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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vertex Chameleon - new Maya plugin



+ RenderHeads Ltd launches Vertex Chameleon, an ultimate vertex colour toolset for Autodesk Maya. Vertex colours are widely used in games for platforms where there isn't much memory for textures. Such platforms include: Nintendo Wii & DS, Sony PSP & Playstation 2, internet and mobile phone games. Even nextgen platforms such as PC, Xbox360 and PS3 still use vertex colours to help improve performance and save vital memory. Vertex Chameleon for Maya gives you complete control, real-time feedback and a wealth of functionality, resulting in increased productivity and better results.
Some of the main features are:
1) Vertex colour layers! (an extension to colorsets providing real-time layer blending and compositing just like Photoshop)
2) All operations and tools have been written for real-time feedback to give maximum control.
3) Loads of real-time adjustment tools (HSV, RGB, Levels, Contrast etc)
4) Filters (blur, sharpen, dilate, erode)
5) Tools for gradients, randomisation, 3D texture sampling
6) Texture and occlusion baking
7) Photoshop blending modes And much much more..
Visit the homepage where you can explore the features in detail, download it and see some videos:
www.renderheads.com/portfolio/VertexChameleon/

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Letterbox Animation Studios announces CrackHead


+ Letterbox Animation Studios announces CrackHead, a revolutionary new tool for creating exploding geometry. CrackHead leverages the technology of United, Letterbox Animation Studios ground breaking integration of Illustrator and mental ray. Taking this integration still further, CrackHead utilizes Adobe Illustrator artwork as the basis for exploding geometry, to generate crack, shatter and fracture patterns. Utilizing Illustrator and its drawing capabilities, CrackHead allows you to create artistic patterns of any shape and size. With United's technology, you can achieve a scaleable image no matter what size the object to be 'cracked'. Taking these Illustrator scalable patterns into United, and managing the breakage via our plugin for your 3D application, you can create great looking cracks, shatters and fractures. Any adjustment is simply an adjustment of your Illustrator artwork. To read more about CrackHead and United, visit www.letterboxanimationstudios.com

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StudioVee launches 'Casement Windows' for modo 3


+ StudioVee today announced the immediately availability, via its archvisuals.co.uk website, of its new Casement Windows system for Luxology modo 3. This new software allows modo users to rapidly build and fit a wide range of Casement style windows for use in Architectural Visualisation and related work. Casement Windows for Luxology Modo Highlights a Choice of 32 casement designs selectable via an image based UI and Windows can be animated. Casement Windows for Modo 3 ships with both OSX and Win32/64 versions and is priced at £26.80 (approx. $49.99). Neil is a visualisation artist and runs his own visualisation studio, 'StudioVee' (www.vee3d.com) in Brighton, UK. Neil has been using modo since its first release and was the first person/company to offer commercial scripts for Luxology's modo.
>> more information

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Monday, August 18, 2008

World's first fully interactive GPU-based Ray Tracer *


+ Another industry first is in the works this week during SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles—NVIDIA is demonstrating the world's first fully interactive GPU-based ray tracer. Based purely on NVIDIA GPU technology, the ray tracer shows linear scaling rendering of a highly complex, two-million polygon, anti-aliased automotive styling application. At three bounces, performance is demonstrated at up to 30 frames per second (fps) at HD resolutions of 1920x1080 for an image-based lighting paint shader, ray traced shadows, and reflections and refractions running on four next-generation Quadro GPUs in an NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2100 D4 Visual Computing System (VCS). The technology demonstration can be seen in the NVIDIA booth 554 during SIGGRAPH.

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Photoshop Tutorial - Image Enhancement ***



+ If you really suck at photoshop, its your chance to improve your skills. CGIndia brings you another very useful tutorial for Photoshop users. In this brief tutorial, we explains how to improve your rendered image using adobe Photoshop. This tutorial is for 3d artists, who wants to improve their rendered image in post process using Photoshop and the same technique can be used for improving images with bad lighting and contrast. No matter what 3d software ( 3ds max, Maya, XSI etc.) you use its not always possible to get.................Learn Photoshop TouchUp!!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

3ds Max 2009 Architectural Visualization – Intermediate to Advanced



+ 3DATS announces the shipping of its second 3ds Max book dedicated to the architectural visualization industry: 3ds Max 2009 Architectural Visualization – Intermediate to Advanced. Many years in the making, this 544 page, full-color, hard-cover bound title is the combined effort of 9 different authors from around the world who have combined their experiences and skills in the creation of a book that is truly a first of its kind; an advanced 3D visualization book filled with techniques that have been time tested in major production firms for maximum speed and efficiency.
This book is the follow-up companion to the book entitled 3ds Max 2008 Architectural Visualization – Beginner to Intermediate. That book was written primarily for beginners and was designed to take 3ds Max users to an intermediate level and provide the basics needed to land a job with a visualization company. 3ds Max 2009 Architectural Visualization – Intermediate to Advanced takes the next logical step and is designed to take intermediate 3ds Max users to the advanced level, not just by teaching more advanced features, but also by teaching practical application and time-saving techniques of the tools covered in the Beginner to Intermediate title. Included at the back of the book are numerous appendices that provide a wealth of tools including production tips, marketing strategies, business resources, a V-Ray reference guide, and much more. In the end, we believe that a great mixture of practical application and real-world experience was achieved and presented in the most logical order. We hope you agree! Also included with the book are special discounts from leading industry vendors and valuable downloadable content. Support files are available in release 9. For additional information regarding this and other training material, visit the 3DATS products page at
www.3dats.com/products.asp

