Spotlight: Products/News
Issue: Volume 38 Issue 5: (Sep/Oct 2015)

Spotlight: Products/News

Autodesk Rolls Out Game Engine

Autodesk is in the game more so than ever, following the release of its new Stingray game engine. The game engine resulted from the Autodesk acquisition of Bitsquid last year.

Built on the data-driven architecture of the Bitsquid engine, Stingray is a comprehensive new platform for making 3D games. The engine supports a host of industry-standard game development workflows and includes connectivity to Autodesk 3D animation software that simplifies game development across a wide range of platforms. 

Stingray makes it easy and intuitive for artists with varying skill sets and programming expertise to create the next generation of 3D blockbuster games, entertainment, and even architecture.

Stingray feature highlights include: a seamless art-to-engine workflow, a modern data-driven architecture, advanced visuals and rendering, a proven tool set, tools for versatile game logic creation, multi-platform development capabilities, and more.

The Stingray engine can also be used in design environments and is an informative next step to further understand design data before anything is physically built. The engine’s real-time digital environment, on a powerful, data-driven architecture, is programmed to look and feel like the physical world. 

Connected to Autodesk 3ds Max, architecture, engineering, and construction customers can import Autodesk Revit data into 3ds Max, add content to the 3ds Max scene, and then place that scene in the Stingray engine to explore, animate, and interact in the designed space.

Autodesk Stingray runs on Windows and is available via Autodesk Subscription for $30 per month. Maya LT Desktop Subscription customers can access the engine as part of Maya LT. 

HP Updates Entry-Level Workstation Line

HP has announced the HP Z240 Tower and Z240 SFF Workstations with next-generation Intel processors and HP Z Turbo Drive options –
at the price of a desktop PC. The HP Z240 offers more performance, greater storage capacity, more I/O, and greater flexibility of the previous generations while retaining the same form factor. The Z240 features up to 64 GB DDR4 ECC memory and provides expandability options.

The Z240 Workstations sport a number of innovations, including an integrated M.2 slot (for expansion cards and connectors on both the SFF and tower), which frees up a PCIe slot. The legacy PCI slot has been removed from the motherboard, and a plug-in card is available for those who still use the legacy slot, allowing for other features, like the M.2 slot. 

With pricing starting at $879 (with current entry-level pro-ces-sors), both the HP Z240 SFF and HP Z240 are expected to be available in November. 

Maxon Delivers
Cinema 4D R17

Maxon has rolled out Cinema 4D Release 17 (R17), the newest version of its 3D software solution for motion graphics, visual effects, visualization, and rendering. According to the company, Cinema 4D R17 delivers new features to increase production pipeline performance, including the new Take System render layer system; Render Tokens to organize rendering tasks and files, with project-file-based names, named object buffers, and folders for each pass; a new Color Chooser; and updated import and export functions. R17 also features sculpting functions, expanded motion-tracking features, and completely reworked spline tools that enhance the modeling, sculpting, and animation design workflow.

CG Market to Exceed $235B by 2018

The computer graphics industry has been a growth industry since it was established in the late 1970s. It has weathered the storms of recessions and has emerged with renewed vigor and potential, partly due to a big boost from mobile and the move to 4k, but also from emerging technologies including 3D scanning, 3D printing, augmented reality, and virtual reality. 

The computer graphics hardware market was worth $105 billion in 2014 and is expected to exceed $129 billion by 2018, with software growing slightly faster than hardware.

The hardware segment of the CG industry has enjoyed steady growth, and even though the overall PC market dropped by 12% over the past year, workstations, monitors, and PC gaming have seen steady to strong growth. The total PC gaming hardware market (which includes aftermarket sales and peripherals) is estimated to be worth over $30 billion. New activity in APIs, with developments like DirectX 12, Khronos Vulkan, Google’s driver extensions for OpenGL ES, and Apple’s Meta in 2015, will contribute to faster, richer, and higher-resolution graphics for everyone.

In 2014, the CG software market was worth $66 billion (not counting services, maintenance, and other aspects) and is expected to grow to $90 billion by 2018 through a combination of end-user software such as games (which are real-time, high-resolution simulation systems) and content creation software tools. The software suppliers (ISVs) have also changed their sales model, moving more services to the cloud.

JPR expects traditional segments like CAD/CAM to expand as new design approaches in automotive, aerospace, and architecture are adopted. The visualization market is showing significant growth due to the availability of more powerful and less expensive visualization technologies. GPU compute employing OpenCL and CUDA is penetrating further into new as well as traditional applications.

The demand for programmers, artists, scientists, and designers has picked up, and we’re seeing start-ups arrive in emerging and reborn markets such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and casual games. The arrival of new APIs and platforms are also stimulating development. Firms are actively looking for people who can use and exploit these new programs and their associated hardware accelerators. 

The software content creation market has been tough for the market leaders. They’re living with a mature market, with little growth but stability among the competitors. However, there are new opportunities emerging as new approaches to content creation become practical, new distribution channels open up, and young generations arrive with a new fascination for 3D.

New opportunities are also growing out of mainstream applications for the Web and consumer applications. The social Web remains a strong engine for growth. Social networks are encouraging people to learn new tools, create content for pleasure, and even look for jobs in the field. What used to be a very closed society of experts is now opening up due to the democratization of CG, fueled by Moore’s Law and price elasticity due to lower software costs.

Given the trends in dropping costs, and the increasing users and usage of CG tools and hardware, JPR predicts the rate of growth for the CG industry will remain fairly steady for the foreseeable future. Computer graphics is truly a worldwide industry now. 

Organic Motion Launches RealityCapture Live

Organic Motion has unveiled RealityCapture Live, a real-time virtual-reality content creation studio, and is offering a limited number of RealityCapture Live Development Kits for a discounted price of $995. 

Based on the company’s markerless mocap technology, RealityCapture Live allows people to directly create 3D virtual-world assets without the need to scan, model, or character rig. RealityCapture Live works as a real-time 3D scanner that captures both actors and props on a stage, and immediately streams the content over the Internet into VR worlds. Instead of controlling avatars or virtual characters, the system provides full 3D geometry of subjects, with complete volume and facial scans.  

Shipping in Q1 2016, the new dev kit includes 14 HD USB3 cameras with full-image processing capabilities.