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Monday, April 27, 2009


+ This week The Gnomon Workshop announces the release of a new Mental Ray DVD by Gnomon Workshop veteran instructor Matt Hartle. In this new title Matt discusses and demonstrates the steps he takes to produce a finished visual effects shot using Maya, Mental Ray and After Effects. With the benefit of his many years of production and teaching experience, Matt focuses on the techniques needed to get the project done fast and efficiently. "Matt's new DVD will reveal to you his true area of expertise," says Alex Alvarez, Director of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects. "His thorough break down and explanation of his process, from modeling to compositing, will greatly enhance your ability to use Maya, Mental Ray and a compositing package effectively."
In this lecture, Matt Hartle will lead you through the steps necessary toproduce a finished visual effects shot from conception to the finalcomposited rendering. Along the way we will examine modeling, texturing, animation, lighting and rendering using Mental Ray. We will then composite the rendered layers in After Effects, using a 3D composition with a camera exported from Maya. By bringing in the camera from Maya we will be able to integrate photographed elements with our rendered elements to create a final composite. Render layers from our Maya scene will include beauty, ambient occlusion, particles, ground fog and color alpha among others. For more information on this Training DVD, please - Click Here

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Shake Techniques 2nd Edition

+ Dover Studios, Inc. announced the release of Shake Techniques 2nd Edition, their latest visual effects training video. Shake Techniques 2nd Edition provides compositors with a variety of solutions that can be applied to everyday compositing challenges. The second edition has been completely updated and features crystal clear 1080p high definition video. Through a series of in-depth lessons, visual effects artists, Andrew Hazelden & Russell Hazelden, share tips and techniques that will help you create better composites in Shake. Essential topics include several approaches to stabilizing footage including the Stabilize node that uses motion trackers, and the SmoothCam node that uses optical flow technology. Learn how to use the Defocus node and see how it can be used to simulate a real lens by creating the Bokeh lens effect. Discover how to pull a key from a bluescreen shot by using the Keylight keyer and learn how to use the Keylight status mode to troubleshoot a key. Advanced topics include: creating a procedural animation using an audio file and an expression, and building a composite using an external matte with the SwitchMatte node. Demystify the topic of alpha channels by learning what the terms premultiplied and unpremultiplied really mean. For more information visit
www.DoverStudios.com and watch the free preview. Shake Techniques 2nd Edition is available now as a download for $49.95 (US). Single user and multi-user site licensed versions of the video are available.

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SONY Pictures Digital Productions and Animation Mentor

SONY Pictures Digital Productions and Animation Mentor put new twist on old tradition with new Online Mentor Program
+ Sony Pictures Digital Productions professional education program (IPAX), created in 2004 by the award winning visual effects and animation company to help train the next generation of talent at the leading computer graphics and animation schools, recently offered an innovative online mentorship program utilizing Animation Mentor's unique online training technology. The three month long mentorship program paired Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation professionals with student apprentices selected from the 18 current IPAX member schools for individualized online mentoring, training and guidance.
Animation Mentor's innovative mentor/apprentice teaching model and online learning platform enabled the Sony mentors to work with students on skills development and techniques. Tools included live video conference question and answer sessions with mentors, video guest lectures with industry experts, and eCritiques®, where mentors provided video commentary while drawing directly from the students' work to illustrate their concepts. Sony Pictures Imageworks produces visual effects and animation for live action films, all-CG animated features, hybrids, and 3D stereoscopic. Imageworks is currently working on G-FORCE, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, 2012, CATS AND DOGS 2, and ALICE IN WONDERLAND among others, and most recently completed work on WATCHMEN. Sony Pictures Animation develops and produces animated feature films. Its next movie, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, will be released in September 2009. Two artists who participated in the program, Josh Beveridge an animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Dan Sheerin sr. technical director at Sony Pictures Imageworks mentored students Raphael Sousa who attends Animation Mentor and Thomas Huang who attends the University of Southern California. For more information about IPAX and member schools, visit