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Color Symmetry 2.0


Color Symmetry 2.0 Introduces New Color and Look Management Tools for Animation, VFX and Post
+ Duiker Research Corp., creator of the Color Symmetry plug-in suite, announced today Color Symmetry 2.0. Version 2.0 encompasses new capabilities that make it possible to create and emulate production looks, accurately view color and correctly exchange color data across a variety of film- and emerging all-digital production pipelines in motion pictures, television, commercials and games. The ability to see and handle color consistently in animation, graphics, visual effects and post-production systems, including 2D and 3D software, is one of several modern workflow challenges uniquely solved by Color Symmetry. Color Symmetry also supports another growing industry demand by letting users author and properly use different film and created production looks directly within their everyday tools.
Color Symmetry is the industry's first solution for creating, viewing and consistently handling production looks and color within 2D and 3D animation, graphics, effects and post-production toolsets. Color Symmetry works across products and platforms to help users in feature film, commercials, television and games build robust color pipelines and reduce guesswork in maintaining accurate color throughout the creative process. Production looks can be created and viewed interchangeably through Color Symmetry within industry-standard applications by various different collaborators. Color Symmetry also enables identical color handling across vastly different software packages and color spaces, including 2D live-action color imagery and 3D high-dynamic color range. For further information, visit www.colorsymmetry.com.

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RayFire Tool 1.4 Plugin for 3ds MAX



+ Just got word in from Anselm von Seherr, FX artists from Germany and the developer of RayFire; about the release of new version 1.4 of
RayFire plugin Scripts for 3ds MAX 9, 2008 and Max 2009. RayFire Tool gives You ability to shoot, destroy, demolish, crash, ruin, break down, cause havoc, blow up, burst, detonate, explode.
New Features Lists:
- NVidia PhysX Rigid Body support via RayFire user interface.
- NVidia PhysX Force Influence support for Wind, RFBomb, PBomb, Gravity, Drag.
- Demolition. Fast and easy way for smashing and falling objects.
- Reactor Rigid Body support via RayFire user interface.
- Fragmentation. Allows you to fragment geometry objects.
- Explosion. Allows you to realistically explode objects.
- Reactor Hit. Creates realistic physical interaction of impact objects with bullets.
- Displace. Automatically subdivides impact faces and creates detailed animated dents.
- Holes. Creates holes and destruct Impact objects piece by piece totally in real time.
- Instant Action. Allows you to shoot and explode without gun
- Various effects, such as Impact flash, Muzzle Flash, Particle Debris, Geometry Debris, Fragmented Debris from Holes, Smoke, Sparks, Blood, Decals, Bullets and more.
- Interactive Layer Manager. Allows you to interactively change properties in the already created effects, select, hide\unhide, freeze\unfreeze and delete any created layer or effect.
- Multiple animated Impact objects. Also you can use skinned, pointcached or deformed.
PhysX Rigid Body animation - Download Video video
Blowing prefragmented building - Download Video video

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Sony IPAX and Animation Mentor Announce Online Mentor Program


+ Sony Pictures Imageworks' and Sony Pictures Animation's IPAX education program announced today the launch of its new online mentor program which will begin in the winter of 2009, and will leverage Animation Mentor's unique learning model and state-of-the-art online technology. The three-month program will pair top students from 18 IPAX member schools from around the world with top Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation artists who will provide individual online mentoring, training, and guidance. Animation Mentor's innovative mentor/apprentice teaching model and online learning platform will enable Sony mentors to work with students to help them develop their skills and grow their craft. Tools include live video conference question and answer sessions with mentors, video guest lectures with industry experts, and eCritiques® where mentors can provide video commentary while drawing directly on the student's work to illustrate their concepts.IPAX, Sony Pictures Imageworks' and Sony Pictures Animation's professional education development program was created in 2004 to connect faculty from leading academic institutions with industry professionals.
"We continue to lead the way in working with top schools to bring new solutions to the industry," said Barry Weiss, senior vice president of animation and artist development and chair of the IPAX collaboration initiative. "We're very excited about this opportunity to showcase how IPAX schools can work together to develop cooperative and collaborative programs that will propel aspiring digital artists forward in their career. Animation Mentor's innovative technology and teaching methodology is the ideal medium for our new mentorship program."

"We are honored to extend our interactive student experience to the IPAX education program and be the first to support IPAX in creating this exciting new knowledge center for the digital arts industry", said Bobby Beck, chief executive officer and cofounder of Animation Mentor. "There is nothing more valuable than the guidance a professional can give a budding animator who is honing their craft. This partnership really validates the unique teaching model
Animation Mentor embodies and the powerful technology we've created to support an incredible learning experience – no matter where you are on the planet."
This is an opportunity for IPAX member schools to engage future visual effects and animation professionals with the mentor/apprenticeship learning model perfected by Animation Mentor's online teaching program. Top students from the 18 IPAX member schools will be selected through an application process where student work is reviewed by Sony artists and matched with an appropriate Sony artist/ mentor. The program is designed specifically for advanced students who are working on a range of special projects including short films, animation or visual effects. Sony mentors will give students individual input and feedback to help guide their work and perfect their skills over the course of the program. The program is limited to students from IPAX member schools. Their respective faculty will initially recommend candidates who will ultimately be selected based on the quality of their work. For more information about IPAX and member schools, visit
www.sonypictures.com/imageworks/ipax/.

