Issue: Volume 33 Issue 8: (Aug-Sep 2010)

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Software

Digital Sculpting

Presented by Pixologic


Pixologic unveiled its ZBrush Version 4.0 for Windows and Mac operating systems during SIGGRAPH 2010. Version 4.0 adds several new features to the 2D/3D digital sculpting application used in film, game, concept design, and scientific illustration projects. New to the latest edition are an animation “art in motion” timeline for producing demo reels or presentations, as well as the Best Preview Render utility with such features as 3D shadows, ambient occlusion, and subsurface scattering. Version 4.0 also boasts an enhanced GoZ tool for transitioning between ZBrush and other applications. Now available for purchase and download, ZBrush 4.0 is priced at $699 for a single-user license.

Pixologic; www.pixologic.com



Rendering

Becoming a MachStudio Pro

StudioGPU previewed its MachStudio Pro nonlinear, real-time 3D workflow and rendering software with support for Pixar RenderMan award-winning rendering software. StudioGPU is working closely with Pixar to build an open path from MachStudio Pro to RenderMan. With a direct path to RenderMan, MachStudio Pro artists can choose between the software’s built-in GPU renderer to produce previews or view final results, or using the CPU-driven RenderMan renderer to create beauty shots and/or specific render passes. Artists can also employ the MachStudio Pro and RenderMan render engines simultaneously, combining different passes from the two render engines. All shaders shipped with MachStudio Pro will have RenderMan Shader Language (RSL) equivalents. MachStudio Pro will also provide the ability to import, edit, and create custom RSL shaders, parameters, and attributes from within the application.

StudioGPU also announced the availability of a full-feature version of its MachStudio Pro nonlinear, real-time 3D workflow and rendering software at educational pricing to qualified students. MachStudio Pro bundled with the ATI FirePro V7800 workstation graphics card from AMD is available at the student price of $999; the software-only version is available for $499.

StudioGPU; www.studiogpu.com

Vis/Sim

Upgrading Digital Nature

E-on software previewed its upcoming Vue 9 products for professionals, including Vue 9 xStream and Vue 9 Infinite, as well as its Carbon Scatter and LumenRT. The entire Vue 9 product line, including solutions for 3D artists and enthusiasts to create, animate, and render natural 3D environments, is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year. Version 9 will feature EcoSystem 4 for reduced flickering and optimized rendering and memory management, Relighting, HDR Multi-Pass Rendering and Interactive Network Rendering, an improved Terrain Editor, and HyperBlob Technology for converting HyperTextured MetaBlobs to polygon objects. LumenRT is a 3D solution for visualizing architectural and design projects in real time. Carbon Scatter is a new set of plug-ins for the creation of complex populations using the native instancing technologies of leading CG applications. LumenRT extends the concept of static rendering by adding the ability to move around inside pictures, in photorealistic quality. LumenRT software is designed to provide high-fidelity, real-time visualization of architectural projects with accurate lighting, shadows, and reflections.

E-on software; www.e-onsoftware.com



Modeling/Animation

Autodesk Anniversary

Win – Mac – Linux   At SIGGRAPH, Autodesk kicked off 20th anniversary celebrations for 3ds Max, as well as launched its new Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites Premium, a set of 3D modeling, digital sculpting, texture painting, animation, effects, rendering, and compositing tools. Twenty years ago, 3D Studio DOS, the first-ever, affordable 3D modeling, rendering, and animation system for the PC (which would later become known as 3ds Max) made its debut. The company has launched a 3ds Max anniversary microsite on the AREA, complete with an interactive historical timeline, an image gallery showcasing 3ds Max art by users from around the world, a trivia game, a forum where users can post a wish for 3ds Max, and downloadable 3ds Max screensavers. The new Premium suite includes a choice of Autodesk Maya or Autodesk 3ds Max software; Autodesk Softimage software, featuring the Interactive Creative Environment (ICE) and Autodesk Face Robot technology; Autodesk Mudbox 3D digital sculpting and texture painting software; Autodesk MotionBuilder software with a real-time, interactive 3D engine; Turtle, a global illumination rendering and baking plug-in for Maya; and the Lagoa Multiphysics simulation framework for Softimage ICE, developed by Thiago Costa, for effects such as plastics, liquids, gases, soft bodies, cloth, and foam. Each priced $6495, Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite Premium will ship at the end of September and Autodesk 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suite Premium will be released at a later date. Autodesk Subscription for the Entertainment Creation Suites Premium is priced at $1095; Autodesk Subscription with Gold Support for the Entertainment Creation Suites Premium is $1620. Maya and 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suites are now available, without Softimage, for $4995.

