Issue: Volume: 24 Issue: 1 (January 2001)

Products - 1/01


Site visualization
Win RapidSite version 2.0 from Evans & Sutherland provides 3D site visualization for real estate developers, civil engineers, and landscape architects. New capabilities include a Navigator viewer, unlimited site size, terrain texture resolution to about 2.5 inches for modeling ground surface features, and model import and export to other software applications. A graphical path-editing interface allows users to view path trajectories, reposition keyframes of walkthroughs, and adjust camera parameters. The price is $2395. (E&S;

Design Engineering

CAD upgrade
Win TurboCAD version 7 from IMSI adds attachable camera objects that allow the definition of 2D and 3D models, so that as the attached camera moves, the view does, too. It has new dimensioning features such as options for geometric tolerancing and surface roughness. LightWorks photo-realistic technology allows the visualization of 3D objects and includes support for acceleration cards. Users can create a complex plan in FloorPlan 3D, then import it. The software can also automatically create HTML pages for Web publishing with a choice of formats. The price is unavailable. (IMSI;

32-bit BobCAD
Win BobCAD Version 18.0 from BobCAD-CAM has complete 32-bit programming with increased accuracy and long file names. Multiple windows allow the user to work on more than one drawing at a time or to view and draw a 3D part from different angles simultaneously. Dynamic rotation in 2D and 3D has also been added. The new version supports Object-Action drawing mode, and more dimensioning attributes including ordinate dimensioning are available. The price is unavailable. (BobCAD-CAM;

CAD in Pocket
Win PocketCAD Viewer from Arc Second allows users to view, mark up, and redline design drawings in the field. The software can be installed on any mobile device running Windows CE 2.11 or higher. Files can be uploaded to desktop programs in DXF format or downloaded as DWG and DXF files. The program includes a pop-up tool bar, coordinate display, and a variety of drawing, inquiry, and editing tools. The price is $139. (Arc Second;

MPP Crash Simulation
Win/Unix Pam-Crash 2000, Pam-Flow-2000, and Pam-Stamp 2000 from ESI Group are now available for massively parallel processing (MPP) environments. The software provides crash-worthiness testing, aero-acoustics, aerodynamics, and stamping simulation, and MPP reduces processing time by decomposing a simulation model in several domains and assigning each domain to a different processor. The price is unavailable. (ESI Group;

Collaborative Design
Win Immersive Design has released IPA (Interactive Product Animator) 7.0, the latest iteration of its suite of applications for product design communication. IPA transforms data generated in most popular MCAD programs into animations and Web pages that can be used to communicate design intent. Additions to the program include a Web Publishing Wizard that guides users through the creation of Web pages, a free viewer that allows any user to see published IPA Web pages and animations using a standard Web browser, and templates that let designers easily customize their Web pages. The cost of IPA 7.0 is $2495. (Immersive Design:

Engineering Schematics
Win The new version of Aspect P&ID, the intelligent engineering schematics system from Cadcentre Group, is based on Microsoft Visio 2000. It allows the production of piping and instrumentation diagrams with associated rules and representations, and can be integrated with the company's other software for project engineering and data management, 3D design, and materials management. Aspect P&ID provides equipment list, line list, and instrument list reports. The price is unavailable. (Cadcentre Group;

Design Drafting
Win SmartSketch 3.0 LE from Intergraph is a modular 2D drafting, diagramming, and drawing program that provides functionality for parametric, dimension-driven designs. Six optional modules available for varying prices include CAD Translators, Electrical Diagramming, Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing and Weld Symbols, ImageScape LT, Process Solutions, and Web Publishing. The software can be integrated with Microsoft Office and MathSoft MathCAD. (Intergraph;

Assembly Assistance
Win Design for Assembly (DFA) version 9.0 from Boothroyd Dewhurst helps engineers estimate assembly times and costs for their designs. The program guides users through a systematic analysis of product designs, and displays the product structure chart, question panel, and results box in a single window. Users can customize panels and add text comments and image files for every part or operation listed in the chart. Data can be imported from product data management and all major CAD/CAM software. The price is unavailable. (Boothroyd Dewhurst;

Translation service
Win Translation services from CADCAM-E.COM convert files between Catia and other formats. Catia data files can be read into Pro/Engineer, and vice versa, allowing users to work with Catia files without a Catia license. Translation software will also convert Catia files to Varimetrix format, converting 3D geometry entities into equivalent VxVision entities. Other formats are also available. The price is $200 per Pro/Engineer conversion and $125 for a Varimetrix conversion. (CADCAM-E.COM;