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Silo 2.1


+ Nevercenter Ltd. Co. today released version 2.1 of its popular 3D modeling application Silo, which is now available at www.nevercenter.com in two different versions. Silo Core is a new, lighter version of Silo which will be available for $99 and is solely focused on modeling tools. Silo Professional is the equivalent of previous full versions of Silo, including high quality displacement painting, advanced UV layout, and high end modeling tools on top of Silo's robust core toolset. "Ever since its inception, Silo has been designed to be accessible to anyone and everyone who wants to do 3D modeling," said Tom Plewe, President of Nevercenter and co-creator of Silo. "The features and workflow improvements we added to Silo 2.0 required a moderate price increase, so this is a way to make sure we're still keeping that high quality modeling functionality available to all." Both versions use the same base, can be used on both Mac and PC with a single license, and will be updated concurrently with free updates throughout the 2.x lifecycle. Silo 2.1 Professional is a free upgrade for all existing Silo 2.x owners. The main focus of Silo 2.1's development has been on improving stability and enhancing functionality of the existing toolset, resulting in hundreds of small improvements. For a more extensive summary of updates, visit www.nevercenter.com/about/new_features.

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New NVIDIA Quadro FX Notebook


+ Demand for better graphics performance and programmability within the professional notebook market continues to increase as animators, designers and engineers work with larger 3D models, datasets and images. NVIDIA Corporation, the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies, continues to address the demand with the introduction of a new series of NVIDIA Quadro® FX mobile GPUs, featuring an NVIDIA® CUDA™ Parallel Computing Processor. Leading workstation manufacturers such as Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP Pavilion and Lenovo are now offering the new series of Quadro FX mobile GPUs across a wide range of professional notebook workstations. Highlighting the flagship product of the series is the Quadro® FX 3700M, with 128 CUDA Parallel Computing Processor cores, which offers an unprecedented 1 GB of dedicated graphics memory for graphics-performance hungry industries such as oil and gas exploration, mechanical design and digital content creation. Now, the power of a desktop workstation is available in a compact, notebook configuration.
Additionally, the Quadro FX 2700M GPU, with 48 CUDA Parallel Computing Processor cores and 512 MB of GDDR3 memory, is an ideal graphics solution for 17-inch notebook platforms targeting high-end design and content-creation applications. The Quadro FX 1700M GPU with 32 CUDA Parallel Computing Processor cores, the Quadro FX 770M GPU with 32 CUDA Parallel Computing Processor cores, and the Quadro FX 370M GPU with 8 CUDA Parallel Computing Processor cores, are designed for 15.4-inch and 14.1-inch notebooks, which help round out the new Intel Centrino II-based platforms. The complete line of NVIDIA Quadro FX notebook solutions is available worldwide through leading notebook manufacturers and workstation system integrators. For more information about the entire series of NVIDIA professional Quadro solutions, please visit www.nvidia.com/quadro

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Monday, August 11, 2008

MotionBuilder 2009 - 3D Character Animation Software


+ At SIGGRAPH 2008, Autodesk,Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009 software, thelatest version of its real-time 3D character animation solution for games,film, and television projects. The 2009 version offers high-quality visualizations within the 3D viewport, an intuitive toolset for real-time simulation, and expanded scripting capabilities for tighter pipeline integration. MotionBuilder 2009 will be showcased at the Autodesk booth(#501) during SIGGRAPH 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center Aug. 12-14.
Key Highlights of Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009

Real-time Simulations
Animators now have the ability to perform rigid body dynamic simulations inside the software, giving them a more efficient workflow for producing realistic animations. Support for real-time collisions prevents interpenetration of characters, objects and other scene elements. This is particularly useful for those looking to efficiently edit 3D animations involving characters interacting with objects. Also, the addition of a RagDoll solver allows users to perform simulations dynamically, such as a character falling and hitting the ground. Artists can control the behavior of their character easily by layering animation on top of this simulation, for increased realism.
Enhanced Pipeline Integration
MotionBuilder 2009 enhances support for industry-standard digital content creation applications, so that both technical directors and developers can integrate the software into a production pipeline and bring data across,quickly and accurately. The Python scripting language now includes a full script editor with syntax checking and command highlighting, which enables technical directors to create custom tools and scripts more efficiently. Enhanced support is also available for workflows involving MotionBuilder andthe Autodesk 3ds Max software's Biped system or the Autodesk Maya software's Full Body Inverse Kinematics (FBIK) character rig.
Real-Time Rendering in the Viewport
MotionBuilder 2009 provides support for advanced hardware shaders, improving the quality of the real-time display in the viewport. New Normal Mapping CGshader support allows artists to work with existing normal maps created in Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max or Autodesk Mudbox software and view them inreal-time in the viewport. Furthermore, the new Light Attenuation CG shader lets artists achieve greater levels of subtlety and realism by giving them more control over the attenuation and fall-off of their real-time lighting. Also, MotionBuilder now supports version 2.0 of the CgFX library, enabling animators to take advantage of the latest CgFX shader technology. For a complete list of new features and enhancements in Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009, visit www.autodesk.com/motionbuilder.

