Issue: Volume 36 Issue 7: (Nov/Dec 2013)

Spotlight


NewTek Turns On LightWave 11.6, NevronMotion Plug-in

The LightWave 3D Group, a division of NewTek, has rolled out the final release of LightWave 11.6 software for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering. Also available is the final version of the NevronMotion plug-in for LightWave 11.6, which uses the Microsoft Kinect camera to capture motion in real time for retargeting to 3D or live-performance characters. NevronMotion also simplifies retargeting data from standard motion-capture files directly into the LightWave interface.

LightWave 11.6 introduces many new ways for artists and designers to model, animate, capture, retarget, and input and output to 3D. With the Spline Control tool, nulls or other objects act as nodes in a spline to control or deform objects, such as tentacles, tails, whips, or even elevators. Raycast Motion utilizes raycasting technology to make an animated object aware of its surroundings. And, the Compound Node feature can simplify complex networks down to a single node.

LightWave 11.6 also helps streamline real-time virtual production, previs, and game development through the use of Nvidia’s CgFX shader. The Modeler in the release now includes new import and export options to support the popular STL and PLY file formats for 3D printing. With support for Nvidia 3D Vision, 3D Vision Pro, and HDMI stereo devices, artists can visualize high-quality advanced stereoscopic 3D environments across multiple devices.

Meanwhile, the NevronMotion plug-in extends the software’s virtual studio tools to: Capture live-rig motion with the Kinect camera; retarget motion capture directly in LightWave Layout; save and adjust captured motion data from the Kinect camera; easily adjust arm and leg mocap positions and layer hand-keyed animation on top of motion-capture files; save and load retargeting presets for FBX, BVH, or custom setups; preset rigs for Kinect and motion-capture formats; and quickly bake out motion to character rigs

LightWave 11.6 is priced at $1,495, and the NevronMotion plug-in is priced at $299.


Dell's M3800 Mobile Workstation Blends Beauty, Performance

Dell has added a new form factor to its family of powerful mobile workstations: the thinnest and lightest 15-inch true mobile workstation, the Dell Precision M3800, which merges beautiful design in an ultra-thin form factor with workstation-class performance.

Less than three-quarters of an inch thin (18 mm) and starting at 4.15 pounds (1.88 kg), the M3800 features dual-cooling and more than 10 hours of battery life with Nvidia Optimus technology. The Precision M3800 is available with Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit) or genuine Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) and is loaded with up to 16gb of memory, and 4th generation Intel Core i7-4702HQ eight-threaded quad-core processor with up to 3.2ghz clock speeds. The M3800 is equipped with the Nvidia Quadro K1100M GPU with 2gb of GDDR5 dedicated memory, offering twice as much onboard video memory as the HP Z series Ultrabook, according to Dell. The workstation also comes with a 15.6-inch UltraSharp display.

The Dell Precision M3800 has a starting price of $1,799.


Side Effects Unveils Houdini 13 with Finite-Element Solver

Side Effects Software has released Houdini 13, which introduces a finite-element solver for bending and tearing FX, a new multithreaded particle architecture integrated into Houdini’s existing dynamics context, and a new lighting workflow to efficiently handle massive data sets.

The finite-element solver analyzes the stresses on solid objects, then either bends or breaks each shape. This new solver is ideal for creating realistic destruction shots or soft-­body FX with volume preservation.

The new particle architecture has been fully integrated into the dynamics context to provide seamless interaction with other simulation tools. This vex-based framework is multi-threaded and allows for speeds up to 10x faster as well as cached results for scrubbing in the timeline. There are also new particle tools and forces, including Axis Force, which uses 3D volumes to control particles.

Houdini 13’s new lighting workflow has been built to efficiently manage huge datasets. This new workflow offers a data tree view for assigning materials and lights to the objects and groups found in Alembic files as well as Houdini’s new Packed Primitive objects.

Houdini 13 can be downloaded from sidefx.com, with base Houdini available starting at $1,995 and Houdini FX starting at $4,495.


RTT Acquires Bunkspeed

RTT, a leading provider of professional high-end 3D visualization solutions, has acquired Bunkspeed, Inc. With more than a decade of experience operating in the visualization marketplace and a versatile design tool, Bunkspeed completes the RTT portfolio of comprehensive products.

Traditionally, RTT has provided enterprise solutions and services for OEMs that employ digital product pipelines. Bunkspeed represents a company with a focus on design visualization tools. The acquisition extends RTT’s services to agencies and designers by offering this lightweight, robust design tool.

Peter Stevenson, CEO of RTT USA, says, “The addition of Bunkspeed’s specialty services and footprint will allow RTT to provide a broader range of capabilities to our customers.”

Bunkspeed will continue to operate under the same name and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of RTT. The incorporation of Bunkspeed will take place over the upcoming months, and both companies note that the clients will continue to receive the same support during the transition that they have always enjoyed.

David Randle, general manager of Bunkspeed, states, “The acquisition of Bunkspeed by RTT will provide major benefits to our existing and future customers. They bring a level of global presence, knowledge, support, and expertise that will complement and enhance our core offerings.”

Steven Madge, managing director of the Pasadena, California, office has been named CEO of Bunkspeed, Inc.


Adobe/Maxon Cineware Connection Gets Tighter

The latest release of Adobe After Effects CC includes updates to Cineware, improving the integration and performance between Maxon’s Cinema 4D application and Adobe’s After Effects.

Since the introduction of After Effects CC, creative professionals have benefitted from the seamless integration provided by Cineware that establishes a bridge between the Maxon and Adobe applications and allows users to open any 3D file that Cinema 4D supports directly in After Effects that can be edited and enhanced using the “Live 3D pipeline.” Compositing passes can also be selected directly in After Effects for editing. This version of After Effects CC includes the debut of Cinema 4D Lite, a limited yet feature-rich version of Cinema 4D integrated within After Effects that gives artists access to a selection of the software’s functionality.

Many updates in the new release of Cinema 4D, Release 15, are also available in the latest version of After Effects CC. They include an Options Dialog Box, rendering enhancements, an upgrade path to Cinema 4D.

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