CGW Silver Edge Awards: NAB2011
April 29, 2011

CGW Silver Edge Awards: NAB2011

Last month, Computer Graphics World unveiled its Silver Edge Awards, bestowed on products named best of show at the industry’s leading conferences and exhibitions by the editorial team. CGW kicked off this presentation at the annual Game Developers Conference, and has followed up with the second round of winners from NAB.

While there were a number of impressive technologies at NAB 2011, some products stood out from the crowd and hold great promise of making an impact on the DCC industry. These are:

Intel’s Thunderbolt. At 10G bit/sec, Thunderbolt technology enables lighting-fast high-speed data and display transfers in each direction simultaneously. The impact of this tech is expected to be felt throughout the industry, with lighter and thinner laptops, as designers are no longer constrained to the boundaries of the chassis walls. Moreover, Thunderbolt is expected to have a large impact on mobile media creation, as well.

Autodesk’s Flame Premium 2012. What’s most impressive in this new version of the company’s 3D visual effects and finishing software are the relighting capabilities. Artists can now take advantage of the real-world 3D information inherent to their images or composites and dramatically change the look of their final scenes.
Lightbeam Systems’ Compositing Workstations. Lightbeam introduced a new version of its high-end Lightbeam System 8100/12100 Series Compositing Workstation and an entirely new product, the Lightbeam System 810/1210 Series 3D Workstation. The products are fine-tuned and optimized for specific functions, making them efficient and fast.
NewTek’s LightWave 10.1. LightWave 10.1, which will be available shortly, is packed with impressive technology and capabilities. Among the most attractive features are the stereo functions, and the continued update of the Viewport Preview Renderer (VPN).

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5. The new version takes DCC beyond the desktop to the mobile arena, as it focuses on the growing mobile market of tablets and smartphones. Moreover, the Mercury playback engine now supports even more GPUs, including mobile. On the pricing front, Adobe is offering subscription pricing, which will be attractive for facilities that need just a few tools in the suite.
Blackmagic Design’s products. Once again, the company had a major product rollout at the show, including: the DeckLink Quad, the DeckLink 4K, and HyperDeck line, to name a few.

The Foundry’s Nuke 6.3. Nuke 6.3 introduces for the first time a new Deep Compositing pipeline, allowing artists to work with deep data from 3D renders, supporting new ways to approach visual effects and offering more control when integrating and finishing CG rendered elements.  

The Bakery’s Relight. Designed for the high-end feature film, television, and industrial, automotive, and architectural design industries, Relight is an interactive, all-in-one lighting, shading, and rendering solution for animation and visual effects artists. The tools and streamlined workflows promise to expand creativity and increase turnaround times by significant orders of magnitude (upward of 300 percent, according to the company) by taking into consideration the iterative processes used by lighters and shaders.  
For an in-depth look at these and other products from the show, see CGW’s coverage in the Spotlight and Products sections of the May issue, as well as in the News section on