graphics WireFusion 2.1 is a drag-and-drop visual programming tool for creating interactive presentations and animations in the form of Java applets without knowledge of Java. It allows the user to handle image-processing filters of 2D graphics and 3D models in real-time. The user can create animations using any modeling tool that supports the 3D-format VRML and import them into the software, then add interactivity. Users can combine 2D and 3D presentations, and people visiting a Web page can view the animations without downloading a plug-in. The price is $499. (Demicron;



Control glove Win/Mac The P5 glove-like peripheral controller is an ergonomically designed hand device that controls software in 3D space through hand gestures. It uses sensor and tracking technology to provide 6-degrees-of-freedom tracking for video game environments. It is USB compliant and will eventually be available in a wireless version. The price is $129. (Essential Reality;

Facial capture The Vicon 6 facial capture system includes six-million-pixel Mcam cameras, a datastation, and a software suite that includes Producer Pro and Face RT. The software works directly with Max, Maya, LightWave, and Softimage to let animators apply and manipulate motion capture data. Users can apply the data to a mesh model and automatically generate realistic real-time or rendered facial animation. It also includes software and plug-ins for major 3D applications. The price is unavailable. (Vicon;

Object extractor ZCam is a color studio camera add-on that can extract objects from the scene and separate foreground and background without a bluescreen. It allows video enhancements and special effects that could only be created in post production to be used in real-time broadcasts. It enhances every video frame with an additional frame called a Z-buffer, which supplements the color information with depth information. The price is unavailable. (3DV Systems;

3D imaging Win The 3D Flash precision digital imaging system records 3D images of live subjects with a single shot. An electronic flash strobes a coded, white-light pattern onto the subject, and an algorithm decodes the data to provide the necessary Z-axis data for a polygon ally dense 3D image. The module also records detailed color and texture information and paints it onto the 3D frame mesh. The price is $9999. (3Dmetrics;

Motion Capture

Full-body capture Win The Gypsy 3 motion capture system uses Filmbox software for real-time display of an actor's body, face, and hand motions for a rendered 3D character. It also allows filtering, blending, and editing of the motion capture data. The device has a wireless range of a half mile outdoors or 200 yards indoors. It captures facial motion with the X-IST Face Tracker and hand motion with the 5DT Dataglove and the Virtual Technologies CyberGlove. The price is unavailable. (Meta Motion;


Digital film workstation Win/Linux The 3DBoxx R1 workstations for the entertainment and digital film industries are based on the 1.4GHz AMD Athlon processor. The workstations are dual-processor capable with the AMD 762 chipset. They have up to 4GB of 266MHz DDR with four DIMM slots, a 4x AGP Pro 50 graphics port, 10 internal hard drive bays with optical hotswap hard drives, dual-channel Ultra160 SCSI and UltraDMA 100 IDE controllers, two onboard 10/100 Mbs Ethernet adapters, five 64/33MHz PCI slots, and a 400-watt power supply. The price is $3200. (Boxx Technologies;

Video editing with DVD The Casablanca Kron is a standalone nonlinear digital video editor with DVD-authoring capability and an optical DVD writer. It has an internal 40GB hard drive that provides up to 170 minutes of native DV storage, more than six hours of DV quality storage and nearly 24 hours of VHS level storage. It also includes real-time 2D effects and six stereo audio tracks, and can handle 10 separate projects. The price is $5495. (MacroSystem Digital Video AG;