Terragen 2 with XfrogPlants

+ In a much anticipated collaboration, Planetside Software and Xfrog, Inc. today released Terragen 2 with XfrogPlants. This unique software combines photo-realistic landscaping with the most sought after virtual vegetation. A wholly unique collaboration, Terragen 2 with XfrogPlants unites two companies that share a common goal: to create the most highly realistic virtual ecosystem software available for personal or professional use. With the ability to create entire planets, sweeping vistas, tiny rock gardens or anything in between, the user can step into a creator’s shoes and subsequently animate the virtual environment, giving life to an otherwise static scene.
“Terragen has enjoyed a successful history of photorealistic skies, terrains, water and even whole planets, but for a long time vegetation was our weakest link,” noted Matt Fairclough of Planetside Software, “With Terragen 2 we've changed that by delivering tools to render billions of polygons via instancing. XfrogPlants models are great with Terragen 2 because of their high quality and botanical accuracy.” “Terragen 2 with XfrogPlants, is very exciting for us because we have watched as Terragen developed over the past several years to today’s Terragen 2, which is a wonderful high-end production solution with extremely high render quality,” said Stewart McSherry of Xfrog, Inc. “Adding all 22 libraries of our XfrogPlants into the product is very exciting and gives Terragen users the ability to include large populations of Trees, Shrubs, Palms, Flowers, Cacti, Groundcover, and more, into their scenes, allowing for the creation of entire ecosystems with incomparable quality.” Terragen with (1,300!) XfrogPlants is available for immediate purchase at www.xfrog.com for $699.


Monday, April 20, 2009

N-Sided QUIDAM 3

+ N-Sided® announces the release of QUIDAM 3, the new version of its unmatched 3D character creation program.Known for its high productivity and originality, QUIDAM is unique in being able to generate thousands of different characters instantly. QUIDAM's Studios (combining, sculpting, posing, painting...) are totally dedicated to personal creation, offering very natural and intuitive methods. One of the most recognized advantage of QUIDAM is its use in professional work environments. QUIDAM is the only character generator able to perfectly export multiresolution models, ready to be animated into all major 3D applications. Coming with a lot of great new features and top quality 3D and 2D content, QUIDAM 3 is even more Professional and Creative. Some of new features includes; #QUIDAM 3 offers an advanced Catalogs system to help saving and reusing all kind of 3D component (characters, morphs, lights, props…). #The 3D Paint Module has been fully rewritten to be much more accurate and to provide a direct bridge with 2D paint editors (like Photoshop). #An automatic UV projection system has been added to automatically prepare imported objects so that they can be textured. N-Sided innovates again with an amazing approach that allows you to retouchs UV maps directly onto the 3D model. #Many other new features dramatically improve QUIDAM: Self shadows in real time, major improvements in edition of skeletons and proportions, an extended QUI format… #This new version comes with a huge amount of new 2D and 3D : custom characters, textured multiresolution 3D objects, paint and bump brushes, high resolution textures, backgrounds and floor images, skeletons, poses, camera presets, etc. For more information, visit www.n-sided.com.


Unique Photoshop MousePad

+ Dadan Press has just released a new product for Photoshop users – a special mouse pad withkeyboard shortcuts. This means that now the Photoshop enthusiasts may have the most usefulCS3 & CS4 shortcuts always at hand. All keyboard shortcuts were carefully selected byAnna Owczarz-Dadan – a Photoshop expert from Poland who has published 25 books so far.The pad's dimensions are: 9.5" x 7.5" (24 x 19 cm.) It's ecological (PVC-free), scratch-proof and works with all kinds of mice. The cost is just $14,99 + $5 for international shipping and handling. Customers can pay using a credit card or a PayPal account. The mouse pad is covered by a 10-day "unconditional money-back after product return" warranty.It can be ordered on www.photoshoppad.com. Dadan Press is a new publishing house from Europe, directing its products at graphic artists and photographers. The Photoshop MousePad is its first product. The company is led by Anna Owczarz-Dadan, the author of 25 Polish books on digital retouch and photography, some of which have become bestsellers.


Animatu 2009

+ Call for entries has been announced for Animation Festival, Animatu 2009. The festival holds an international Short competition, Workshops, Talks, among other activities. The Entries has been invited under four categories; 3d/2d , Machinima, Motion Graphics and Mobile Phone Animation. For 2D - 2D computer generated animations, with a maximum of 30 minutes. This includes all vector-based animations. You may use scanned images but the main effect can only be achieved through software. Example: digital cut-outs. The hand-draw frame-by-frame animations, made on paper or cel, scanned and digitally painted do not fit in this festival, unless this technique is only used as a complement to the digital one, being the acceptance to this competition dependent on the organization. Even if you use a digital tablet it still may not fit this festival. For 3D - 3D CGI with a maximum of 30 minutes. As for Machinima - Animations developed in a real-time virtual 3D or 3D game engine with a maximum of 15 minutes. For Motion Graphics - Computer generated 2D/3D graphics that use video and/or animation technology to create the illusion of motion with a maximum of 15 minutes. We seek works with more animation than live action. For Mobile Phone Animation - Animations optimized for Mobile Phones or PDA's with a maximum of 20 seconds. For more information about festival, please visit www.festivalanimatu.com.

