Issue: Volume 36 Issue 2: (Jan/Feb 2013)




After Effects Boost

Emotion3D has released the third version of its award-winning suite of plug-ins for Adobe After Effects. The Stereoscopic Suite X3 for Adobe After Effects features numerous improvements for working with stereoscopic material. New functions in SSX3 include automatic stereoscopic color matching, improved disparity map generation, and depth budget adjustment tools, as well as optimizations resulting in render times being reduced by as much as 50 percent. A depth LUT manipulator tool enables users to change not only overall scene depth, but also the depth of individual objects within a scene. This unique feature is expected to revolutionize visual effects work in stereoscopic films, both for removing the cutout effect sometimes seen in S3D material and also for placement of CG elements in stereoscopic scenes. Emotion3D’s SSX3 plug-ins are available for download and are priced at approximately $10,500 per license.



Brush It On

It’s been a busy year for Pixologic, releasing four new versions of its Zbrush software during 2012. Before year-end, Pixologic unveiled ZBrush 4R5, with usability upgrades, including Dynamic Brush Size control, Mouse Wheel support, Quick/ Auto Save functions, and more. With ZBrush4R5, users gain the ability to generate cleaner topology faster than before. When combined with the new Panel Loops and the QRemesher (released earlier in ZBrush 4R4), the ability to create complex and efficient parts become easier. ZBrush 4R5 also includes rendering enhancements, including a Posterization setting that creates illustration effects similar to a Photoshop painting. ZBrush 4R5 is a free upgrade to existing registered users.




Graphisoft has released ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2013 for BIM, running on the ArchiCAD 16 engine. ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2013 contains tools for creating BIM models from which the entire architectural documentation and the list of materials can be derived for a project. The new release introduces functions to STAR(T) Edition users, including a Morph Tool for direct modeling in the BIM environment and a Shell Tool supporting a spectrum of architectural shapes and forms found in both classical and modern architecture. Also, users can access a cloud-based BIM component database right from the software.



Exploring 2.5D

Artixels has rolled out its visual effects plug-in suite Escher 1.0 for Nuke, a set of image generators and 2.5D creative tools designed for Nuke compositors looking for tools to explore the creative possibilities between 2D and 3D. Escher enables creative 3D image making in a different way while taking full advantage of the organic nature of 2D image processing and manipulation. Escher offers highly interactive animated image generators that are ideal light sources for image-based lighting in Nuke’s 3D system or Escher’s 2.5D shaders. Spherical Harmonics-based processing nodes and high-performance 2.5D Escher shaders allow image-based lighting in real time for Nuke users; they can also fake ambient occlusion without using a CGI renderer. Escher 1.0 for Nuke is compatible with The Foundry’s Nuke 6.3; pricing starts at $399 for a stand-alone license.




A Caustic Solution

Imagination Technologies is offering its Caustic Series2 OpenRL PC boards and Caustic Visualizer viewport plug-in for Autodesk Maya, with the 3ds Max Visualizer plug-in available in the second quarter. The Caustic Visualizer viewport renderer interactively updates and responds to all edits in 3ds Max and Maya, including geometry, lighting, and shading characteristics, while preserving their interactive workflows. Selected objects in the Maya viewport continue to have fully editable wireframes and manipulators overlaid on the real-time raytraced shaded preview. The Caustic R2500 OpenRL PC board, including a copy of one Caustic Visualizer, will cost $1,495. The Caustic R2100 board, including a copy of one Caustic Visualizer, will be priced at $795. Both boards will ship with a copy of the Caustic Visualizer for Maya at launch. The software-only version of the Caustic Visualizer for Maya will cost $299.

Imagination Technologies;