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Friday, May 29, 2009

Hyperfocal Design Releases New VHDRI Skies Collection

+ Digital Art developer Hyperfocal Design offers its most ambitious product yet with its new "Very High Dynamic Range Skies" collection. The sky panoramas in VHDRI Skies weigh in at a huge 14,000 x 7,000 pixels with super high dynamic range - up to 17 stops. VHDRIs is the first product in what Hyperfocal plans to be its "V Series" of products, which will feature high resolution, super high dynamic range, and industry leading image quality. Jay Weston, founder of Hyperfocal Design says, “I'm very proud to offer this new set to our customers, it is the culmination of years of experience shooting the highest quality HDRIs using the best hardware and software solutions available."
Chris Nichols, author of Global Illumination: Exteriors and Interiors from Gnomon Workshop says, "These VHDRIs by Hyperfocal Design are different from most HDRI libraries in that they are created with a very high dynamic range exposure which is ideal for really accurate lighting." Chris was also kind enough to provide Hyperfocal customers with an expert overview and tutorial using the new VHDRIs in Vray and 3dsmax. VHDRI Skies is available at Hyperfocal's VMstore either as a physical or downloadable product, and retails for $297 USD. Hyperfocal Design specializes in creating high end HDRIs and 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


eyeon Fusion used extensively on Dragonball: Evolution

+ Fusion, the award-winning compositing application from eyeon Software, played a key role in creating the visual effects for Twentieth Century Fox’s Dragonball: Evolution, directed by James Wong. Winnipeg-based Frantic Films VFX contributed 334 visual effects shots to the film, with VFX supervisors Chad Wiebe and Mike Shand overseeing the work from the company’s Vancouver and Winnipeg facilities, respectively. According to Wiebe, "Frantic has had a working relationship with eyeon Software for nearly 10 years. I've been here nearly that long and have used Fusion almost exclusively. Fusion works really well from a production standpoint. It enables artists to share tools and ideas among multiple offices. Tools from within a Fusion comp can be copied out in an XML format, and sent through email to quickly share ideas." Dragonball: Evolution is based on the popular Japanese comic book series created by Akira Toriyama, whose work spawned best-selling graphic novels, video games, and a phenomenally successful television series.  The live-action adventure centers on a team of warriors, each of who possesses special abilities. Together, they protect Earth from a force bent on dominating the Universe and controlling the mystical objects from which the film takes its name. Wiebe explained that one scene in particular – a battle scene around a lake of lava – became one of the biggest challenges. The characters – Goku and the Fulum Assassins – had to be able to interact fully with the environment.
"The lava lake sequence as a whole presented significant challenges for the Vancouver team, as it was an integration of a number of different visual effects with varying degrees of complexity," said Wiebe. "Shots where we had creatures interacting with the lava lake proved to be especially challenging in terms of compositing." For the sequence, Frantic provided on-set VFX supervision in Durango, Mexico. Artists at Frantic’s Vancouver facility designed a digital environment, including mountainscapes and a molten lava lake complete with lava falls and crust, with rocks and debris swirling about. eyeon Fusion offers a full 2D and 3D compositing environment, including a 3D particle system, comprehensive integration with 3D animation packages, non-destructive floating-point color correction, paint tools, keying, roto-scoping, advanced look-up tables, character generation, and more. Fusion 6.0 is scheduled for release in early June 2009. For more information, visit