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Hyperfocal Design Offer New Value Deal On HDRI Environment Collection

+ Digital Art developer Hyperfocal Design continues to offer extra value to CG professionals around the world today with their re-release of “HDRI Environments”. Previously only available individually, Hyperfocal has made available the entire 23 image collection at a new value price. Jay Weston, founder of Hyperfocal says, “As a provider of high end HDR imagery, we supply some of the big names in CG – and now with our new value priced HDRI collection, we hope to allow more professionals across the world access to our work.” Hyperfocal Design specializes in creating high end textures for computer graphics professionals, and prides itself on delivering only the best artwork at the highest resolutions. Hyperfocal's customers include big names such as Digital Illusions, SteeleVFX, Codemasters and Fusion Creative. For more information, visit the website at www.hyperfocaldesign.com


Friday, April 10, 2009

Introducing Pull down it! for 3ds Max and Maya **

+ Thinkinetic is proud to announce the release of Pdi! 1.0 (Pull down it!), a new plugin for Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya. Pull down it! is a brand new dynamics solver which allows for the creation of fractures as well as massive rigid bodies simulations. By using its technology digital artists are able to simulate fast and easily scenes made of thousands of objects and collapse buildings, bridges or any kind of brittle material.
The rbd solver inside Pull down it! is the result of several years of research in dynamics for VFX. It has no limits in the number of objects in simulation and is able to compute hundreds of contacts in seconds. The technology of fracture inside Pdi! is absolutely new and groundbreaking. It allows breaking apart any kind of brittle material as stone, glass or stucco. By using it digital artist are able to simulate the collapse of buildings and bridges in minutes. Not the least its easy setup and powerful stress tools allow for control in the creation of cracks and drive the simulation to the desired end. Pdi! is integrated in the most popular 3D packages, It catches the geometry from the viewports and computes the final result as animation keys, It allows to reset the simulation and start again as many as needed also tweaking parameters and resume simulation at any frame, in addition animated objects and characters are able to interact with the simulated ones.

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Turtle 5

+ Turtle 5 is out of Beta Stage. Illuminate Labs AB, creators of rendering and lighting technology for next-generation games, today announced the release of the fifth generation of its lighting tool Turtle for Autodesk Maya. Turtle 5 brings substantial productivity boosts together with an improved visual quality thanks to redesigned global illumination algorithms and lots of other new features, fully supporting Autodesk Maya 2009. The user interface has been streamlined with an easier handling of Turtle attributes and with a unified workflow for surface transfers and texture/vertex baking. Performance has been heavily optimized throughout Turtle 5, especially for global illumination calculations, which together with a new adaptive anti-aliasing scheme allows for superfast previews as well as very high quality images. For a full list of improvements and new features please visit www.illuminatelabs.com.


Autodesk 3dsmax 101 DVD

+ Autodesk Certified Instructor "Eric Maslowski" has released 3D Studio Max 101: A Complete Introduction training DVD. This DVD has over 20 hours of training and can be considered the ultimate guide for those new to 3D Studio Max or those wanting to round out their skill set for any market. In this demonstration the instructor dives into the wonderful world of computer graphics by walking the viewer through the many fundamental concepts and techniques necessary to create a successful project. He starts off with an around the world tour of the 3D Studio Max interface stopping at key areas to discuss proper viewport navigation, selecting objects, moving objects around your scene and combining basic shapes to flesh out an idea. Once the foundation is in place, the instructor takes the viewer through a wide range of techniques for 3d modeling, texturing, lighting, and animating their creations to complete a city scene.

