Products - 5/05 - Part 1
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 5 (May 2005)

Products - 5/05 - Part 1

Adobe Systems has upgraded its Creative Suite to Version 2, and added a number of new tools in the process.

Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium Edition comprises Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, and Acrobat 7.0 Professional, as well as Version Cue CS2. New to the product bundle is Adobe Bridge, a visual file browser that integrates with each program in the suite, offers a choice of views for organizing and previewing files, and provides access to Adobe Stock Photos, a new stock photography service offering royalty-free imagery from Photodisc by Getty Images, Comstock Images by Jupitermedia, Digital Vision, and others.

Creative Suite Premium Edition is priced at $1199, whereas the Standard Edition, which does not include GoLive and Acrobat, costs $899. Users of Creative Suite and Photoshop are eligible for upgrade pricing (details are available via the company’s Web site). Scheduled to ship in May in the US and Canada, Adobe Creative Suite 2 is compatible with Mac OS X Versions 10.2.8 through 10.3.8, Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4, Windows XP with Service Pack 1 or 2, and Java Runtime Environment 1.4.1. -CEH

AGEIA Technologies has upgraded its NovodeX Physics SDK middleware physics engine, as well as unveiled the new PhysX chip.

For the creation of dynamic physical environments on major game platforms, the NovodeX Physics SDK is a multithreaded/asynchronous physics API designed to benefit the game development process with increased realism and interactive gameplay. It includes a rigid-body solver, collision detection, real-time fluids, and smart particle systems. The NovodeX SDK supports multiprocessor PCs and gaming systems, platforms with hardware physics acceleration, and AGEIA’s PhysX chip, reported to be the industry’s first physics processing unit (PPU).

The PhysX chip, AGEIA’s first release in the new category of PPU semiconductors, is a dedicated physics chip for use in next-generation game platforms. Its ability to perform physics simulations in real time ensures faster responses to gamer actions and pervasive interactive reality environments. Offering game developers hardware-accelerated physics, the PhysX chip features universal collision detection, rigid-body and soft-body dynamics, fluid dynamics, clothing simulation, soft-body deformation with tearing, smart particle systems, and brittle fracturing. -CEH

Autodesk’s latest release, Toxik, is compositing software designed for the creation, management, and sharing of feature-film visual effects.

Targeted at film studio and postproduction professionals, Toxik sports a collaborative engine that automates data management and simplifies complex work flows in which multiple artists contribute visual effects to a single scene or production. At the same time, its node-based procedural compositing system provides advanced animation capabilities and tracking, keying, color correction, and rotoscoping functionality.

At Toxik’s core are Ultra High Resolution Interaction and High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI) technologies, lending to the rapid display and manipulation of large imagery (including 4k, 8k, and 21k+ files). The application also incorporates the company’s Suave software renderer, Touch UI gestural user interface, and Reaction 3D environment for interactive compositing. Moreover, its modular architecture, API, and Python scripting enable the automation of individual processes and customization of internal work flows.

Demonstrated publicly for the first time at NAB2005 in Las Vegas, Autodesk Toxik 1.0 is shipping now for Microsoft Windows operating systems and is designed to take advantage of Intel-based workstations and Nvidia Quadro FX graphics cards. North American pricing for a single Toxik creative seat, with supporting collaboration infrastructure, is $9000. -CEH

In the article “DNA’s Disk Storage Ensures Quality Effects for The Aviator” (April, pg. 36), a segment describing the work performed by Digital Neural Axis studio should have included the following information: DNA produced a total of 68 visual effects shots for the film The Aviator. Two shots were in the H-1 scene, which re-created Howard Hughes’s record-breaking 1935 flight of the H-1 racer. Some of the work included compositing greenscreen footage of two extras with binoculars onto a background plate already composed of landscape imagery and an RC model of the H-1 plane.