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Friday, July 31, 2009

Pixar announces unlimited threading, RenderMan Pro Server 15.0, and Tractor 1.0

+ Pixar Animation Studios made three major product announcements to users of the studios' Academy Award® winning RenderMan software and to every artist and studio creating cinematic quality imagery. The first announcement is unlimited threading across all RenderMan Products, the second is the upcoming release of RenderMan Pro Server 15.0, and the third is Tractor 1.0, Pixar's new render management solution engineered for computing networks of unprecedented scale. Unlimited threading will enable studios and artists to maximize the power of their render farms, allowing each license of RenderMan to utilize any number of threads on the latest multi-core platforms. RenderMan Pro Server 15.0 will be the first product to introduce unlimited threading when it is released in the fall of 2009. This will be followed with unlimited threading for RenderMan Studio and RenderMan for Maya.
The forthcoming RenderMan Pro Server 15.0 is a key component of Pixar's core rendering technology and introduces several powerful new capabilities, including true volume primitives, major additions to the RenderMan Shader Language (RSL), Disney's Ptex per face painted textures, imager shaders, an API for subdivision surfaces, and more. This release will also include significant performance enhancements for rendering production scenes, including optimized memory management and improved thread scalability. Finally, Pixar is also releasing Tractor 1.0, a new industrial-strength distributed render management solution built on an architecture designed to handle the largest multi-core render farms of tens of thousands of cores or more. Tractor's streamlined design simplifies deployment, configuration, and control while emphasizing scalability and performance of the job queuing engine. Tractor 1.0 has been built from the ground up using proven, open, and extendable web standards to remove pipeline integration and administration barriers, allowing the render farm to leverage commodity web technologies, tools, and practical expertise.
RenderMan Pro Server 15.0 is compatible with Mac OS X, Linux 32 and 64 bit, Windows XP 32 bit, Windows Vista 64 bit and Windows Vista 64 bit HPC Server. All RenderMan Pro Server customers on current maintenance will receive unlimited threading at the version 15.0 upgrade. Separate upgrade pricing from RenderMan Pro Server 14.0 to 15.0 will also be available. Customers of RenderMan Studio and RenderMan for Maya will receive unlimited threading in new versions to be announced later in 2009. Tractor 1.0 is initially compatible with Linux 32 and 64 bit and OS X and will be available as an upgrade to all RenderMan Studio customers. It will also be available as a separately priced product. In addition, Pixar's maintenance program benefits customers with access to ongoing support and free upgrades for an annual price. For more information please visit www.pixar.com or contact rendermansales@pixar.com.


Introducing volumeBreaker for 3ds Max by Cebas

+ cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc., makers of finalRender and ThinkingParticles, today announced their forthcoming release of volumeBreaker™, a 3ds Max plug-in, specifically designed to meet the needs for Roland Emmerich's $200 million motion picture “2012”, co-produced by LA based film production company Uncharted Territory. cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc. brings really big disaster effects to 3ds Max! The introduction of volumeBreaker to the 3ds Max community as a whole, marks a new era in the availability of professional 3ds Max modelling tools. Until now, 3D modelers and special effects artists were just lucky if they worked for a big studio, having their very own custom coded tools. volumeBreaker literally tears down this barrier of maintaining your own coding department within your small effects studio - it's destruction for everyone!
- Movie quality destruction tool
- Hollywood production proven
- 100% Multi-threaded - Peak performance tool
- Production pipeline independent (any physics and particle engine supported)
- True, unconstrained mesh volume handling
- Native support for polygon and tri-meshes
- Generates highly optimzed, clean meshes
- True volumetric 3D breaking of virtually any 3D object
- NOT restricted to 2D planes or surfaces
- Fully automatic procedural breaking
- Works on 2D surfaces as well
- Full 64-bit support (3ds Max 64-bit)
- Advanced 3D breaking with full artistic control
- Comes with full blown ScalpelMAX functionality
volumeBreaker has a suggested retail price of (SRP) US $395 with an introductory price of US$195, it will be available to order from the cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc. online store ( www.shop.cebas.com ) starting October 2009, and from selected cebas dealers serving local 3D communities all around the world. Cross-grades from ScalpelMAX will start from US$125 (introductory pricing). Supported Platforms: 3ds Max 2010 32-bit and 64-bit 3ds Max 2009 32-bit and 64-bit 3ds Max 2008 32-bit and 64-bit.

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Lumiere v1.0 For PHOTOSHOP

+ Just got a word from Richard Rosenman; about the Release of Adobe Photoshop® plugin Lumiere v1. Lumiere is a powerful Adobe Photoshop® plugin capable of generating advanced glow effects. Lumiere can produce sophisticated specular blooms, flared highlights and diffused glows combined with total control over every possible variable, all at the artist's fingertips. Lumiere works on image luminance just like real glows do. The brighter areas of the image are processed into beautiful glows. The artist can specify a hotspot and falloff radius as well as image coordinates for advanced masking operations. Glow-specific features such as gamma adjustment, saturation control, chromatic aberration, pixel noise capabilities and diffusion color tinting provide unsurpassed features for generating ultra-realistic glow effects. Lumiere has been developed for the professional digital imaging industry and therefore supports both 8 / 16 bits per channel color modes using 100% multithreaded rendering capabilities.

