No Paper Necessary
Toon Boom Animation demonstrated its Toon Boom Storyboard Pro digital storyboarding software to NAB2007 attendees. Designed for films, documentaries, games, advertising, and animation projects, Toon Boom Storyboard Pro is designed to aid storyboard artists, directors, and producers in developing and honing project storyboards digitally, with a graphics tablet rather than paper and pen. The solution includes a multi-layer drawing engine, such animatic features as camera moves and synchronized audio files, and support for AAF, CSV, PSD, and PDF file formats. Now available, Toon Boom Storyboard Pro is priced at $900 and is compatible with Windows Vista and Mac Intel environments.
Fx for Apple and Avid
Noise Industries exhibited two new GPU-accelerated visual effects plug-in packages, as well as new FxPacks from its partners, during NAB2007. FxFactory 1.5 for Apple Final Cut Studio is a suite of native visual effects plug-ins for use with Apple Final Cut Pro and Motion. The upgraded solution boasts a revamped user interface, new visual effects filters and transitions, and 16- and 32-bit float YUV support. Factory Tools 2.0 for Avid Xpress, Xpress Pro, and Media Composer includes 30 GPU-accelerated native plug-ins and a plug-in manager for the creation of additional effects. The company also demonstrated new FxFactory expansion FxPacks for color correction, data animation, and themes.
During NAB, The Foundry presented its Furnace 4 suite of image-processing plug-ins for Apple Shake, designed to speed visual effects production workflow. Furnace 4 takes advantage of motion-estimation technology and Apical’s Iridix dynamic range compression technology for enhancing shadow areas and controlling highlights. The release also includes eight new tools: Contrast for enhancing color, DeFlicker2 to remove in-scene flicker, RotoShape for converting vector masks and rotoshapes, RotoTracker to track a rotoshape through a sequence, ShadowRemoval for removing translucent objects from a sequence, and VectorConverter, VectorGenerator, and VectorWarper for working with vectors and motion vector fields. Furnace 4, now shipping, is priced at $4400 for a node-locked version and $6600 for a float version. Existing customers can upgrade for $2200 (node-locked) or $3300 (float).
Enhancing After Effects
GridIron Software previewed Nucleo Pro 2, an upgraded version of its tool for visual effects artists using Adobe After Effects. The latest edition supports Adobe’s new After Effects CS3 Professional, as well as all versions of After Effects 7. With new offerings in Nucleo Pro 2, users can customize how nested compositions are rendered, and run and manage popular 3D application renders in the background with the Background Render Queue. Supported applications include Maxon Cinema4D, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, Softimage XSI, Apple Shake, Side Effects Software Houdini, Mental Images Mental Ray, and Splutterfish
. Compatible with Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, Nucleo Pro 2 is scheduled to ship in early summer at a price of $395 for new users, $295 if purchased before it begins shipping, and $99 as an upgrade from Nucleo Pro 1.
Made for Masking
Turbo Mask, an image-masking tool from Paravue, made its debut during NAB. Turbo Mask is designed for graphic and Web designers, photographers, and motion graphic artists working in Adobe Photoshop CS and CS Extended. Turbo Max analyzes images, isolating subjects and removing them from backgrounds. Users can accomplish image cutouts with as little as a single mouse click, without the need of the traditional hand-drawn masking method. Paravue Turbo Max, now shipping, is priced at $249.
Boris FX announced Boris Blue 2.0 and Boris Continuum Complete 5.0 during NAB. Version 2.0 of the Boris Blue real-time motion graphics solution features new 3D deformers such as Curl, Shatter, and Glow; Lens Flare, Glint, and other accelerated filters; and improved 3D interactors for objects, cameras, lights, and split views. Enhancements also include the ability to animate a 3D camera along a Bezier spline-based motion path and support for Avid’s AVX RT plug-in, which enables users to create 3D elements directly in the Avid timeline without the need to render in another program. Boris Blue 2.0 is now available and priced at $995. Users of Boris Red can purchase Boris Blue 2.0 at a cost of $295, whereas existing Boris Blue customers can download the upgrade free from the company’s Web site. Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) 5.0—a suite of native filters and transitions for Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and Avid nonlinear editing and compositing systems—offers universal binary support for host applications running on the Mac platform, in addition to native support for Apple FXPlug and Avid AVX 2.0 on Intel-based Macs. Also new to Version 5.0 is BCC UpRez for converting SD files to HD, the BCC Pan and Zoom filter, BCC MatchMove motion tracking, and new OpenGL accelerated filters. BCC FXPlug for Apple Final Cut Pro, BCC for Adobe and compatible hosts, and BCC AVX for Avid Express Pro are priced at $795 each. BCC AVX for Avid Composer and Symphony is priced at $1995. Existing BCC owners can upgrade to Version 5.0 for $249.
Bluefish444 released its 2K Lust and Symmetry software upgrade for users of its HD Lust 4:4:4 video card. 2K Lust offers I/O support for 2k film resolution via high-speed data link (HSDL), enabling real-time SDI monitoring of HSDL output, integration with telecine and film scanning systems, and real-time hardware scaling, cropping, and color processing. 2K Lust also boasts 2048x1080 resolution at a 24p/psf frame rate for digital cinema. The company has upgraded its Symmetry software to support these new 2K Lust features. 2K Lust and 2K Symmetry will be offered as a free software upgrade to current customers.
Red Giant Software unveiled its latest professional video software tools. The newly expanded Magic Bullet product family includes the Magic Bullet Looks design solution, Magic Bullet Frames file-conversion utility, and Magic Bullet Colorista color-correction tool. The full Magic Bullet Suite will be available this summer for $799 to new users and $199 as an upgrade. The new Trapcode Flux particle system, enabling the creation of fluid organic shapes and geometric moving 3D patterns, offers customizable parameters and presets and is set to ship this summer. New versions of the company’s Trapcode Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke visual effects and motion graphics plug-ins for Apple Final Cut Pro and Motion, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid editing programs begin shipping this month for $99 each. Instant HD Pro, to ship this summer for $399, provides video editors with file conversion capabilities and a tool set with de-interlacing, de-noising, sharpening, re-graining, and advanced pan and scan utilities. Primatte Keyer Pro 4—to ship this summer for $499 or $199 as an upgrade—includes such upgrades as support for Adobe Premiere Pro, Auto Setup, and GPU-accelerated features.
Red Giant Software; www.redgiantsoftware.com
Eyeon for Editors
Eyeon announced that Fusion supports Primatte 4 chromakey software for image compositing. As a result, Fusion users have access to Primatte’s core library, floating-point precision, SSE2 acceleration, film grain removal, and new Auto-Compute utility. Additional features in Fusion include a color-spill removal function, intuitive user interface, internal processing at 16 bits per RGB channel, and multiple undo and redo.
At the trade show, Signiant demonstrated for the first time the native integration of its Digital Media Distribution Management Suite with the Avid TransferManager client on Avid editing systems. The integration reportedly contributes to transfer rates of up to 200 percent faster than previously possible. Signiant’s active bandwidth management tools enable video professionals to monitor and prioritize the real-time transfer of content from a central Web-based console to an Avid editing system.