Issue No.04 - October-December (2010 vol.17)
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MMUL.2010.83
<p>This article features some of the latest advances in multimedia technology.</p>
RF-Enabled 3D stereoscopic system
Nvidia 3D Vision Pro is a 3D stereoscopic system created for engineers, designers, architects, and computational chemists who work with complex 3D designs. The system offers 3D display on desktops, plus a way to provide a 3D viewing experience for large-scale visualization environments, such as video walls and collaborative virtual environments (CAVEs).
Using shutter glasses and an RF communication system, 3D Vision Pro supports use cases such as individuals seeing 3D on LCD panels driven by Quadro-powered desktops and mobile workstations, small groups viewing 3D on single or multiple projectors, and larger groups experiencing 3D on power walls or in theaters driven by Nvidia scalable visualization systems. Providing connections of up to 150 feet, the system reportedly has no cross talk, blind spots, or other transmission issues. Status information is transmitted from the glasses back to the host.
The active shutter glasses technology is said to deliver a progressive image, preserving texture detail and text. The system comes with rechargeable batteries that can be run up to 20 hours without needing to be recharged. In addition, the system supports a wide range of panels and projectors, and also supports a wide range of professional applications.
Nvidia 3D Vision Pro costs $349 for the glasses and $399 for the RF transmitter hub. For more information visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d-vision-professional-users.html.
Nonlinear 3D workflow and rendering software
StudioGPU's MachStudio Core for Rhino is nonlinear 3D workflow and rendering software created for architects and designers. MachStudio Core for Rhino offers a way for professionals using Rhino to create and interact with cinematic-quality 3D objects, materials, lights, cameras and environments in real time and near real time on a desktop workstation.
Leveraging the power of off-the-shelf professional GPUs, MachStudio Core for Rhino allows designers, architects, and engineers to work with 3D lighting, camera views, and multipoint perspectives in an interactive nonlinear fashion. The result is real-time, high-fidelity views as they will appear in the final rendered format. Users can manage and interact with complex lighting, cameras, shaders, materials, ambient occlusions, and color-grading for real-time shot finaling and compositing.
In addition, MachStudio Core for Rhino offers features designed exclusively for Rhino software, such as FastExport for Rhino and automated source-update functionality. FastExport for Rhino simplifies the Rhino exporting process by allowing users to select groups, layers, and other export options, then export the entire scene with the press of a button.
MachStudio Core for Rhino supports Microsoft Windows 7, Windows XP Professional, and Windows Vista on professional graphics cards. For more information visit http://www.studiogpu.com.
Matchmoving and 3D camera tracking
The Pixel Farm, developer of image-processing systems for visual effects (VFX), digital intermediate (DI) processes, and restoration, unveiled PFMatchit, a 2D/3D camera-tracking/matchmoving software package. PFMatchit relies on the company's 64-bit, node-based, flow-graph architecture.
The architecture is designed to give users a logical, visual overview of tracking workflows, and a procedural, nonlinear environment. It is also designed to facilitate shared data manipulation, greater flexibility, and richer creative options for the digital artist. Optimized as a GPU-accelerated, 64-bit application, and running natively on OSX, Windows, and Linux, the architecture offers metadata management, integrated Python scripting, workflow customization, and features such as in-built rolling shutter correction and image-distortion tools.
PF Matchit complements The Pixel Farm's PFTrack, which provides features such as geometry tracking, image-based modeling, and Z-depth extraction. PFMatchit costs $700. Costs for PFTrack start at $3,300. For more information visit http://www.thepixelfarm.co.uk.
New Genius digital tablets, the MousePen M508 and MousePen M508W, are for graphic designers and artists who want wireless capabilities. Both tablets offer multimedia functions and high resolution (4,000 LPI). The MousePen M508 comes with a touchpad that scrolls, zooms in and out, and has brush control functions. Both 5 × 8-inch tablets include Photoshop CS4 Extended for Windows, 13 programmable keys, four express keys, a wireless Bluetooth mouse, and a cordless pen with 1,024-level pressure sensitivity. The tablets are compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.
The MousePen M508 costs $149 and the MousePen M508W costs $199. For more information visit http://www.geniusnetusa.com/.
Update to 3D software
DAZ 3D-Gizmoz's Carrara 8 and Carrara 8 Pro are designed to provide improved animation tools, enhanced lighting, new vegetation tools, and optimized rendering for the Carrara 3D system.
The Carrara 8 Pro toolset provides 64-bit capabilities for Mac and Windows as well as the Bullet Physics Library. This open-source, advanced-physics toolkit lets artists use rigid and soft body dynamics in their designs. Export capabilities let game developers transfer custom figures, environments, and animations directly into the Unity game engine via the FBX file format.
The full version of Carrara 8 Pro costs $549. Licenses for the standard version Carrara 8 cost $249.95. For additional information, please visit http://www.DAZ3D.com.
Toon Boom Animation's Storyboard Pro 2 is a new storyboarding application designed for creation, development, and visualization.
Storyboard Pro 2 is tailored to help with beginning audiovisual projects, enabling storyboard artists, directors, producers, game designers, and communication specialists. Features in the new version include updated content-creation tools; input and output, storyboarding, and animatic capabilities; and user-interface improvements.
More information about Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 2 is available at http://toonboom.com/storyboardpro/.
Graebert's ARES Commander Edition 2D/3D CAD software is now available for Mac OS X.
Using a native OS X interfac, ARES on the Mac is a CAD system that can also run on Microsoft Windows and Linux, while being optimized for the specific operating system features and capabilities of those platforms. The company indicated it plans to offer iPad support in the future.
The new version, ARES for Mac, takes advantage of the Apple platform while providing the same features of the CAD engine for other platforms. The software can be customized to give users a choice between a fully Mac-specific user interface or one more similar to the Windows version (both versions are command compatible with AutoCAD).
Minimum system requirements for the Mac version are an Intel x86 processor and Mac OS X 10.5.8 or above. ARES Commander costs $995.
Visit http://www.graebert.com for more information.