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Kickstand Ships StretchMesh 1.5

+ Kickstand LLC, an innovator of advanced character animation and custom pipeline technology, today announced the worldwide availability of StretchMesh 1.5 software for Autodesk® Maya® software. For a limited time, StretchMesh 1.5 is being offered at the introductory per-seat price of $199. A powerful surface deformation plug-in designed to seamlessly integrate with Maya 3D modeling and animation software, StretchMesh introduces new techniques into the character pipeline and gives polygonal geometry a “stretchy” quality for better control over the movement and skin elasticity of 3D modeled characters.
Implemented as a standard deformer in Maya software, StretchMesh 1.5 features advanced relational vertex and shape preservation technology, offering animators and technical directors working in feature film, broadcast and game development the ability to create smooth character deformations using Maya software. StretchMesh 1.5 is priced at $249 (USD) per seat, but is being offered at an introductory per-seat price of $199 (USD) through September 30, 2009. Educational pricing and site licensing is also available; please contact Kickstand for more details. StretchMesh supports Autodesk Maya version 8.5 or higher on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. For more details, please visit

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finalRender Stage-1 Release 3.0 and finalRender Stage-1 Release 3.0 SE (Studio Edition) for 3ds Max

+ cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc., makers of finalRender® and ThinkingParticles, today present a first glimpse at the forthcoming releases of the long awaited finalRender R3 and the all new finalRender R3 SE (Studio Edition) for 3ds Max. With this announcement, cebas shows its commitment to their user base and to it's high standards in bringing only the latest and most advanced software technologies to market. finalRender R3 SE was specifically designed to meet the needs for Roland Emmerich's $200 million picture “2012”, co-produced by LA based film production company Uncharted Territory. All the changes introduced into this latest release of finalRender made it the renderer of choice for 2012 at Uncharted Territory. Many first of a kind features and unique tools have been developed to cope with this extremely demanding production environment, allowing for complete flexibility and fast turnaround times from start to finish. One of the most challenging tasks was the creation of a completely new Render Passes system able to outperform the built-in system of 3ds Max. Handling of 100+ Render Elements per frame was a big task that had to be solved. 3ds Max has a built-in maximum of 32 Render Elements per frame which had to be overcome by finalRender Studio Edition, as well as addressing the problem of the extra amount of memory needed for so many Render Elements.
With the introduction of Release 3.0, finalRender for 3ds Max will be offered in 2 flavors; as a standard version (finalRender R3) targeted to the mainstream user base, while the other version, named Studio Edition (finalRender R3 SE for short), will be the perfect choice for bigger production houses and advanced users seeking the maximum in quality and flexibility. Both products use the same rock solid and Hollywood production proven rendering core. finalToon, the quasi standard in Non Photo Realistic (NPR) rendering for 3ds Max has also been massively upgraded with features and functions, finalToon is available as an integrated part that comes with finalRender R3 or finalRender R3 SE or as a standalone version. More info is available at www.cebas.com

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Archmodels vol. 66

+ 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 Interior or exterior renders. There are no boundaries anymore, no limitations except your own imagination. News collection of Archmodels vol. 66 where you can find high detailed 3d models of plants with all textures, shaders and materials. Archmodels volume 66 gives you 65 professional, highly detailed objects for architectural visualizations.
More Information


Monday, July 27, 2009

New Luxology modo 401 Training DVD Now Available

+ 3D Garage.com™, a top producer of instructional training videos for 3D modeling and digital content creation, announced today Luxology modo® 401 Signature Courseware is now available at www.3dgarage.com. The DVD, created by Dan Ablan author of the “Official Luxology modo Guide” for modo 201 and modo 301, is a comprehensive instructional video for beginning to intermediate modeling and animation using modo 401. The courseware guides users through the latest features of modo 401, including the new user interface, modeling tools, fur, inverse kinematics (IK), constraints, improved animation pipeline, and more.
The DVD highlights include:
- Introduction: Offers an overview of the user interface, creating a custom interface, and using features such as work plane, selections, action centers, falloffs, paint, animation, and more.
- Product Shot: Showcases a start-to-finish project with modeling, edges, selections, surfacing, image mapping, lighting, and rendering.
- Welcome to the Jungle: Create a jungle scene using sculpting, painting, fur, the shader tree and replicators.
- Fur: Discover how to create grass and fur using hair, grass and render curve tools.
- Inverse Kinematics (IK) Basics: Discusses modeling and apply IK for animation.
- Robot: See how to model and animate a robot using IK and constraints to animate walking movements.
- The Shark: Use a combination of modeling tools to model a shark, apply sculpting and painting, and make it swim without creating a bone structure.
- Extras: Learn how to apply edge work, surfacing and gradients, convert bad models into good models, and use multiple painting layers.