ZBrush plug-ins -- Decimation Master and 3D Print Exporter

+ Pixologic Inc., makers of the award winning sculpting, texturing, and 2.5D painting application ZBrush, today announced the release of two new plug-ins which will extend the capabilities for export and manipulation of high resolution meshes; Decimation Master and 3D Print Exporter. Decimation Master is the perfect solution for optimizing the polygon counts of models with minimal loss of visual quality. This goes hand in hand with 3D Print Exporter, which opens the world of rapid prototyping and 3D Printing to all ZBrush artists.
Decimation Master
Decimation Master allows the artist to drastically reduce the number of polygons in a high-resolution 3D model while preserving its visual appearance. The purpose of such a Zbrush plug-in is to offer many new possibilities for ZBrush artists: #Reducing mesh resolution to a level that standard 3D applications can easily be handle while preserving high-resolution detail created in ZBrush. #Optimization for characters and assets for games. #Producing highly detailed and optimized renders without the need of normal maps or displacement maps.#Optimizing models for 3D printing or rapid prototyping purposes.
3D Print Exporter
3D Print Exporter adds to ZBrush a direct path to the 3D printing world by adding the famous STL format (ASCII and Binary) which can be opened by all packages dedicated to the printing process. Naturally, it is possible to set the size of the 3D model (ZTool) and all its sub-models (SubTools) in either inches or millimeters. Additionally, you can set the size for just the visible SubTools, allowing you to work with partial files. On top of that, the VRML format with vertex color support has been added, to improve compatibility with ZCorp’s series of printers or other printers that can do 3D printing in, full color.
>> More information on
Decimation Master
>> More information on 3DPrint Exporter


Friday, May 22, 2009

Digimation Announces 2010 Software Releases

+ Digimation®, a leading provider of 3D content, software, and custom services to the entertainment and defense industry, today announced the release of SpeedTree 4.2 and V-Ray 1.5 Service Pack 3a both of which are available at www.digimation.com. These releases have been updated to support 3ds Max 2010 and 3ds Max Design 2010. SpeedTree 4.2 is compatible with 3ds Max and Design 2010 with 32-bit and 64-bit support and is used to create realistic low polygon trees, exceptionally realistic forests, and animated trees in no time with this easy and resource-friendly software. New features in version 4.2 include previews for trees, wind simulation, and mesh export support. For more product information, click here. V-Ray 1.5 Service Pack 3 a is compatible with 3ds Max and Design 2010 with 32-bit and 64-bit support. New and improved features include linear workflow, mesh-based lights, direct light materials, fog environmental effect, vector displacement, mesh import proxy, max arch and design materials support, region rendering directly in VFB, as well as reducing irradiance map flicker, physical cam override, render elements work in transparency, DRR improvements, and new SSS material for faster rendering. For more product information, Click here.

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CityEngine 2009

+ Procedural Inc. today introduced the CityEngine 2009, the latest version of its out-of-the-box city creation solution featuring unique procedural modeling techniques and novel interactive editing capabilities. The software was awarded Killer Technology 2009 by the 3D World magazine and is used by high-profile companies such as Foster+Partners, Rockstar North, Volition, NAVTEQ, Microsoft, IBM, etc. and top universities like MIT, Stanford, Brown or Max Plank. Procedural Inc., an innovative software company located in Zurich, Switzerland, is creator of the world’s foremost procedural modeling technology. With the CityEngine, Procedural Inc.’s graphics experts have developed a radically different 3D application that allows professional users in entertainment, architecture and urban planning to efficiently create 3D city models. A free 30-day trial version of the new CityEngine 2009 is available for download at www.procedural.com.


CG animated short film REACH

+ The CG animated short film REACH by Luke Randall is one of 10 finalists in the online competition at this years Cannes Short Film Corner. The National Film Board of Canada, in association with the Cannes Short Film Corner and partner YouTube, presents the competition, which is now in its fifth year. Filmmakers from all over the world entered by registering their films with the Cannes Short Film Corner, the forum for young creators at the Cannes Marché du film, and audiences from all around the world vote for the winner via youtube.
Reach was the Judges Choice winner of the Sydney Festival 09 iinet Get Animated competition, and has since gone onto screen at or win a range of other festivals including The Accolade Film Awards, Southbeach International Animation Festival, DeReel Independent Film Festival and Stinkwater International Short Film Festival.The film has also been selected for the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival and Siggraph computer animation festival 09 in an Academy Award qualifying category. To watch Reach and help this CG film win in the Cannes Short Film corner by rating, please visit:


Fox-Aniboom Holiday Animation Challenge

+ Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox Television have partnered with Aniboom, the world's first virtual animation studio, to launch the FOX-Aniboom Holiday Animation Challenge, an animation contest to find the next great FOX holiday TV special. The contest, which kicks off on May 27, 2009, invites talented, creative up-and-coming animators worldwide to enter their original holiday-inspired animated shorts for the opportunity to win cash prizes and a FOX development deal. Submissions should present an original idea for a holiday special and feature the irreverent, edgy and uniquely FOX animation spirit that has made such shows as THE SIMPSONS, FAMILY GUY and AMERICAN DAD hits for the network.
The FOX-Aniboom Holiday Animation Challenge is open to animators who have reached the age of majority in their state or country of residence. To be eligible to win, entries should be two to four minutes in length and must be holiday-themed - from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas - or any other holiday observed in the U.S. Animators can submit their shorts online by uploading them directly to the Aniboom website. The contest kicks off at 12:01 AM PT on May 27, 2009 and the deadline for submissions is at 11:59PM PT on August 31, 2009. Viewers can watch and comment on the videos as soon as they are posted. A voting period will take place from September 1 through September 30, in which viewers have the opportunity to rate their favorite submissions. FOX and Aniboom will reveal the five contest finalists on or about November 3, and then announce the grand prize winner in mid-November.Each of the five finalists will receive a prize of $5,000. A panel comprised of FOX executives will select four of these finalists, while one "Viewer's Choice" finalist will be chosen based upon the audience response on the contest's website. The grand prize winner will receive the $5,000 plus an additional $10,000 and a FOX development deal, with the potential to air their winning work on FOX, FOX.com, and other FOX-affiliated websites.Since its inception, Aniboom has successfully executed many short-form animation contests, whose winners have gone on to create animation for large corporations and media outlets. The Aniboom Awards is an annual short-form animation contest that, in past years, has received over 1,000 video submissions. In March 2008, Aniboom teamed with TBD Records to host the Radiohead Animated Music Video Competition, whose winning submission went on to serve as the music video for the band's hit "Reckoner" from the "In Rainbows" album. For complete official rules, eligibility restrictions and other information, please visit


Ozone 4.0

+ 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 Ozone 4.0, its suite of atmospheric plug-ins for 3ds Max, Cinema4D, LightWave, Maya and SoftimageXSI. E-on software also announced that it plans to release the Ozone 4.0 Personal Learning Edition (a fully functional version of Ozone 4.0 that anyone can use at no charge) in the coming days. Ozone 4.0 operates as a fully integrated plug-in for 3ds Max, Maya, LightWave, Cinema4D and XSI. It adds all the tools required for the creation of hyper-realistic atmospheres directly in the host application's interface. On top of this, one single license of Ozone 4.0 will work with all compatible applications and renderers. Ozone 4.0 includes presets for all kinds of atmospheric conditions: bright daytime, bad weather, sunrise, sunset, night time, etc. Customize the atmosphere using dedicated tools and the library of over 140 preset cloud shapes. Ozone 4.0 is available in English for Windows XP and Vista (32 and 64 bits) and Mac OS X 10.4+ (Universal Binary). Ozone 4.0 retails at US$295, with upgrades from Ozone 3.0 available for $95 and RenderNode network rendering licenses at $95 per node. A complete and detailed list of features is available at: www.e-onsoftware.com/ozone

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StairMAX for 3ds Max 2010

+ cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc., maker of finalRender®, today announced the release of stairMAX for 3ds Max 2010. All registered users of stairMAX for 3ds Max 9 are entitled to get this update free of charge*. stairMAX is the advanced stair builder plug-in for 3ds Max and Design. stairMAX lets you create parametric stairs and escalators from within 3ds Max or Design. Every single stair parameter can be animated because stairMAX uses a 100% parametric approach to create 3D stairs in 3ds Max or Design. With just a few mouse-clicks you can build hundreds of different stairs. stairMAX for 3ds Max 2010 is a $59 update from pre 3ds Max 9 versions and can be purchased directly at the cebas shop. All registered users of stairMAX for 3ds Max 9 or higher will get this update for free. The update is available for download from the My Downloads section of the cebas online store.
This update will give previous stairMAX owners the ability to install and use stairMAX in 3ds Max 2010 for both 32 and 64 bit. You must already own and have licensed stairMAX to purchase this update. Please be aware that simply installing stairMAX will give you all of the updates. The ease of use is truly remarkable. Even user defined and customized stair elements stay fully parametric and adjustable! For more information on stairMax,