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Design Against Fur 2009

+ Call for Entries has been announced for Design Against Fur 2009, A poster and animation contest with a conscience. The Fur Free Alliance is holding their seventh-annual Design Against Fur poster competition. And, for the second successive year - DAF’s International Animation Contest. Students and teachers from around the world are invited to participate in this important contest with a conscience: """Design a creative, compelling poster or flash animation entry that delivers the compassionate message that the wearing of fur is cruel and unnecessary."""
The contest is open to students of fashion, design, fine arts, advertising, marketing, graphic design multi-media, and all other disciplines in colleges around the world. The poster competition is run across five regions: China, North America (US and Canada), Russia, UK and Ireland (including Eire) and Europe & International (which also includes any countries not already covered by the other regions). Students should enter the competition for the region in which they study. The competition will take place in two phases. Winners of the Regional Competitions will go forward to an International Competition. The Grand Prize Winner wins $2,500 US. In November 2009, the regional winners’ posters will be part of a high-profile world-wide-web vote for The People’s Choice Award. The poster receiving the most votes wins $1,000 US. For more information, please -
Visit competitions website


SAND 2009

+ After nine successful international conferences for industry and academia, Swansea Animation Days (SAND) is pleased to announce its first call for academic papers on animation, games, and special effects for the conference in 2009. SAND Paper invites you to submit a research paper on, but not limited to, one of the following topics - please pass this on to your colleagues or students who may be interested:
- The application, evaluation, or theoretical development of digital visualisation – e.g. procedural animation, motion capture, issues of realism and perception.
- Issues relating to the uncanny valley concept in relation to the creative, digital industries – e.g. computer games, 3D animation, multimedia.
- An evaluation of pedagogical approaches for digital media disciplines – e.g. teaching strategies, assessment procedures, and the development of new teaching tools.
- An investigation of ludological and/or narrative structures in computer and video games.
- Issues concerning formal, scientific evaluations of game quality.
- Other topics of particular interest include online communities, new approaches for the creation of 3D art, and the design and contextual analyses of digital visualisation.

Papers should outline original work and clearly describe the method(s) used and its application in the context of creative digital industries and/or visualisation. All papers will undergo double-blind peer-review. Authors will be notified on the dates given below. Accepted papers will be published on a DVD of SAND’s conference proceedings in November 2009 and selected authors invited to introduce their paper at the SAND 2009 conference. Deadline for submiting papers is on June 29th, 2009. Notification of paper acceptance and reviewers’ comments: September 25th, 2009. Final submission date for revised papers: October 30th, 2009.
>> More Information


Cinevative uses 3D Animation to Boost

+ Cinevative uses 3D Animation to Boost Ticket Sales for 42nd St. at Goodspeed Musicals.How does Goodspeed Musicals generate ticket sales for an exciting stage musical full of tapping chorus girls? They call Cinevative. Combining CG and live action, Cinevative has created another thrilling promotional television spot for Goodspeed Musicals's upcoming run of 42nd Street. The famed and familiar musical revolves around director Julian Marsh and his efforts to stage a spectacular musical in the midst of the Great Depression. With vivacious music by Harry Warren, romantic flings, and of course, a chorus line of dancing girls, 42nd Street lent itself well to the stylings of Cinevative's creative director, Mark Ciglar. Ciglar used 2D and 3D animation to bring the "bright lights, big city" feel of Broadway to the to the spot by multiplying two tap dancers, shot against green screen into a full chorus line.Goodspeed's Marketing Director Dan McMahon said "it was a stretch for my budget to move into the world of 3D animation, but the results have been well worth it.""It's this kind of creative production technology that allows us to produce a spot that generates increased ticket sales within a few weeks of pitching the concept," said Ciglar. "That's the real value for performance arts marketers."
One of the most significant musical theatre companies in the United States, Goodspeed is a perfect example of how this kind of advertising is so effective in the world of performing arts. Cinevative shot the live action footage with the Panasonic AG-HVX200A outfitted with P2 cards. The 3D elements were rendered in Cinema 4D and composited in After Effects. Magic Bullet Suite was used to finish the stylized look of the period. Post production was completed on an 8-core Power Macs with AJA Kona cards. The spot will run throughout April 2009. For more information about Cinevative, please visit www.cinevative.com