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ARENA Mocap Plug-in for DAZ Studio


+ DAZ 3D, a leading developer of professional-quality 3D software and models, and optical tracking technology developer, NaturalPoint today announced the ARENA plug-in for DAZ Studio, an easy-to-use and cost-effective complete motion capture solution. Being shown for the first time at the 2008 SIGGRAPH Conference in Los Angeles, the ARENA plug-in for DAZ Studio allows full body and facial capture, rendering, as well as a real-time workflow perfect for previsualization. To obtain additional information during SIGGRAPH, please visit DAZ 3D’s Booth #910, or to view a live real-time demonstration, please visit NaturalPoint at Booth #733.
Artists utilizing ARENA’s easy-to-use solution for creating advanced motion capture sequences now gain access to DAZ Studio’s robust features including a full-color OpenGL Preview, high-quality Sub Division geometry and enhanced Levels of Detail. DAZ 3D additionally offers an expanding library of premium 3D characters and content designed to be versatile, allowing compatibility with any workflow, regardless of polygonal limitations. The ARENA plug-in for DAZ Studio will become available, as part of ARENA’s upcoming software package, in September 2008. ARENA is offered at a price point of $2,000 USD, or as part of the OptiTrack Foundation package for $4,999, which also includes 6 cameras and additional accessories. To purchase ARENA, please visit
www.optitrack.com.

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Autodesk Maya 2009



Autodesk Announces 10-Year Anniversary Release of Maya Software ; New Release Provides Stereoscopic Production Capabilities, nParticlesSimulation, and Powerful Animation and Productivity Tools
+ At SIGGRAPH 2008, Autodesk,Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced Autodesk Maya 2009 3D animation and visual effects software, in celebration of the software's 10-year anniversary. Maya2009 includes a host of advancements in modeling, animation, rendering and effects that maximize productivity, optimize workflows, and provide new creative possibilities. Maya 2009 will be showcased at the Autodesk booth (#501) during SIGGRAPH 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center Aug. 12-14.
"We are celebrating the work done with Autodesk Maya over the past 10 years by many artists and creative visionaries in film, television production and games, as well as in industrial design and architecture," said Marc Petit, Autodesk's Media & Entertainment senior vice president. "We designed Maya 2009 as a tribute to creative innovation and production efficiency. The new release will allow artists to raise the bar and deliver even more ground breaking computer graphics work." Key Highlights of Autodesk Maya 2009 includes: Complexity Management, Accelerated Modeling Workflow, Collaborative - Iterative Projects and Pipelines, Maya nParticles dynamic simulation module and much more. Autodesk anticipates that Maya 2009 will be available in English in October2008. Maya 2009 will be supported on the Windows and Linux operating systems (64-bit and 32-bit versions), as well as Mac OS X for Intel-based Macintosh and PowerPC computers (32-bit version only). Autodesk suggested retail pricing is US$1,995* for Maya Complete 2009 (Standalone) and US$4,995* for Maya Unlimited 2009 (Standalone). The upgrade price from Maya Complete 2008 to Maya Complete 2009 is US$899*, and the upgrade price from Maya Unlimited 2008 to Maya Unlimited 2009 is US$1,249*. For a complete list of new features and enhancements in Maya 2009, visit www.autodesk.com/maya.

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Stitcher Unlimited 2009 and ImageModeler 2009


+ Today at SIGGRAPH 2008,Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced Autodesk Stitcher Unlimited 2009 and Autodesk ImageModeler 2009 software products. These are the first versions of the former REALVIZ products to be released as part of the Autodesk product portfolio. Both products are being showcased at SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles, California, August 12-14 at Autodesk booth #501. "ImageModeler and Stitcher make 3D technology more accessible," said MarcPetit, Autodesk Media & Entertainment's senior vice president. "They enable the creation of 3D models from simple 2D images, and dynamic virtual environments from conventional photographs. These products are used on many types of projects -- from architecture and photography to film and game development."Stitcher Unlimited 2009 helps create wide-angle and panoramic images in a feweasy steps. With an intuitive user interface and an automatic photo-merging engine, the software is ideal for generating virtual tours for the Web, matte paintings for movies, environment maps for 3D rendering and panoramic prints for artistic display. ImageModeler 2009 offers a new approach to 3D modeling: generating 3D models from 2D digital images. The software's easy-to-learn, three-step workflow of calibration, modeling and texturing lets users achieve photorealistic results with real-world accuracy. For a complete list of what's new in Stitcher Unlimited 2009 & ImageModeler
2009, visit
www.autodesk.com/stitcher and www.autodesk.com/imagemodeler.

