Plasma's 3D modeling, animation, and rendering capabilities allow users to work directly in 3D space-rather than creating 3D imagery in 2D applications-to develop complex visuals for the Web. The company claims that although Plasma relies on Discreet's core 3D technology (for example, 3ds max), it is not a "lite" version of 3ds max, but rather is designed specifically for 3D Web content creation. Max, maintains Discreet, is still best suited to content creation for the film, broadcast, game, and visualization markets.
Among Plasma's Web-specific features are tight integration with Macromedia Flash and Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio, character animation support, and advanced dynamics support. Plasma's Shockwave 3D Exporter supports full character skinning, including deformations and weighted vertices. Plasma also provides support for all features implemented in Shockwave 3D from the Havok dynamics engine.
Plasma runs on Windows 2000/98 operating systems, and requires a minimum of 128mb of RAM. It costs $650. (Discreet; www.discreet.com) -JD