A sampling of vendors exhibiting at Siggraph follows. Booth numbers are included.
July 21-26 in San Antonio, Texas.
For more information, see www.siggraph.org.
Win Liquid Media is a presentation package that enables users to manipulate 3D objects around custom-made paths. Besides controlling the behavior of text, video, and sound, users also can perform various graphics "embellishments," such as invoking graphics transparency and adding textures to text. The software sells for $150 per license.
Binary Research International;
New tracking systems
Win | LINUX The boujou2 automated tracking system from 2d3 includes adaptive feature acquisition algorithms that identify features in regions of the frame obscured by low lighting levels, poor contrast, or other shooting conditions. The algorithms also allow the continued tracking of image features even when atmospheric effects, sudden changes in lighting levels, or temporary obstructions obscure them. In addition, new feature-location and track-editing tools such as Gold Tracks enable users to guide the processing of heavily stylized camera moves. Boujou2 sells for $10,000. An entry-level version for standard-definition video, called boujouVE, costs $5000.
Capture to Animation
Vicon iQ provides a unified software application for seamless data handling from motion capture to animation. The primary benefit that iQ delivers is the automatic processing of tough multi-character moves with lots of close interaction. Previous technology required manual editing of individual markers when they were lost from the view of more than two cameras. The Vicon iQ engine utilizes a user definable kinematic model to intelligently replace markers that have been lost, with the final performance detail preserved. Price not available.
Booth # 17096
Assembly line autos
ArchVision's RPC (Rich Photorealistic Content) Automobiles Volume 1 is a collection of automobile models of the following eight vehicles: BMW 328, Peugeot 406, Ford F150, Toyota Celica, Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Golf, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Volkswagen Passat. According to the company, RPC content requires specialized software to be used within an application. ArchVision has developed several RPC plug-ins for applications such as Discreet's 3ds max and Adobe Photoshop, and it has created an RPC API that allows ArchVision Development Partners to integrate RPC support within their applications. In addition to Automobiles Volume I, which lists for $799, ArchVision also offers collections of people, plant life, fountains, houses, and office furnishings.
From RealViz come four products for creating and manipulating digital imagery. ReTimer 2.5 ($3500) enables users to change the pacing of any footage by up to 1000 percent, speed up, slow down or create variable speed clips from standardspeed filmed sequences by automatically creating new in-between frames. Stitcher 3.5 is an application for building high-resolution panoramas. Overlapping photos are uploaded into Stitcher to produce wide-angle, high-quality images for high-impact Web pages,definition mattes, environment maps, image sequences and 3D models. MatchMover 2 Professional automatically tracks 3D camera data and motion from videos and film sequences. It contains all the powerful features of RealViz MatchMover, with the addition of automatic tracking, calibration, track cleanup, and support for matte sequences for tracking specific objects. ImageModeler 3.0 offers a workflow designed to simplify the task of creating 3D models. The application is easy to use and learn, and 3D and non-3D artists alike can produce impressive results. Simply load multiple digital still images of an object or scene, and with a few simple steps, ImageModeler extracts 3D data to build photo-real models complete with textures derived from the original photographs. Prices unavailable.
Booth # 19074
Pliable display technology
Win | LINUX | IRiX Pliable Display Technology (PDT) is Idelix Software's patents-pending lens technology that enables users to explore, analyze, and interpret large information sets such as images and maps. According to the company, PDT reduces the cognitive overhead associated with the tasks of zooming in for detail and zooming out again to regain a view of the entire image context, and it increases efficiency through detail-in-context viewing and editing. Version 2.0 of the PDT SDK features an "MDLC" in-place user interface for direct control of lens parameters, and additional support for platforms without accelerated graphics hardware. Price not available.
Idelix Software; www.idelix.com
MODELING AND ANIMATION
Win Eyematic's FaceStation is a suite of software tools for creating 3D facial animation for film, TV, games, Web, and wireless projects. The product uses Eyematic's patented computer vision technology to automatically locate and track human faces in standard video signals, enabling a user with a camcorder or Webcam hooked up to a PC to animate 3D faces without markers, manual keyframing, or motion-capture hardware. FaceStation costs $1995 and is available for Discreet 3ds max users. A version for users of Alias|Wavefront's Maya is expected to ship this summer. The company also offers Synthetic Video, which enables users to create multimedia mobile content including news and information, 2D and 3D games, and multimedia messaging services.
