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Monday, September 28, 2009

Maxwell 2.0


+ Next Limit Technologies has announced the release of Maxwell 2.0. Maxwell Render™ is a rendering engine based on the mathematical equations governing light transport, meaning that all elements, such as emitters, materials and cameras, are derived from physically accurate models. Maxwell Render is unbiased, so no tricks are used to calculate the lighting solution in every pixel of a scene; the result will always be a correct solution, as it would be in the real world. Maxwell Render can fully capture all light interactions between all elements in a scene, and all lighting calculations are performed using spectral information and high dynamic range data. Due to its very nature, Maxwell Render enables users to create accurate and extremely realistic images. Maxwell Render is a recognized standard in architectural visualization, product design, jewelry, film production, scientific research and other high-end rendering markets, and the leader in render quality.
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Strata Foto 3D CX - 3D Models From Your Digital Camera



+ Strata Foto 3D CX is the new addition to Strata 3D tools, making the power of 3D an integral part of professional design, illustration and rich media. Strata Foto 3D CX lets you use a standard digital camera to capture real-world objects as fully textured 3D models. Its ideal for difficult to model objects like organic shapes, soft forms and hand made items. The included Photoshop plug-in makes model creation even easier. Foto 3D models are ideal for developing packaging, games, illustrations, online catalogs and more. Just import models into Strata Design 3D CX or virtually any other 3D software. Powered by patented technology developed by Canon and Creative Dimension Software, Foto 3D is digital photography at a higher power.
Strata Foto 3D CX provides automatic camera support to deal with lens distortion, focal length and image factors specific to particular camera models. Correcting these factors ensures the highest possible fidelity in model capture. A special calibration mat - which can be printed out directly from Strata Foto 3D CX - aids the software in generating 3D model data. This mat allows Foto 3D to calculate where the camera is in 3D space for each image. This orientation information then allows Foto 3D to automatically capture features from the images to build the 3D object. Part of the process of generating a model from photographs involves separating the background from the object. Foto 3D provides powerful color-key tools to automate this process. In addition to these powerful tools, Adobe Photoshop is supported directly with a plug-in, allowing you to easily use Photoshop's features to get the job done. For more information, Please -
Click Here

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volumeBreaker for 3ds Max shipping NOW!


+ cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc., makers of finalRender and ThinkingParticles, today announced the 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 ! volumeBreaker's introductory price comes with a rebate of 51% off the retail price for the first month, only; valid until 31st of October 2009, order it from the cebas VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Inc. online store (www.shop.cebas.com/), or from selected cebas dealers serving local 3D communities all around the world.

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CRAFT DIRECTOR STUDIO TO AUTODESK SOFTIMAGE


+ Further expanding the artist-friendly workflow, Craft Animations(TM) today announced the availability of its Craft Director Studio(TM) for users of Autodesk(R) Softimage(R) software. Craft Director Studio utilize high-end artificial intelligence and autonomous control systems to drastically condense traditional animation processes. Combining these unprecedented animation tools with Softimage software's ease-of-use and image quality, users receive a time-saving and cost-effective animation solution capable of helping saving hours, days and weeks of laborious animation time.
By eliminating the prolonged tasks of key framing and scripting, Craft Director Studio provides artists more time for creative processes. Professional users including Digital Dimension, Toyota and Lockheed Martin have reported reduced production times by up to 90 percent. Additionally, they have gained the opportunity to create natural motion paths on the fly through autopilot functions, or a variety of input devices such as gamepads, joysticks, keyboards, Wacom boards and 6DOF controllers (such as Space Pilot(R)).
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Monday, September 21, 2009

New lighting and rendering tutorial series by Jeff Patton



+ The Gnomon Workshop is pleased to announce a new series of Lighting and Rendering tutorials for 3ds Max by instructor Jeff Patton. These tutorials cover a variety of topics including Material Basics, Lighting Basics, Rendering Tools, Rendering Techniques, Indirect Illumination and Lighting Digital Sets. There are 24 downloadable tutorials which can be purchased individually or in bundles for a 10% discount. Jeff is a self-taught freelance digital artist and has been freelancing for the past six years. In that time he has worked on many projects, a lot of which have been mechanical illustrations for companies like Johnson Controls, Trane, Carrier, and Honeywell. More recently he has spent some time teaching on-site mental ray classes, which he enjoys as it has allowed him to travel around the country and meet a lot of really great people. Jeff is an active member of several online forums such as CGsocietey (CGtalk), the Vizdepot, and Autodesk's "the AREA" website where he often tries to assist users with their mental ray related questions. In addition, last year he teamed up with Russell Thomas, owner of 3dallusions.com, to help create mrmaterials.com which is a free material repository for the mental ray community .

