Product Spotlight - 7/05
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 7 (July 2005)

Product Spotlight - 7/05

NaturalMotion has revealed that it will demonstrate the latest version of its Endorphin real-time 3D character animation software during SIGGRAPH 2005 in Los Angeles.

Endorphin Version 2.5 employs Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS), NaturalMotion’s proprietary Adap-tive Behavior technology for the production of interactive, self-animating 3D characters. That is, with DMS, 3D characters generate realistic movements that are said to be unique each time.

Version 2.5 includes new Adaptive Behaviors, such as balancing, and dynamic modulation of animation data, designed to aid animators and visual effects artists in animating characters in less time than required using traditional keyframe or motion-capture techniques. Animators also now have the option of repurposing animation data with endorphin’s dynamic manipulation tools, translating to further time-savings.

Endorphin 2.0, launched during the Game Developers Conference in March 2005, is priced at $12,795 in the US.- Courtney E. Howard

Microsoft has announced the availability of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, its latest operating system. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, targeting those pushing the limits of today’s 32-bit applications, is designed to increase performance, reliability, and flexibility. The new OS supports a maximum 128gb of physical RAM and 16 tb of virtual memory. Compatible with new 64-bit and existing 32-bit applications, Windows x64’s improved floating-point performance and memory support aid professionals in DCC, 3D animation, video editing, and visual effects. Acer, Alienware, Dell, FSC, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, IBM, and NEC are offering Windows x64 pre-installed on servers and workstations.

Also making its debut recently, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system boasts a sleek design with a wireless controller and a choice of interchangeable faceplates with which to personalize the console. The Xbox 360 incorporates a three-core PowerPC-based CPU, a custom ATI graphics processor, more than 512mb of memory, and greater than 1 teraflop of system floating-point performance. Also featured is built-in support for progressive-scan DVD movie, CD music, and photo playback; MP3 players, digital cameras, and Windows XP-based PCs can connect via the system’s USB 2.0 port. By linking the Xbox 360 with a broadband connection, users can reap the benefits of Xbox Live Silver service with no monthly service charge.

Microsoft XNA software development tools, combined with the latest Xbox console, enable game developers to create more realistic and believable characters, worlds, and experiences. During its unveiling on MTV, the Xbox 360 was demonstrated with games designed for high-definition, wide-screen televisions, such as Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 06 and Need for Speed Most Wanted, THQ’s Saints Row, and several titles from Microsoft Game Studios. - CEH

Hewlett-Packard has introduced the HP xw4300 workstation, which takes advantage of the new dual-core Intel Pentium D processor.

An entry-level system starting at $849, the HP xw4300 is designed to offer up to a 20 percent performance increase with multi-threaded applications, such as those employed by digital content creation and video-editing professionals. The new release is based on Intel’s Pentium D 840 dual-core processor at 3.2ghz and single-core Pentium 4 with speeds of 2.8 ghz to 3.8 ghz.

HP’s latest workstation also benefits from the Intel 955X Express chipset, PCI Express x16 graphics, and either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional. It sports up to 8gb of memory capacity, dual-channel DDR2 667 mhz memory bandwidth, and integrated Serial ATA 3Gb/sec RAID functionality. HP’s Perfor-mance Tuning Frame-work, tool-less chassis, and quiet fan technology further complement the new xw4300 workstation. - CEH

Maxon Computer has unveiled 64-bit versions of the company’s 3D animation software, Cinema 4D.

Cinema 4D has been optimized for today’s 64-bit processors, enabling users to benefit from increased memory and speed. In fact, its previous 2gb memory limit has been expanded to 1 tb (or 1024 gb) of RAM, and rendering speeds are improved by a factor of up to 20 percent. Increased memory capacity and bandwidth free digital content creators from concern over object size, the num-ber of objects in a scene, shader settings, texture sizes, particle systems, and multi-pass rendering.

Compatible with Windows and Macintosh operating systems, Cinema 4D is priced at $695 for the full version. Registered users of Cinema 4D Revision 9 are eligible for a no-cost upgrade to the 64-bit version. A free demo version and an upgrade to Revision 9.1 also are available on the company’s Web site at - CEH

Boxx Technologies has unveiled its GoBoxx 2300 mobile workstation designed for digital media and content creation applications.

The new system is powered by an Intel Pentium 4 processor with HT technology, up to 3.8ghz, and an 800 mhz system bus. The GoBoxx 2300 also features a 17-inch 1920x1200 (WUXGA) resolution GlassView Active Matrix display, a choice of Nvidia Quadro FX Go 1400 or GeForce Go 6800 Ultra graphics cards, and compatibility with popular applications from Adobe, Alias, Avid, Autodesk, NewTek, and Softimage. Dual-channel DDR2 memory, four DIMM slots with support for up to 4 gb of memory, and a maximum 200 gb of internal RAID-capable storage further benefit DCC professionals.

The company also introduced its 7400 Series workstations, well suited to 2D and 3D graphics, visual simulation, and digital video and audio postproduction. The workstations feature dual-core AMD Opteron 200 Series processors and dual Nvidia nForce Professional 2050 and 2200 processors. Capable of 32- and 64-bit computing, the new series offers dual PCI Express x16 slots, Nvidia SLI technology, and Boxx’s dual PCI-E x16 implementation. - CEH