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Monday, August 31, 2009

Hyperfocal Design Announces “V-Series: Night Skies 2”


+ Hyperfocal Design is proud to announce the release of its second V-Series product, Night Skies 2. The V-Series range of products are designed to provide the very highest quality and resolution, enough to suit even the most demanding projects. V-Series’ signature features are super high resolution and in the case of HDRs, very high dynamic range. Night Skies 2 is available on DVD and contains 20 night and twilight images, including two bonus HDR moon images from Night Skies 1. The images in V-Series: Night Skies 2 measure 14,000X3,500 pixels in TIF and JPG formats.
The skies can be used at high zoom levels for any application - print, film, games and more. The hemispherical Night Skies cover a range of time and weather conditions and have been filtered for clean crisp images. Night sky textures are mappable onto a hemisphere, cylinder or background. Provided in 24 bit RGB, High Quality JPEG and TIF format and compatible with any 2d or 3d package. The collection is available on DVD or for instant download from Hyperfocal's VM Store for $197. Samples and sample artwork, along with a full product description and ordering information can be found on the Hyperfocal Design website.

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Call for entries: Big Picture Design Challenge



+ The Design Institute of Australia, in partnership with McDonald's, invites Australia's and New Zealand's best young designers to submit entries into the inaugural Big Picture Design Challenge, recently endorsed by Icograda. This is a unique opportunity and platform for Australia's and New Zealand's design students and recent graduates to showcase their designs. There have been big changes at McDonald's recently - from new menu ranges to re-designed restaurants. This competition gives design students and recent graduates the chance to get in on the action and showcase their talent.
The challenge: Design outstanding images destined for any surface or area at McDonald's restaurants, which define and promote Australia's and New Zealand's diversity.
The Big prizes: See your designs in McDonald's restaurants. $4,000 in cash prizes to be won!
For over 35 years, McDonald's has been a part of the fabric of Australian society with over two thirds of stores owned and operated by small business people. In recent years, McDonald's Australia and New Zealand has taken a contemporary approach to refurbishing its restaurants with the help of the region's best designers. Architecture and interior design featuring photography and illustrative graphics have become an integral part of communicating McDonald's brand and providing unique and interesting environments for their customers. Through a partnership between the DIA and McDonald's, the Big Picture Design Challenge will provide a unique opportunity and platform for young designers. The entry period will run from 10 August - 12 October 2009.
>>
check More Details

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UNFOLD3D version 6.5


+ UNFOLD3D version 6.5 has been released. UNFOLD3D appeared in year 2003, as the very first automatic unwrapper. Since then, UNFOLD3D has always been the best UV generator. And now, in year 2009, generation 6 of UNFOLD3D brings to you amazing and unique new features, even faster. Some of the New features in version 6.5,includes;
#New Stamper/Cropper features
Allowing you to export optimized version of the UV layout without wasting space. Helping you in creating cropped/zoomed versions of some parts/islands of your mesh to easily make hires texturing for them.
#Smart symmetry handling features
See automatic selection of symmetric edges and automatic symmetrical unfolding. And see how UNFOLD3D editing features now also work by taking care of symmetry. Choose, or change for, UNFOLD3D version 6.5, the best unwrapping software of all times, already in use in most of major studios !
>>
More information

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Mr. X Delivers Visual Effects for Ang Lee’s Latest Film


+ Mr. X, one of Canada’s leading post houses, created visual effects for director Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, which opens in theatres Aug. 28. Based on Elliot Tiber’s autobiographical book, the film is a coming-of-age story set in the social upheaval of 1969. The narrative follows the progress of a young man returning home to help out at his parents’ motel in upstate New York. There he becomes involved in organizing the seminal Woodstock concert. Mr X completed visual effects for the film, including faithful recreations of the concert venue as it takes shape, and a visually stunning 10-minute acid trip sequence.
VFX supervisor Brendan Taylor led a team of 45 artists at the Mr. X facilities in Toronto and Montreal over a period of eight months, delivering 138 shots on the project. Previously, Taylor had collaborated with Ang Lee on Lust, Caution for a series of detailed shots recreating WWII-era Hong Kong and Shanghai. The work was completed at Mr. X in 2007. “I do a lot of research for sequences like these. I want to find out everything I can about the time and place. Getting the details right does a huge amount to set the mood for a film,” explained Taylor. Focus Features’ Taking Woodstock directed by Ang Lee, stars Demitri Martin, Dan Fogler and Jonathan Groff. Taking Woodstock opens in theatres August 28. Along with the facility’s work on Taking Woodstock, Mr. X provided visual effects on Ang Lee’s previous film, Lust, Caution, and recently completed work for Fast and Furious. Currently, the facility has a full slate of productions, including Amelia, which is scheduled for release October 23. For information visit
www.mrxfx.com.