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Autodesk Releases SketchBook Mobile


+ Autodesk, Inc. announced that Autodesk SketchBook Mobile is available on the App Store. Autodesk SketchBook Mobile is a new professional-grade paint and drawing app that offers a full set of sketching tools in a streamlined and intuitive user interface designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. "Mobile apps are becoming increasingly advanced, moving beyond simple entertainment or utilitarianism," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "We are delighted to offer an app on the App Store for industrial designers and the creative community. With the SketchBook Mobile App, Autodesk continues its long-standing tradition of bringing cost-effective professional design technology to the market."
The SketchBook Mobile App uses the same engine as Autodesk SketchBook Pro painting and drawing software, delivering much of the same power and functionality as the desktop application. A combination of high-quality digital pencils, pens, markers and airbrushes, as well as an artist-friendly, gesture-based user interface, enables users to create everything from quick sketches to print-quality production artwork. Content that is created in SketchBook Mobile can be saved as a picture and opened in SketchBook Pro. As a result, artists, designers and anyone who likes to sketch or create artwork can create a drawing at any time with SketchBook Mobile, and continue building on their idea in SketchBook Pro. SketchBook Mobile App is available for $2.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore/.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

TVP Animation 9.5



+ TVPaint Developpement, a bitmap graphic and 2D animation solution provider, is proud to announce the immediate release of version 9.5 of TVP Animation Standard Edition and TVP Animation Professional, for both PC-Windows and Mac-Universal Binary platforms. TVP Animation will push up the limits reached by the previous versions regarding the traditional animation tools and video edition. Thanks to the painting engine, one of the most powerful on the market, TVP Animation Pro is intended to be the ideal tool of the profesionnal animator. Some of the new and improved features, includes;
The Project tab becomes a Storyboard tool! With TVP Animation 9.5 Professional Edition, users can create TVP Projects (*.tvpp). Projects can contain multiple segments of animation (now called "Clips") , and each Clip has it's own timeline and layers. Clips may further be organized together to make "Scenes".
Wet profile for Custom Brushes! An additional profile can be added to a custom brush to modify its behavior. This profile doesn't apply on all the Stamp mode.
The Camera tool! The new Camera Tool is available in TVP Animation 9.5 Professional Edition exclusively. With this Camera tool, you can quickly and easily create camera movements. You can also choose between viewing your animation with the camera point of view enabled or not. This tool is quite useful to create camera movements for an animatic.
The Splines! Now it is possible to draw splines in 3 different ways. There are the three-points spline, the Bézier spline and the B-Splines.
The new Color Mixer! The Color Mixer is no longer limited to one size : a Color Mixer Palette can be huge. Also, Color Mixer images may have a transparent background, rather than the original opaque white.
TVPX file format! The TVPX file format allows the users to export their custom panels into one single file. And to import a TVPX file, you only need to drop the file inside the software window, yes ! a simple drag'n drop of the file to load the TVPX file and use the custom panel contained by the TVPX file.
Improvement of the Light Table! Three modes are now available for the Light Table. The Frame mode displays all the frames before and after the current frame, it is the well known mode. The Instance mode will display only the the head of the instances before and after the current frame. And the Bookmark mode, it will display only the bookmarked frames which are before and after the current frame.
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OTHER NEWS (Snippet)
Zbrush 3.5 Windows - Has been Released!
Nick Marks has launched a CG vids website last week!

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Autodesk Launches Lustre 2010


+ Autodesk, Inc. launched Autodesk Lustre 2010 digital color-grading software and Extension 1 releases for the 2010 versions of its visual effects and editorial finishing software: Autodesk Flame, Autodesk Inferno, Autodesk Flare, Autodesk Flint and Autodesk Smoke. Autodesk will showcase these releases at Autodesk Booth #7-D21 during the International Broadcasters Convention (IBC) 2009 in Amsterdam's RAI Convention Center, September 11 - 15, 2009.
Autodesk Lustre 2010 Highlights
Autodesk Lustre color-grading software for creative look development gives artists greater control over final color and lighting effects for both stereoscopic and standard television and film projects. Lustre is available in stand-alone turnkey configurations and is also available as a software-only companion when installed on the same platform as Smoke and Flame software. "The implementation of the new Degrain tool in Lustre eliminates the need for an external degraining solution, saving us time, extra bandwidth and nightshifts. Plus, with 48 layers in Lustre, I really can't think of a situation where I'd run out of layers," said Sebastian Gohs, Lustre 2010 beta tester and colorist at Cinepostproduction, Berlin.
Lustre 2010 Key Features and Creative Tools
#Four times more secondary grading power than Lustre 2009 with 48 layers and unlimited shapes per layer
#New Degrain tool with ability to degrain entire shots as well as defined areas
#New Grade Bin providing large view of grades and associated metadata
Lustre 2010 Workflow Enhancements
#Improved interoperability with Flame and Smoke with bidirectional multilayer timeline exchange and cross-product codec compatibility
#New support for MXF with Avid DNxHD (import)
#Enhanced RED workflow adds RSX file support, ability to copy transcode settings from shot to shot and support for real-time 2K streaming of 4K R3D files
#Improved efficiency through proxy-sharing between color-grading and visual effects applications.....For a complete list of features and benefits visit
www.autodesk.com/lustre

