Issue: Volume 40 Issue 2: (Mar/Apr 2017)




The workstation market is thriving. In Q2, Jon Peddie Research (JPR) reported results as inspiring. In Q3, it raved about results even better than the prior quarter, record-setting in fact. In Q4, JPR took that positive commentary up another notch: If a mature market like this one can be said to have a “blowout” quarter, then this would be it.

With total shipments of around 1.23 million units, the worldwide market for workstations grew at 20.1% year-over-year (with revenue close behind at 18.6%). The quarter not only set another record in units, but the 20.1% growth is at a level the industry hasn’t seen since 2010, according to information in “Jon Peddie Research’s Workstation Report Series.”

And it’s worth noting that 2010’s growth numbers were not very representative of real conditions, since they were measured relative to levels of 2009, when virtually all markets worldwide had bottomed in the depths of the Great Recession. If we ignore 2010’s recovery, the fourth quarter’s year-over-year growth beat all previous quarters all the way back to early 2006.



Lenovo Workstations is launching its VR-ready/VR-certified ThinkStation P320, enabling users to add virtual reality more easily into their workflow. The refreshed workstation, which will ship at the end of April, will be available in both full-size tower and small form factor, and comes equipped with Intel’s newest high-performance Xeon processors and the fastest Core i7 processors. Both form factors will also support the latest Nvidia Quadro graphics cards.



Artec 3D has unveiled the Artec Leo, a first-of-its-kind smart device and one of the fastest handheld 3D scanners – capturing data at up to 80 fps.
Building on last year’s release of Autopilot – an AI-based feature within the Artec Studio 11 software that automatically processes raw 3D data into high-quality 3D models – the 3D scanner can autonomously select and process data onboard, without connecting to a tablet or computer. On Artec
Leo’s multi-touch, half HD screen, a user can watch while an object is digitized into a full-color3D model in real time. The scanner’s design allows for easy wireless operation and access to hard-to-reach locations.

Users can bring the scanner closer to particular areas of interest in order to pick up intricate details with a 3D point accuracy of 0.1 mm.

The current list price of Artec Leo is $25,800.


Reallusion has released Character Creator 2.0 with enhanced visual quality for 3D characters with industry-standard PBR shaders, enabling users to import PBR textures made with 3D paint tools. Users can convert their existing library of non-PBR content utilizing traditional shaders to the new PBR shaders.

Character Creator 2.0 also features image-based lighting options, enabling users to customize their IBL environments for a more accurate preview inside a 3D tool or game engine environment. With the new Substance Material Generator, artists can create unlimited looks for clothing and objects with multi-layered materials, like leather, wood, metals, stone, and more. Embedded texture libraries can be added for a new level of realism, taking advantage of the new physically-based rendering system while procedurally generating custom variables like paint peel and wrinkles.


Vicon recently revealed Vicon Shōgun, a new software platform for entertainment users and the successor to Vicon’s Blade software. Shōgun delivers timesavings at each point in the motion-capture workflow with new features, such as calibration in Live mode, to ensure users have final quality skeletal data by day’s end.

Shōgun represents a step change in real-time performance capture, ensuring that solving stays true even when multiple actors undertake complex interactions that would usually disrupt real-time visualization. Vicon support for all the major real-time game engines enables film and game directors to visualize exactly how the final scene will look. Labeled solved data is recorded direct to disk, saving hours in postproduction.

Shōgun will be available in Q2.



Nvidia has introduced a range of Quadro products, all based on its Pascal architecture, that transform desktop workstations into supercomputers with breakthrough capabilities for professional workflows across many industries.

The new generation of Quadro Pascal-based GPUs – the GP100, P4000, P2000, P1000, P600, and P400 – enable professionals to unify simulation, HPC, rendering, and design; explore deep learning; incorporate VR into design and sim workflows; benefit from photorealistic design; and more.

The new cards, which will be available starting in March, complete the entire Nvidia Quadro Pascal lineup, including the previously announced P6000, P5000, and mobile GPUs.


OptiTrack is offering OptiTrack Active, for out-of-home, large-scale, multi-user VR experiences. At the core is a set of infrared LEDs synchronized with OptiTrack’s low-latency, high frame rate Slim 13E cameras, delivering real-time marker identification and positioning. This differs from OptiTrack’s passive solution, which requires reflective markers be configured in unique patterns for each tracked object. With OptiTrack Active, over 100 objects can be tracked simultaneously over areas greater than 100 x 100 feet.



Boxx Technologies’ GoBoxx MXL VR mobile workstation now includes a four-core Intel Core i7-7700K desktop class processor for uncompromised immersive virtual-reality experiences on the go. The upgraded GoBoxx also includes a number of features essential for boosting the productivity of digital content creators: a 17-inch, full-HD display, M.2 SSD storage, and up to 64gb of RAM.

Boxx also introduced the Apexx 1 1402, the world’s smallest workstation featuring an overclocked Intel Core i7 “Kaby Lake” processor, giving creative pros state-of-the-art workstation performance in an ultra-compact form factor of just 4.7 inches wide, 8.5 inches tall, and 9.0 inches deep.



Raytraced volume simulations are now possible with Chaos Group’s V-Ray 3.5 for Nuke, a free update for 3.X customers. Nuke artists can use the V-Ray Volume Grid node to import and render fire, smoke, and other fluid simulations as OpenVDB files from applications like Houdini. This gives compositors direct control over lighting and the final look of volumetric effects for better integration. For even more control, volumes rendered in V-Ray for Nuke are fully compatible with deep compositing.

Chaos also released V-Ray 3 for SketchUp, a photorealistic plug-in built for designers and architects. Interactive, fast, and VR-ready, it takes full advantage of CPU or GPU acceleration.