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Strathmore illustration contest


+ Call for Entries has been announced by Strathmore Artist Papers for "Strathmore illustration contest 2009." Create a piece of art that expresses the theme of “green” and “environment” using dry media techniques on Strathmore paper. Scan or photograph artwork for submission to the contest. Images must be in jpeg format and no larger than 2.0 mb file size. No mail-in entry is available. Once you have completed the submission process, you will receive a confirmation that the upload was successful. Contest is open to all artists 18 years of age or older on or before the date of January 31, 2010. Artists may enter in 1 of 2 categories: student or professional/hobbyist. There are no entry fees. Entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM (CT) on November 30, 2009.
>>
More information

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Friday, August 28, 2009

UV Layout DVD'S by KEVIN HUDSON


+ This week, The Gnomon Workshop is pleased to announce the release of two new DVDs by veteran Gnomon instructor Kevin Hudson. In these two titles, Kevin covers UV Layout for 3D models in Autodesk Maya, thoroughly breaking down the process and demonstrating tips and tricks for working efficiently in a production setting. In the Advanced UV Layout DVD, Kevin also introduces Headus UVLayout which is a great tool for speeding up the task.
#UV Mapping 101
In this DVD, Kevin guides the beginning modeler through the concepts and complexities of the UV layout process in Maya. It is essential that UVs are laid out properly so that 3D models can smoothly proceed into the texturing process. Starting with the fundamentals, Kevin prepares the viewer to take on a project as complicated as laying out the UVs for a house. He covers editing the UVs in the UV Layout Window, projecting and editing on a stretched cube, cylindrical and spherical projections, and the principal of using "material splits" as a means of organizing different parts of a model. Intended as an introduction to production UV layout techniques, Kevin's many years of expertise inform this clear and precise lecture.
#Advanced UV Layout for Production
In this DVD, Kevin guides the more advanced modeler through the steps of laying out UVs on more complicated organic objects, where no single simple projection will work. Kevin provides a clear approach to breaking down objects into pieces that can be laid out and reassembled. Starting with a dollhead model, Kevin covers how to combine different projections and use the Relax and Unfold tools to get the desired results. He then discusses UV layout solutions for clothing and more complicated objects like a horse skull. Kevin then shows how to utilize his favorite tool, UVLayout by Headus, which can really speed up your workflow by automating the process of cutting up the model and projecting onto it, while maintaining a consistent scale. Finally, Kevin explains why in production it may be necessary to have multiple UV sets and what the specific requirements are for programs like ZBrush and BodyPaint. Intended as an advanced tutorial on production UV layout techniques, Kevin's many years of expertise inform this clear and "holistic" approach to modeling and UV work.

THE FOUNDRY RELEASES NUKE 5.2


+ Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry, has announced the latest release of its powerful compositing application Nuke. Nuke 5.2, now shipping, features new pre-comp tools that facilitate structured and collaborative workflow through referencing of external scripts; Python improvements for the creation of custom user interface panels and script driven actions; metadata support direct in the node graph; and the ability to register multiple 'Viewer Process' Gizmos for user-defined viewer processing, including new GPU support for 3D LUTs and GLSL shaders. In addition Nuke 5.2 enables video monitor preview through Blackmagic Decklink, AJA Kona and Xena cards 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, with flexible disk caching introduced at script nodes, and numerous bugs fixed.
Richard Shackleton, Nuke product manager at The Foundry commented: “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... “I am very excited about delivering a wide range of new features in this release to support our customers ever-increasing breadth of challenges and complex deliverables. Nuke 5.2 and our future development roadmap will continue to deliver productivity and workflow gains as well as expanding the production and creative tasks that the Nuke platform can achieve.” ...This philosophy of continual innovation focused on solving VFX and production requirements continues at The Foundry with Nuke 6.0 and NukeX 6.0 due for release in Q4 this year. For a pre-release peek, visit us on stand 7.F28 at IBC, where you can also see in depth customer demonstrations and talk directly with our team. For more information on Nuke see www.thefoundry.co.uk.

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Normality for AE


+ Normality 3.1 is a Free powerful plug-in that allows CG Artists to light 3D objects and scenes directly within the familiar Adobe After Effects environment through the use of normal passes and advanced relighting techniques. The shading quality during previews is as high as your final render – while still being able to light single objects or even whole scenes in near real-time (depending on your system configuration). Normality requires a rendered normal pass from your 3D program of choice — these are very quick to render and easy to apply to your objects or scenes. Apply Normality to your normal pass layer in After Effects, add a light source and voilà – instant shading! You can control the lighting using AE’s built-in light sources and tune the look with Normality’s comprehensive shading parameters. Normality is free for use in non-commercial and commercial projects.
>>
Download Normality for AE

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing V-Ray AutoGrass



+ Autograss is your one-click grass solution for V-Ray, developed by Happy Digital Ltd. Select your object, click Autograss, and you're done. You've got photorealistic grass that renders in V-Ray for 3ds Max. Autograss uses only a fixed amount of RAM no matter how much grass is in the scene, whether it's a one-acre lawn or an entire golf course. No crashes, no nonsense. And it's fully multi-threaded, so all your cores are driven to their full potential. VRay Autograss includes eleven preset grass types covering the most commonly used grasses. You don't need to model any grass. The scientists at Happy Digital studied radiometrically calibrated photographs to ensure the grass presets have true-to-life shape and color when used with V-Ray's physical cameras and sun / sky system, from sunrise to sunset. In addition to these presets, Autograss provides you with mapping and variation to produce special effects like worn-out trails and lawnmower paths.
>>
Download Autograss Demo

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Prime Focus VFX Helps Elevate 'G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra'