STL magic
Win Magics 6.0 from Materialise expands the CAD features of the software, which works on faceted data such as STL files. New features include a user-definable coordinate system and the ability to put text on an STL object with Microsoft fonts. Color information can be stored in STL files or output to a printer. The software can create core/cavities for molding and patterns for secondary casting operation, and it supports build time and cost calculations for most rapid prototyping machines. The price is unavailable. (Materialise;

Modeling and Animation

Vector Graphics
Mac Swift 3D Version 1.0 for the Macintosh from Electric Rain allows users to create vector-based 3D imagery that complements 2D and motion graphic authoring tools such as Macromedia Flash and Adobe LiveMotion. Images can be created from fonts and basic 3D primitives within the software or imported from other applications such as Discreet's 3D Studio Max, Adobe Systems' Illustrator, or any program that supports EPS files. Images can be exported in a variety of styles, including outlines, meshes, and flat and gradient shading. The price is $139. (Electric Rain;

2D/3D modeling and paint
Win/Mac/ Pixologic has released Version 1.1 of its integrated 2D/3D modeling and painting program, ZBrush. ZBrush allows artists on both PC and Macintosh platforms to paint images with "depth," to create and move lights, and to apply 2D and 3D effects in a real-time workspace. Intuitive painting and sculpting tools enable users to push and pull objects into desired shapes. ZBrush supports 2D file formats including PSD, BMP, and PICT, and 3D formats including ZTL (the ZBrush format), DXF, and OBJ. The introductory cost of the program is $293. It is available only via download from the company's Web site. (Pixologic;

Shading System
Mac/Unix The aEdge Shader Set from TripleDTools contains six procedural shaders with full documentation. One varies colors based on the way parts of an object face the camera. Others generate ramps, simulate rim light, simulate a scanning electron microscope, generate fractal noise and bumps, and generate cloudy renderings and textures. The price is $159. (TripleDTools;


Technical Computing
Win/Unix/Linux Wolfram Research has released Version 4.1 of the technical computing system Mathematica. New features include enhanced symbolic differential equation solvers, speed improvements in statistics functions, Java integration with J.Link 1.1, improved MathML integration including copy and paste of formulas to Web browsers, new support for Linux PPC and AlphaLinux platforms, and new import/export filters. Mathematica costs $1495. (Wolfram Research; matica/newin41).

Image viewer
Win/Mac New versions of ACDSee, a software tool for viewing, browsing, sharing and manipulating digital images, are now available from ACD Systems International. ACDSee 3.1 and ACDSee 1.0 for the Macintosh can be obtained in Japanese, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, and traditional and simplified Chinese. With ACDSee, users can quickly view and edit full-size, reduced, or thumbnail images in high resolutions. Pricing varies according to package. Macintosh versions are available as shareware; PC versions must be purchased. (ACD Systems International;

Terrain modeling
Win/Mac 3D Nature has introduced Version 5.3 of World Construction Set, its photorealistic terrain modeling, visualization, rendering, and animation software. This latest release offers support for Apple's PowerMac platform. Support for Windows 98/NT/2000 on Intel, Athlon, and Alpha computers has also been improved. The feature sets are identical on both platforms. Also new to Version 5.3 is an enhanced Data Import Wizard that recognizes DXF vector colors and allows more flexibility when importing ArcView Shape files. The Atmospheric Editor has also been improved, with better control over volumetric atmospheres for dramatic haze, fog, and crepuscular ray effects. WCS can also now export edited terrain data and realistic texturing for use in real-time 3D interactive gaming applications. Pricing varies according to package purchased. (3D Nature;

3D maps
Win/Unix SiteBuilder 3D from MultiGen-Paradigm is a geographic information systems product that transforms 2D map data into interactive 3D environments. It works as an extension to the company's ArcView GIS mapping program, allowing users to conduct virtual flythroughs while tracking their position in ArcView. The software can generate terrain skin directly from common elevation data sources, then drape it with aerial photography or satellite imagery, adding cloud, fog, and time-of-day options. The price is $1995. (MultiGen-Paradigm;

Raster-to-vector Conversion
Win R2V version 5.0.7 from Able Software provides automatic raster-to-vector conversion for mapping and GIS data capture applications. This version adds support for JPG, GIF, and RLC image formats, in addition to TIF, GeoTiff, and BMP. Images can be automatically vectorized and exported to vector file formats such as Arc/Info Generate, ArcView Shape, Map/Info MIF/MID, AutoCAD DXF, and others. New functions include node snapping, polygon editing, and simplified operations for joining lines. The price is $1495. (Able Software;