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Toxik 2009 Visual Effects Software


+ Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced Autodesk Toxik 2009 procedural compositing software. Toxik2009 offers high-performance compositing and visual effects capabilities, particularly for large-format digital film and television projects. When combined with the new Autodesk Maya 2009 modeling software, the two products provide an accelerated and iterative 3D-to-2D workflow. Both products arebeing showcased at SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles, California, August 12-14 at Autodesk booth #501.
"A growing number of post-production facilities are embracing Autodesk Toxikas a companion to Autodesk Maya," said Stig Gruman, Digital Entertainment Group vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. "As the entertainment industry grapples with the challenges of stereoscopic production, Toxik 2009 bridges 3D and 2D workflows, facilitating the production of stereoscopic films and virtual set extensions." New Feature Highlights in Toxik 2009 includes; Accelerated 3D-to-2D Integrated Workflow, Stereoscopy and Set Extensions, Enhanced Tools for Visual Effects, Collaboration without Complexity and more. For a complete list of Toxik 2009 features, visit www.autodesk.com/toxik.

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AnimfxNZ 2008


+ AnimfxNZ, the world’s leading conference for digital animation, effects, animation and games today announced the theme for this year’s conference. “Where Creative Convergence Begins,” represents the conference’s goal of bringing together leaders from the four major creative digital mediums to share ideas and further the creation of digital entertainment. AnimfxNZ will take place November 14-16th, in Wellington New Zealand and present a line-up of keynotes and panels that feature the brightest minds in digital media today. “The goals of AnimfxNZ are to further the exchange of creative ideas and to provide a platform for digital entertainment‘s greatest minds to share their views on the state and future of the industry as well as the technologies influencing the craft,” said Jos Ruffell, Chairman of the New Zealand Games, Animation and Visual Effects Trust (NZGAV), the organizing body behind AnimfxNZ. “AnimfxNZ will present a program that is relevant and inspiring to digital content creators from each of the four major disciplines as they look for new ways to create digital content that pushes the boundaries of what is possible and immerse an ever demanding audience, worldwide.” “We’re extraordinarily pleased to come back as one of the partners of AnimfxNZ,” said Eric Roth, Executive Director of the Visual Effects Society (VES). “With AnimfxNZ, New Zealand is once again showing how it’s leading the way in all things digital. Expanding beyond film and animation into the fields of games and all forms of digital entertainment means that all forward thinking companies will want to see and hear what AnimfxNZ has to offer.” Roth added.
The first announced speakers for AnimfxNZ 2008 include Barrie Osborne, Carolyn Soper, Howard Postley, Jeff Okun and Habib Zargarpour. AnimfxNZ was founded in 2006, to provide a global platform for the creative content community to exchange ideas across the various disciplines of digital media. Since its inception, the conference has presented leading speakers on the topics of animation, digital entertainment, digital effects and games, and has served as the crossroads of collaboration for creative media convergence. The 2008 conference is organized under the theme, “Where Creative Convergence Begins,” and is focused on the current and future states of creative digital content creation, worldwide. For more information, please visit www.animfxnz.com

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Intense Skate @ 8 Show



+ A detailed 3D animated skateboard, cel animated graffiti like teeth, intense camera moves and sequential photos that feel like stop-motion animation of a skateboarder pulling off some amazing moves -- and falling hard -- are just some of the cool creative ingredients found in design/animation studio Royale powerful new show open/packaging for Skate @ 8 -- a new programming block seen Friday’s at 8pm on the action sports network Fuel TV.
''We were given a huge amount of creative freedom to mix mediums,'' said Jayson Whitmore, co-founder/creative director for Royale. ''From the beginning we knew we were going to build a 3D environment and experiment with blending sequential stills of the skateboarders into this environment.''
Jarring and visceral, Royale’s fifteen-second action burst opens with a multilayered shot of a skateboarder moving through an imposing circular garage -- nailing spectacular moves and wiping out with brutal force. Inside the 3D animated concrete world, the skateboarder encounters a graffiti animated mouth, jagged teeth and disembodied arms that mock the skateboarder and attempt to trip him up. Sweeping camera moves that bring viewers into the action, pulsating geometric shapes in the background and rocking skate-punk soundtrack complete the look of this effective show open.
Whitmore explains that rather then shooting the live action first and then creating the 3D animated backgrounds around the live action, Royale choose to reverse the process, first creating the animation -- both the environment and the detailed 3D animated skateboard -- then compositing the shots of the skateboarder into the environment. Royale shot the live action footage of the skateboarder in sequential photo stills to give the footage a stop-motion feel.
''Royale modeled and animated the environment, creating camera moves around a free floating skateboard without the live action skateboarder,'' said Whitmore. ''We had to do some extensive pre-visualization in order to shoot the talent in the right perspective, which enabled us to composite them seamlessly into the 3D environment.''