+ Prime Focus VFX—formerly Frantic Films VFX—announced that it has contributed 124 visual effects shots for the Stephen Sommers-directed movie “G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra” from Paramount Pictures. Prime Focus’ Los Angeles, Winnipeg and Vancouver visual effects studios most notably provided expertise in previz, digital environments, fluid simulation and high-volume particle rendering for the movie’s action-packed finale sequence involving a complicated aerial scene. “G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra” starring Channing Tatum (Duke), Sienna Miller (Baroness) Marlon Wayans (Ripcord), and Rachel Nichols (Scarlett) premiered in theaters on August 7, 2009.
Prime Focus contributed roughly 70 visual effects shots for the finale’s aerial sequence, which features a plane being eaten away by Nanomites, a U.S. developed bio-weapon usurped by evil forces that disintegrates metal on contact. Said Chris Bond, senior visual effects supervisor and president of Prime Focus VFX, “This sequence was particularly challenging because we weren’t relying on any aerial photography, which would be nearly impossible to shoot at these speeds, but instead created nearly everything digitally – the plane, sky, clouds and the destructive Nanomites that eat away the plane.” In addition to developing a custom toolset to generate 3D cloud and sky environments, Prime Focus built a Nanomite animation pipeline and a hybrid matte painting, environment and 3D animation pipeline. The company also dedicated extensive R&D to improving its in-house scene collaboration system that allowed its LA and Vancouver offices to work seamlessly together.
In addition to providing previz for the aerial sequence, Prime Focus artists, with VFX supervision from Bond and Harvey, built a Nanomite animation pipeline using Prime Focus’s proprietary volumetric particle renderer Krakatoa, along with Autodesk 3ds Max, to render out the billions upon billions of particles that make up the Nanomite cloud. Functioning as an intelligent swarm, the Nanomites are able to track their movements to avoid retracing their steps, leaving no metal untouched until whatever they’re consuming crumbles and collapses. To produce this complex destruction, Prime Focus created a series of particle systems, shader networks, and procedural level set tools that would all talk to and affect each other. This created a true geometric volume with thickness and surface properties that would be eaten, rather than paper-thin transparency texture maps.Using footage of actor Wayans shot on set in a chair with only the practical cockpit around him, Prime Focus artists digitally built the Night Raven plane, including its inner-workings and engine, which are revealed as the Nanomites eat away the metal. Ken Nakata headed up the digital matte painting department in Los Angeles to create the CG sky and clouds using a combination of fluid dynamics, matte painting, CG simulation and particle simulation. Prime Focus also created missile contrails and built the White House and Potomac River entirely in CG. In addition to the finale, Prime Focus also contributed to the opening sequence in which a tank is destroyed by Nanomites and provided interior shots and set extensions for the Cobra base. Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya were the tools-of-choice; eyeon Fusion was the compositor.
>>
Prime Focus website

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The Pixel Farm Offer Free 3D Tracker **


+ For a short period of time, The Pixel Farm are offering all Shake users the opportunity to own a permanent PFMatch license absolutely free! Until the end of August, you can register to receive a free license. After which, PFMatch will no longer be available. As you may be aware, PFMatch has recently been discontinued. Much of the product philosophy of PFMatch has been re-introduced with a fresh approach focussed on improved workflow and closer integration with 3rd party applications that can utilize the unique data that our products produce.
PFMatch 2.1 for Apple's Shake 4.1 incorporates technology from the market leading tracking and analysis system PFTrack. PFMatch provides Shake users with a fully integrated 3D camera tracking environment to complement Shake's 3D environment. The simple user experience is in contrast to the complex underlying analysis system that provides extremely accurate camera data on any type of moving image, solving all types of camera motion for both fixed and variable focal lengths. PFMatch for Shake is especially easy to learn because it uses the host program's own image editing, 2D tracking and masking tools to direct the tracking algorithms; as such, there is no need to learn a whole new user interface. PFMatch slots seamlessly into the Shake workflow without the need to actually leave the application. The track data is passed straight to the Shake MultiPlane node, and requires no saving or exporting of data. As you are working in the tree, there is no duplication of footage required, radically reducing facility storage requirements.
>>
Download PFMatch for FREE (register to receive a free license)

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Designing Render Farm


+ Joe Pizzini of RenderStream wrote quite informative article about designing the Perfect Render Farm. Snippet: In this document we describe an example system that allows the rendering and compositing through workstations using our render farm, all of which is supported by a multi-tier redundant high-speed hybrid gigabit, optical fiber storage network. All systems come with 1-3 year warranties and are manufactured in an ISO-9001 compliant facility. Working with Austin Business Computers for the render process software we selected the newest versions of Autodesk® Maya™ or 3ds Max® and Toxik™ and for render farm management of the render process we chose Frantic Film’s Deadline® but realize that this can change with the customers’ personal preference. We choose Toxik because we believe it is the best desktop compositing package on the planet but realize that the proper choice of compositing software depends on the application and may adjust our recommendation once we have a more detailed......Read on!!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Download V-Ray for Maya***


