A Magic Bullet
Red Giant Software, publisher of professional digital video tools, including Magic Bullet and Knoll Light Factory, has announced free software updates for professionals using Intel and PowerPC Macs or running Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Xpress Pro, or Avid Media Composer software. Magic Bullet Editors 2.1 and Knoll Light Factory 2.5.1 are now compatible with Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs using Final Cut Pro 5.1. The standard engine is updated to support Intel processors under Mac OS X, and the render speed should be similar to Power Mac systems. Magic Bullet Editors 2.1 and Knoll Light Factory 2.5.1 also provide compatibility for Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 and Media Composer 2 customers on Mac OS X. These Avid updates are only for PowerPC-based Mac systems. A new update will be available when Avid releases new versions compatible with Intel-based Mac systems.
Red Giant Software; www.redgiantsoftware.com
E frontier America has released Anime Studio 5, a 2D animation and cartoon creation software offering. Anime Studio employs a "bone rigging" system common of 3D graphics software, designed to streamline the animation workflow, reduce production time, and save money by requiring a smaller team of animators than normally used in animation. The software’s manipulation and drawing tools can be used with digital photos to create cutout animations similar to those found on Jibjab.com and SouthParkStudios.com. Anime Studio also enables the importation of drawings, movies, and sounds to create quality, entertaining animations. Anime Studio was previously known as Moho, and has been used in the animation community by professionals and studios to create feature films, short films, and commercials. Anime Studio will be available for $49.99 and Anime Studio Pro for $199.99.
E frontier; www.e-frontier.com
Tiger Technology, developer of storage area networking (SAN) and workgroup management software solutions, has announced StoneGate. The new solution is a virtual file system that enables raw image sequences stored on an Autodesk Media and Entertainment Stone file system to be manipulated using standard graphics and animation workstations over a regular LAN connection. StoneGate takes advantage of the Wiretap API to convert the hierarchical structure of the Stone’s Clip Library into a virtual file system that maps as a local drive on the client’s workstation. Users can remotely browse multiple machines, volumes, projects, libraries, and clip folders to access the individual frames. These are exposed as standard graphic files (RAW, BMP, TIFF, DPX, and Cineon) that can be read or written using standard graphics, animation, paint, editing, and compositing applications, such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and Autodesk Combustion. StoneGate will begin shipping this month for Windows, with support for Mac OS X scheduled for early 2007. The product is priced at $995.
Tiger Technology; www.tiger-technology.com
A Bite of the Apple
Graphisoft has announced that Archicad 10, the latest version of its Virtual Building modeling technology, now supports Apple Macintosh OS X running on the new Intel Core processor platform. Graphisoft Archicad is designed to help users design more creatively, analyze earlier, generate documentation rapidly, and efficiently coordinate projects both internally and externally.
Autodesk has announced improvements to its Autodesk DirectConnect family of translators and Autodesk ImageStudio, a rendering software. An update to Autodesk DirectConnect software is now available for download from the product center section of the Autodesk Web site, www.autodesk.com/directconnect. The release features improvements to the DirectConnect tool, enabling faster and more robust data translation and enhanced data fidelity. DirectConnect is a family of data translators that aid users in importing CAD data into other Autodesk software applications.
Meanwhile, Autodesk ImageStudio 3.0.1: An update to Autodesk ImageStudio 3.0 software is now available for download from the product center section of the Autodesk Web site at www.autodesk.com/imagestudio. ImageStudio is a rendering software tool, used to create high-quality rendered images of 3D files created in Autodesk AliasStudio or complementary CAD applications. This update provides improvements to QuickTime movie rendering, image-based lighting environments, as well as enhanced importing of AliasStudio wire files with embedded images.
On the GridIron
GridIron Software has announced the availability of GridIron Nucleo Pro, designed to optimize the workflow for visual effects artists working in Adobe After Effects on multi-processor and multi-core computers. Nucleo Pro, an After Effects plug-in (After Effects 7 is required), introduces the concept of rendering and working at the same time, while maximizing the full use of all available CPU resources. Nucleo Pro enables users to render as they work with Spec Preview and Spec Render; push the render to the background using the new Background Render Queue and continue working in After Effects or any other application; and commit layers to disk to have Nucleo Pro render only the specified layers. GridIron Nucleo Pro sells for $395.
GridIron Software; www.gridironsoftware.com
Let the Data Flow
Intelligent Light, in addressing the need to post-process and visualize data generated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applications, has introduced FieldView Version 11.1. FieldView has been updated with new capabilities and functionality to deliver scalable post-processing performance to users of multi-CPU/multi-core workstations, large shared-memory systems, and cluster computing environments. New data analysis, automation, and data reading capabilities are also a part of this release. FieldView 11.1 enables in-depth analysis of CFD simulations, while maintaining workflow integration and accessibility. FieldView’s Parallel capabilities achieve speed increases on the order of five times on eight CPUs when post-processing realistic, multi-grid CFD simulations on systems with AMD Opteron processors, reducing turnaround time for simulations. FieldView Parallel capabilities are available for users of multi-CPU/multi-core workstations and HPC server users. FieldView 11.1 will support multi-grid parallel execution on shared-memory systems of up to four processor cores without modification or fees. Also new to this release is support for HP-UX running on Itanium processors. Pricing starts at $2500 for a single-user annual license, for multi-processor Linux, and single-CPU Windows licenses.