60 New Photoshop Filters - Auto FX

+ Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 is a suite of 60 production oriented filters that enhance the look and feel of a photo, allowing the user to quickly and efficiently capture the perfect mood for their shot. The results generated by this amazing piece of software are beautiful. Professional Photographers spend years mastering the techniques and tricks that this software automates for anyone to use. Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 includes unique Portrait Filters that improve skin color, eliminate wrinkles and skin blemishes, enhance eyes, lips and hair and reshape facial features to accentuate natural attributes. New lens filters simulate graduated filters and polarizers. New sharpening filters provide amazing detail and clarity in images unachievable using traditional filters available in Photoshop. New HDR filters enrich the colors, saturation and tonal depth of photos in unique and eye-appealing ways.
Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 uses an intuitive brush-on / brush-off methodology to give the user precise control over the results. Dynamic rendering allows the user to combine an unlimited number of filter combinations to enhance their images in a non-destructive environment that fosters creative exploration and experimentation without the need for all the layers, masking and techniques necessary in Photoshop. Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 also includes over 300 instant effect presets that give the user a rapid start to perfecting the look of their images. The workflow for adding enhancements to images is made easier by the intuitive onscreen previewing system and robust selection of tools and brushes that apply the effect with precise results. New effects like Afternoon Sun, Moon Glow, Color Tone, Soft Sepia and High Key Blast give the photographer a powerful repertoire of choices. For more information, please -
Click Here

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Adobe Photoshop CS4. Now with complimentary training

+ With 12 months of free online training*, you'll quickly learn how to get the most out of your Adobe Photoshop CS4 or Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended software. Featuring a new, more intuitive interface, plus significant editing and compositing enhancements, Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended allow for limitless creativity—even on the tightest deadlines. For a limited time, we're offering 12 months of free online training that includes video tutorials, allowing you to master the new and enhanced features of Photoshop CS4 at your own pace, on your own time. BUY PHOTOSHOP CS4 OR PHOTOSHOP CS4 EXTENDED TODAY AND GET FREE TRAINING THAT WILL HELP YOU TAKE YOUR IMAGES TO THE NEXT LEVEL (A US$160 VALUE).


Introducing T-Gen for XSI

+ Version 2.0 of T-Gen for XSI, has just been released. #New core - On average T-Gen 2 is 3x-4x faster over the old version. While most of the UI stays the same, T-Gen 2 is build from scratch to properly support multiple CPU cores. #New distribution options - new distribution types are random and point distribution. By using point distribution you can define exact positions of branches or leaves. #Dynamics - you can now use XSI forces to simulate tree and plant dynamics. T-Gen is the first tree and plant generator plugin fully integrated into XSI architecture. Over 100 appearance and distribution parameters, full utilization of XSI curves and node-based hierarchy ensures great flexibility and huge possibilities while creating your own trees and plants. You can use almost all XSI tools to additionally edit materials, geometry, hierarchy of all T-Gen objects. With powerful optimization tools you can create low-poly trees and plants for your games. Almost all parameters of T-Gen are animatable, so you can create animations of growing trees and plants.

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Luxology and Pixologic Collaborate on Innovative New Workflow for modo and ZBrush Users

+ 3D artists everywhere are applauding the just-announced GoZ for modo® feature from Pixologic, which improves the workflow between ZBrush, Pixologic's premiere organic sculpting and texture tool, and modo, the 3D modeling, painting and rendering software from Luxology®. Luxology and Pixologic worked closely together to optimize the mesh geometry transfer between these two computer graphics applications to give users a more seamless and combined workflow.
GoZ is a feature within ZBrush that automatically transfers mesh geometry and normal, displacement, and texture maps into modo and back again. This ability to easily move between two complementary applications offers tremendous freedom to artists, who use each product at different phases of the creative process. With GoZ, modo can be used to create a base model, such as a human head, to provide the basic anatomy. This model can then be instantly transferred to ZBrush via GoZ for brush-based addition of scars, warts and wrinkles. The enhanced model can then be passed back to modo to create the final rendered output files. GoZ™ from Pixologic is currently available as a feature of ZBrush3.2 on Mac OSX and will be available in the upcoming ZBrush 4 for the Mac and PC, shipping fall 2009. ZBrush retails for USD $595. Additional information regarding GoZ is available at

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StudioGPU MachStudio Pro Adds Support for Google SketchUp Pro and Rhino Software

+ StudioGPU announced today that MachStudio Pro™, a professional 3D-workflow and rendering package created by artists for artists, now offers free exporters for Google SketchUp Pro and McNeel Rhino 3D modeling and animation software. With these new exporters, 3D assets from SketchUp Pro 7 and Rhino 4 can easily be transferred into MachStudio Pro, where users can create and manipulate lights, materials and HDR cameras in a real-time non-linear environment to achieve cinematic-quality results. MachStudio Pro is real-time 3D shot finaling and compositing package that harnesses the power of today’s massively parallel processing units in off-the-shelf professional graphics accelerators, changing the equation of time versus quality in the production pipeline. Frames that typically take hours to render can now be rendered in seconds and sub-seconds, eliminating the need for expensive render farms.
Visit StudioGPU and AMD (booth # 2417) at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans, August 4-6 to see the advanced workflow benefits of MachStudio Pro on the latest AMD ATI 3D workstation graphics accelerators. MachStudio Pro allows artists to easily create, manage and interact with complex lighting, caustics, cameras, shaders, materials, ambient occlusion, and color grading. Powered by a real-time rendering engine, MachStudio Pro software fits into the creative pipeline after all 3D models are produced to streamline lighting, cameras, materials, compositing and finishing capabilities. MachStudio Pro ships with an AMD ATI FireGL™ V8650 3D-workstation graphics accelerator card featuring 2 GB onboard graphics memory and a parallel processing Unified Shader architecture. Supporting a wide range of industries—from computer-aided design (CAD) visualization and 3D animation to top-quality film and broadcast projects— MachStudio Pro offers seamless interoperability with leading professional 3D modeling, animation, and CAD software packages. To Download the new Google SketchUp Pro 7 and Rhino 4 exporters and tutorials -
Click Here

