Character Animation Technologies Ltd. has unveiled Version 2 of its CAT (Character Animation Toolkit) plug-in for Autodesk Media and Entertainment’s 3ds Max. Designed for game development, film, and television artists, the newly upgraded character system boasts Time Warp curves, for controlling the speed of an animation layer with one spline curve, and a Stretchy Bones mode, in which users can lengthen bones in the viewport and animate the scale of all rig bones. Version 2 also gains a new rig manipulation system with FK/IK, a foot pivot system, support for a greater amount of bones, and the ability to create and edit proxy meshes and save them as rig presets. It also supports the importation of motion data files in HTR, BVH, FBX, and BIP formats. CAT2, now available for 3ds Max, is priced at $995 for new users and $295 as an upgrade.
Character Animation Technologies Ltd.; www.catoolkit.com
RealViz has begun shipping Version 5 of its Stitcher professional-level panorama software, designed for multimedia and 3D artists, photographers, and architects. Stitcher aids users in creating wide-angle panoramas for 3D, film, Web, and print projects, and interoperates well with Adobe Photoshop. Version 5 incorporates a new user interface, a full-screen 3D window, and a fully automatic stitching engine. Other new features include 3D stencils, manual control points, QuickTime VR scripts, a live preview, and render-set and shortcut management tools. Stitcher 5 is priced at $580 for the full version, $250 as an upgrade from Version 4, and $290 for users of earlier editions.
Canopus has previewed its third software codec option for its Edius Pro 3 nonlinear editing solution, the Canopus HQ+. The new software codec is specifically designed for such quality-critical applications as compositing and 3D animation. By way of 4:2:2 color sampling, the HQ+ captures 1920 luma samples and 960 chroma samples per line to produce a 1920x1080i (interlaced) frame, which is said to offer quality comparable to uncompressed HD at roughly 20 percent the data size. The Canopus HQ+ software codec, scheduled to begin shipping this quarter, does not scale the image, and thereby retains the original picture sharpness, contrast, and detail.