Help with 3D
Win | MAC Available from Digital Anarchy, 3D Assistants ($199) is a collection of keyframe assistants that enable After Effects designers to manipulate and arrange layers in 3D space. The company also offers Gradient!, a $49 application that enables users to create 16-bit, 6-color gradients within After Effects. Because the position and transparency of each color is a separate control, users can use expressions to control and animate the gradients.
Houdini Select features the modeling, animation, texturing, shading, and Mantra rendering tools found in the full version of Side Effects Software's Houdini. The company will also introduce two new applications at Siggraph, a stand-alone compositing program, and a character animation tool. Houdini Select starts at $1299.
Siggraph booth number not available yet.
Side Effects Software; www.sidefx.com
The next LightWave
Win | MAC Key among the new features in NewTek's LightWave 7.5 are Sliders, which provide a faster and easier way to control animatable objects. Users can create their own slider banks to facilitate character animation and the creation of lighting rigs. Also new is the Expression Builder, which provides a collection of customizable expressions as well as online and software-based assistance. The software also boasts new and enhanced tools for character animation, lighting, and rendering. In addition, the software ships with a duo-dongle, allowing users to have a single license for both Windows and Mac machines. Retail price is $1595.
Entropy for 3ds max
Win Exluna's Entropy is a rendering system based partially on the company's freeware product, Blue Moon Rendering Tools (BMRT). Unlike BMRT, Entropy has a new and unique architecture, allowing for high-quality rendering of complex scenes. At SIGGRAPH, Exluna plans to launch a version of Entropy specifically for Discreet's 3ds max. Tentatively called Entropy Pro max, the software will sell for less than $1000.
The Brazil Rendering System from SplutterFish is a fully integrated high-end rendering suite for Discreet's animation software programs 3ds max and Autodesk Viz. The rendering system is used in the creation of feature film, commercial broadcast, and visualization projects. The Brazil toolkit features an easy-to-use interface that integrates with existing production environments to provide artists with a natural workflow. Its extensible rendering architecture is suited to heavy-duty production environments where a high level of photorealism is required. Brazil r/s also handles stylized animation and cartoon-style NPR renderings. The price is unavailable.
Booth #8062 (Discreet)
New version of 3ds max
Win 3ds max 5, the latest version of Discreet's modeling, animation, and rendering software, offers new floating licensing options, Spline IK, a Dope Sheet Editor, and a new character-based animation system. In addition, new rendering solutions for max 5 include radiosity, toon shading, area light shadows, and a method for simulating high-resolution scenes on low-resolution geometry. Also new from Discreet are character studio 4, which features Quaternion function curves and a non-linear animation mixer; plasma, a 3D Web-design application; and new versions of flame, inferno, flint, and combustion. Prices not available.
With Singular Inversions' Internet-based FaceGen Photo Service, users can turn standard consumer-camera images into 3D face models and then morph the models by age, race, and gender as well as export them to various formats, complete with animation morphs. Just send the company a front and one or two side photos of the face you want modeled, and the company will use its face statistics technology to reconstruct the face. In a few days the company will return a FaceGen format file of the face, which you can then edit, if desired, using the company's FaceGen Modeler software. With the FaceGen authoring tools, you can create random faces of any age, race, or gender, and export them with any mesh density, mesh structure, or UV layout. Prices not available.
Singular Inversions; www.facegen.com
Win | MAC | LINUX Previously named Filmbox, Kaydara's MotionBuilder 4.0 real-time 3D character animation software features a newly redesigned drag-and-drop interface as well as several additional new features. Some of these include automatic character rigging; motion retargeting, which enables animators to use diverse motion data in one animation environment; a lip-synchronization tool that uses Kaydara's Voice Reality phoneme-extraction technology to create lip-sync in real time; and real-time display. Base price is $3495.
