Spotlight | Products - August 07
Issue: Volume: 30 Issue: 8 (Aug 2007)

Spotlight | Products - August 07

Products - Display

Fogscreen Launches New Projection Screen
FogScreen, creators of the first walk-through projection screen, released the FogScreen One projection screen. The 1-meter-wide (3-foot, 3-inch) screen seamlessly links to an unlimited number of FogScreen One projection units. The result is a screen of “dry fog” that is customizable to any size for any venue, with no gaps between the adjoining screens. The screens are synchronized by control units, enabling designers to create effects. 

The FogScreen One projection screen is a follow-up to the company’s original 2-meter-wide FogScreen Inia projection screen. Both utilize patented technology to create the first commercial walk-through projection screen comprising microscopic fog droplets, enabling vibrant colors and images to literally float in the air. Furthermore, they operate at room temperature.

The new screen weighs just over 130 pounds and consumes 1 to 2.5 gallons of water per hour, depending on fog output.
The new 1-meter FogScreen is available now. Rental for both the 1-meter and 2-meter offerings is $3500 for the first day, $1200 for the second day, and $1100 thereafter. The purchase price for the Inia is $79,950. For a special, limited-time promotional price on the 1-meter product, contact FogScreen.

Products - Rendering
ARTVPS Renders New Solution
Faster rendering times and 64-bit support are just two of the new features available in the RenderPipe AV6 software release, unveiled recently by ARTVPS.
In addition to enhancing existing elements of its RenderPipe software, ARTVPS has introduced a number of new tools in this version, including QuickTime object movie output, which enables the exploration of 3D objects from multiple viewing angles, as well as a preview of its hardware-accelerated global illumination solution.

Optimized to accelerate data transfer between RenderPipe (the company’s raytracing software renderer) and RayBox, AV6 gives users even faster rendering through the new desktop system. This latest release also supports both 3ds Max 9 (64-bit) and Maya 8.5 (32- and 64-bit) from Autodesk.

AV6 began shipping in June. Existing customers can download updates for free at Pricing for new customers is dependent on the user’s requirements.

Products - Processing
SGI Unveils Ultra-Dense Altix Ice Blade
SGI has made available its new Altix Ice, a next-generation platform for high-performance computing. Designed to close the gap between performance and user productivity, the Altix Ice 8200 is the first in a line of cool-running bladed servers built to handle high-performance computing applications and large scale-out workloads.

According to SGI, the Altix Ice minimizes demands on a data center’s space and power. Its ultra-dense rack architecture is said to deliver up to 40 percent more compute performance per floor tile than competing blades. A single Altix 8200 rack can be powered by as many as 512 Intel Xeon processor cores and deliver 6 teraflops of performance. Moreover, the product comes pre-integrated for easy power-up and start.
The offering includes a version of the Atoka board, which SGI co-developed with Intel specifically for the high-performance computing market. With this, a single Altix 8200 can be powered by two dual- or quad-core Intel Xeon processors for up to 32gb of memory. For optimal performance and scalability, the platform supports dual high-speed, low-latency DDR InfiniBand backplanes, enabling fast communication between nodes and racks, even across thousands of processors. This integrated blade format also makes system service and maintenance easier. Last, the diskless blade architecture offers off-blade centralization of storage resources.

The SGI Altix Ice 8200 is available now in configurations ranging from 8 to 512 processors per rack. Pricing is scalable, starting at $350,000.

Products - Modeling
N-Sided Rolls Out Quidam Version 1.5
The young French company N-Sided released a new version of Quidam, its professional character modeling software. With an intuitive interface, Quidam is unique in the way it merges various anatomical elements into one seamless model.

A single Base (Model Pack) of Quidam allows users to generate billions of different characters. Moreover, the product provides artists with a full set of advanced tools for sculpting and retouching their creations down to the last detail. Furthermore, Quidam exports multi-resolution 3D characters, entirely textured and ready to be animated, in all the usual 3D software. Specifically, Quidam 1.5 ships with a number of new features, including a new tool for placing imported objects, improvements for painting skinning weights, the addition of advanced editing and skeleton personalization, and more. The version also ships with two complete dynamic bases (Fantasy warrior and Manga man), two variants of the face bases with articulations, and new textures and accessories.

Quidam 1.5 is shipping now for the Mac and PC, and is free for previous version holders. Otherwise, the product is priced at $267. The export plug-in for Maya, LightWave, Cinema 4D, Carrara, and 3ds Max costs $101, and the LPA plug-in extension is priced at $403.

Products - Cad
Autodesk Goes Light with Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk announced a technology preview release of Autodesk Inventor LT, a new member of its Inventor family of software products for 3D mechanical design. Inventor LT, a streamlined version of Inventor, will help customers enhance their communication with suppliers and manufacturing partners by making it easy and affordable to create, share, and edit 3D part designs.

Inventor LT helps customers improve communication within the supply chain by making editable 3D part design data more accessible. Inventor LT enables: multi-CAD translation capabilities for leading native and neutral 3D CAD file formats, 3D part model creation and editing, automated mechanical drawings, genuine DWG interoperability with DWG TrueConnect technology, photorealistic rendering of 3D part designs, and more.

A free downloadable preview license is available through Autodesk Labs (active through May 1, 2008) at

Products - Rendering
FormZ gets in the Zone
AutoDesSys recently introduced FormZ RenderZone Plus Version 6.5, software that represents an evolutionary step toward global illumination, which is now supported by different techniques, including final gather, ambient occlusion, and improved radiosity. These can be used separately or combined to complement one another.

FormZ RenderZone Plus is now the highest level of built-in rendering that FormZ offers. RadioZity will be retired as a separate product, but its features are incorporated in the new rendering software.

The aim is to give designers a product that requires little effort to set up, is easy to control, and produces results in a short period of time. Unlike traditional radiosity, which is slow and cumbersome to use, RenderZone Plus offers an uncomplicated approach to 3D for presentations, visualization, and animation.

While primarily a rendering development, FormZ 6.5 includes additional improvements and enhancements, such as new methods for correction and new shaders, the majority of which are intended to support architectural renderings (such as shingles, brick pavers, road and sidewalk paving, and frosted glass).

Pricing for the FormZ modeler is $1495; RenderZone Plus, meanwhile, costs $500.