Friday, April 03, 2009

Ozone 4.0 Released as Free Open Beta

+ e-on software, makers of Vue, the leading solutions for natural 3D environments, and creators of breakthrough spectral atmospheric rendering technologies today announced the immediate availability of a free Open Beta of it’s upcoming Ozone 4.0 Atmospheric Plugin for 3DS Max, Cinema4D, LightWave, Maya and SoftimageXSI. Ozone 4.0 implements the Spectral 2 cutting-edge technologies developed by e-on software for the simulation and rendering of atmospheric effects. Ozone 4.0 atmospheres provide an accurately simulated environment that affects all elements of the scenes, and behaves according to nature’s rules. The Ozone 4.0 Open Beta is available in English for Windows XP and Vista (32 and 64 bits) and Mac OS X 10.4 (Universal Binary). Immediately available, the Ozone 4.0 Open Beta is a free, fully functional version of Ozone 4.0. The application will expire shortly after the beta period. Commercial work is allowed with the Open Beta, provided that users purchase a full license of the product as soon as it is released commercially. For more information: www.e-onsoftware.com/ozone

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Wacom Intuos4 Is Here

+ Wacom® today unveils the long anticipated Intuos®4, a revolutionary new professional pen tablet that delivers new features and unparalleled performance to photographers, designers and artists seeking optimal control and improved productivity. Inspired by members of Wacom's professional community, the next-generation Intuos is anchored by the Intuos amazing new pen performance, capable of capturing the slightest nuance of pen pressure against the tablet surface, as well as offering 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Other innovative product enhancements include a refined and intelligent industrial design that provides real advancements in looks, comfort and control. Specific workflow and productivity tools to savor include the customizable shortcut and modifier keys with accompanying OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays, which allow users to see, via the displays, what the keys are currently set to.
"Wacom's new Intuos4 provides Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 and our latest Creative Suite products with an approachable interface, enhanced pen performance, elegant design and new non-dominant hand features," said Julieanne Kost, Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist for Adobe. "For me, the Wacom pen tablet has always been particularly beneficial when working on photo compositing projects within Photoshop and it did not take long to discover the vast improvements in workflow this new pen tablet delivers. By combining the super-accurate pen with OLED-displayed keyboard shortcuts, I am able to navigate and complete Photoshop work sessions quickly and efficiently."
Purchase of an Intuos4 entitles professionals to pick and choose valuable software titles based on individual needs. Wacom has instituted a new online download system, available in the Americas only, whereby Intuos4 owners will be able to make a pre-defined number of selections from the following valuable creative software applications: Wacom Brushes 3.0, Nik® Color Efex ProT WE6, Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 7 for the PC (Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 6 for the Mac), Autodesk® SketchBook® Express 2010, and Corel® Painter™ Sketch Pad. In addition, Intuos4 users will appreciate the significant upgrades to Wacom's powerful, user-friendly driver software, including the introduction of radial menus for quick "penpoint" access to additional customized shortcuts. The Intuos4, available today, comes in four sizes to meet varying workflow and workspace requirements - small ($229 SRP), medium ($369 SRP), large ($499 SRP) and extra large ($789 SRP). For more information, please - Click here


Contest 3D seeking Girl CG

+ In order to promote development in Latin America and 3D Artists to motivate 3D arts in this region EichNews Technology Magazine On-line with 3DPoder we launched a call for developing the 3D Sexy Girl, all images will be developed for this event published in a special edition of the Journal. The 3D Contest is sponsored by AMD, ATI and Ankama who have donated prizes for the top 3 places, the winner will be the cover image of Journal Special Edition, getting a good response we have joined the website-(EJE ZETA) Chile that promotes the design and digital art and Venezuelan website (Zuplemento) that promotes digital artists and the comic to reach more Spanish speakers. Contest call for artists from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and other Spanish-speaking countries. Images can be created with any 3D program, such as Blender, Maya, ZBrush, 3ds Max etc. For more information, please - Click here


Animation Mentor to Release New Free eBook

+ Animation Tips and Tricks eBook, Volume II – 2009 Edition will be Available on April 7th. Ideal for people who love animation and enjoy learning about the art of animation, Animation Tips and Tricks, Volume II-2009 Edition takes it to the next level by offering budding animators a wealth of career advice, real-life insight on the working life of an animator in addition to valuable tips on everything from making a demo reel, making a scene, acting, bringing characters to life, workflow, and a whole lot more. This eBook is written by Animation Mentor cofounders Shawn Kelly (ILM) and Carlos Baena (Pixar) and includes features by Animation Mentors Keith Sintay (Digital Domain), Aaron Gilman (Weta Digital) and special guest Wayne Gilbert. Also, Save the Date and Plan to Join Free Webinar on April 18th eBook Contributors and Animators Wayne Gilbert and Keith Sintay Share their Professional Knowledge, Personal Tips and Answer Questions from the Audience. For more information, please visit www.AnimationMentor.com.

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