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Introducing Atangeo Balancer


+ Atangeo Balancer is a tool to optimize and simplify 3D models. Its exceptional performance and a novel user interface allow finding perfect balance between visual appearance and the number of polygons, quickly and easily. Balancer utilizes a high quality polygon reduction (aka mesh simplification or decimation) to preserve the visual appearance of your model. The model features, normals, texture coordinates, layer boundaries are all honored by Balancer. It can optimize your 3d models even further to dramatically speed up rendering of your models. Balancer features a fast and efficient triangle reordering that can be tuned for various rendering methods like triangle strips and array/buffer based rendering. Balancer Lite is a free version. It is fully functional but works with small meshes only. The limits for a single mesh are 15000 triangles and 10000 vertices.
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"Hector Corp", latest short from DreamWorks' Gary Lee



+ DreamWorks filmmaker Gary Lee (Kung Fu Panda, Star Wars: Episode II, Over the Hedge, Monsters vs. Aliens) directs a new film, “Hector Corp”, a psychological thriller CG animated/live action blend short about a company, Hector Corporation, that must take extreme measures to manage their employees with some very unexpected executioners. The film is making a huge impact on the festival circuit, and we’d love to set up an exclusive Q&A with Gary if you’d like to do a story! This short has great back story both in terms of it’s statement on today’s society / corporate downsizing, and also a very unique approach to a highly stylized CG-combo- green screen filmmaking technology that only Gary can describe.
To create this exaggerated social satire. Gary Lee decided to take this film to an imaginary place by creating digitally generated environments. Mainly because "Hector Corp." involves a completely animated character. To match up with the concept of this unique character (Penguin) of the film. An artistically digitally generated world not just blend fantasy with reality, but also gives this short a very stylized look. Hector was a very ambitious and unique project. The ten and a-half minute short was created as a prominently 3D-animated production, using green screen recording techniques for the live-action portions and composition onto artificial backgrounds in a post-production phase that lasted close to 3.5 years. The film’s actors were put to a great challenge as their co-stars did not “practically” exist. The performed independently to set cures and props which were later placed into the production using Maya and AfterEffects programs.
The principal footage of the film was shot over 2 days, on a green-screen soundstage in Los Angeles. Production moved quite smoothly until director Gary Lee reached post and realized that much of the footage from their F900 had ghosting and artifacts. The unusable footage was discarded, resulting in reshoots which took place 8 months after the first shoot due to money and scheduling issues. Post-production was the most time consuming process, as there were only 2 artists who were able to devote time to the massive special effects required. Spending ever free moment out of his own full-time job, Gary overcame these obstacles to eventually create an entertaining and very unique short film.
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