+ Chaos Group team is excited to announce the official release of V-Ray for Maya. The comprehensive set of features provided by V-Ray for Maya includes true 3D Motion Blur, Sun & Sky procedural lighting system, Physical camera for matching life footage, Environment Fog, a set of Sub-Surface Scattering shaders and many others. V-Ray for Maya is supported on Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora operating systems in their 32-bit and 64-bit versions (other distributions also work). V-Ray runs with Autodesk Maya 2008, 2009 and 2010 versions. Aimed at improving quality and efficiency in the production processes of the VFX and Film industry, V-Ray for Maya now enables the rendering of larger scenes with greater complexity while at the same time artists can rely on a faster rendering stage without compromising on the quality side of their work.
V-Ray for Maya Advantages and Key Features:
Faithful to its ultimate vision for extraordinary speed and quality, Chaos Group empowers users to improve render times by taking advantage of the V-Ray for Maya licensing. Each V-Ray for Maya license allows the usage of up to 10 additional render nodes, running either in Maya batch mode or as standalone render servers through the V-Ray Standalone application. The Standalone application allows rendering to occur independently of Maya and is considered as an outstanding option to boost the speed for both standard and distributed rendering.
1. DMC sampler;
2. Easy to use and very well developed GI system;
3. True 3D motion blur, which works with transparencies (a key to fast rendering with accurate results without major headaches and cheats);
4. Very simple and powerful baking system;
5. Powerful multipass architecture,”
Pricing and availability
The suggested retail price(SRP) of V-Ray for Maya is USD 999 or EUR 719 per license, depending on the region of purchase. Purchasing one V-Ray for Maya license gives a lot more than just a single rendering license. It allows the rendering in interactive Maya environment of 1 computer and another 10 computers running as render nodes. These render nodes can run in Maya batch mode or as standalone render servers through the V-Ray Standalone application, independently of Maya. These can also be used for the simultaneous rendering of a single frame across 10 computers through the Distributed Rendering mode. If the users require having more than 10 rendering nodes – additional licenses can be purchased for V-Ray Standalone which can be used as standalone or through the Maya batch mode. It does not get any more flexible than that, does it? And remember! We license full computers, not CPUs! The more CPUs you have per computer, the better you utilize our single license! V-Ray for Maya is distributed through electronic download only. A hardware lock is required for the licensing system and is provided upon purchase. Additional V-Ray Standalone licenses are available for purchase with suggested end user price of USD299 / EUR249 per computer. Outrageous volume discounts are applicable for all V-Ray products. Order prices in US Dollars or Euro is applied depending on specific country of order placement. Please, contact our sales representative or distributor for pricing information at sales.software@chaosgroup.com
>> Download VRay for Maya

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Download MudWalker - plug-in for Mudbox 2010


+'MudWalker' and 'ReLight' plugins for Mudbox 2010 are now available for download. MudWalker is a free Plug-in specially developed by Wayne Robson that allows you to easily send your model, textures or screenshots to other applications with a single click. MudWalker was beta tested at Pixar to assure it worked will in production pipelines. It's free to all freelance artists and companies with less than 5 artist(of any type).
MudWalker supports the following applications:
*Mudbox to Autodesk Softimage / XSI
*Mudbox to Autodesk 3ds Max 2010 design (FBX and OBJ)
*Mudbox to Autodesk 3ds Max 2010 (FBX and OBJ)
*Mudbox to Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 (FBX and OBJ)
*Mudbox to Autodesk Maya 2009 (FBX and OBJ)
*Mudbox to Autodesk Maya 2010 (FBX and OBJ)
*Mudbox to Autodesk Softimage (FBX and OBJ)
*Mudbox to Modo 401 (FBX and OBJ)
*Nevercenter Silo 2 (OBJ)
*Mudbox to Topogun
*Headus UVLayout
*Mudbox to Adobe After Effects
*Mudbox to Adobe Photoshop CS4 64 bit
*Mudbox to Adobe Photoshop CS4 32 bit
*Mudbox to Adobe Photoshop CS3
*Mudbox to Adobe Photoshop CS2
*FBX Import to Mudbox 2010
*OBJ Import to Mudbox 2010
Works from both open and closed version's of the applications.
>> Download Mudwalker

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Vancouver Film School Alumni Unite on District 9


+ This week, Vancouver Film School (VFS), Canada’s premier entertainment arts institution and one of the most distinguished in the world, celebrates the release of District 9 – a much-anticipated sci-fi film produced by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) and directed/co-written by VFS graduate Neill Blomkamp. The entire VFS community congratulates Blomkamp – and the two dozen VFS Animation & Visual Effects alumni who worked on the film – for this monumental and exciting achievement.
District 9 takes a gritty, verité approach to the issue of race relations, depicting a settlement of extraterrestrial refugees marooned in Johannesburg, South Africa. Critics have been taken by the film’s intelligence and action: The Hollywood Reporter calls it “smart, savvy filmmaking of the highest order” and in a cover story, Entertainment Weekly says that District 9 is “the must-see movie of the summer.” A review on the popular film website Ain’t It Cool News compares its impact to Aliens, The Thing, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
VFS graduates have gone on to win Emmys, Oscars, and international acclaim, but District 9 is the biggest theatrical feature film helmed by a VFS grad. In addition to 3D Animation & Visual Effects graduate Blomkamp, the film was co-written by VFS Writing for Film & Television graduate Terri Tatchell, and 3D alum Shawn Walsh served as Visual Effects Executive Producer.
In fact, 25 VFS graduates worked on District 9’s visual effects team. With Vancouver’s Image Engine handling much of the visual effects work (in addition to local studios The Embassy and Zoic), District 9 not only represents VFS’s place within the visual effects industry, but Vancouver’s own emergence as a go-to visual effects centre.
"We are really excited about the upcoming release of District 9,” says Alastair Macleod, Head of Animation & Visual Effects at VFS. “It's great to see this work being done in Vancouver, and I'm really happy that so many of our grads could be involved."
“Nearly everyone who sees the visual effects work [in District 9] says, ‘I didn’t think you guys were capable of that,’” Walsh says, “which just goes to illustrate how important it is that District 9 is seen as a coming-of-age film for the Vancouver visual effects community as a whole and Image Engine in particular.”
The visual effects team represents well over a decade of VFS Animation & Visual Effects graduates, spanning 1996 to 2007. Walsh himself is from those early days. "Our Creature Supervisor, James Stewart, was in the class ahead of me at VFS,” Walsh says. “James, [Lighting Lead] Rob Bourgeault, and I all knew each other from our formative time at VFS."
VFS alumni have been integral to the Vancouver animation and visual effects scene for many years, but District 9 shows that their presence is getting even stronger. Walsh, who oversaw many of them at Image Engine, says, "One thing I have noticed in the new generation of artists coming out of VFS is how quickly they learn.”
Macleod chalks this up to the program’s longstanding ties to the industry. In the past, he has invited Walsh to give students feedback, akin to a production ‘dailies’ session. “I feel this industry involvement and strong focus on skills can be directly applied,” Macleod says. “Students hit the ground running and excel in their roles."
Vancouver Film School is Canada’s premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution and one of the most distinguished in the world. The world-renowned Animation & Visual Effects department at VFS includes three distinct programs: 3D Animation & Visual Effects (one year), Classical Animation (one year), and Digital Character Animation (six months). In one year or less, students at VFS work with industry leaders in a studio environment while creating professional-quality reels and films that get them noticed on the global stage. 3D World named 3D Animation & Visual Effects at VFS the best one-year program in the world.