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Monday, July 20, 2009

VRayScatter 2.5.5

+ Visual Dynamics® LLC has released VRayScatter 2.5.5, Plugin for 3ds Max and V-Ray. VRayScatter lets VRay generate huge amounts of objects in an array. Never before within 3ds max could a user create scenes with millions objects. With VRayScatter, the user is able to create huge forest areas or even a city with uncountable amount of buildings in two clicks. Quick render time generation of objects with optimized RAM management makes the process of scene creation as easy as 123. VRayScatter 2.5.5, Now there is a unique possibility to create even more complicated and realistic scenes and the process is as easy as never before. Intuitively simple interface, rich possibilities and excellent results, VRayScatter offers an amazing flexibility of control. A new generation algorithm has been developed as well as many new features are now available:
1. Collision object
2. Regular structures with easy control by UVW mapping
3. Along the spline distribution
4. Scattering inside/outside splines
5. Contrast option in VRayScatter texture
6. Camera clipping
7. Offset scattering from splines and geometry edges
8. Custom behavior at the splines and geometry edges
9. 3ds Max 2010 Support
10. Asset Tracking connection
11. Most of VRayScatter settings animatable

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Call for Entries - Art Move 2009

+ Call for Entries has been announced for the Art Moves International Billboard Art Competition. Its time to dust yourself and submit your creative interpretations of this year's competition theme: "Is everything interlinked?". Graphic artists, illustrators, and creative professionals 'n Enthusiasts interested in billboard art are invited to take part, however, the Competition is particularly addressed to young artists who are usually most eager to face new themes and untypical ways of art presentation. There is no entry fee. The artists taking part in the Competition are invited to prepare an artwork (maximum three pieces); technique is up to you. From all the entries, the jury will select 10 most interesting projects which will be printed and displayed on billboards in the city space during the Art Moves Festival in October 2009. Deadline for submitting your artwork is August 25, 2009.


3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualization - Advanced to Expert

+ 3DATS, LLC has released Architectural Visualization - Advanced to Expert for 3ds Max 2010. Brimming with tutorials and practical production techniques from dozens of experts in multiple fields of 3D, this book is arguably the finest collection of 3D talent ever assembled under one title. Written for advanced users in any field, but flavored for those in visualization, this book is a collection of 20 independent chapters containing some of the most sophisticated learning material ever written for 3D. To create a book of this caliber, 3DATS recruited a team of over 50 experts, including 20 authors, 20 technical reviewers, and more than a dozen other production professionals. Each is an expert in his or her field, and the result is 720 pages of writing that will challenge users at any skill level.
>> More information

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Introducing ParaCloud GEM 3.0

+ ParaCloud started the distribution of ParaCloud GEM 3.0, a 3D Pattern Modeler and Generative Design Tool for Windows and Mac. The new release includes advanced mesh subdivision and face editing tools and smart mapping options. ParaCloud GEM supports various rapid prototyping processes including ribs and components unfolding. The simple and straightforward approach of GEM to Generative Design makes it possible to create complex design models effortlessly. No previous knowledge is required and the software is quick and easy to learn. ParaCloud GEM brings generative design tools to all design disciplines, with no need for scripting of any kind. GEM works with SketchUP Pro, Rhino, Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, Maya or any 3D software supporting OBJ, DXF and VRML 2.0.
Download Demo version



+ Sonny director Guy Manwaring’s latest piece of work is a humorous spot for Mentos Aqua Kiss. Starring two well-known Beatboxers, Neil Thomas & Killa Kella, posing as young men outside a gas station in the middle of nowhere, they try to out-do each other with their incredible beatboxing abilities. A beautiful girl looks on until one of the boys eventually runs out of steam and takes a packet of Mentos Aqua Kiss from his pocket placing one in his mouth. Moments later he is transformed into a super-charged and refreshed opponent and fights back beatboxing at the most intense and alarming speed, his mouth working overtime. He is the triumphant winner and the girl jumps on top of him clearly overcome.
Jason Watts at Finish who was on set to supervise the shoot in Prague carried out the VFX work and helped augment the actor’s mouth beatboxing at a high speed after he has been ‘refreshed’ with a Mentos Aqua Kiss. A compressed air gun was pointed at the actor’s face whilst beatboxing distorting his face, however, this also meant his hair blew everywhere too. In post Jason had to then track this distorted mouth on to a ‘clean’ shot of the actor’s face.
Watch the Spot video