Intelligent Light; www.ilight.com
Toshiba’s Digital Products, a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., has introduced the TLP-X3000U LCD projector with 3000 ANSI lumens, designed for mobile professionals, educators, corporate trainers, and small- to midsize businesses. Priced at $1739 and weighing 6.2 pounds, the TLP-X3000U features Toshiba’s Natural Color Enhancer3 (NCE3), which makes presentation colors sharp and vivid. Packaged in a compact form factor, the projector features XGA 1024x768 resolution and a 400:1 contrast ratio. The TLP-X3000U also incorporates a unique security feature: a removable palm-sized control panel on the projector specially designed with a self-assigned password for theft prevention. When the control panel is removed, the projector is no longer operable unless the password is entered on the remote control.
In addition, the TLP-X3000U projector includes composite video and S-video inputs, audio in, and variable audio output capabilities. The special monitor-out capabilities allow users to display and view images on a monitor and screen simultaneously.
Toshiba Digital Products; www.toshiba.com
Diamond Multimedia, a manufacturer of PC graphics cards, sound cards, and communications products, has begun shipping three new versions of its Viper video card line. The new editions include the X1950 CrossFireT, X1950XTX with PCI Express, and X1950PRO in an AGP version. The X1950 high-performance graphics cards produced by Diamond feature the ATI Radeon chip. The cards have tested memory speeds of 450mhz faster than the most recent generation of X1900 cards, to provide an immersive experience.
The X1950 cards are also equipped with the Avivo ATI Technology video and display platform, which enables an HD visual experience and allows for universal connectivity to various digital devices, including home-theater systems, LCD monitors, HD TVs, projectors, and notebooks. In addition, the X1950 cards support HDR with full post-processing capabilities, including anti-aliasing. The X1950 CrossFire and X1950 XTX each ship for the price of $449.
Diamond Multimedia; www.diamondmultimedia.com
Media’s Mac Focus
Media 100 revealed plans to support the new Apple Intel-based Macs. Media 100 HD Suite, Media 100 HDe, Media 100 SDe, and Media 100 sw will be qualified for Intel-based Mac systems in early 2007. The Intel-based Mac development effort is anticipated to increase the overall performance of the Media 100 systems, enhancing editing and graphics creation processes for Media 100 users. Media 100 also plans to maintain backward compatibility with qualified PowerPC-based Mac systems.
Media 100, www.media100.com
Sandio Technology’s 3D Mouse
Sandio Technology, a 3D input company, debuted a new advanced version of its 6DOF 3D mouse. The 3DeePro is a 3D professional mouse designed to improve the productivity of 3D applications. The new version of Sandio’s 3DeePro was developed for professionals who currently use 3D applications, such as Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya, and more. Sandio 3DeePro has been enhanced to aid users in improving their productivity, using the mouse to move along and rotate about x, y, and z axes. 3DeePro is patent-protected, compatible with 2D and 3D PC applications, intuitive, and priced at $100. Sandio also offers an SDK for the 3D mouse that enables application developers to create new images with "6 degrees of freedom (6DOF)" movement.
SGI Files Lawsuit Against ATI
SGI last month filed a patent infringement lawsuit against graphics card manufacturer ATI Technologies in US District Court. In the complaint, SGI asserts that products in ATI’s line of Radeon graphics processors infringe on its US Patent number 6,650,327. As a result, the company seeks unspecified damages and a court-ordered injunction against future infringement, if ATI is found guilty. "The company’s technology covered by the patent is an important resource in achieving enhanced graphics processing demanded by today’s computer systems," stated Dennis McKenna, CEO of SGI, in a press release issued by SGI. "SGI has licensed this technology to ATI’s major competitors, and SGI intends to aggressively protect and enforce its IP." SGI delivers a range of high-performance server and storage solutions for aiding customers in overcoming the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerating breakthrough discoveries. Also last month, SGI announced that it has reorganized and has emerged from Chapter 11 status in less than six months.
Disney Opens Online Submission Portal
Disney Animation (DA) is connecting talent to animation opportunities with the online artistic submission portal. At www.DisneyMouseLink.com, artists can submit their demo reels and/or portfolios through a secure Web-based upload system. DisneyMouseLink.com was developed in-house and allows interested applicants to submit their resumes, demo reels, and/or portfolios. This portal is an industry first that will allow greater connectivity to the artistic community.
To access DisneyMouseLink.com, interested applicants can go to www.DisneyMouseLink.com and create an account using a valid e-mail address. A required submission form is then downloaded, signed, and returned to DA. Upon receipt, a user name, and password is provided via e-mail. Work history, skill sets, and software application precedes the upload window. Currently, the upload system accepts JPG, PDF, and MOV file formats.
"Creating DisneyMouseLink.com is a great service for everyone," says Dawn Rivera-Ernster, director of animation resources for DA. "It allows artists to submit reels and portfolios whenever it is convenient for them, 24/7, with a quick and convenient process. For DA, it allows us immediate access to the incredible global talent pool."
Autodesk Unveils Area Portal
Autodesk has announced a new community portal called Area (www.the-area.com) that allows artists to network with peers and enjoy a repository of 3D content. The content is posted by community members and Autodesk. Area contains tips and tutorials, forums, downloads, a showcase area, member portfolios, and blogs from Autodesk’s product management team.