15 Tips&Tricks for 3D Studio Max ***



15 Tips&Tricks for 3D Studio Max of the FLORENCE DESIGN ACADEMY
+ Here you have 15 of the most used Tips&Tricks of the FLORENCE DESIGN ACADEMY (www.florencedesignacademy.com) to avoid mistakes, errors and imperfections in your projects.
Tip 1.)
Did you know that "architectural materials" and "self illuminated" materials are light emitting (for Mental Ray & Vray) ? If you apply them on a box you will get a similar effect as a "photometric area light" or a "Vray light".
Tip 2.)
Try to use always soft shadows in your renderings if possible. Hard shadows are looking always very fake. In "Mr Omni/Spot" scale the size of the light in the area light parameters (mental ray).
In Mental Ray you have to use the "RAYTRACED shadows" !
In Vray enable in the Omni/Spot the "area shadow" and scale the size of the light.
Soft shadows will take more render time !
Tip 3.)
To have perfect shadows it is necessary to create all objects with real dimensions.
Tip 4.)
How to decrease render time for test-renderings:
a) the main setting to decrease the render time is the image size. Normally I use 150x112 pixels as size. It is too small to see the object's details but its is perfect to understand the light conditions.
b) Lower the Shadow quality !
c) Reduce the polygon number of the objects (try to use the optimize modifier if you don't have any meshsmooth modifier on the objects)!
d) Reduce the photon number or/and the "sample" settings in the render engines. Vray/MentalRay/Brazil RS/FinalRender/ etc.
e) Be careful with the amount of lights (too many lights will make the rendering very slow)!
Tip 5.)
Do not use editable MESH but ALWAYS editable "POLY".
Editable Poly is optimized for advanced modeling , creates less errors than editable mesh and has many more settings than editable mesh.
If you were working on a object with editable mesh , you can without problems convert it to an editable Poly object.
Tip 6.)
Instead to meshsmooth a box, use from the "extended primitives" a "chamfer box"... the result is the same, but the chamfer box" has less polygons !
Tip 7.)
Sometimes all your Vertexes disappear during modeling of an object.
To fix this bug try this options:
a) Convert your object again to an editable poly.
b) Convert your object to an editable mesh and then to an editable poly.
c) Save the file, Exit from 3D studio and open again the file.
d) Save the file, Exit from 3D studio and merge the object in a new file.
Tip 8.)
The best light to create Highlights is the Omni light (or MR Omni).
Tip 9.)
Do not use "area shadows" in Mental Ray, they are very slow and not optimized for Mental Ray.
The best/fastest result is visible when you use Raytrace shadows.
If you are working with the "light-tracer" than you can use "area shadows". The result is the same as in MentalRay with Raytrace shadows.
Tip 10.)
(for beginners) When you are working sometimes you can't anymore move your object.
Probably you have pressed the key X. Press again X to enable the move tool (GIZMO).
Similar problem: You can select only one object, all other objects can't be selected anymore: probably you have pressed SPACE and locked the object. Press again SPACE to unlock it.
Tip 11.)
When you create a "loft" object it can happen that the end or beginning of the object has an error.
To fix the problem you should choose "CORNER" vertex on the first and last vertex of your spline.
Tip 12.)
Download ALWAYS the last service-pack for your 3D Studio Max version. It will fix important bugs.
Tip 13.)
There can be only 2 mistakes when your extruded (spline + extrude modifier) object has an error:
a) you have overlapping segments in your spline.
b) the shape is not closed-check where you did not weld the vertexes-.
Tip 14.)
If you use splines to create shapes, try to use a very small number of vertexes.
If you convert the vertexes in smooth/bezier/bezier-corner you can create very organic and round shapes without a too high number of vertexes (same tip for loft in deformations-scale-panel).
Tip 15.)
If your interface/panel disappeared You have this options to fix the problem:
a.) Maybe You are in the "expert" mode...press CTR+x...
b.) Customize > Customize User Interface > Toolbars Tab > Reset!
c.) "Start"button on windows > Autodesk > 3D Studio Max > change graphics mode !
d.) There should be a 3dsmax.ini file in ur max folder...delete it and start 3D Studio Max again...
e.) Customize > load custom UI scheme.

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cmiVFX Launches 2 New Blender Training Videos


+ cmiVFX cmiStudios launches a brand new way of delivering videos for its fast growing user base. This new series of training videos is called cmiDirect. Why "direct"? The videos are DIRECT to the point and focus on one topic at the time. This will enable artists all over the world to have access to the information they need immediately without sorting through longer feature length videos. These videos explain all the information you need in depth and to the topics extent. We will also be including discount bundles of our videos in the future to help save additional money.
Blender Unwrapping and Baking
UNWRAPPING! A good UV-Layout is the base for texture-, normal- or displacement-map-baking and the inevitable foundation for any texture-painting. Luckily, UV-unwrapping in Blender is very easy! Learn how to quickly create great UV-Layouts with Blender‘s powerful unwrapping-tools. Select edgeloops and mark seams in seconds, loop-tag edges as seams and use Blender’s UV-Editing-Tools to edit and improve your UV-Layout. Minimize angle- and area-stretching and pack UV-Islands to make the best use of the image-space.
BAKING! Sculpting in Blender is nice and fine, you can produce a lot of detail using multi-resolution meshes, but dealing with these high-res models during the animation-process can be very inefficient, prevent you from creating shape-keys for facial animation, slow down the viewport and of course will waste a lot of disk-space. So why not bake all the nicely sculpted details to displacement- and normal-maps and use them on your low-res model instead? Got some baking-problems because of intersecting faces? You won`t struggle again!
Blender Texturing
PAINT GLSL! This Tutorial will show you how to paint realistic textures with Blender. With the recently added projection-painting you have now a really powerful and versatile toolset for texture-painting in Blender. You can setup a variety of different brushes, use textures to adjust the brushstroke and easily pick any color from within the viewport. Create and setup color-palettes to have your favorite colors always accessible with just one single mouse-click. Having issues with seams? No more! Blender will take of that! Texture-painting has never been easier! And whith GLSL-Materials enabled you can do that in the 3d-viewport with realtime diffuse- and specular- shading, texture-layering and all that on a 4k-texture-map.
THE NEXT LEVEL! Take your texturing-experience in Blender to the next level! Use multiple UV-Layouts to clone images directly onto your texture-map. Simlpy project the UVs from the view and assign photosYou can use up to 8 different UV-layouts and project any photo on them, adjust the mapping with Blender?s powerful UV-editing-tools and easily access them just like an image palette. With Blender?s texture-painting-tools you can also create and paint stencil-maps to control on wich areas you want to paint and which one you want to exclude.