Autodesk; www.autodesk.com

Hardware

Workstations

Multi-core Boxx News

Boxx Technologies introduced its fastest dual-socket workstation, the 3DBoxx 8550 Extreme Edition, to help maximize creativity and productivity. The new workstation features Intel Xeon 5600 series processors optimized to run at 4.2GHz and providing 12 cores of high-powered, multi-tasking performance for 3D design, animation, visualization, compositing, video editing, digital intermediate work, and rendering. The 3DBoxx 8550 Extreme Edition liquid-cooled workstation is built for multi-GPU configurations; in fact, its seven PCI-E x16, 2.0 slots support up to four, dual-slot GPUs. The company also introduced the 3DBoxx 4880 XXtreme liquid-cooled workstation with a six-core Intel Core i7 processor and four Nvidia Quadro 5000 GPUs.

Boxx Technologies; www.boxxtech.com

Input Devices

3D Mouse Support

3Dconnexion announced that its full line of 3D mice is supported by Adobe’s Photoshop CS5 and Autodesk’s Maya 2011 and Softimage 2011. 3Dconnexion’s 3D mice enable greater interaction with character animations, scenes, and environments to deliver a more immersive and rewarding design experience. For example, 3Dconnexion’s newest driver update for Autodesk 3ds Max brings advanced 3D navigation and control to the design process, delivering greater control to game developers, visual effects artists, and graphic designers. In addition to intelligent 3D navigation, the new driver update streamlines the 3Dconnexion 3D mouse user interface within 3ds Max. Using the Menu or Panel button on the 3D mouse activates a pop-up menu to centralize all 3D mouse-related options in one location. These new features are now available in a free 3DxWare software update and support Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 to 2011 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 across the entire product line. The 3Dconnexion product line includes the Professional Series with the SpacePilot PRO priced at $399 and SpaceExplorer priced at $299, and the Standard Series with the SpaceNavigator at $99 and SpaceNavigator for Notebooks at $129.

3Dconnexion; www.3dconnexion.com

Faster with Fusion

Fusion-io showcased its ioMemory module, which extends the memory in servers to accelerate functions such as 3D rendering and other data-intensive activities. The device enables users to infuse workstations with 80GB of RAM-like memory via the PCI Express interface. Well suited to data-intensive workloads, the module can delivers up to 285,000 sustained IOPS with less than 25 microseconds of commit latency. Fusion’s technology has been used to help realize such recent 3D movies as Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland, and Avatar, reveals a company representative.

Fusion-io; www.fusionio.com

3D Printing

Milky White Glass

Shapeways, an online marketplace and provider of 3D printing, expanded its suite of materials to include Milky White Matte Glass. Shapeways’ commercial service enables 3D designers to manufacture glass objects for both their personal use and to be sold in the Shapeways online shops. Applications for Milky White Matte Glass include jewelry, figurines, and decorative objects. Produced from recycled bottle and plate glass, Milky White Matte Glass has a greenish tint and is 100 percent recyclable. Tiny spherical glass particles are bound together with an organic binder, and cured in an oven. Milky White Matte Glass has a production lead time of 21 working days. Shapeways community members can also produce objects in Full Color Sandstone; Stainless Steel; White, Strong & Flexible nylon-based plastic; Grey Robust strong ABS plastic; and White Detail, Transparent Detail, and Black Detail acrylic-based plastics.

Shapeways; www.shapeways.com
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