Modeling and animation

Freeform Modeling System
Win SensAble Technologies has introduced Version 3.0 of its FreeForm modeling system. Freeform lets users create digital models using the sense of touch, and has been used to design products such as toys, footwear, and jewelry, as well as models for the entertainment industry. New functionality in Version 3.0 broadens the range of forms that can be created. Users can now model in pieces, working on one section of a model in context of the others. Lofting and wire cutting capabilities now allow product designers to quickly produce compound curvature based on sketch profiles. Also provided are new tools that create textures or patterns directly on models, and the ability to output IGES surfaces. The price is available from the company. (SensAble Technologies;

Fur Shader
Win/Unix RealFur 2.0 from Phoenix Tools is a plug-in for Softimage that allows animators to create realistic hair and fur for models. The new version incorporates a geometry shader that renders 4 to 10 times faster than the older, volumetric version of RealFur, according to the company. All hair characteristics, including color, density, bending, and length can be driven by textures, allowing users to create many different types of fur or hair on the same model; comb each strand or group of strands in different directions; color the tips and bases of strands for subtle effects; and control rigidity, movement, and tension. The new fur supports shadows, self-shadowing, reflections and refraction, area lights, motion blur, and translucency. RealFur 2.0 is compatible with objects created in the previous version. The price is unavailable. (Phoenix Tools;

Cacti Library
Win/Mac The Realworld Imagery Desert Shrubs image library from InterDimensional Publishing contains 98 of the most popular commercially available and native shrubs, palms, succulents, and cacti. Plant materials from both high and low desert regions are included. The species included are particularly tolerant of droughts. Each 2D image is placed against a black transparent background and includes an alpha channel mask clipping path for import into any software program. The average high-resolution plant size is 1500 by 2500 pixels in a 32-bit TIF. The price is $199. (InterDimensional Publishing;

softimage Training Video
Win/Unix A training video set for the latest version of the modeling and animation software Softimage|XSI is now available from Grubsrof Imagination Studios. Mastering Materials with Softimage|XSI comprises a CD and two videos that cover 19 materials and texturing projects. Topics covered are suitable for beginner to intermediate users, and for users who are transitioning from Softimage 3.X to Softimage|XSI. The cost of the set is $139.95. (Grubsrof Imagination Studios;

Web Development

2D-to-3D conversion
Win/Mac OpticBOOM from Dynamic Digital Depth is software that converts 2D materials to stereo 3D and transmits 2D-compatible 3D content via Internet, TV, CD, and DVD. A free plug-in works with Apple Quick Time. Dynamic Depth Cueing is a protocol for converting 2D to 3D, while adding only 2 to 5 percent more data to the 2D file. The price is unavailable. (Dynamic Digital Depth;


Image Processing System
Win Digital Fusion DFX+ is a new image processing system based on the Digital Fusion compositing program from eyeon Software. The system comprises the core compositing application and five modules: Visual Effects, with tracking, stabilizing, rotoscoping, and other features; Keying, with an ultra keyer, difference keyer, color corrector, corner positioner, and perspective positioner; Input/Output, with I/O batch capture video and SCSI tape I/O; 3D Tools, with 3D depth, Zbuffer, depth of field, Z merge, texture, and shade; and Rendering, including distributed network rendering with a render manager and render node. Additional modules will be available in the future. The starting price for Digital Fusion DFX+ for Windows NT is $995, with modules priced at $295 and up. (eyeon Software;


New VPro Graphics
Win/Linux SGI has introduced two new graphics subsystems for its Windows NT/2000- and Linux-based workstations. The company's V7 and VR7 graphics are additions to it VPro family. V7 is based on Nvidia's Quadro2 MXR graphics processor, and provides multidisplay capability for the Silicon Graphics 230 and 330 visual workstations. VR7 is based on Nvidia's Quadro2 Pro processor, and enables midrange graphics performance for the Silicon Graphics 330 and 550 visual workstations. The V7 comes with 32 of graphics memory; the VR7 has 64MB. Pricing varies depending on system and configuration. A Silicon Graphics 230 workstation with V7 graphics costs $2645. (SGI;


15-Inch Flat-Panel
Win The Dell 1503FP is a 15-inch flat-panel monitor with 1024- by 768-pixel XGA resolution. It incorporates a dual-interface (analog or digital), active-matrix, TFT (thin-film transistor) display powered by a Genesis Microchip gm5020 image processor. According to the company, this core technology allows for bright, vivid imagery with minimal distortions. The 1503FP comes in white or gray: The gray matches Dell's current desktop systems. The monitor is available separately or bundled with Dell systems. The cost is $899. (Dell Computer Corp.;

