Issue: Volume 35 Issue 3 April/May 2012




Ki Pros Updates

AJA Video Systems has delivered V.3.0 firmware for its Ki Pro and Ki Pro Mini 10-bit 4:2:2 flash disk recorders as a no-cost download for current users. The updates add new features to support camera recording, as well as features for transferring files over Ethernet and FireWire. The Ki Pros have the ability to burn timecode and transport state into the video signal. Ki Pro now supports ExpressCard/34 (34mm wide) memory cards (not ExpressCard/54); additional RS-422 functionality has been added.

Avid 64-bit Support

EditShare’s XStream, Energy, and Metro collaborative storage products are now compatible with Avid’s 64-bit systems. This includes Media Composer and Symphony V.6.0, as well as NewsCutter V.10.0. The EditShare shared storage V.6.1.3 update is free to existing EditShare V6.x customers with a valid maintenance contract. The XStream and Energy Series combine high-performance and workflow-engineered features, such as Avid and Final Cut Pro project sharing, to optimize collaboration for editing, DI, and broadcast workflows. Metro is an economical, turnkey shared storage system supporting small editing workgroups.


AccuSync Series Expands

NEC Display Solutions has expanded its AccuSync Series of affordable desktop monitors with the introduction of the 24-inch AS241W LCD. The AS241W offers a full range of environmental compliance and boasts a quick 5ms rapid response time for uninterrupted, undistorted viewing of high-speed, full-motion video. The 16:9 panel has LED backlighting and offers 1920x1080 full-HD resolution, along with a 1000:1 typical contrast ratio. Inputs are available for DVI-D and VGA. Pricing is $239.



Markerless Mocap

iPi Soft’s markerless iPi Desktop Motion Capture now supports two Kinect sensors simultaneously on the same PC to capture complex human motions, including 360-degrees turns. Support for two Kinect sensors is included in both the Basic and Standard editions of iPi Desktop Motion Capture software and comes at no additional cost. Users who purchased Basic or Standard editions of the software can download a free update from iPi Soft’s Web site.
iPi Software;


Luxion KeyShot 3.1

Luxion, a developer of advanced rendering and lighting technology, has released Version 3.1 of its KeyShot real-time raytracing and global illumination program. Keyshot 3.1 is the first major update of the release and includes a revamped user interface and over 600 new materials. The new release adds time-saving new features and improvements, including a metallic paint material with real flakes; interactive HDR editing that allows for real-time editing of lighting environments; material templates that allow users to auto-paint their models; and network rendering. KeyShot 3.1 is certified to work with all 3Dconnexion devices.


Golaem Updates Crowd

Golaem has revised Golaem Crowd, its crowd-simulation software for Autodesk Maya. Golaem Crowd 1.4 includes support for Mental Ray procedural rendering and geometry instancing, as well other improvements, thanks to native .mi file export and a dedicated procedural rendering plug-in. Both Mental Ray standalone and Mental Ray for Maya are now supported. Version 1.4 brings the ability to declare characters as geometry instances to allow rendering of thousands of entities.

Mixamo Rigging

Mixamo, the online character animation service, has released a set of free scripts for Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max that complement its Auto-Rigger service, providing an end-to-end rigging solution. The free scripts allow 3D artists to quickly rig a bipedal 3D character. Mixamo’s Auto-Rigger service automatically fits a skeleton and calculates skinning weights on an uploaded character model mesh.
While the primary focus of the feature is for game characters, the rigs can be used for previs, simulation, design, and ergonomics. Characters that are created with the CAT, Biped, or Maya custom control rig can be easily animated. Mixamo also provides a large collection of motions that can be automatically applied to the Auto-Rigger characters or any other character.


Monsters Mini-Packs

GenArts introduced Monsters GT Version 7 suite of visual effects plug-ins. Monsters are designed to create realistic and original looks. The Monsters GT suite features a collection of more than 50 effects, including flickering candle flames, realistic star fields, evolving sky backgrounds, natural fluids, and other weather effects. For the first time, Monsters GT is available in 11 mini-packs for $99 and a Natural Phenomena theme pack for $299. Natural phenomena includes snow, rain, fire, aurora, and sky effects. The collection’s stylistic effects include film damage, night vision, thermal imaging, TV, paint, and pixel effects. Textures and abstract effects are also included, as are corrective effects such as blurs and clean/lighten/darken effects. Monsters GT runs within After Effects, Scratch, Fusion, Nuke, and Vegas. The full pack costs $499 ($999 for the Autodesk version).

Smart AI For Unity

Xaitment has launched two affordable plug-ins for the Unity engine: XaitMap for Unity and XaitControl for Unity, bringing Xaitment’s AI functionality to the interface and development environment of the Unity engine, including NavMesh generation, pathfinding, collision avoidance, character movement, and graphical character behavioral modeling. XaitMap brings the same flexible, intuitive AI functionality used by studios to the menu structure and interface of Unity and Unity Pro. Users can quickly create NavMeshes on any object in a scene; dynamically set up and modify collision avoidance parameters on any component in a scene; and easily modify a character’s movement by assigning a MoveComponent to a game character.  XaitControl comes with runtime libraries and a graphical Finite State Machine (FSM) editor that works well with Unity’s scene editor and Mono Develop environments, and enables developers to quickly model advanced game logic and character behaviors. Some of its core functionality includes graphical bot behavior modeling and a real-time debugger. The plug-ins are priced at $499 each and include a 45-day free trial.

Atmospheric Enhancement

E-on has released Version 6 of its atmospheric plug-in for 3ds Max, Maya, Soft­image, Cinema4D, and LightWave 3D content creation software. Ozone allows users to create atmospheres that behave according to nature’s rules. Based on real-world atmospheric behavior, the Spectral 3 engine produces realistic environments with volumetric clouds, accurate light dispersion, and natural phenomena, such as Godrays. Ozone renders its atmospheric effects quickly, thanks to E-on’s optimized technology. A library of more than 150 predefined atmospheres are included, along with 140 preset cloud shapes. A single license of Ozone 6 will work with all compatible applications and renderers installed on the end-user’s system. Pricing for the software is $295, with upgrades from Ozone 5.0 available for $95.  

Less Noise  
Red Giant has released Magic Bullet Denoiser II, a re-built version of its De­noiser 1.0, which can be used to removing unwanted noise and artifacts from video footage. Denoiser II is available as a free update for Denoiser 1.0 and Magic Bullet Suite customers. The release features intelligent default settings that provide immediate clean-up results when first applied to footage. The smart default settings, along with advanced noise-reducing tools, deliver sharp, clean, and professional results out of the gate without blurring the footage. Denoiser II for After Effects is priced at $99 for new customers. Magic Bullet Suite 11.3, which includes Denoiser II, is priced at $799.