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


+ 3D modeling software maker Nevercenter has teamed up with modeling pro and educator Glen Southern to produce over nine hours of free video tutorial content including series on fundamentals, box modeling and point modeling. The three series, which began with postings earlier this year and culminated recently with the launch of the final chapters of the Silo Point Modeling Tutorial Series, are available to stream or download. As Silo has been my favorite 3D modeling program for some time it follows that I try to teach people how to use it,” said Southern, who in the past has produced DVDs that teach Silo and ZBrush. “I want modelers to pick up new tips and tricks and new ways of working.” The 30 video segments that make up the three series come with supporting materials including lists of all of the Silo commands used, reference images and the actual Silo files as finished by Southern at each step of the process.Nevercenter, founded in 2003, produces software for the PC, Mac and iPhone. Prominent titles include Silo, a desktop 3D modeling application and CameraBag, a top-rated iPhone photo-filtering app.
Download Silo Tutorials


N-Sided releases Argile 2

+ N-Sided® announces the release of Argile 2, the new version of its fantastic 3D retouching software. Retouching, Modeling, Morphing, 3D Painting and Image Rendering… Argile is a complete workshop totally dedicated to creation. Forget the technical constraints, the cluttered user interfaces and other fuzzy tools...Import 3D objects and characters to sculpt and retouch them in details, create morphs and preview them in real time. Play with the brushes of the real time 3D painting palette, explore an infinity of materials and effects, compose scenes and render image...Discover the pleasure of creation with this unique workshop and its original artistic alembics. Much more powerful and sharp, the version 2 of this 3D Sculpt and Paint workshop gains a lot of innovating new features. 3D has never been so productive, simple and natural. Totally dedicated to sculpture, painting and visualization, Argile 2 comes with major improvements, such as a complete rewriting of the 3D Paint module, a direct bridge to Photoshop, an automatic UV editor, exports to 3DM and STL formats, an innovative Catalog system to manage in a snap the various elements of the 3D scene, self-shadows support and a lot of other great new features and content.
More Information


Storm Plug-in For Maya

+ Storm is a Rigging plugin pack for maya, which contains several dependency graph nodes in order to increase reliability, flexibility and productivity for rigging and animation pipeline. Some of nodes included in pack;
This node allows you to crate ik/fk blend. You can handle up to five joints for rotation and stretch blending with a single ikfkBlend node.
You can use this node to create stretchy joint chain driven by an ik solver. It can use squashStretch and translateStretch node as options.
Spline stretch node allows you to create stretchy joint chain driven by an ik spline solver. It also allows you to scale the curve properly in scalable rigs.
This node creates proper squash and stretch effect. It does all necessary volume calculation to achieve correct squash and stretch effect.
Show hide control node allows you to show/hide ik and fk controls depends on ik/fk blending state. It helps a lot to animators during animation process.
In order to avoid shearing in squash/stretch or scale type setups this node can be used as an alternative. It uses translate in order to create stretch effect.
This node can be used to define assets in the scene. You can connect the node to your rig and you can query “assetIdentity” nodes in the scene. Since it’s a unique node you can retrieve necessary data very fast compare to transform nodes.
Normalize distance node normalizes the distance between two transform nodes and uses it as output data. Thus we can use this output data in order to drive other node’s attributes like bump map value, displacement map value and blendshape weights etc. We can use the node pretty much everywhere especially where we need to create deformations.

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Next-Gen Modeling and Texturing in 3ds Max and Photoshop

+ In-Depth, step-by-step workflow for creating next-gen models and textures in 3ds Max and Photoshop. This video series is over 90 minutes of free 3ds Max and Photoshop video training from start to finish. Max-Realms.Com July 2009. Learn production modeling techniques and a proven workflow to creating 3d model assets and textures for for next-generation games. This four part series covers the basics in creating clean topology for your game model. These tutorials are presented in extreme high quality Quicktime MOV format. The CDROM has full resolution 1024x768 and contains all base images, Photoshop CS2 PSD files and 3ds Max 9 scene files.
More information

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Introducing StretchMesh for Maya*

+ Character animation research and development company Kickstand today announced new features in StretchMesh 1.5, an innovative surface deformation plug-in that streamlines the creation of realistic character animation in Autodesk® Maya® software. Designed for animators and technical directors working in feature film, broadcast, and game development, StretchMesh 1.5 incorporates a fast algorithm for relational vertex knowledge, which shares polygonal knowledge with neighboring vertices to speed the process of creating smooth character deformations in Maya.
StretchMesh 1.5 completely reinvents the character deformation pipeline,” said Daniel Dawson, director of Character Technology, Kickstand. “Character skin is very elastic and difficult to animate. By giving polygonal meshes an inherent ‘stretchy’ characteristic, StretchMesh removes the time-intensive process of manually tweaking skin weights to streamline rigging of complex body and facial movements.” With StretchMesh 1.5, the existing feature-set has been improved to offer substantial new features, including a major speed enhancement via multi-threading in Maya 2009. Other new features include:
• Improved flexibility animating collisions using primitive sphere and primitive curve colliders. Primitive sphere colliders behave like mesh sphere colliders, but with far more robust performance. Primitive curve colliders provide an array of radius values along the length of a curve to define a collision tube or capsule, offering significantly better performance than equivalent mesh colliders.
• The influence of a collision object can now be painted, giving users per-vertex control over a collision and impact.
• Curve attractors provide the ability to pull vertices toward the closest point on a curve. This technique is useful in facial rigging, for example, where the vertices of an eyebrow need to be pulled toward a target curve.
• A new "Scale Safe” mode allows users to scale a mesh and safely preserve its initial shape.
Purchase StretchMesh and receive a free upgrade to StretchMesh 1.5 upon availability, summer 2009. StretchMesh is priced at $249 per seat; educational pricing is also available. StretchMesh supports Autodesk Maya version 8.5 or higher on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.

