ATI Technologies has debuted its FireGL X3-256 workstation graphics accelerator for the digital content creation and previsualization markets.
Offering a 30-percent increase in performance over previous FireGL products, the FireGL X3-256 sports 256mb of GDDR3 memory, 12 pixel pipelines, six geometry engines, and improved sub-pixel precision. Also included are dual DVI connectors, dual link support for 9-megapixel displays, and stereo 3D capabilities with quad-buffered support.
Now shipping, ATI's FireGL X3-256 carries a suggested price of $1099. —Courtney E. Howard
ATI Technologies; www.ati.com
Corel has announced Painter IX, an updated version of its Natural-Media painting and illustration software.
Now available, Painter IX provides creative professionals—including en-tertainment artists, commercial designers, fine artists, and photographers—with various digital brushes, art materials, and textures with which to create art. In collaboration with Apple, Intel, and AMD, Corel increased the application's overall speed and performance, resulting in brush speeds between two and 10 times faster than in the previous version. At the same time, its new welcome screen, brush control pal-ettes, customizable short keys, and multi-user support lend to increased efficiency.
Among Painter IX's animation tools are Onion Skinning, Rotoscoping, control over frames per second, and the ability to output animated GIFs, QuickTime movies, and AVI movies.
The new Artists' Oil Painting System incorporates four components: oil brushes, colors based on the color measurements of real-world paints, a Mixer palette with artists' oils and a multicolor eyedropper, and control over the amount of oil, viscosity, blend, bristling, clumpiness, and more. The new system enables each brush dab to hold a finite amount of oil; as the oil runs out, the brush stroke becomes fainter. Time-savings can be had through Painter's new Snap-to-Path Painting utility, which constrains a brush stroke to a path or shape, and Quick Clone for transforming a photo to a painting. Also included in Version 9 are seven KPT filters, including KPT Gel, Goo, LensFlare, Lightning, Pyramid Paint, Reaction, and ShapeShifter.
Available for Mac OS X and Windows 2000 and XP operating systems, Corel Painter IX is priced at $429 for the full version, $229 as an upgrade, and $99 for the education edition. —CEH
Curious Labs has begun shipping Shade 7, a 3D graphics suite targeted at designers, illustrators, and architects.
Curious Labs' Shade 7 offers Bezier modeling tools, Boolean modeling, polygon mesh modeling, and auto-smoothing of curves. Its PoserFusion enables the hosting and playback of Poser scenes within Shade, whereas MagicalSketch automatically creates shapes from 2D lines and 3D solids, and ShadeExplorer aids users in the management of Shade data, files, and images. Shade's TextEffector supports TrueType, PostScript Type 1, extrude, and bevel support, and its global illumination renderer boasts Photon Mapping and Path Tracing. Moreover, the latest version enables automatic keyframe creation and the importation of 2D illustrator designs.
In addition to raytracing and radiosity capabilities, Shade 7 includes network rendering, a render queue, and support for unlimited nodes. Shade 7 can integrate with popular 2D and 3D programs, including the company's Poser and Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop.
Shade 7 is available in three editions. Priced at $999, Shade 7 Profes-sional provides design and architecture professionals with modeling, lighting, and rendering tools, whereas Shade 7 Standard benefits designers, illustrators, and graphic artists and boasts limited-time launch pricing of $199. Lastly, Shade 7 Designer LE is targeted at aspiring designers and carries a $99 price tag. —CEH
Curious Labs; www.curiouslabs.com
Wacom Technology has introduced its new Intuos3 family of professional pen tablets.
For designers, artists, and digital photographers, the Intuos3 tablets offer improvements over previous Intuos models, lending to increased productivity. Wacom has infused the Intuos3 pen tablets with a new industrial design having a high-gloss, transparent surface and twice the resolution of past incarnations, taking it to 5080 lines per inch. Moreover, the Intuos3 tablet is accompanied by a new software bundle, complete with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2, Corel Painter Essentials 2, and Nik Color Efex Pro 2 IE.
Its redesigned Grip Pen sports a larger rubber barrel for increased comfort, whereas the battery-free mouse boasts five programmable buttons and a scroll wheel. Although the onboard ExpressKeys default to Control, Alt, Shift, and Spacebar keyboard modifiers, these timesaving utilities can be customized for quick access to often-used modifiers, mouse clicks, keystrokes, and other operations. Also developed to speed work flow, Intuos3's Touch Strips aid users in quickly and easily zooming or scrolling as they work.
Wacom's Intuos3 pen tablets require a USB port and the Windows or Macintosh platform. The Intuos3 family of pen tablets spans three different sizes having active areas of 4x5, 6x8, and 9x12 inches and priced at $200, $330, and $450, respectively. —CEH
Wacom Technology; www.wacom.com