Spotlight - November 2006
Issue: Volume: 29 Issue: 11 (Nov 2006)

Spotlight - November 2006


E frontier Announces Poser 7

E frontier is poised to release Poser 7, the company’s 3D figure design and animation software first introduced in 1995. The release of Poser 7 introduces two new realistic 3D Poser figures, Sydney and Simon. Poser 7 Special Edition, available for a limited period until mid-month, will feature exclusive content of high-fashion formal clothing for the new figures, a complete casino scene with props, a sports car, and many extras that are essential for secret agents working a casino. 

According to Uli Klumpp, director of product development at E frontier, this release is the most significant Poser one to date. Poser 7 will have a combination of new content, features, and improvements that modernizes its foundation. As a result, both the Poser professional and the casual enthusiast will have more robust and powerful 3D figure design and animation software available to them.
Poser 7 Special Edition for Windows and Macintosh versions are available direct from E frontier’s online stores during the limited pre-order promotional period only. Upgrades from previous versions of the software to Poser 7 (including Special Edition) will cost $129.99. New users may order Poser 7 for $249.99.


Eyeon Readies Fusion 5.1

Eyeon Software is set to unveil Fusion 5.1, an upgrade to its Fusion 5.0 compositing software, which the company rolled out a year ago. The upgrade is free of charge to Version 5.0 users.

SIGGRAPH 2006 attendees were provided their first glimpse at 5.1, which offers a plethora of updates. For instance, whereas Fusion 5.0 has the option of importing MotionBuilder FBX geometry, all the elements in a scene were imported as a single object. However, Fusion 5.1 adds the ability to export separate objects, so the components that make up the model can be addressed individually, making it easier for the compositor to isolate elements and generate passes. Enhancements were also made to the locator tool, which now passes scene data and provides a new input on the flow, greatly speeding up the workflow. It will take into account transformation applied to the connected object downstream from the initial location.

Fusion 5.1 also provides artists with two projection modes: a stand-alone projector tool and a projection mode for cameras. A projected image wraps around the geometry and can be used to apply textures to objects or to create pseudo-3D moves with perspective from 2D photographs—an essential technique for creating digital sets and environments. In addition, Fusion 5.1 adds a new per-pixel lighting path for OpenGL. Previously, Fusion used a per-vertex model, which would generate chunky and inaccurate lighting in OpenGL displays and renders.


NextDimension Supports FireGL V5200, V7200 

NextComputing, creator of the first FlexTop computer, has announced the availability of ATI’s FireGL V5200 and FireGL V7200 graphics boards on its NextDimension portable graphics engineering computer. The NextDimension incorporates single- or dual-core AMD Opteron processors with open-standards architecture and advanced storage capabilities to optimize graphical rendering when utilizing any PCI Express card.

ATI’s FireGL V7200 with Avivo Technology is a high-end graphics accelerator for the most demanding workstation users running OpenGL and DirectX-based applications. Featuring full Shader Model 3.0 support and a scalable ultra-threaded architecture with true 128-bit floating-point precision, eight parallel geometry engines, 16 pixel-shader processors, and a 512-bit ring bus memory controller, ATI FireGL V7200 is well suited to animators, engineers, and others requiring high-performance 3D visualization capabilities.

ATI’s FireGL V5200 with Avivo Technology is a mid-range graphics accelerator that provides two dual-link outputs, full Shader Model 3.0 support, and a scalable ultra-threaded architecture with true 128-bit floating-point precision.

The NextDimension from NextComputing, with 64-bit support for multiple operating systems and the power to run industry-leading OpenGL- and DirectX-compliant animation and digital creation applications, is a portable option for complex DCC and CAD applications. The small, briefcase-sized FlexTop allows users requiring the highest performance graphics to replace desktops with a smaller form factor, as well as enables them to pack up the entire system and bring their work anywhere they need to have access.

Pricing is determined by the system configuration.   


TrueSpace Offers Real-Time Collaborative Tools

Caligari has announced Version 7.5 of TrueSpace, reportedly the industry’s first 3D software application to feature real-time collaborative authoring technology.
The new release, which will become available this quarter, will boast several enhancements, including new character animation, modeling, rendering, and collaborative tools, as well as a revamped, simplified UI. According to Caligari, TrueSpace7.5 is the only 3D authoring product on the market to offer all aspects of real-time design, modeling, animation, and rendering within a virtual 3D space shared by remote participants over broadband Internet.  

Version 7.5 will feature a new character animation subsystem, which takes advantage of the new TrueSpace architecture and the latest advances in animation research. The inverse kinematics is style-based, using empirical databases of motion styles to make character manipulation more natural, while providing users access to every keyframable parameter. Users will also be able to blend traditional keyframed clips with new procedural- and physics-based clips to help easily create typically demanding realistic animations.

New modeling capabilities will include a new set of polygon modeling tools in the Player, including a new Material Editor, UV Editor, and a Draw panel with curves.  

Version 7.5 will also include a redesigned PolyDraw, which can draw on SDS surfaces, advanced snapping and constraints, shrink wrap, and unwrap. True displacement tools will allow users to paint new geometry on the existing surfaces using image brushes.

New rendering features will include much-anticipated hair and fur shaders. Other new V-Ray features will include solid animation support, such as high-quality motion blur, depth of field, post-processing, anisotropic reflections, true displacement mapping, and more.

One of the unique aspects of TrueSpace is a complete set of collaborative tools, including private user-shared spaces and new integrated communications tools.

TrueSpace 7.5 will ship for $595. Free upgrade options will be available.