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Voice-O-Matic v3

+ Di-O-Matic Inc., a leading developer of 3D character animation software and plug-in tools today announced Voice-O-Matic v3 (3ds Max edition), the latest version of its lip-syncing software, used by top 3D animation studios to achieve highly accurate voice-to-character matching. Voice-O-Matic was created to meet the needs of 3D character animators all over the world who require an easy-to-use, lip synchronization plug-in for their Autodesk® 3ds Max® software. The Voice-O-Matic v3 (3ds Max edition) plug-in software is expected to begin shipping in summer 2009 for US $349.
Voice-O-Matic lip sync software has been used in literally every vertical media and entertainment market—from computer graphics (CG) feature films—to animated television series, 3D games, visual effects in feature films and commercials. Saving up to 80% of the time it takes to manually animate lip synchronization, Voice-O-Matic customers can either only use the automatic phoneme matching features or also manually tweak the results to achieve even more amazing results. Voice-O-Matic synchronizes pre-recorded audio to virtually any type of 3D character set up, including morph target and bones-based character rigs—supporting English, French, Japanese, Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, and other languages. New Features in Voice-O-Matic v3 (3ds Max edition) includes; #64-bit support for Autodesk 3ds Max 9, 3ds Max 2008, 3ds Max 2009 and 3ds Max 2010, #Added compatibility with 3ds Max 2010, #Improved lip-sync quality, #Added new presets and settings.
More information

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Introducing SolidRocks* for 3DS Max

+ Solidrocks Version 0.85 has been released and is now Compatible with Vray SP3a, Vray RT, and max 2010. New methods available : Lightcache/lightcache, Irrmap+Ligthcache, bruteforce+ligthcache (universal) and ppt Of course SP3 ambient occlusion on/off and subdivs are fully managed by this new build. SolidRocks is an Autodesk™ 3dsmax™ plugin which automates the complex process of rendering setup. It brings the best of the powerful V-Ray™ rendering engine without any knowledge of its internal kernel. SolidRocks adjusts and optimise all needed Vray parameters to reach the best rendertime/quality ratio. Learn Vray progressively, see in realtime changes made by SolidRocks when you change resolution/quality.

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Animated Short 'The Spine'

+ Filmmaker Chris Landreth's latest animated short film, "The Spine", was shaped with Autodesk, Inc.'s Maya 3D modeling, animation and rendering software. Having used Maya to shape his 2004 Oscar-winning short "Ryan", Landreth once again chose Maya to express his creative vision. "The Spine" is a psychologically driven film that uses bizarre imagery to tell the story of a couple trapped in a spiral of mutual destruction. Main characters Dan and Mary Rutherford evolve, adapt and break as they navigate an unhappy marriage. Landreth's unique animation style has characters literally wearing their lives on their bodies.
"Dan and Mary are in a toxic relationship that you see reflected in their physicality," explained Landreth. "Dan is reduced to a spineless being that melts over furniture, while Mary's body bloats with her problems. Autodesk Maya was used for modeling, texturing, animating, rigging and visual effects. The software has such a rich toolset. I particularly enjoyed exploring new creative paths with Maya nCloth. Our team used it to simulate everything from Dan's viscous body to breaking glass and all kinds of fabrics." Maya nCloth is part of the Maya Nucleus simulation framework that helps artists quickly direct and control cloth and other material simulations. "The Spine" was produced by the National Film Board of Canada in association with Copperheart Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, with the creative participation of Autodesk and Seneca College School of Communication Arts. Digital artists and engineers from Autodesk collaborated with Landreth to ensure successful completion of the project. Fifteen Seneca College students worked on the film for four months, as part of their graduation project.
Watch Animated Short video


Monday, July 06, 2009

New Gnomon Workshop DVDs - Character Design/Modeling & Hard Surface Shading/Texturing