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RenderPal V2 2.1


+ Shoran Software is proud to announce the release of RenderPal V2 2.1, the first point release of RenderPal V2. The new version brings several major new features, including parallel renderings on a single client, a completely new custom renderer management, extended automatic pool assignment (with multiple IP ranges support), multiple net job dependencies, automatic and manual Wake-on-LAN for clients, as well as support for several new renderers (V-Ray for Maya, 3Delight, SiTex Air, Combustion, Digital Fusion and Houdini). Many other aspects of RenderPal V2 have been improved as well, and several bugs have been fixed.For more details, screenshots and trial downloads, visit our website at: www.renderpal.com

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SU Podium 1.5 for Mac


+ SU Podium 1.5 Mac has been released!! The Mac version is identical to the Windows version of Podium except it works as a plug-in to SketchUp 5 and 6 on Mac OS X. If you are an existing Podium 1.5 users and want to switch tothe Mac version, the conversion is free. Simply download the full program and use your original serial number distributed to you when you purchased Podium. For new users, there is a free Podium 1.5 Mac evaluation version. As with the Windows version, the free version is limited only in the image resolution sizes. The sizes are 230 X 120 and 500 X 500 pixels. The free version is a perpetual license. Go to www.suplugins.com and click on Free Eval. Make sure you pick Mac in the Platform box.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Autodesk Mudbox 2009



+ Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) today launched Autodesk Mudbox 2009 software for 3D modelers and texture artists working on entertainment and design projects. Mudbox combines an intuitive user interface with a powerful toolset for creating highly-detailed 3D models. The software gives artists the freedom to create without worrying about technical details. Mudbox has shaped characters in blockbuster movies and games, including Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mist and MassEffect.
"The introduction of Autodesk Mudbox 2009 sparks a revolution in computergraphics tools, bringing about a paradigm shift in how designers and artists do their work," said Habib Zargarpour, senior art director at Electronic Arts. Dan Platt, modeler at Disney Animation Studios, said, "Time is money. An Autodesk Mudbox session begins with its artist-friendly, intuitive interface. This is sculpting at the speed of thought with the greatest of fidelity. In a business where new ideas with impossible deadlines are common place, Mudbox never lets me down."
New Feature Highlights in Autodesk Mudbox 2009 includes; Texture Painting with new production-ready toolset, Performance Enhancements, On-Target Display, Improved Interoperability with Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max, Artist-Friendly User Interface and more. Autodesk anticipates that Mudbox 2009 will be available in October 2008. Mudbox 2009 will be supported on the Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Windows Vista operating systems. Autodesk suggested retail pricingis $745 USD*. For a complete list of new features and enhancements in Autodesk Mudbox 2009, Please visit
www.autodesk.com/pr-mudbox .

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Facial Anatomy - ZBrush Tutorial


+ Awesome Facial Anatomy ZBrush tutorial by Ryan Kingslien. A look at creating surface level facial anatomy using ZBrush 3 and ZSpheres. The tutorial will be available at www.Gnomonology.com soon.

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The Foundry at IBC 2008



+ There have been many exciting developments at The Foundry during the last twelve months, across all areas of the company’s product portfolio. Continuing development and support of Nuke, the Academy Award© winning compositing system, has necessitated the addition of 15 staff, plus the company’s expansion into two additional floors at its Wardour Street HQ in central London. Simultaneously, The Foundry team is continually improving and refining the existing stable of Academy Award© winning visual effects and image-processing plug-ins, and inventing new ones, in response to customer feedback and industry demand.
Ocula 3D plug-ins released & IBC conference session:
Based on stand 7.F28 at IBC 2008, The Foundry will unveil a plethora of new product releases including Nuke 5.1 and Ocula, its stereo plug-in toolset. Simon Robinson, the company’s chief scientist, will demonstrate Ocula 3d plugins as part of a presentation on 3D production and post at the IBC conference session “Putting it all Together – New Dimensions For The Big Screen” on Monday 15th September from 11.30 - 13.00hrs.
Nuke 5.1 released, plus PLE and free training:
With Nuke 5.1’s new 64-bit capabilities come the options of Furnace, Keylight, Tinder and Tinderbox 1,2 & 3 plug-ins all in 64-bit too. Other key additions to this latest update of Nuke are a PLE, support of the FBX 3D interchange format, and an extended bicubic card providing greater control over shape. All Nuke purchasers at IBC will be rewarded with a free term with FXphd (www.fxphd.com), renowned providers of online training for VFX professionals.
Foundry Plug-ins for FCP released:
The Foundry is also releasing its debut set of plug-ins for Apple Final Cut Pro. FCP 6 users will be able to purchase Keylight and Furnace, accessing Academy Award© winning motion estimation and keying technology for the very first time. In support of this launch, The Foundry is sponsoring the first European FCP SuperMeet during IBC at The Culture Park Westergasfabriek on Sunday 14th September. Free, signed copies of Ron Brinkmann’s newly updated book ‘The Art and Science of Digital Compositing’ will be available to the first 50 FCP customers at both IBC and the FCP SuperMeet. For more information, please visit
www.thefoundry.co.uk

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Vue 7 at Siggraph 2008


+ e-on software, makers of Vue, the leading solution for natural 3D environments announced it will be showcasing key new features of its Vue 7 professional solutions (scheduled for release later this year) in Los Angeles, during the Siggraph 2008 show, August12-14, at booth 1129.
Vue 7: Digital Nature
More Robust, Seamless Integration with the Leading DCC Solutions Vue 7 xStream, e-on's flagship solution, represents a totally new paradigm in terms of integrationand workflow. All Vue tools are now fully integrated in the host application, providing directaccess to the most advanced 3D environment creation technologies (including EcoSystem Painting). Users of Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, Softimage XSI, Maxon Cinema 4D and Newtek LightWave will greatly benefit from Vue xStream's unprecedented and unmatched 3D Digital Nature creation power!
Next Generation Features
Capitalizing on breakthrough technologies introduced in previous versions, Vue 7 will also feature a number of important new features such as the 3rd generation of e-on's patented EcoSystem ™ technology, as well as Spectral 2 atmospheric engine, SolidGrowth 4 HD, a completely new indoor Radiosity engine and much more. Come and meet the e-on software team in Los Angeles, at the Siggraph show, booth #1129 for further details and product demonstrations. To make it easier for people to come and visit, e-on softwareis giving away 300 free registration passes to the exhibition hall.
>> more information