ExtraOrdinaryTraining - new Maya Video Training Collection


+ ExtraOrdinaryTraining.com launched today and announced new video training products for Maya 2008/2009. The Maya 2008/2009 Essential Training Masters Collection sells for $199 and contains over 26 hrs of in depth video training on 3 DVDs covering all the essential fundamentals of Maya. The training collection is also available as a digital download and can be used as a study guide to become a certified Autodesk Maya instructor!
# Disc 1 covers the UI & scene management, modeling (polygon, nurbs, sub divs), camera settings, animation and materials.
# Disc 2 covers more detailed lessons in animation and materials and then jumps right into lighting, MEL scripting, rendering, global illumination and creating special effects like particles, water, fire, fog and atmospheric effects... even showing you how to make a volcano explode with real lava!
# Disc 3 dives right into inverse kinematics and character rigging. You'll learn how to set up characters with bones bones and joints, create dynamic simulations with rigid bodies, passive bodies and dynamic constraints as well as how to organize your project with scene assembly. Disc 3 also contains great bonus lessons on integrating Maya with Poser Pro, the Poser Fusion plug-in and the amazing Vue7 xStream plug-in for creating photorealistic natural 3D environments directly inside Maya!
The ExtraOrdinaryTraining.com training interface will automatically expand and resize to fill your entire screen regardless of how big or small and the mult-level table of contents can be hidden at any time by simply clicking the button in the bottom right hand corner to view the training course in full screen even on a High Definition monitor! Use the handy search feature to search for a particular lesson or topic and bookmark where you are at in the training course so the next time you come back you can pick up right where you left off! Maya 2008/2009 Essential Training Masters Collection 3 Disc DVD set is now available at www.ExtraOrdinaryTraining.com for $199 (US).

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TextureKit - New Texture Collection


+ TextureKit has released another Texture Collection called "Branch Flowers High Resolution". New Texture Collection with 30 cut-outs of high resolution branching flowers (PNG format with transparency) for architecture visualization and Graphic Design...These originals cut-outs of branching flowers are easily usable drag and drop with photoshop for example. They offer high detailed images and a great look for architectural visualisations. Please note that some of Judas tree cut-outs are really surprising of colors and details, perfect to give a Japanese touch to renderings!Usefull for quality A0 panels presentations, this new TextureKit Collection and free preview can be found at www.TextureKit.com

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Foundry’s RollingShutter Plug-in For After Effects and Nuke



+ Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry, has announced the release of RollingShutter, a brand new plug-in tool for After Effects and Nuke, which tackles the image-distortion problems often experienced by users of CMOS cameras. Rolling shutter effects are commonly found with video cameras employing CMOS image sensors, which record every frame line-by-line from top to bottom of the image, rather than as a single snapshot of a point in time. As parts of the image are recorded at different times, moving objects can become distorted and appear skewed. Problems can also arise with flashing or strobing lights. Aside from not looking great, 3D tracking during VFX post production can become a very difficult task as the tracking points themselves are unstable.
The Foundry’s RollingShutter plug-in tackles skew and perceived ‘wobble’ problems from the VFX artist’s perspective. The plug-in will often vastly improve the look of distorted footage, by either minimising or eradicating image distortions. Unlike solutions tied to camera stabilisation, that stretch the image as a whole, the RollingShutter plug-in compensates for local skewing and distortion in the scene, by correcting each object individually. This approach even allows the digital artist to correct objects moving in different directions in locked-off shots. RollingShutter is therefore particularly good at enabling software camera trackers to work effectively on a wide range of problematic footage. RollingShutter is available for After Effects CS3 & CS4 and Nuke 5.1 or later for $500/£300 (nodelocked).