+ This week The Gnomon Workshop continues its summer DVD release schedule with two great new titles for 3D artists: Hard Surface Shading and Texturing with Neil Blevins and Character Design and Modeling for Next-Gen Games with Vitaly Bulgarov. Neil, a Technical Director at Pixar Animation, has put together a very thorough DVD that explains his shading and texturing pipeline for hard surface models. The lecture is broken up into two parts - a detailed breakdown of his process followed by the application of the process to the shading and texturing of a "mortuary" robot that collects and recycles dead bodies. Vitaly Bulgarov, a 3D artist at Blizzard Entertianment, shows his process for making his "Rabagh" character which was inspired by Gears of War and is a great example of his organic-mechanical style. Using XSI, ZBrush and Photoshop, Vitaly covers everything from concepting in both 3D and 2D applications to presenting the high-poly model.
Character Design and Modeling for Next-Gen Games with Vitaly Bulgarov
In this DVD, Vitaly Bulgarov walks you through his process for creating highly detailed organic-mech characters using XSI®, ZBrush® and Photoshop®. Vitaly explains his 2D/3D concept design process, then shows his process for creating clean detailed meshes within XSI, as well as the sculpting process in ZBrush. Finally he shows how to add character and life to the hard surface and make a presentation of the final high-poly model using ZBrush and Photoshop.
Hard Surface Shading and Texturing with Neil Blevins
In this DVD Neil introduces his pipeline for shading and texturing hard surface models. This pipeline can be applied to any high-res model, such as models for photoreal effects work, animated feature films, ride films or video game cinematics. In the first part of the DVD, he discusses reference gathering, how to make a visual details list, and common shaders. Next he outlines all of the major methods for placing patterns on your surface, their advantages and disadvantages, and ways of creating patterns, including procedurals, photo manipulation and hand painting. The lecture includes practical demos in Adobe Photoshop® and 3d Studio Max®, using the Scanline, Brazil and Mental Ray renderers. In the second part, he uses the theory and pipeline from part one to shade and texture a 2000+ object robot character and simple environment using 3ds Max, Photoshop and Brazil. With a focus on texturing thousands of objects fast and efficiently, this intermediate level course is useful for any 3d application or renderer and will add many new tricks to your personal arsenal.

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SpeedTree® 5.0 Beta to Debut at GDC

+ SpeedTree® 5.0, a complete re-engineering of IDV’s award-winning foliage software, will be available for evaluation beginning on the first day of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 25, 2009. With SpeedTree 5.0, IDV’s unmatched tree and plant middleware delivers a new level of modeling control and rendering efficiency. The first 5.0 evaluations will be handed out to those who visit IDV’s booth, #5302 in North Hall at the MosconeCenter. SpeedTree, winner of the 2005 Front Line Award for middleware, delivers beautiful, amazingly natural real-time trees and plants with seamless LOD transitions, an array of lighting, physics & wind effects, and an SDK programmed to support any level of engine integration. SpeedTreeRT includes the SpeedTree Modeler, a Windows application that offers a unique hybrid of hand and procedural modeling options. The new version draws on nearly a decade of foliage tool development experience at IDV, Mr. Sechrest added, as well as the countless recommendations and requests from the top studios around the world that make up SpeedTree’s extensive user base.
Major new features of 5.0 include:
- Hand & Procedural Modeling. The new SpeedTree Modeler enables an unprecedented degree of control over the tree’s geometry. Prune branches, set force parameters to guide branch shape, and grow SpeedTree models around rocks, walls or other imported meshes.
- Physics. SpeedTree geometry now features the data necessary to interface SpeedTree with your physics engine, and includes built-in support for NVIDIA PhysX™ technology and the new NVIDIA PhysX APEX Vegetation Module*.
- Multiple Integration Options. SpeedTree can be brought into games and other real-time applications at any level – as a mesh, as geometry, as a partial integration with the user’s engine, or through a full integration. Comprehensive, integration-friendly reference applications are available to accelerate integration into the game development pipeline.
- Lighting. SpeedTree 5 offers a new degree of lighting realism, including dynamic shadows, ambient occlusion and translucency.
- Levels of Detail. SpeedTree 5’s aggressive new levels of detail system means more trees in a scene than ever before while SpeedTree maintains high-quality, pop-free transitions.


Important ZBrush Updates for Mac OSX

+ Pixologic Inc., makers of the Award-Winning 2D/3D sculpting, texturing and painting application ZBrush, released significant updates to ZBrush for Mac OSX: ZBrush3.2, GoZBrush, Decimation Master and 3D Print Exporter. ZBrush 3.2 for Mac OSX contains many optimizations and feature adjustments of the previous version, including early ZBrush 4 core adjustments to facilitate the new GoZ features. ZBrush 3.2 is a free upgrade for all ZBrush OSX registered users.
GoZBrush released for the Mac OSX (
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One of the core functions of ZBrush has always been to provide artists the ability to create in an environment that allows for complete freedom of expression. The lack of technical barriers that make working within ZBrush feel like real world sculpting and painting is why so many have created such ground breaking work. With GoZ there is no need to invest time in setting up shading networks for your normal, displacement, and texture maps. With a single click of a button, GoZ will transfer your mesh to a GoZ-enabled application of your choice, and instantly set up all the appropriate shading networks for you. Upon sending your mesh back to ZBrush, GoZ will automatically remap the existing high-resolution details to the incoming mesh. GoZ will take care of simple operations such as correcting points & polygons order as well as more advanced operations that require complete remapping. The updated mesh is immediately ready for further detailing, map extractions, and transferring to any other GoZ-enabled application.
Decimation Master released for the Mac OSX (
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With Decimation Master you will be able to easily reduce the polygon count of your models in a very efficient way while keeping all their sculpted details. This solution is one of the fastest available and is able to optimize your high poly count models from ZBrush, allowing you to export them to your other 3D software packages. Sculpt your model with ZBrush, add all your small details and push your artistic skills, then optimize your ZTool. Export it to your favorite 3D package, which will now be able to open your sculpt to create specific textures like Normal Maps or Ambient Occlusion maps by baking the high resolution mesh information on a low resolution mesh. Another use is to export your model for a Rapid Prototyping process (3D printing) and bring your virtual art to a real object but also display your model in a real-time viewer such as PDF 3D. The possibilities are infinite!
3D Print Exporter Released for Mac OSX (
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With 3DPrint Exporter you will be able to export your favorite ZTool in STL and VRML file formats, opening you to the world of 3D Printing. Who has never dreamed about having your virtual sculpting in "real" 3D, standing on your desk? Now it's possible for you to print your ZBrush models: Sculpt your art with ZBrush, Optimize if needed with the Decimation Master plug-in, then export it with 3D Print Exporter.