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Character 3D Modeling for Next-Gen Games with Richard Smith

+ THE GNOMON WORKSHOP is pleased to announce the release of Character Modeling for Next-Gen Games with Richard Smith. This new DVD focuses on the tools and techniques you need to know to create Next-Gen game characters. "Richard Smith's DVD is a fantastic presentation of how to create a fully-realized Next-Gen game model," says Ryan Kingslien, Resident Artist and Producer at The Gnomon Workshop. "It covers how to create realistic clothing in great detail, which is often one of the most difficult aspects of a character model. If you want to sculpt characters that look like they could jump out of your computer and charge down the hallway than you need to get Richard's DVD."
In this DVD, Richard Smith guides you through modeling a Next-Gen game character. Richard starts with a rough concept design and then creates a low-res base mesh. From there he sculpts each part in ZBrush with special attention paid to creating realistic clothing folds. Once each part is completely sculpted Richard retopologizes it inside of Maya using a plug-in called Nex. Finally, using XNormal he creates the normal map and then sets everything up in Maya. This DVD is intended for artists with a basic understanding of polygon modeling in Maya, but the techniques he demonstrates could be applied using other 3D modeling software. For more information please, visit

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Allegorithmic's Substance Air

+ With more games moving online and digital distribution becoming an increasingly important business strategy for publishers, improving visual quality and allowing user-generated content while containing client size and broadening the audience has become a critical challenge. Allegorithmic, an emerging 3D technology company developing advanced texturing tools for real-time 3D content creation, is filling this immediate market need through the worldwide availability of Substance Air. A new texturing middleware poised to redefine the development and distribution of rich content for online, retail and downloadable games (MMOs, Free2Play and XBLA/PSN), Substance Air was created to help game developers generate and customize assets that are lightweight, dynamic and infinitely versatile. In addition to the ability to generate detailed graphics that fit in a few kilobytes and a procedural base that allows developers to create an infinite number of variations within a given game, Substance Air also offers an exciting hybrid approach to creating textures that allows customers to easily mix procedural maps together with SVGs and bitmaps. Pricing models vary based on the type of game and gaming platform. For more information, please contact the company's headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France at +33 4 73 34 70 80, or visit www.allegorithmic.com


Evolver™ Alpha Preview

+ Darwin Dimensions Announced today the Evolver™ Alpha Preview. Evolver™ is completely different, offering you the ability to produce a breathtakingly accurate version of you - or a little "white lie" version of you, or even a completely fantasy character. Your imagination is the only limit. While you're playing we've setup a "send to a friend" section so you can show off your avatar designs by email. You might also try showing off your Avatar in the gallery. Enabled by our automatic animation rig for face and body animation, Evolver at our public launch will unveil cross platform destinations including virtual worlds, games, mobile applications, e-cards, movies, social media, online dating and many others. For more information, please visit