Eovia enhances Carrara
Win | MAC Several new features highlight the release of Carrara Studio 2, Eovia's modeling, animation, rendering, and special effects application. For instance, with the software's Photon Maps feature, users can compute the global illumination of an entire 3D scene, adding such rendering features as Phong shading, reflection, refraction, radiosity, caustics, area light emitters, sky dome illumination, and environment illumination. The new version also features tools for bones and skinning as well as for subdivision modeling. Carrara Studio sells for $399.
Eovia Corp.; www.eovia.com
Win | LINUX | IRiX Massive, the behavioral animation system that Weta used to create digital extras in The Lord of the Rings, will soon be available for commercial purchase. Massive can be used to generate tens of thousands of 3D characters, or agents, in a scene. Each agent can respond to its environment and to other agents through the use of an AI brain that the user can design from scratch or assemble from prebuilt models. The brains can produce procedural motion, control the motion-blending engine, and modify the resultant motion to provide capabilities such as terrain adaptation and aiming of weapons. The price is unavailable.
Massive Ltd.; www.massivesoftware.com
Creating victory gardens
Win WorldBuilder 3.0 from Digital Element provides a variety of tools for generating realistic 3D outdoor landscapes and animations for use in movies, games, landscape architecture, and design applications. New features in version 3.0 include a streamlined user interface; the Variator, a tool for creating random plants, trees, rocks, and skies; improved rendering, which can closely emulate the look of live-action film and which supports translucency and anti-aliasing; OpenGL support; and an Undo/Redo feature. The company also offers Aurora, a Photoshop plug-in for creating cloud effects, skies, and water. WorldBuilder comes in a Professional and a Standard version, retailing for $999 and $399, respectively. Aurora, for the PC or Mac, sells for $149.
Digital Element; www.digi-element.com
New version of Avid|DS HD
A new Media Composer-style interface, enhanced conform capabilities, and broader support for Avid Unity MediaNet are some of the features in the new Avid|DS HD v6. Scheduled for release in the SIGGRAPH timeframe, Avid|DS HD v6 comes with 40 minutes of uncompressed HD capacity and starts at $190,000.
Avid Technology; www.avid.com
Eye on Eyeon
Eyeon Software has announced Version 4 of its Digital Fusion compositing software. The ninth major release of Digital Fusion, Version 4 boasts such features as full floating-point pixels and image processing, a new real-time caching system with instant playback for effects and sequence generation, and an advanced tracking module with unlimited tracking points and motion predication. It also includes a new grid warping tool, integrated scripting, new tool groupings and macro tools for creating custom processes, and auto-roto, an automatic rotoscoping tool that fits splines around subjects and images to track them throughout a sequence. Price not available.
Eyeon Software; www.eyeonline.com
Maya and StudioTools enhanced
Win | MAC | LINUX | IRiX Alias|Wavefront has announced a new version of Maya that will feature integrated fluids technology, among other new tools. No additional details were available at press time. Also new from A|W is StudioTools 10, which includes 2D integrated paint as well as new modeling, interactive visualization, and CAD integration features. Prices not available.
Interactive multimedia presentations
Win With Anark Studio, artists and developers can produce interactive multimedia presentations featuring broadcast-quality, full-motion graphics and real-time playback. The authoring software, available from Anark Corp., enables users to create complex motion graphics and keyframe animation, map multiple videos directly onto 2D and 3D objects, and integrate a variety of graphics, video, and audio formats. Features new to Version 1.5 include a stand-alone player and improved ease of use. The software costs $995.
Anark Corp.; www.anark.com
New effects from Adobe
Win | MAC After Effects 5.5 editing and effects software from Adobe Systems features Zacwerks 3D Invigorator, an effects palette, color correction, and support for Mac OS X.
The new 3D Capturor II line of digitizers from InSpeck features a FireWire data transfer that eliminates the use of a frame grabber card, and enables users to connect the digitizer directly into their laptops. The series also offers mega-pixel capabilities to result in better textures and geometry resolution. In fact, the company says the product can digitize hair and display models with a resolution of up to 0.3mm. Price unavailable.