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Mudbox 2010 ***


+ At SIGGRAPH 2009, Autodesk, Inc. has launched Autodesk Mudbox 2010 software, the latest version of its digital sculpting and painting application. The 2010 release makes it easier for artists to use Mudbox alongside Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Softimage software. Mudbox 2010 now also features a host of new creative tools and workflows, as well as a software development kit (SDK) that enables production teams to customize and integrate Mudbox into pipelines. Mudbox 2010 will ship as a part of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites, making it more affordable to incorporate the technology into film, games and television workflows.
New Feature Highlights
Interoperability with Adobe Photoshop: New workflows make using Mudbox in conjunction with Photoshop easier. Mudbox 2010 can import PSD files to use as paint layers, as well as export paint layers as PSD files for touchup.
Simpler interoperability with Maya, 3ds Max and Softimage: Mudbox adds support for Autodesk FBX file transfer technology, enabling artists to import and export scene data containing more information than the usual OBJ file format. Painted texture maps, cameras and image planes can be retained, resulting in higher-fidelity transfers that help to save artists' time.
Software development kit (SDK): Mudbox 2010 introduces a C++ SDK that production teams can use to customize and integrate Mudbox into pipelines.
New creative tools and workflows: The 2010 version also includes new brushes, support for reordering of paint layers, ambient occlusion map baking, new viewport filters as well as the ability to render images directly from the viewport -- making Mudbox a great presentation tool.
Autodesk's new Entertainment Creation Suites offer customers a choice of either Maya 2010 or 3ds Max 2010 software, together with Mudbox 2010 and Autodesk MotionBuilder 2010 software. The Suites give artists and production facilities access to a range of powerful creative tools at more than 35 percent* cost savings, compared to purchasing each product separately. Autodesk anticipates that Mudbox 2010, as well as the new Digital Entertainment Creation suites, will be available in August 2009. The 32-bit version of Mudbox 2010 will be supported on the Windows Vista Business (SP1), Windows XP Professional (SP2) and Apple Mac OS X 10.5.7 operating systems. The 64-bit version of Mudbox 2010 will be supported on the Windows Vista Business (SP1) and Windows XP x64 Edition (SP2) operating systems.The Autodesk suggested retail price for a license of Mudbox 2010 is US$745*. The suggested retail price to upgrade from Mudbox 2009 to Mudbox 2010 is US$375*. Autodesk Subscription is available for purchase simultaneously with the product or upgrade purchase. The Autodesk suggested retail price for Autodesk Subscription for Mudbox 2010 is US$250 per year*. For full features list and more information about Mudbox 2010, Please -
Click Here

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Autodesk Integrates Face Robot Into Softimage 2010


+ At SIGGRAPH 2009, Autodesk, Inc. has launched Autodesk Softimage 2010 3D modeling, animation rendering and compositing software for games, film and television visual effects. Softimage 2010 features an optimized core architecture, integration of the Softimage Face Robot facial rigging and animation toolset, and an expanded and customizable Interactive Creative Environment (ICE) system. Artists have used Softimage to help create stunning movies, commercials and video games, including commercials for BMW, Coca Cola, Kellogg's and Monster.com. Janimation, an award-winning animation and motion graphics studio, relied on Softimage to help create Activision's latest James Bondbased hit video game, "Quantum of Solace." Greg Punchatz, senior creative director at Janimation, remarked, "If you only looked at the huge performance increases and workflow enhancements, Softimage 2010 would be a very solid release, but add Face Robot to the mix and you have a home run."
Key New Features in Autodesk Softimage 2010
Accelerated Performance
- The third iteration of the Softimage GigaCore architecture, GigaCore III, helps deliver superior data handling and speed improvements. Loading and saving large scenes and importing complex character models are faster. In addition, many of the operations most commonly performed on enveloped characters or large numbers of objects execute more rapidly. Also, the Function Curve (FCurve) Editor performs faster when animators are working with large numbers of curves or keys.
Face Robot - Softimage 2010 includes the Face Robot toolset. Face Robot is a professional solution for rigging and animating large numbers of 3D faces quickly and easily. It enables the creation of life-like facial animation at incredible speeds. Using Face Robot, animators are freer to concentrate on emotion, expression and unforgettable performances. An Autodesk Maya software exporter enables animators to bring a solved Face Robot head into Maya for more integrated computer graphics (CG) character workflows.
Custom Node Creation for ICE Systems - New tools allow for the creation of custom nodes that enable technical directors (TDs) and third parties to more quickly build new ICE systems: ICE Rigid Bodies, ICE Fluids and ICE Cloth. ICE effects can be exported to Maya for a more integrated CG pipeline.
Tools for Managing Project Complexity - New tools and workflows help enhance artist productivity by enabling the management of complex tasks. These are a new Scene Debugger toolset that helps give artists and TDs information about a scene's performance and memory usage, an easy-to-use scene search toolset and added support for grouping within layers....Softimage 2010 also features improved modeling tools, additional animation and camera functionality, and an updated Autodesk Crosswalk toolset for content transfer. For more information about Autodesk Softimage 2010, visit www.autodesk.com/softimage.

