Spotlight - Products March 07
Issue: Volume: 30 Issue: 3 (March 2007)

Spotlight - Products March 07

Corel Introduces Painter X
Corel unveiled Corel Painter X, delivering what the company calls the next-generation art studio by further blurring the line between traditional and digital art. The offering introduces increased performance, new composition tools, and the RealBristle Painting System, which provides an organic experience right down to the individual bristles on the brush.

The RealBristle Painting System heightens the responsiveness of the brush for the artist, replicating traditional art media with individual bristles that blend and splay.

Corel Painter X also adds faster and easier Composition Tools. The Di­vine Proportion com­position tool provides guidelines that follow the Divine Proportion (known as the Golden Ratio) to allow artists to compose images like the Masters. The new Layout Grid tool provides guidelines that follow photography’s Rule of Thirds, but can be customized to other desired grid patterns.

Also new are an enhanced Photo-Painting system, a Match Palette effect, and a Universal Mixer palette. And, the product offers enhanced brush speed, new dodge and burn capabilities, and better color management.

Painter X supports the new Windows Vista platform and runs on the latest Mac operating systems. The version also provides more intuitive Adobe Photoshop support, making it easier to move files between the applications, as well as wider Wacom support.

Corel Painter X costs $429, or $229 for an upgrade; an education edition is available for $99.


Eos Systems Upgrades PhotoModeler to Version 6
After three years of development, Eos Systems, maker of PhotoModeler, released PhotoModeler 6. The new version offers many new capabilities as well as overall enhancements to speed, usability, and visualization.

The PC-based PhotoModeler automates the science of photogrammetry (measurement from photographs),  enabling the accurate measurement of objects and the generation of photo­realistic 3D computer models. The versatile tool has been adopted across a wide variety of industries, including accident reconstruction, architecture, scientific and engineering applications, as well as film and game production.

Version 6 contains a new Shapes function for working with geometric solids, and provides flexible means to export results into other software. The KMZ export format allows users to upload textured building models into the popular 3D globe application Google Earth, or utilize Google Earth’s 3D environment as a background for presenting PhotoModeler analysis of real-world scenes. Automatic processing of reference points now occurs in the background while the user is working, which greatly speeds 3D model generation. The software also offers new printing and output options, an automated camera library, and Idealize, a module that removes lens distortion from photographs for high-end film and animation projects.

PhotoModeler 6 costs $995 for the full version and $395 as an upgrade from any PhotoModeler version.

D2 Adds New Features to Nuke

Integrated Truelight color management, optical flow re-timing, and support for Intel-based Mac systems highlight the latest version of the Nuke high-end compositor.

Like previous versions, Nuke 4.6 includes technologies developed to solve particular production problems. For instance, the brand-new optiflow feature enables smooth motion effects when retiming shots or adding/subtracting motion blur. Optiflow creates a pattern track for every pixel, resulting in high-fidelity images with natural-looking motion, and supports bi-directional merging of clips. The new tracker, meanwhile, is faster and more accurate, and is able to detect and adjust to subtle changes in source values. The algorithm goes beyond 2D functions to track motion and rotation, scaling, perspective, and color. Artists can generate transformations based on feedback—when tracking four points, one tracker remains still while the others rotate and scale. It also enables image stabilization and matchmoving.

Other updated functions include an in-paint wire/scratch removal tool, a new color picker, and an updated Primatte keyer, and integration with FilmLight’s Truelight.

Moreover, Nuke now supports QuickTime, HDRI, and CRW file formats. A new CRW reader enables direct import of raw camera files so artists can work with the most color and light information available. And with the ability to read/write HDR files, Nuke artists can bring high dynamic range files into Nuke for compositing. Iridas FrameCycler Professional 2006 is bundled with Version 4.6 to enable uncompressed playback and a host of new review and analysis features.

Nuke 4.6 is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac platforms, including Intel-based Mac systems. It costs $4995 for a software license; additional render nodes are priced at $745 per seat. There is a no-cost upgrade for customers under current support contracts.

NEC Extends Multisync 90 Series Line
NEC Display Solutions of America announced the extension of its 90 Series with the NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi (25.5-inch VIS), touted as the first 26-inch widescreen desktop monitor in the market, and LCD2490WUXi (24.1-inch VIS) wide-screen monitors.
The new displays qualify as Windows Vista Premium monitors and are positioned within the company’s high-end professional line. They are compatible with both of NEC’s display calibration software packages: SpectraView II and GammaComp MD (sold separately). Featured technology includes HDCP (High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection), which is supported through the DVI-D connector that allows for use with HDCP-equipped devices and encrypted content.

Both models unveil a new feature, X-Light Pro, which utilizes the display’s internal luminance and color sensor to achieve a consistent light output level for the useful life of the display. The models also sport 1920x1200 native resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio.
Designed for professionals who rely on image excellence, both of the new NEC MultiSync LCD2490WUXi and LCD­2690WUXi displays feature a 12-bit Look-Up Table (LUT) for exceeding color breadth and depth, and ColorComp for improved color, brightness, and grayscale uniformity.  

The two displays are available now. The Multi­Sync LCD2690WUXi is priced at $1699.99, and the LCD2490WUXi costs $1,499.99.

Multi-platform Poser Figure Artist Shipping
Poser Figure Artist from E frontier, a virtual studio providing highly realistic human models to help artists create human figure art for canvas, sculpture, or digital artwork, is now available as a hybrid (it works on both Macintosh and Windows computers).

The new software applications replace “woody” mannequins with highly realistic posable male, female, and child figures. The software is ideal for artists who need to draw or paint human figures but lack ready access to live models.

Artists can choose from ready-to-use human figure models and hundreds of poses, garments, expressions, hairstyles, and backgrounds. They can then set the tone with a variety of lighting options, and view their scene from any camera angle. The resulting 3D human figure is a realistic image that artists can use as a model to help draw, sculpt, or paint the human form. Poser Figure Artist also contains sophisticated features such as spot and general light sources that enable artists to create the perfect lighting for the models. The program comes with how-to tutorials by artist Les Pardew.

The software is available for $99.99.


Blackmagic Rolls Out Intensity
Blackmagic Design has released Intensity, an ultra low-cost HDMI capture and playback card that allows users to capture high-quality, uncompressed video direct from the HDMI connection on HDV cameras.

Intensity is a very small HDMI capture and playback card that instantly switches between 1080HD, 720HD, NTSC, and PAL video standards. Once Intensity is plugged into compatible PCI Express Windows or Mac OS X computers, users get the quality of uncompressed video via HDMI from cameras, decks, and set-top boxes, enabling them to playback to any HDMI big-screen television or video projector for editing in SD or HD with real-time effects.

Customers recording to HDV tape also benefit from HDMI uncompressed capture and editing. Once the HDV footage is recorded uncompressed via HDMI, and graphics and effects are placed, the edited video will retain full HD resolution and color depth. Because Intensity’s media files are fully compatible with Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink and Multibridge capture cards, users can even play out to broadcast tape decks by moving content to a DeckLink- or Multibridge-based system.
Intensity sells for $249.