RayFire Tool 1.45 Plugin for 3ds MAX

+ Anselm von Seherr, FX artists from Germany and the developer of RayFire has announced the release of RayFire Tool 1.45 Plugin for 3ds MAX 9 , 2008, 2009 and 2010. RayFire with it´s new features was recently used in Roland Emmerichs 2012 to fragment buildings and environment. Blur Studios also used RayFire for there latest Cinematic for "Star Wars: The Old Republic" RayFire Tool gives You ability to shoot, destroy, demolish, crash, ruin, break down, cause havoc, blow up, burst, detonate, explode.
RayFire 1.45 New Features list:
# Glue. Allows you to glue objects together and break connection between them during simulation. Three types of glue available.
"Glue demolished objects" - glue together demolished and fragmented objects
"Glue objects in groups" - glue together objects in groups

"Glue linked objects" - glue together linked objects
# Deformable\Pointcached objects support. Allows you to use deformable objects as Unyielding objects and affect on simulated objects.
# "Simulate by timeslider" checkbox. Allows you to create simulation by manually dragging timeslider. Useful for simple quick simulations.
# Edited User Interface. All rollouts logically separated from each other.All shooting rollouts now in one tab. All fragmentation rollouts in another. Reactor rollouts in third and so on.

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NEXUS Appoints CEDRIC GAIRARD As Executive Producer

+ Nexus is pleased to announce that Cedric Gairard is joining as Executive Producer. Cedric joins from the international Amsterdam-based agency, 180, where he was Head of Production and co-managed the day-to day running of the agency. During his 11 years at 180 he worked with clients such as adidas, Sony and MTV and consolidated his reputation within the international creative community for his commitment to high quality creative work across a range of media. It is his combined wealth of experience and his extensive knowledge of the production process that Cedric brings to Nexus. He will work closely alongside Nexus co-founders Chris O’Reilly and Charlotte Bavasso and Head of Productions Julia Parfitt in further developing Nexus’ creative offering across multiple platforms.
Cedric’s advertising career started in Paris as an account man working for the likes of TBWA and Y&R before joining Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam in 1995. However, when 180Amsterdam was set up in 1998, Cedric left to join them working on the international adidas account and it was there where he made the move in to TV production. Cedric was also instrumental in setting up 180’s digital department pursuing his interest for digital, film, design and alternative media production becoming one of the few hybrid producers specialising in all formats. In 2003 Cedric worked on the adidas “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign, which is still 180’s largest TV production ever made, working alongside some of the world’s best-known sporting icons. Back in Amsterdam after a year in production he became the third most awarded producer in 2005. During his time at 180 he has worked with some of the best commercial directors in the world.

DesignChef - Graphic and user experience design competition

+ Directi, a leading internet products company today announced the launch of DesignChef - India’s first online graphic and user experience design competition. DesignChef is a non-profit initiative driven by Directi to provide User Experience (UX) and Visual designers with a platform to hone their skills, showcase their work, gain recognition from the community and win fabulous prizes.
DesignChef is targeted at India’s large pool of design talent with the objective of developing a self sustaining community of students and professionals eager to share ideas and foster innovation. The first competition is open from July 1, 2009 through August 1, 2009. The top three designers in both the Graphics and UX competitions will win Rs. 20000, 10000, and 5000 respectively (six prizes in total for both challenges). The judging panel includes four of the best design minds across industry and academia namely Anirudha Joshi, Associate Professor, IDC, IIT Bombay; Ninad Raval, User Experience Manager, Directi; Shailendra Salekar, Sr. Graphic Designer, Directi and Amit Klien, Product Manager, Directi. For more information, please visit


Animation Mentor Hosts Free Webinar with Disney's Don Hahn

+ AnimationMentor.com (Animation Mentor) announces an inspiring free webinar discussion between Animation Mentor chief executive officer and cofounder Bobby Beck and Don Hahn, acclaimed producer for The Walt Disney Studios, about the life and influence of Disney mentor, teacher, and artist Walt Stanchfield. Open to animators and animation enthusiasts alike, the webinar celebrates the launch of the new book, Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes, the complete series of animation lectures by Walt Stanchfield. Don Hahn is a two-time Academy Award nominee and film producer responsible for producing some of the most successful Walt Disney Animated films of the past 20 years, including Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. For Webinar Details, please visit www.animationmentor.com/webinar/

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