3D projector
A 3D digital stereoscopic projector from Christie Digital Systems is based on 3-chip DLP technology. It offers brightness of 10,000 lumens and XGA (1024 by 768 pixel) resolution at 110 Hz refresh capacity. Projectors are expected to be available in varying brightness levels and higher resolutions, including SXGA. The price is unavailable. (Christie Digital Systems;

Flat-screen CRT
Win/Mac/Unix The SyncMaster 1200NF from Samsung Digital Information Technology is a 22-inch flat-screen CRT display that uses aperture grille technology with a horizontal uni-pitch of 0.24 mm to improve color and contrast. It has a 20-inch diagonal viewable image, and uses a 360MHz video clock frequency for greater detail at high resolutions. A menu of controls is displayed on-screen. A USB hub allows hook-up to peripherals, and Colorific software is included. The price is unavailable. (Samsung Digital Information;

Win/Mac/Unix The SyncMaster 240T from Samsung Digital Information Technology is an HDTV-ready 24-inch LCD monitor with both analog and digital inputs and the capability to act as either a computer or video monitor. It has picture-in-picture and split-screen functions and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It can connect to a box with an HDTV decoder card through a 15-pin D-sub cable, and has an optional USB hub with two upstream and four downstream ports. The monitor has a 170 degree viewing angle and a contrast ratio of 450:1. The price is unavailable. (Samsung Digital Information;

Color laser printer
Win/Mac The Phaser 790 tabloid color laser printer from Xerox has a print speed of 6 pages per minute in color and 26 ppm in black and white. The printer has color management tools that support color press profiles such as ICC and ICM, and includes editing functions. Standard memory is 64MB, expandable to 512MB. Maximum resolution is 600 by 600 by 8-bit color. Maximum page size is 13 by 18 inches. It contains a 266MHz R5271 MIPS processor and an 8GB internal hard disk. The price is $6199. (Xerox;

Flexible Viewing Angle
Win A new large-screen flat-panel monitor from Sony Electronics offers users a choice of horizontal or vertical viewing in a 42-inch viewable area. The PFM42B1 SuperSlim monitor features a 1024 by 1024 pixel display with a 160 degree viewing angle. Users can change aspect ratios from a standard 4:3 to a widescreen 16.9 format to accommodate DVD presentations and widescreen broadcasts. The monitor is equipped with an advanced scan converter that can reproduce a wide range of digital video signals, including SDTV and HDTV, and UXGA computer signals. Measuring 3 and 1/4 inches thick and weighing 65.5 pounds, the monitor is suitable for high-traffic environments where aesthetics are important. It can be mounted to the wall or ceiling with optional rotating brackets that allow for easy conversion between horizontal and vertical formats. The cost of the PFM42B1 is $7999. (Sony Electronics Broadcast and Professional Company; www.

LCD image projection
Win/Mac/Unix The Dazzle View High Definition Display system from Olympus combines projected images from multiple LCD projectors into one seamless image. It works with more than 100 off-the-shelf projectors and stitch together portions of a source image from different projectors, displaying them on flat, arched, or domed screens up to theater-sizes. It offers brightness of more than 10,000 ANSI lumens and resolution of more than 4 million pixels. The price is unavailable. (Olympus;

Scanning and milling
Win The MDX-20 from Roland DGA Corp. is a combination 3D scanning and milling desktop machine for product design tasks such as reverse engineering, rapid prototyping, jewelry and model making, and small lot production. An active piezo sensor scans 3D objects with a resolution of 0.2 to 0.002 inches. A spindle unit can cut a variety of materials in an area of 8 by 6 by 2 3/8 inches. The device generates data files for export in STL, DXF, IGES, and VRML and comes with a suite of software tools. The price is $4495. (Roland DGA Corp.;

High-resolution scanner
Win/Mac The ArtixScan 2500 from Microtek Lab is an all-in-one scanner for graphic artists, prepress professionals, and commercial printers. The dual-lens device has 2500-dpi resolution, allowing a 35-mm slide to be enlarged to more than 11 bt 19 inches for high-quality offset printing. Emulsion direct imaging technology allows users to capture transparent originals without glass interference. The scanner has 36-bit color depth with 48-bit image data throughput, and includes five different size film templates. The price is $4495. (Microtek Lab;

Motion capture

Motion tracking
Win The Environmental Analyzer from Ascension Technology Corp. scans the motion tracking environment for metallic interference associated with distortion and electronic noise associated with jitter, then adjusts tracker parameters. The device is designed for use with DC magnetic trackers. Users test the environment by plugging the Analyzer into their host computer and moving the device around a room to test floors, walls, and ceiling for invisible metal and noise. The price is unavailable. (Ascension Technology Corp.;