Spotlight (May 2007)
Issue: Volume: 30 Issue: 5 (May 2007)

Spotlight (May 2007)

NaturalMotion Ships Morpheme

NaturalMotion, developers of the Euphoria and Endorphin Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS) technologies, released Morpheme, an animation engine for next-gen game development. Featuring a flexible 3D authoring tool chain, Morpheme gives animators creative control over the look of their final in-game animation by allowing them to author and preview blends, blend trees, and transition graphs in real time.

Morpheme consists of two components: Morpheme:Runtime and Mor­pheme:Connect. Morpheme:Runtime is a run-time engine optimized for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and ships with full source code. Morpheme:Connect is a 3D authoring application that allows animators to graphically author blend trees and transition logic (based on hierarchical finite-state machines), modify and edit parameters through sliders (or even game pads), and view the results in real time.

Morpheme is a flexible and open system and does not require the licensing of other products. It also integrates with other leading 3D animation software and middleware technologies, such as physics engines. Unlike Euphoria, Morpheme is not based on NaturalMotion’s DMS technology, but rather complements Euphoria. Morpheme pricing varies according to system setup.

Automatic Duck Releases Pro Import AE 4.0
Automatic Duck, creators of the Timeline Integration Engine software for digital media artists, debuted Pro Import AE 4.0, a major upgrade to the company’s timeline translation tool for Adobe After Effects artists.

Pro Import AE 4.0 addresses a number of new developments impacting users, including the recent launch of Adobe Creative Suite 3, the industry’s shift to Intel-based Mac systems, and the need for improved support for HDV, DVCProHD, and XSCAM formats for Final Cut Pro users. Also added are improvements to Motion project import, through Particle and Replicator layers, and support for Multiclips from Final Cut Pro as well as Avid Timewarp effects.

Moreover, the product contains a new user interface that offers several new import options, including the ability to use Avid rendered media in After Effects, among other capabilities.          

Pro Import AE 4.0 will be available this summer for $495; upgrade pricing is also available.

In addition, the company has announced a new site-licensing program to support large, multi-seat production facilities and post houses, making it easier to manage large deployments of the timeline translation applications. The program has an initial license fee and an annual maintenance fee based on the number of licensed seats.

Adobe Debuts Its Creative Suite 3

Adobe Systems rolled out its anticipated Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Standard editions, and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Standard editions. These releases of brand-new, tightly integrated design and development software unites the best of Adobe and former Macromedia products.

Also available are new versions of the following stand-alone Adobe creative applications: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended, Adobe InDesign CS3, Adobe Illustrator CS3, Adobe Flash CS3 Professional, Adobe Dreamweaver CS3, Adobe Fireworks CS3, and Adobe Contribute CS3. These new Adobe CS3 applications and Adobe Creative Suite 3 editions are available as Universal applications for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, and support both Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista. According to the company, customers will experience increased levels of performance and speed running Creative Suite 3 natively on Intel-based Macintosh systems and the latest Windows hardware.

The Creative Suite 3 family also includes Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, a complete integrated postproduction solution for video and rich media professionals, and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection, which combines all of Adobe’s new CS3 design and development applications in a single box. Both editions are expected to ship in the third quarter.

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium delivers an efficient tool kit for print, Web, interactive, and mobile design. The software integrates new releases of InDesign CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, and Acrobat 8 Professional for compelling publications, Web sites, rich interactive experiences, and engaging content. Also available today is Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Standard software for designers and print-service providers.

With Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium, users can experiment with, save, and apply color combinations quickly and intuitively using the new Live Color feature in Illustrator; perform image editing tasks such as selecting image areas, compositing images, and applying filters faster and more flexibly with Photoshop CS3 Extended; master Flash more easily thanks to its new Adobe-standard user interface; and repurpose print content on the Web by exporting InDesign CS3 documents as XHTML and then modifying them in Dreamweaver CS3 using CSS.

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium edition combines the essential tools for Web and interactive design and development. With new features, Creative Suite 3 Web editions offer users faster, more productive workflows across the applications. Now, for the first time, Web professionals can import native Photoshop and Illustrator files directly into Flash and Fireworks with full fidelity. Users can also create consistent experiences across all browsers, operating systems, and a range of mobile and handheld devices with the new Spry Framework for AJAX , a pre-built, cross-browser compatible library of widgets and effects for building rich, interactive Web sites.

Adobe CS3 Design Premium edition costs $1799; Creative Suite 3 Design Standard edition, $1199; Creative Suite 3 Web Premium, $1599; and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Standard, $999.