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New 3ds max Fundamental Training Videos by Ted Boardman


+ Ted Boardman has just launched the first modules of a new series of 3ds max 2008-2009 training videos. The first three volumes will get you started with a solid understanding of the concepts and workflow behind 3ds max to provide a solid foundation in 3ds max production. Learn to model a diner scene that emphasizes flexibility and efficiency, apply basic lighting and materials, create a camera, and then render the scene to complete a typical production workflow. The tutorials are designed to teach you not just how to push buttons in 3ds max, but provide you with an understanding of how things work to enhance the decision-making process in your own projects. This is an instructor lead training class that has been video recorded and indexed so you can watch a portion of the training or the entire session.
Volume 1 introduces you to the project and walks you through the 3ds max user interface to familiarize you with important 3ds max concepts and how to get the most out of the software.
Volume 2 covers 3ds max coordinate systems and scene setup techniques and teaches you basic modeling methods while creating a diner.
Volume 3 covers basic lighting of an outdoor scene, introduces you to materials and the material editor, and then has you place cameras and render a final scene.

Future training volumes will expand on the lessons presented here to create a complete exterior and interior diner scene to provide you will more in-depth understanding of the concepts and workflow of production for architects, background artists for games and film, and marketing firms. However, the fundamental techniques covered are important to anyone using 3ds max. The ultimate goal is not only to create a diner scene, but to learn to use the power inherent in 3ds max to enhance your productivity. Ted is an award-winning 3ds max trainer who has authored a dozen 3ds max and VIZ fundamental books and DVDs.
>> More information

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Pixel Farm Announce PFTrack 5.0 at Siggraph 2008


+ The Pixel Farm, a leading developer of innovative Film and Television digital post-production tools, delivers an important new dimension to matchmoving technology with PFTrack 5.0. Once again changing the paradigm with true Stereoscopic Tracking, Reference Frames, improved Z Depth Extraction and much more. Just 12 months after the groundbreaking release of version 4.0, PFTrack 5.0 reasserts itself as the most advanced camera tracking and motion analysis solution available. Already considered an industry standard, PFTrack now reaches new heights of functionality, operability and ease of use, with exclusive new features including: true stereoscopic tracking with the ability to export anaglyphs, a totally new camera solver providing greater accuracy and improved Z calibration, reference frame support, more robust Z-Depth Extraction, pattern-based User Feature tracking and many UI and workflow improvements.
The Stereo Camera functionality in PFTrack 5.0 allows independent camera motions to be generated for both left and right eye images. Each “eye” is solved as a distinct motion path and presented as a “stereo” camera, providing much more accurate results than other approaches. The inter-occular distance, convergence distance and camera angle may also be user-defined, allowing PFTrack to accommodate non-standard stereo camera rigs. Once solved, PFTrack can pass data downstream to third party applications that support stereoscopic cameras, and export anaglyphs. For the first time, filmmakers working in 3D have a tool that enables them to maintain a true stereo VFX pipeline.
PFTrack 5.0 supports the use of reference frames. High-resolution stills can be imported and used to define points in space and improve camera solves. Such reference images can also be used as textures offering a superior resolution than a native plate for use with PFTrack’s advanced image-based modelling tools. PFTrack’s per-pixel Z-Depth Extraction has also been substantially improved to provide much more accurate results. 3D feature positions and camera information combine to produce an estimate for the position of each pixel in X, Y and Z in relation to the 3D camera. Once solved, the result can be visualized in 3D and exported as either a point cloud or triangular mesh for import into 3D applications. For more information, please visit www.thepixelfarm.co.uk

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Friday, August 01, 2008

ABBEY 'SUPER KICK' - VFX Framestore



+ Watch the latest spot by Framestore called - ABBEY 'SUPER KICK' , A follow up to Super Squirrels, which first aired in March of this year, Super Kick finds our little red hero once more figuring out how to make the most of his savings. The Framestore 3D team had only four weeks to turn this one around, but fortunately they were able to build on the excellent work done for the previous spot. With the help of a witty script, they turned in a beautifully detailed little performance, full of grace notes that distinguish the truly talented animators.
>> Watch Super Kick video

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Gnomon Workshop DVD's - Creature Design Series



+ The Gnomon Workshop introduces 2 new Training DVD's - Creature Design Series by renowned concept artist and illustrator Terryl Whitlatch. Terryl has an amazing background in vertebrate zoology and animal anatomy and has been able to transfer her scientific knowledge into science fiction, creating believable creatures of alien origin. She is most well known for contributions to the recent Star Wars Trilogy and her seven years of creature design for Lucasfilm LTD, Industrial Light and Magic and George Lucas' JAK Films. Her book, "The Wildlife of Star Wars," is very popular and received critical acclaim.
In this series Terryl illustrates a new creature in each new volume, focusing on the specific anatomical characteristics that define the real life version of the creature - in the case of Volumes One and Two, a domestic cow and an exotic bird - and illustrates how to translate these features successfully into a fantastical creature. Each volume will cover new territory as Terryl demonstrates in traditional pencils and markers. Also, in each lecture, Terryl discusses how to turn both the actual and concept creatures into animated characters and illustrates corresponding predators or prey, exploring story concepts and discussing their environments, habits and lifestyles.