BIG Animation's 'Little Krishna' 3D

+ ‘Little Krishna’, the maiden high-end 3D animated TV Series from BIG Animation, a Reliance Big Entertainment Group Company, is all set to grace the small screen on Nickelodeon from 11th May, 2009. The 13-episode series is a co-creation between BIG Animation and The Indian Heritage Foundation (promoted by ISKCON Bangalore). The show boasts of world class & never-seen-before quality of animation on Indian TV screens. Little Krishna debuts on Monday, May 11th exclusively on NICK, India’s leading kid’s entertainment channel. Since the content can be enjoyed by one and all in the family, the series will be aired at four time slots – 12:30 pm and 6:30 pm, for the kids; 3:00 pm for the housewives and 9:30 pm for the working members of the family. Each episode delivers 23 minutes of enthralling entertainment, showcasing an amalgamation of both, the lighter humorous antics of Krishna as well as his prowess as a warrior. Using the traditional tales of Krishna’s childhood adventures as a foundation for morally inspiring children’s entertainment, the tonality of the stories is light-hearted, energetic and gripping.
Based on the chronicles of the most beloved prankster Little Krishna, the series is an outcome of seven years of research with two and half years of production work by BIG Animation. Scripted by Emmy Award winner Jeffrey Scott and researched by India Heritage Foundation, the series has a visual style, which combines Indian design motifs with classical Western styles. BIG Animation CEO Ashish Kulkarni shared, “The design team at BIG Animation has left no stone unturned in researching every style aspect of the land of ‘Vraj’, where these stories took place 5000 years ago. The backgrounds, art direction, color keys and all other elements of detailing were thoroughly researched upon, unearthing every possible reference and finally deciding on the designs that will suit the contemporary formats.” The series has been primarily created in English, but it has also been dubbed in several other Indian languages, including Hindi. Though it is primarily targeted at the age group of 7-9 years and for the global market at that, on the whole the series will be a family entertainer. Under the able leadership of Prafull Gade (Associate Producer), who diligently married economics with creativity and Ravi Mahapatro (Line Producer) who was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations, the series was scripted by Emmy Award ® winner Jeffrey Scott. A team of 280 artists have worked on this project which is being directed by the tag team of Vincent Edwards who has earlier worked on Spider Man: TV Series and R. Balasubramaniam while the music has been given by Varaprasad. The series will explore a lot of very interesting stories beyond the popularly known ones from the life of Krishna, ones that have never before been presented to the audience, thus ensuring a truly superior and exclusive content.
One of the leading and fastest growing animation studios in India, BIG Animation has established and tested pipelines for Design & Pre-production, 2D, 3D and Post-Production. With one of the finest IT backend setup, running on AMD Opteron 64 Bit Quad Core Processors and Foundry Big Iron RX laying the bedrock for its network, the studio boasts of infrastructure, technology and creativity that matches Global standards of deliveries. With the right blend of expertise in traditional as well as modern technical skills and exceptional artistic and managerial abilities, the studio is creating the next-generation animation, from ‘ideation-to-script’, and ‘script-to screen’, all under one roof. For more information, please visit www.biganimation.com

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Nuke 5.2

+ Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry, is delighted to announce the next major release of its powerful compositing application Nuke. Nuke 5.2 features new pre-comp tools that facilitate collaborative workflow, Python UI improvements, metadata support and the ability to register multiple 'Viewer Process' Gizmos for user-defined viewer LUT processing, including new support for 3D LUTs and OpenGL GLSL shaders. In addition Nuke 5.2 enables video monitor output through Blackmagic, AJA Kona and Xena and introduces a RED R3D Redcode format reader that brings the full range of picture information into a full 32bit float processing environment. Viewer playback performance has been significantly improved, flexible disk caching introduced at script nodes and numerous bugs fixed. Richard Shackleton, Nuke Product Manager at The Foundry comments: “We are continually working with and listening to our customers to ensure we understand their needs, wants and priorities. Nuke 5.2 and our future development programme will deliver productivity and workflow gains as well as expand the production and creative tasks that can be tackled within the platform.” This philosophy of continual innovation focused on solving VFX community requirements continues at The Foundry with Nuke 6.0 due for release in Q3. For more information, please visit www.thefoundry.co.uk

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E-on Software Uncovers Vue 7.5

+ e-on software, maker of Vue, the leading solutions for natural 3D environments, today disclosed the new features available in its upcoming professional solutions,Vue 7.5 xStream and Vue 7.5 Infinite. Release 7.5 of Vue xStream and Infinite will add significant new functionality to Vue 7. Following the terms of e-on software's maintenance contracts, users of Vue 7 xStream or Vue 7 Infinite who subscribed to a Standard or Premium maintenance plan will receive the upgrade to the corresponding Vue 7.5 product at no charge. Users who are not under maintenance will have the option to purchase the upgrade to Vue 7.5 (seefurther down for pricing). However, e-on software strongly recommends that they consider subscribing to a maintenance plan instead, as this may prove more cost effective* in the long term (maintenance plans include free upgrades to all .5 and full versions released during the subscription period). Vue xStream and Vue Infinite are the company's flagship solutions for the creation of natural 3D environments. While Vue Infinite is a standalone application, Vue xStream operates seamlessly inside of 3ds max, Maya, LightWave, Cinema4D and SoftimageXSI. Specifically designed for graphicsprofessionals, these products combine a multitude of cutting edge features that easily integrateinto existing production pipelines. Some of the Vue 7.5 features includes; #Support of the V-Ray renderer for 3ds Max (xStream), #Support of EcoSystem painting in XSI (xStream), #Color and Alpha masks of single clouds and cloud layers in multi-pass renderer, #"Camera Mapping" to dramatically cut animation render times and many more. More information on e-on software's maintenance plans can be found at:

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yU+co Designs and Directs Cinematics for Videogame 'Resident Evil 5'

+ One of the most highly-anticipated videogame releases this year is Capcom’s Resident Evil 5, which features extensive work from the award-winning design/animation studio yU+co, who directed and designed 60-minutes of extensive 3D animated cinematics, as well as created the game’s main title sequence and logo. The project initially came to yU+co from Just Cause, a production company based in Marina Del Rey and Tokyo that specializes cinematic production, motion capture and action stunt work for videogames. According to Reuben Langdon, actor/producer/director of Just Cause, they came to yU+co because they were looking for a more distinctly Hollywood-action film feel for this project.
Resident Evil 5, (known internationally as Biohazard) is the latest installment in the Resident Evil survival horror video game series for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game takes place four years after Resident Evil 4 and stars series mainstay Chris Redfield and newcomer Sheva Alomar as members of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) who are sent to investigate an incident in the African desert region of Kijuju. Garson Yu, Creative Director of yU+co, explained that the Resident Evil/Biohazard franchise has a long history of well-crafted and exciting CG cinematics (the sequences that break up the gameplay, advancing the plot, presenting character development and providing background, atmosphere, dialogue and clues), and to help give this one the Hollywood blockbuster type of experience they were looking for, he brought in noted commercial director Jim Sonzero, who had recent success with his first feature -- the horror film Pulse.
The process was a complex one: yU+co and Sonzero first created detailed storyboards and shot lists, then pre-viz animatics were produced that would serve as the guide for Sonzero’s motion capture shoot. Sonzero embarked on a 28-day motion capture shoot. On a set big enough for motorcycle stunts, with over 54 Vicon motion capture cameras surrounding them, the mocap performers brought the action to virtual life. The process allowed Sonzero to take a virtual camera into the already motion-captured scenes. Then he could replay the action over and over using the virtual camera to shoot the scenes from any angle he wanted all with a handheld camera. After the motion capture shoot came the facial capture ADR shoot. All the actors were brought into a face capture booth at Just Cause’s studio where dialog and facial expressions were recorded and later composited, under yU+co’s supervision, into the final scene along with the motion capture and virtual camera data.
''The most amazing part of this process was utilizing the virtual camera,'' Sonzero said. ''Once mocap data was captured, we could then go into the scene and create camera moves on the data. This totally blew me away. The actors were gone. It was just the camera in the scene interacting with the data. I love this genre so it was a joy to work on. Horror, action, martial arts, stunts and a legendary franchise: what more could I ask for? What the game developers at Capcom gave us to work with was beyond genius.'' Resident Evil 5 represents just one of many videogame projects yU+co is currently working on. They recently created promo trailers for Spyro’s Dawn of the Dragon and Tom Clancy's Hawks and EndWar. In addition, the company created the main title sequence for the features Watchmen, (directed by Zack Snyder who worked with yU+co on the title sequence for his blockbuster 300) and Return to Witch Mountain.
More info about yU+co


Archmodels 63

+ Evermotion is proud to anounce you that they have released a new Archmodels Collection. We believe that this is a new way of creating your own scenes for professional exterior renders. There are no boundaries anymore, no limitations except your own imagination. With just a few mouse clicks you can prepare beautiful hedges and walls around your buildings, colourful lawns, realistic stairs and streets that will breathe life into your scenes.This collection comes with 38 sets with over 470 visualization puzzles. Using models gathered in Archmodels 63 Collection is similar to playing with puzzles. That's why we called it "Your visualisation puzzles" - everything is up to you, just pick up all the elements you need and start having fun.