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PaintStop plugin for ZBrush 3.1 Windows & ZBrush 3.2 Mac OSX


+ Pixologic Inc. today announced the release of its newest plugin, PaintStop for Windows and Mac OSX. PaintStop is a powerful new addition to ZBrush's extensive plugin library. PaintStop will configure your user interface and settings to give you the feel of using real world art tools. The PaintStop brushes are designed to feel as natural as possible and the interface to be simple and intuitive, speeding your workflow and unlocking your creativity. In addition to the many brushes, pencils, and paints that are available in PaintStop, you can choose from a variety of different canvas types to change the look and feel of your final piece.
PaintStop is a quick and easy pit stop for your creative mind. Whether you're racing against a deadline or in a hurry to get an idea on paper, this convenient plugin is one of the quickest and easiest ways to express yourself. With PaintStop you can quickly sketch concepts for a new sculpt, work on illustrations for print or web, or simply have fun painting.
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eyeon Releases Fusion 6 3D SDK and Learning Edition


+ eyeon Software Inc. has announced the release of the Fusion 6.0 Software Developer’s Kit, as well as a new Learning Edition of the company’s award-winning compositing application. Both will be presented at the eyeon booth (#2619) during the SIGGRAPH exhibition in New Orleans, Aug. 3-7, 2009. These releases extend access to the powerful Fusion 6 toolset for facilities, developers and for students or transitioning artists.The new Learning Edition of Fusion 6 ensures that students and transitioning artists can keep up with the latest compositing technologies. Released to great acclaim in June 2009, Fusion 6.0 offers VFX artists improved performance, full stereoscopic 3D support, Region Of Interest/Domain of Definition (RoI/DoD), interface refinements, expanded 2D and 3D toolsets, user interface enhancements and more. Visitors to SIGGRAPH at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans can see the eyeon applications in action, (including Fusion 6 and Generation), at booth #2619. For more information on the new Fusion 6.0 3D SDK or the new Learning Edition, contact eyeon Software at +1 (416) 686-8411 ext. 130, email sales@eyeonline.com or visit www.eyeonline.com.

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Autodesk Maya 2010



+ At SIGGRAPH 2009, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced Autodesk Maya 2010 software, which unifies the Autodesk Maya Complete 2009 and Autodesk Maya Unlimited 2009 feature sets with matchmoving, compositing and rendering capabilities into a single affordable offering. Maya 2010 makes it easier for artists, designers and 3D enthusiasts to create compelling entertainment experiences, stylistic designs and evocative digital imagery from photo-real visual effects to believable characters. Maya 2010 is available on Windows, Linux and Mac OS operating systems. "Artists need more creative capability than ever to attract viewers' attention and engage their emotions in today's fast-moving, prolific world of digital entertainment and design," explained Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. "Maya 2010 is designed to provide that creative capability, making it easier and more affordable for artists to build a cohesive computer graphics (CG) pipeline--integrating 2D and 3D, simulation and animation, rendering and compositing--so that they can create innovative entertainment more efficiently."
Paal Anand, digital post supervisor for Bling Imaging and Maya 2010 beta tester, said, "Producers have become savvier with respect to computer graphics. They expect more work with additional complexity in less time than ever before. Maya 2010 gives us the total package to efficiently handle any challenge, whether it's heavy in tracking, modeling, animating, rendering or compositing. Maya 2010 simplifies the workflow by integrating all the tools you need into a ready-to-go pipeline to get the job done from start to finish." Hollywood-based Bling Imaging creates photo-realistic visual effects, motion graphics and animation for broadcast and motion pictures. Maya has been used on every Academy Awardwinning movie for Best Visual Effects since 2001 and by all of the top 20 games publishers. In the past decade, Maya has become a creative tool of choice among many of the world's top production companies and has been used to help artists around the world produce unique and innovative entertainment experiences--from independent productions like Chris Landreth's "The Spine" to trend-setting visual effects blockbusters like "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
Maya 2010 has all the features of Maya Unlimited 2009 and Maya Complete 2009, including the advanced simulation tools: the Maya Nucleus Unified Simulation Framework, Maya nCloth, Maya nParticles, Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Hair, Maya Fur; in addition to its comprehensive modeling, texturing and animation tools, brush-based 3D technology, an integrated stereoscopic workflow, Toon Shading, rendering, an extensive Maya application programming interface/software development kit and Python and MEL scripting capabilities. New features in Maya 2010 are Maya Composite, a powerful high-dynamic composting system based on Autodesk Toxik software, which is no longer available as a standalone solution; Autodesk MatchMover advanced 3D tracking and matchmoving system; five mental ray Batch render nodes* and the Autodesk Backburner network render queue manager.

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MotionBuilder 2010 Real-Time 3D Character Animation Software


+ At SIGGRAPH 2009, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced a new version of its real-time 3D character animation software -- Autodesk MotionBuilder 2010. This latest release offers faster overall performance, productivity-enhancing animation workflows and expanded real-time physics capabilities. MotionBuilder has been used to create numerous entertainment projects, including "Beowulf," "Gears of War 2," "Shaun White Snowboarding" and "Resistance 2. MotionBuilder 2010 will also ship as a part of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites and the Autodesk Real-Time Animation Suites, leveraging the software's improved interoperability with Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max software and making it more affordable to incorporate the technology into digital entertainment workflows.
"Autodesk MotionBuilder is an ideal tool for high-volume game animation pipelines, director-driven virtual cinematography and real-time character simulations," said Stig Gruman, vice president, Autodesk Digital Entertainment Group. "The enhanced capabilities and accessibility of the 2010 release will help to further reshape the creative decision-making process, as more and more creative visionaries adopt the technology for virtual cinematography and pre-visualization work." "I haven't been this excited about a MotionBuilder release since I was first introduced to the software in 2003," said CJ Markham, lead animator at Rockstar Games London. "The physics tools and solutions are amazing, and it feels much faster than the older versions. Compatibility with my 64-bit processor and the ability to use all 12 gigs of my RAM makes plotting long scenes with multiple characters a breeze."