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AutoCAD Plant 3D 2010 Software


+ Autodesk, Inc. a world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and engineering, and media and entertainment markets, today announced the availability of AutoCAD Plant 3D 2010, a new software product that brings the proven benefits of model-based design to mainstream plant design projects. Purpose-built for the design, modeling, and documentation of process plants, AutoCAD Plant 3D makes modern 3D design more affordable and accessible to project teams of all sizes. Today's announcement was made at the SPE Offshore Europe Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition 2009. Built on the familiar AutoCAD platform, AutoCAD Plant 3D allows project teams to increase productivity, and improve accuracy and coordination of shared information. The vast majority of plant design and engineering projects support the operation, maintenance and expansion of existing facilities. These projects are typically executed by small teams facing tight time and budget constraints. AutoCAD Plant 3D is tailor-made to increase the productivity of these teams by reducing setup time, facilitating straightforward information sharing, and minimizing the impact of changing project information.
Built on the familiar AutoCAD platform, AutoCAD Plant 3D features specification-driven design and standard parts catalogs to help streamline the placement of piping, equipment, and support structures. Also included in the product is integrated AutoCAD P&ID functionality and quick generation of isometric and orthographic drawings. The new product joins AutoCAD, AutoCAD P&ID, and Autodesk Navisworks software products in a line-up of Autodesk products built specifically for the plant design and engineering industry. For more information, please visit www.autodesk.com/autocadplant3d

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eyeon to Unveil Generation 2.0 at IBC


+ eyeon Software Inc. will introduce Generation 2.0 at IBC in Amsterdam, September 11-15. Generation fills a gap in post and VFX workflows by giving producers, supervisors, artists, and editors a common ‘visual effects desktop’ for shot management and review and approval. Generation 2.0 builds on the success of earlier versions, adding support for RED .r3d and OpenEXR file formats, stereoscopic 3D playback, expanded LUT support, new editing tools, and much more. The result is a highly-flexible front-end application for managing complex projects on tight deadlines. “Generation provided an organic visual tracking tool that worked well inside our custom pipeline,” said Marc Weigert, Co-producer and Visual Effects Supervisor on Roland Emmerich’s 2012. “We could make it do pretty much whatever we needed with very little time and effort.”
Generation 2.0 features an open architecture that allows facilities to easily integrate the application, with its editing and playback tools, into their existing infrastructure. “Fitting in with existing pipelines, rather than forcing studios to adopt our pipeline, has always been a key feature of Generation,” said Eric Westphal, Product Manager Europe of eyeon Software Inc. The new stereoscopic playback features support a vast range of display devices and encoding technologies. “This allows anybody in the workflow, from the VFX supervisor with his $20,000 stereo monitor down to the individual artist with his cardboard anaglyph glasses, to quickly check the look and feel of the shots,” explains Westphal. Other new features include python scripting support, an expanded set of dissolves, new interface refinements, new tool bars and features for faster navigation, import and export of Scratch projects via XML, and support for a wide variety of LUTs that can be applied on a per-clip or per-project basis, including monitor calibration LUTs to ensure accurate viewing across the whole facility. To learn more, please visit www.eyeonline.com.

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Archmodels vol. 69


+ Evermotion is proud to anounce you that they have released a new Archmodels Collection. We believe that this is a new way of creating your own scenes for professional exterior renders. There are no boundaries anymore, no limitations except your own imagination. New Archmodels volume 69 gives you 66 professional, highly detailed objects of kids toys (consoles, mascots, ), children room equipment (beds, lamps) and playground equipment (sandbox,swing).Archmodels vol. 69 is priced at 120 Euro + Shipping.
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