WinMac Version 3.0 of Twixtor, the image-sequencing plug-in from RE:Vision Effects, offers new options to users working with problematic footage. The latest version removes ambiguities in the motion of multiple objects, and is able to specify up to three foreground layers. Users can also employ up to 12 tracking points to help guide Twixtor Pro's motion estimation. With the product's tracking points, users can direct Twixtor with regard to where a pixel moves from one frame to the next in order to guide the calculation of motion vectors. Users can set the position of each point in each frame by hand, and these points can be positioned from frame to frame using the host application's point-tracking features. Twixtor 3.0 is available as a plug-in for Adobe Systems' After Effects, Discreet's combustion, Apple's Final Cut Pro, Adobe Systems' Premiere, and Pinnacle Systems' Commotion. The regular version costs $330 and Twixtor Pro is $595. Twixtor Pro is also available for $795 as a plug-in for Apple's Shake.
Win Canopus Corp.'s Edius is a new nonlinear editing platform for users of the company's DVRex RT and DVStorm editing systems. The Edius software offers multiple video and audio tracks, multiple graphics and title layers, the ability to transition between multiple video tracks, voice-over recording, and more. The product's graphical user interface allows for workspace customization and features dual- or single-preview windows, drop-down definable buttons for a less-cluttered desktop, time code and audio level overlay displays, and windows including timeline, effect selector, and real-time waveform and vectorscope. The cost of the software is $599.
Linux eyeon Software has released a Linux version of its flagship 2D/3D compositing application, Digital Fusion 4. According to the company, the Linux version of DF4 provides all the tools, features, and functionality offered by the pre-existing Windows version. Both Digital Fusion 4 and Digital Fusion 4 Linux cost $4995.
Mac CineWave 4 from Pinnacle Systems is a hardware and software system that works with Apple's Final Cut Pro 4 video and film editing software to extend the product's postproduction capabilities. New features include expanded real-time effects in various formats, enhanced HD support, film support, and increased audio handling. Details of the new support capabilities include the handling of real-time capture from both SD and HD sources at popular frame rates; real-time effects for DV, PhotoJPEG, 8, 10 and 16-bit uncompressed sources in the same timeline while maintaining video out; and real-time keyframeable time remap for slow motion and fast motion effects. The cost of CineWave 4 is $3995.
The new SDBoxx from Boxx Technologies is a desktop video editing system that incorporates both the Wildblue AV card from Bluefish444 and Premiere 6.5 digital video editing software from Adobe Systems. The SDBoxx is based on Intel Xeon processors and comes with up to 12gb of dual-channel 266mhz DDR memory. The system has an 8X AGP Pro 50 graphics port and a dual-channel UltraDMA 100 IDE controller. The included Wildblue AV is an uncompressed 10-bit standard-definition SD-SDI professional editing card that uses high-quality standard-definition video input and output with uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 SD-SDI and 10-bit YCbrCr video capture and output. Prices start at $8600 and vary according to configuration.
WinMac Linux 2d3's 3D camera matchmoving software, boujou, is now available for the Mac OS X operating environment as well as for Windows and Linux. Version 2.1 is, according to the company, several times faster than previous versions, more reliable, and better able to track more shots in the first pass. Version 2.1 has an enhanced work flow, and users can employ the product's Target Tracks, Gold Tracks, locator, matte painting, lens-distortion correction, and other features to achieve optimal results from challenging tracking terrains. The new version adds support for import formats including MOV, AVI, Cineon, JPG, PGM, PPM, Softimage PIC, SGI, TGA, PNG and TIF. Camera path and 3D geometry can be exported directly to industry-standard animation applications, while 2D tracks can be exported to products such as Shake. Price is unavailable.
MODELING AND ANIMATION
Win Effect 3D Studio from Reallusion enables the quick and easy creation of 3D animated graphics that can be added to presentations, Web sites, and email messages. Users can develop animated 3D text messages simply by typing in text, and create animated graphics by following prompts from the program's Creation Wizard. Effect 3D Studio also offers 750 pre-made 3D images that can be edited for surface and lighting. Finished animations can be exported as AVI, animated GIF, or BMP and JPG sequence files. Still images can be exported as well in BMP, JPG, or GIF format. Effect 3D Studio costs $99.95.
WinLinux Softimage has announced Version 1.1 of its behavior animation tool Softimage|Behavior. The program allows users to quickly create "intelligent" characters and to choreograph realistic 3D animated crowds of people, animals, or objects that can respond to objects and other characters in their environment. Version 1.1 features support for Linux and also comes with many enhancements to the API, making integration with a variety of 3D production pipelines easier. The cost is $14,995.
Win Snoswell Design's Absolute Character Tools: Modeling Tool Set (ACT-MTS) for Discreet's 3ds max modeling and animation software is now available online through Turbo Squid. ACT-MTS enables modelers to create characters quickly, and also to create a large amount of detail for characters. It can be used for all stages of character modeling, including the sculpting of models in real time with muscles. The software also allows detailed musculature and skin inflections to be added to existing models. ACT-MTS is a set of plug-ins for 3ds max that includes ACT-MTS primitives, utilities for editing new ACT-MTS primitives through cgXSectionEditor, and skin deformation modifiers. The price of ACT-MTS is $345.
The Vicon Motion Tracker for VR is an optical motion-tracking system designed specifically for virtual reality, augmented reality, and object-tracking environments. The new system uses reflective markers and high-speed, high-resolution cameras to simulate interaction with 3D virtual reality graphics and input devices. It also incorporates strobe-based technology to rapidly and accurately track the motion and position of a user's head (or glasses), hands, wands, and pointers by capturing light reflected from attached spherical markers. With the Vicon Motion Tracker for VR, users can capture single or multiple subjects in large environments simultaneously, tracking hundreds of markers on multiple independent targets. Price is not available.
WinMac Panorama Technologies Corp., a developer of virtual tour software, has announced Version 3.0 of Panoweaver, a package that allows users to create panoramas from "fish-eye" photographic images. With Panoweaver, users stitch together images to create a spherical or cubic panoramic image that can be viewed with Web-based viewers such as PTViewer, QuickTime VR, Real time VR, and VRML. Panoweaver is licensed on a per-computer basis.
Interactive Multimedia Solutions has introduced IMS CharacterGenerator Studio, an animation tool for Macromedia's Director MX that allows users to easily incorporate talking characters into Web, CD-ROM, DVD, and other multimedia applications. The product also works with Macromedia Director Shockwave Studio 8.5. Users can create talking characters from within the Director authoring environment by selecting a prerecorded sound file, analyzing the file, and publishing directly to the active Director movie. The animations are rendered in Macromedia's Shockwave player. The IMS voice-to-animation engine then automatically creates the corresponding facial animation sequence for the character. CharacterGenerator Studio costs $695.
Interactive Multimedia Solutions