Product Spotlight - 2/05
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 2 (Feb 2005)

Product Spotlight - 2/05

RealViz has released its latest software program, Stitcher Express 1.0, targeted at multimedia and 3D artists, professional photographers, and other creatives.

Stitcher Express is a stitching solution that takes advantage of the technology in the company’s Stitcher 4.0. In a matter of a few mouse clicks, Stitcher Express 1.0 enables users to create panoramas from a series of digital photographs. Version 1.0 offers support for a variety of digital cameras, interoperability with Adobe Photoshop, and simplified drag, drop, and stitch functionality. Thanks to its compatibility with Quick-Time and flexible export options, users can produce and preview interactive virtual scenes, including full spheres.

Stitcher Express 1.0 streamlines processes with such automatic features as light equalization, panorama alignment, and trimming of panoramas to an optimal size. With Version 1.0, photo-stitching is semi-automatic and offered in a choice of panorama formats, such as cylindrical, spherical, and snapshot. Finally, a Best Ren-dering feature ensures users gain the best-possible output.

Available for Macintosh and Windows platforms, Stitcher Express 1.0 is priced at $119 alone or at $190 bundled with Adobe Photoshop Elements 3. -Courtney E. Howard


During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2005 in Las Vegas last month, ViewSonic presented a new wide-screen professional display targeted at the digital entertainment market.

The 23-inch VP231wb LCD monitor, designed for desktop entertainment and video editing professionals, boasts a screen wide enough for viewing high-definition video content in its native 16:9 format or dual applications side by side. Sporting the company’s ThinEdge ultra-slim, half-inch bezel design, the VP231wb sports 1920x1200 resolution, a 500:1 contrast ratio, and a 16-ms video response time. Its multiple connectivity options include analog VGA, digital DVI with high-definition content protection (HDCP), and an integrated USB 2.0 hub. The wide-screen, HD-ready display, priced at $1899, provides support for HD TV signals, including 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. -CEH


Maker of 3D animation and video products, NewTek recently demonstrated the upcoming 64-bit version of its LightWave 3D software at an exclusive Los Angeles event.

LightWave 64-bit was previewed on an AMD Opteron system, from Boxx Technologies, running the Windows XP Professional x64 Edition beta operating system. An audience of film and television visual effects producers, game developers, and artists were among the first to witness the live demonstration of the 64-bit LightWave beta.

This new version is designed to take advantage of the increased memory afforded by 64-bit systems, in addition to tapping the power of new processors and faster access to RAM. Content creators will benefit from a streamlined work flow, the ability to complete projects in less time, and support for more complex, realistic, and higher-resolution imagery.

Although not yet available for purchase, the 64-bit version of LightWave 3D is now being implemented at a limited number of beta sites. The current version, LightWave 8, is available for Windows and Macintosh systems at a cost of $1595 for the full package and $495 as an upgrade.

The company also announced the availability of the sixth edition of its Texture Collection. This latest addition brings the total number of free textures to 300. The new offering fea-tures 50 high-resolution textures in the categories of Concrete, Nature, Soil, Stone, and Wood. All textures are provided in the .JPG format, and a majority of the textures in the sixth edition boast a resolution of 2304x1728. -CEH


Luxology has announced the availability of Modo 102, the latest version of its 3D modeling software.

The company’s Modo subdivision surface and polygonal mod-eling platform has been upgraded according to feedback received from various professionals, including 3D vendors and customers, beta testers, and top production artists.

Modo 102’s more than 100 new features include an expanded tool set having Bridge, Paste, and Loop Slice Selected functionality; Bend, Element Falloff Distance, and other organic tools; and new UV Sew and Edge Length Data utilities.

The Modo 102 scripting system adds new file and information dialogues, support for the LUA scripting language used by game developers, and a progress meter.

The new UV-to-EPS export script offered in Modo 102 ensures seamless integration with Adobe Photoshop and other software programs used for painting textures and creating texture maps. The Auto-Quad feature aids users in producing a quadrangular polygon from only three vertices, whereas Fix Symmetry repairs asymmetrical mesh edits performed inadvertently. UV selection enhancements and improved integration with Alias’s Maya help round out the newly upgraded application.

Modo 102 is shipping now for Mac OS X and Windows systems at a price of $895; yet, Luxology is offering Modo 102 at a $695 introductory price for a limited time. Existing Modo customers can upgrade at no cost. -CEH


NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America has introduced the NEC MultiSync LCD2335-WXM, the company’s first entry into the wide-format, multifunction display market.

The new model is a 23-inch, multifunction LCD that takes advantage of super-bright panel technology and 1280x768 resolution. Analog VGA and DVI-D PC inputs are accompanied by S-video, component, and composite video inputs. The HDTV-ready display is equipped with such luxury features as integrated multimedia speakers, an analog TV tuner with remote control, and picture-in-picture.

The newest addition to the company’s 35 series of flat-panel monitors, the NEC MultiSync LCD2335WXM is priced at $1199. -CEH