Issue: Volume 37 Issue 1: (Jan/Feb 2014)


HP Z1 G2 Makes ‘Touching’ Industry Debut

HP has unveiled the HP Z1, the second generation of the world’s first all-in-one workstation with a 27-inch diagonal display, now available with Windows 8 Touch and Intel Thunderbolt capabilities. The HP Z1 G2 offers fast data transfer speeds for compute-intensive workloads, and new technologies, such as Thunderbolt, offer the flexibility for high-performance external expandability. 

The HP Z1 G2 is joined by three new all-in-one PCs ideal for use in small and midsize business (SMB) and enterprise environments, including the HP Slate Pro All in One, HP’s first commercial Android all-in-one PC. The HP Slate Pro offers seamless integration with Android-based phones and tablets, along with access to efficient manageability tools, security enhancements, and apps available through the Google Play app store.

The HP Z1 features Intel integrated HD Graphics, 4th Generation Intel Xeon and Core processors, ECC memory, and RAID storage options. Additionally, the HP Z1 features the latest Nvidia Mobile Quadro GPUs. 

The new HP Z1 G2 Workstation is expected to be available in late January, with pricing starting at $1,999.

Pixar Animation Releases RenderMan Studio 18

Pixar Animation Studios has rolled out RenderMan Studio 18, which incorporates all the performance and feature advantages of RenderMan Pro Server 18 within an intuitive suite of tools designed for the creation of 3D animation and visual effects.

Major features in RenderMan Studio 18 include new controls for lighting, geometric area lights, and accelerated re-rendering, powered by RenderMan’s state-of-the-art path tracer. The standard shading library has also been expanded with features such as advanced subsurface scattering and support for per-light AOVs. In addition, the image tool, “it,” has been totally rewritten from the ground up, providing improved performance and usability for shading and lighting. 

The release is compatible with the following 64-bit operating systems: Mac OS 10.8 and 10.7; Windows 8, 7, and Vista; and Linux. RenderMan Studio 18 is compatible with Autodesk Maya Versions 2013, 2013.5, and 2014. For renderfarm dispatch, a license of Tractor 1.7 is included and additional licenses are available as a standalone product. For local workstation dispatch, a free LocalQueue utility is supplied as standard. 

Adobe Updates Creative Cloud Video Offerings

Adobe has added major enhancements to the video apps in Adobe Creative Cloud, including new capabilities in Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, SpeedGrade CC, Prelude CC, Media Encoder CC, and Story CC Plus. Important updates will also be added to Adobe Anywhere for video, enabling a range of tasks from ingest and logging to visual effects collaboration for large teams. A new Adobe Anywhere iPad app enables editors to browse shared productions and play media and sequences from the Adobe Anywhere Server on their iPads. 

The updates include a direct-link color pipeline between Premiere Pro CC and SpeedGrade CC, expanded native support for brilliant visuals, including 4k high frame rate content, a new mask tracker in After Effects, the Adobe Prelude CC Live Logger iPad app, and more.

Creative Cloud offers video professionals a membership-based service that provides users with unlimited access to download and install flagship Adobe professional video desktop applications as well as the full range of Adobe desktop applications for design, Web, and photography. Users also have access to publishing services to deliver apps and websites, cloud storage, the ability to sync to any device, and new products and exclusive updates as soon as they’re released. 

Current Adobe Creative Cloud members receive all these innovations as part of their existing membership, at no extra cost.