Spotlight Aug06
Issue: Volume: 29 Issue: 8 (Aug 2006)

Spotlight Aug06

M O D E L I N G / A N I M AT I O N
Autodesk Unveils Lustre HD Autodesk has expanded its Lustre product line with the addition of Lustre HD, a new digital color-grading system designed for work on high-definition television commercials, programming, and film projects.
Autodesk Lustre HD provides primary and secondary colorcorrection capabilities, and enables the formatting of video deliverables by leveraging the advanced graphics processing unit (GPU) resident in today’s graphics cards. Lustre HD’s GPU-acceleration technology allows real-time media processing, speeding work flow and increasing productivity.
Professional colorists should likewise benefit from Lustre HD’s intuitive and interactive nonlinear work environment, replete with creative tools. Its hierarchical shape system features a schematic view and advanced GMasks for creating softness around shapes, organically blending colors, and simulating natural light falloff. Image tracking, keying, pan, and scan, as well as automatic dust removal, round out the new offering.
Lustre HD enables users to output multiple formats to a videotape recorder via RS-422, such as from 2K to HD formats, without rendering first. It also supports 10-bit HD SDI video output with primary color correction, 3D lookup tables, and animated repositioning and scaling with Lanczos 3-Lobe filtering. Lustre HD sports a new, ergonomic control panel with three configurable sub-panels designed with non-reflective paint and filtered LEDs to reduce unwanted light.
Autodesk Lustre HD, comprising the Lustre HD workstation with video I/O, is available at a starting price of $120,000 in North America. A typical Lustre HD system with the new Autodesk control panel and 1.75TB of 4GB Fibre Channel storage is priced at roughly $170,000 for North American customers.  
Vicon Enhances MX Motion-Capture Systems Vicon has announced hardware en - hancements to its Vicon MX motioncapture solutions that are designed to simplify motion-capture setup with a high number of cameras, automate the simultaneous capture of live-action footage, provide near-infrared (NIR) strobes, and more.
Among the latest improvements is the Vicon MX 20+, a new optical motioncapture camera model capable of fullframe 10-bit grayscale processing and high resolutions of up to 2 million pixels. Vicon also revealed that all its MX cameras and control boxes are now lead-free. Moreover, the company’s new surfacemount NIR strobes illuminate details with twice the power of previous strobes.
Vicon introduced MX Ultranet, a hardware unit that enables users not only to connect up to 245 Vicon MX cameras in a single system, but also sync and support multiple sub-systems and PCs. In addition to offering direct general-purpose input/output, MX Ultranet enables professionals to capture DV/DCam video fully synchronized with motion capture without the need for additional hardware. The company’s MX Sync hardware solution, on the other hand, aids users in syncing motion capture and video capture for applications in which frame-by-frame alignment is critical.  
Avid Technology Ships Software Upgrades Avid is shipping its new Media Composer line with upgraded software, expanded functionality, and a focus on work flow and work group collaboration, made possible through the new Avid Interplay system. The line also benefits from Media Composer Version 2.5, with improved dual-platform functionality, expanded HD capabilities, and support for multiple cameras on OS X.
Avid’s Media Composer family includes Media Composer for $4995, Media Composer with Avid Mojo at $7495, Media Composer Adrenaline for $19,995, and Media Composer Adrenaline with Avid DNxcel at $22,995.
Avid also announced the availability of DS Nitris 8.0, an updated version of the company’s editing and finishing system for SD, HD, and 2K/4K digital intermediate projects. Avid DS Nitris 8.0 is available as a turnkey system with a CPU workstation, monitors, 2.5TB of RAID storage, and one license for Avid DS RP remote processing software at a cost of $147,995.
Version 5.5 of the Avid Xpress Pro, the newest release in the firm’s Digital Nonlinear Accelerator (DNA) family, supports the acquisition, editing, and output of native HDV and DVCPro HD formats, as well as real-time effects and 2:3 pull-down insertions over a FireWire connection. It costs $1695.
Also, Avid debuted Mojo SDI, a portable analog and digital SDI I/O device. The new solution can connect to Macand Windows-based workstations via FireWire, and interface with most professional decks and cameras through analog and digital video and audio connections. Avid Mojo SDI, which is priced at $2495, works with Xpress Pro and Media Composer software.  
VRCO and Fakespace Present Conduit VRCO and Fakespace Systems jointly introduced Conduit, a new software plug-in designed to add advanced visualization capabilities to Autodesk’s AliasStudio 13, formerly Alias StudioTools. Conduit enables designers to view and interact with native, 3D AliasStudio models in large, interactive, stereoscopic environments, including Fakespace’s Power Wall, immersive rooms, and tiled displays driven by Windows-based computer clusters.
Conduit is graphics distribution middleware that creates stereoscopic image formats by duplicating the flow of 3D commands to multiple CG channels and pipelines.
Users are presented photorealistic virtual images with stereoscopic depth, speeding and improving work flow, collaboration, and design reviews. The plug-in enables more natural interaction with CG models, offering such advanced VR features as motion tracking and support for workspace navigation and model manipulation by way of wireless virtual wands and gloves.    
HP Packs Xeon Power Hewlett-Packard has unveiled four professional workstations— the desk-side HP xw6400 and xw8400 workstations and HP Compaq nw8440 and nw9440 mobile workstations— the first models to feature Intel’s dual-core Xeon processors.
The HP xw6400 mid-range, well suited to efficient power and space on strained environments, takes advantage of Intel’s newest dual-processor/ dual-core technology, the Intel 5000X chipset. The HP xw8400 can accommodate up to two next-generation dual-core Xeon processors, to excel in some of the most demanding viz and computing applications.
HP’s most powerful mobile workstation thus far, the nw9440 high-performance system sports an Nvidia Quadro FX 1500M graphics controller, 17-inch widescreen display, and Intel Core Duo processors. The portable nw9440 weighs 7.5 pounds and is 1.3 inches thick.
Also a thin and light mobile workstation, the HP Compaq nw8440 packs Intel Core Duo processors, ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 graphics, and a high-resolution 15.4- inch widescreen display in a six-pound device.