DVD Description:
Creature Design with Terryl Whitlatch
Volume 1: Bovine Creature, "Moo Monster"
In this first DVD of a series, Terryl demonstrates how to create a fantastic yet utterly believable creature based on one of the most commonly known animals, the domestic cow. After drawing a study of an actual bull, she shows the process of designing a realistic “Moo Monster”. Starting with rough thumbnails and ending with a fully rendered action-packed color illustration, she shares her techniques and tools – pencils, markers and tracing paper – as well as a thorough exploration of animal anatomy. During the course of the demo, Terryl shows how she indicates forms and planes, how she chooses and applies color, and how the underlying skeleton and muscular systems affect the surface anatomy. Above all, she emphasizes the “Why” of the creature – how its lifestyle and environment affect its design and appearance. She also instructs how to create a humorous character derived from the more realistic versions for a truly versatile, professional portfolio.

Creature Design with Terryl Whitlatch
Volume 2: Avian Creature, "White Fright"
In this second DVD of a series, Terryl Whitlatch demonstrates how to create a vicious avian alien based on an actual exotic bird – the Greater Indian Hornbill. Starting with rough thumbnails and ending with a fully rendered illustration, she shares her techniques and tools – pencils, markers and tracing paper – as well as a thorough exploration of animal anatomy. Relax as she steers you through the intricacies of wing structure and feather arrangements – all essentials for designing a believable feathered flying creature. She also covers how to create an illusion of white in the color version of the "White Fright", complete with prey, and discusses how the environment, habits and lifestyle of this creature affect the way it looks. Throughout the DVD, she explores materials, texture and story concepts, giving you insight into her development and thought processes.
Since 2000, The Gnomon Workshop has provided artists and students with the educational resources they need to succeed as artists in the entertainment industries. Whether they're interested in design, modeling, effects, animation, storytelling or matte painting, these DVDs provide a valuable educational resource for students around the world. For more information, please visit www.thegnomonworkshop.com

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Entity FX Completes VFX for The X-Files


Copyright Twentieth Century Fox and Courtesy of Entity FX
+ Entity FX, an award-winning visual effects company in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, has completed visual effects for the new X-Files motion picture sequel The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Entity FX's Mat Beck supervised all visual effects for the movie, continuing a 15-year collaboration with co-writer and co-producer Frank Spotnitz and X-Files creator Chris Carter, who co-wrote and directs the film. Almost 400 visual effects shots were delivered in a matter of weeks to meet delivery deadlines for the theatrical release and DVD cut. Over 300 visual effects shots were handled by the artists at Entity FX and Entity FX North, with some additional shots sub-contracted to studios such as Illusion Arts, Hybride, Frantic Films and At the Post.
The project called for numerous diverse visual effects - from set extensions, greenscreen comps and matte paintings to 3D buildings, cars, weapons, body parts and blood. The project's most prevalent vfx challenge was radically altering shot environments through invisible "digital meteorology" effects. In many hectic chase scenes, characters, landscape and vehicles had to interact convincingly with a 3D blowing snowstorm, even when the actual footage had been shot on a clear day in brilliant sun." The weather's more than an environment for the story, it is almost a character that gets more claustrophobic as the situation gets more perilous," said Mat Beck, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Entity FX. "So we had to do more than add snow, mist and fog for continuity; we had to tune various shots to match the mood of the moment. Then there were shots where we had to remove falling snow -- that was harder. Between the weather, blood, creature, weaponry and digital makeup work, we had lots of levers to tweak the creep factor just the way Chris wanted it."

To help support creation of hundreds of snow shots and keep things consistent across the facilities, Entity FX built a custom toolset called Frosty with which to create or dramatically alter natural phenomena on the fly. Artists could use the software to generate snow interactively while factoring in dozens of important variables, such as wind direction, turbulence, blur and interaction with other objects in the scene." For this project, having a streamlined pipeline that could quickly accommodate various permutations on making shot footage look more sunny, rainy, wet or dry was essential," commented Entity FX 3D Supervisor David Alexander, who authored the Frosty application using Maya's Mel scripting language. "The sprite-based particle system Frosty allows us to automatically produce snow and mist elements from regular falling snow to outright blizzards and adjust many variables and controls in real time along the way. Frosty also includes built-in functionality for melting snow, generating z-depth channels and controlling files on a per-particle basis."The X-Files: I Want to Believe sees David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprising their roles as Agents Mulder and Scully, respectively. The film is being distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.
About Entity FX
Entity FX is an award-winning visual effects studio specializing in feature film, television and commercials. With facilities in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Entity FX delivers creativity on the demands of today's production with a range of services in pre-visualization, on-set supervision, virtual backgrounds, matte painting, environmental effects, compositing, CG animation, specialty photography and more. For more information, visit www.entityfx.com

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