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Monday, August 03, 2009

finalRender R3 on Hardware


+ cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc. a leading provider of CGI and VFX rendering software, and Progeniq, a leader in optimized hardware accelerated computing solutions, today announced the availability of their hardware-accelerated solution for Hollywood CGI/VFX studios, initially powering cebas’ finalRender, the rendering system of choice at Uncharted Territory which recently completed VFX production for Roland Emmerich’s “2012” movie. Progeniq's hardware accelerated platforms provide over an order of magnitude speedup, at a fraction of the power consumption and space needed by typical server farms or workstations used by CG artists. Progeniq accelerated solutions have already allowed end users around the world to slash their compute infrastructure costs and complete their projects faster, with the best in class performance-per-dollar and performance-per-watt.
By teaming up, Progeniq and cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc. were able to develop a whole new approach to hardware accelerated rendering, physics simulation, particle effects as well as image manipulation effects usually done in post production stages of a movie. Both engineering teams of Progeniq and cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc. were able to achieve immense speedups in rendering complex scenes with finalRender by using the latest in re-configurable processors and advanced rendering algorithms incorporated in finalRender and Progeniq RenderBoost hardware acceleration technology. At the SIGGRAPH 2009 exhibition, both companies announce their world premiere of a hardware accelerated rendering solution based on finalRender and RenderBoost. This will be expanded with further releases to even more broadly optimize and accelerate other movie production tasks in entire CG workflows under the companies’ Accelerating Hollywood Initiative.
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Indigo Renderer 2.0



+ Indigo Renderer 2.0 Stable has been Released and its not open source any more; ie - now commercially supported. Indigo 2.0 features a complete rewrite of the user interface for ease of use. A new high-quality material database is available on-line for artists to use for free. The ability to render semi-transparent materials through a function known as sub-surface scattering has been accelerated. Accuracy improvements have been made to cater for scenes that encompass vast size variations, making Indigo suitable for visualizing micro-machined parts through to giant earthmoving projects. Indigo 2.0 works with SketchUp, Blender and Cinema 4D and features re-written manuals for these packages.
While developing version 2.0, Glare Technologies offered 100 lifetime licences at the discounted price of 295€. A limited number of these licences remain available. This price represents a substantial discount to comparable renderers. The brainchild of Wellington-based programmer Nick Chapman, Indigo Renderer generates photorealistic images from digital 3D blueprints. Nick has been developing Indigo for five years, and his focus and expertise have produced a renderer which is significantly faster and cheaper than the leading competitors. Indigo is a photorealistic renderer which simulates the physics of light to achieve near-perfect image realism. Incorporating an advanced physical camera model, a super-realistic materials system and the ability to simulate extremely complex lighting situations through Metropolis Light Transport, Indigo Renderer is capable of producing the highest levels of realism demanded by architectural and product visualisation.
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The 10th Tehran International Poster Biennial


+ Call for Entries has been announced for the 10th Tehran International Poster Biennial. Since poster design in the contemporary Iranian graphics has found a significant and established status in the international scene, the Center for Visual Arts of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in collaboration with the Institute for Development of Visual plans to organize the 10th Tehran International Poster Biennial. All posters must be submitted maximum by the end of the working hours on August 22, 2009 to the Permanent Secretariat of the National Visual Arts Biennials by postal mail only. The main section of the 10th Tehran International Poster Biennial consists of posters designed, printed and published after June 2007, which have a cultural and social content. Posters submitted for this section must have been printed by offset or silk screen methods (single copy posters, which have been made on order will not be accepted). The posters must not be smaller than 36.4 x 51.5 cm and not larger than 120 x 180 cm. Each participant is allowed to submit a maximum of 3 posters. In case a number of posters are submitted with a single title (as a collection or a series of posters), they shall be considered as a single work. For more information, please - Click Here

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3DEqualizer4 - Match Move Software


+ Science.D.Visions today announced 3DEqualizer4, the latest version of its match moving software, winner of an Academy Award® in 2002 for Technical Achievement. With a comprehensive re-write of nearly 90 percent of its core code, 3DEqualizer4 is literally a new product, and will offer visual effects artists and technical directors (TD’s) a substantially faster workflow that generates extremely precise results on multiple operating platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. 3DEqualizer4 is available now in solid Beta, and is expected to ship in autumn 2009. Match moving is a visual effects technology that helps post production engineers insert virtual objects into real footage with the correct position, scale, orientation and motion in relation to photographed objects in a scene, so that a virtual camera move can be reproduced by relying on traditional 2D motion tracking techniques. The intent is that when the virtual and real scenes are composited together they will have the same perspective and appear seamless.Science.D.Visions has been a pioneer of match moving software for over 12 years, with a customer list including: Weta Digital (Wellington, NZ), Cinesite (London), Double Negative (London), The Moving Picture Company (London), The Mill (London), Animal Logic (Sydney), Framestore/CFC (London), Hybride (Montréal)—and many other studios that rely on 3DEqualizer to make cinematic magic.
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