3D printer system
3D Systems has announced the InVision si2 3-D Printer System. 3D Systems' products utilize patented technologies that create physical objects from digital input. Additional details on its forthcoming InVision si2 system, along with pricing information, were unavailable at press time.
3D Systems; www.3dsystems.com
3D laser scanner
With the Surphaser 3D scanner from Surphaser, users can produce complete 3D models that describe both the geometry and the color of the object being scanned. A laser-based, single-line-of-sight system, Surphaser uses phase-shift ranging to digitize any arbitrary form. Applications include reverse engineering, rapid prototyping, mold verification, non-contact inspection, and surface inspection. Surphaser Model 25 sells for $35,000.
Surphaser, a subsidiary of Basis Software;
Spatial 3D display
According to Actuality Systems, its Perspecta spatial visualization platform enables 360-degree visualization and collaboration. Based on Mesa, an open source graphics library similar to OpenGL, the Perspecta platform supports a range of molecular and MCAD applications. The product sells for $40,000; academic discounts are available.
Elumens Corp. has expanded its VisionStation family of hemispherical display systems with the VisionStation 1280. Each VisionStation comes with a projector, a 1.5-meter hemispherical screen, and various software packages, including one for image stitching. Applications include training and simulation, as well as product design and presentation. Price not available.
Elumens Corp.; www.elumens.com
3D viewing without the glasses
StereoGraphics' SynthaGram Autostereo 3D display, powered by DDD's TriDef 3D System, enables 3D video content to be shown in 3D, without glasses. A 23-inch version featuring 1600 by 1200 resolution, a 500:1 contrast ratio, and 250 cd/m2 brightness sells for $8500. An 18-inch version featuring 1280 by 1024 resolution, 300:1 contrast ratio, and 235 cd/m2 brightness costs $5000.
DDD Group Plc, www.ddd.com
A bird in the hand
A plug-and-play tracker with a USB interface, Ascension Technology's new Nest of Birds features four sensors that simultaneously track the location of arms, heads, bodies, or objects in real time. Because the product uses DC magnetic tracking technology, the company says measurements are five times less susceptible to distortions from nearby metals than AC magnetic trackers. A dual-extended range transmitter option is available for wider coverage of up to 12 by 14 feet. The system sells for $7549.
Win HP's x4000 workstations are being bundled with a variety of digital content creation programs, such as Alias|Wavefront's Maya, Discreet's 3ds max and combustion, Softimage XSI 2.0, Kaydara's Filmbox, Silicon Grail's Rayz, and Side Effects Software's Houdini. Hp is also showcasing a turnkey 2D cartooning system that features an HP x1100 workstation running Toon Boom. An additional bundle features a multimedia production system that includes Adobe Systems' Premiere, After Effects 5.5, and a workstation with DVD+RW drive, a camera, and a printer.
Outside the BOXX
Win The new single and dual AMD and Intel versions of Boxx's 3DBoxx workstations and RenderBoxx rendering systems feature an enhanced system architecture optimized for use with software such as 3ds max, Maya, Softimage, and LightWave 3D. In fact, the company says its new RenderBoxx F3 rendering system includes new system architecture optimized for rapid rendering with a next-generation PCI-X I/O, large memory capacity, enhanced Serverworks GC-LE, and hyperthreading technology to boost rendering performance. Boxx also offers HDBoxx, a Windows-based HD system featuring support for Panasonic's variable frame rate format and offering 10- and 8-bit YUV and 8-bit RGB support as well as the ability to render a 1-second uncompressed 1080i dissolve in 2.4 seconds. The HDBOXX also supports all HD and SD formats, including 16:9 aspect ratios and 2K film resolution. Prices not available.
Boxx Technologies; www.boxxtech.com
SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc, manufactures a line of servers, including the SGI Media Servers, and the MIPS and Irix-based Origin 200, 300, 2000, and 3000 series. Visualization systems from the company include the SGI Reality Center, with immersive visualization for groups of two to 200 people, and the InfiniteReality3 graphics systems paired with SGI's Onyx systems. The company also manufactures Irix and Windows-based workstations, and storage systems. Prices vary according to configuration.
Booth # 13063