Issue No. 01 - January/February (2005 vol. 25)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MCG.2005.16
Portable Stereoscopic Visualization
The Visionmax VM1100 is a single-channel passive stereoscopic visualization system that includes two projectors, integrated graphics, screen, filters, and visualization software. The system can project and edge-blend multiple channels through the projectors onto a wide variety of screen shapes and sizes, including planar, spherical, and cylindrical screens (as well as CAVE). The system can be both front and rear projected.
The system is on wheels so that it's easily portable. It's fully compatible with VRML97 on OpenGL and supports movies through .avi and .mpeg files. It also works with a wide variety of modeling, animation, and computer-aided design tools, and supports 3D sounds and special effects.
Visit http://www.visionmaxint.com. for more information.
Durable Field-Rated Motion Capture
Measurand's ShapeWrap II is a portable motion capture system that packs up to travel and connects wirelessly to any PC. Users can work with a battery-powered laptop and go anywhere to capture motion. The system has a battery life of three hours per battery under normal conditions, and each system comes with three batteries and a hot-swap fixture (for swapping out batteries without shutting down and restarting).
The system can capture back, head, hand, finger, foot, and toe motion data over long distances, working with a wireless Ethernet modem that works up to 25 meters away indoors, and up to 300 meters away outdoors. The system can operate both offline or online in real time, outputting both marker (C3D) and skeletal data (BVH). The product can work with the following software: Kaydara MOCAP, ShapeRecorder, 3ds max, Mayam, XSI, and Lightwave.
Visit http://www.measurand.com for more information.
Simulation and Data Modeling Projector
Christie has released the LU77, a quad lamp, high-power liquid crystal display projector delivering true UXGA (1,600 × 1,200) resolution, with brightness up to 7,700 ANSI lumens, and a contrast ration of 1,000 to 1. The projector is reportedly the brightest UXGA projector available.
Designed for high-end applications found in training facilities, as well as simulation, data modeling, and command centers, the projector can use any of 11 optional lenses. The product's horizontal and vertical lens offset lets users place images anywhere from almost any angle. Digital and analog input options are also available, including the ability to handle high-definition images.
Visit http://www.christiedigital.com. or more information.
Adjustable LCD Stand
Ergotron announced the release of Neo-Flex, an adjustable stand for liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors and small LCD TVs. The stand provides five inches of vertical movement so that users can reposition their monitors, rotating the monitor up, down, left, or right with a fingertip. It's ideal for situations where multiple people use the same monitor. The stand attaches to flat-panel monitors that are Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) compliant and weigh between six and 16 pounds.
For more information visit http://www.ergotron.com.
Modeling Tool with 100+ Features
Maxon introduced Cinema 4D Release 9, a modeling and animation tool that reportedly features more than 100 new functions including cloth simulation, subpolygon displacement, and N-Gons.
With N-Gons, users can create complete models based on polygons with any number of points. Plus, an upgraded modeling toolset features improved polygon knitting and stitching as well as a brush tool that lets users paint point deformations on a model.
An improved interface now includes the heads-up display, which shows freely configurable information directly in the editor as well as dynamic highlights to preview mode before they are executed.
Other features reportedly include the clothtilde functions for adding clothing to characters and simulating any type of cloth, perfect character motion, motion blending for improved workflow, and an enhanced advanced render module.
For more information visit http://www.maxon.net.
Paint, Retouch, and Rotoscope
Curious Software released Curious gFx Pro, a program that provides tools for painting and rotoscoping in an effects environment. Features include 8- and 16-bit configurations for raster painting moving images; restoration and wire and rig removal; interactive roto-matte creation; integrated animation, compositing, and effects; and gFx Broadcast for creating broadcast graphics.
According to the company, all operations, including painting, can be done while viewing the whole composited layer stack. Users can apply painting and effects to any layer in the stack while maintaining the composite view. The product also has a permanently available timeline interface for easy animation and navigation through movie layers. Content for any layer can reportedly be changed in a single operation without losing any animation settings.
For more information visit http://www.curious-software.com.
Create Character Animation Faster
Alias announced the release of Alias MotionBuilder 6, a 3D character performance and animation system that has an advanced Story Timeline, keyframing, intelligent character technology, and precision-animation tools.
According to the company, MotionBuilder 6 works with most 3D animation packages. Version 6 includes a more intuitive environment with a high-level animation editor, a redesigned properties viewer, and the ability to emulate the hotkeys of other 3D packages. The product features a redesigned transform manipulator, and Handles, a tool that gives artists control over selecting and manipulating objects. MotionBuilder 6 also supports FBX, a platform-independent 3D authoring and interchange format.
For more information visit http://www.alias.com.
Graphics Acceleration for Smart Phones
Bitboys released G40, a fully programmable 2D, vector, and 3D graphics processor for cell phones with the OpenGL ES 1.1 feature set packed into a small design size with efficient bandwidth usage. Programmable vertex and pixel shaders provide advanced photorealistic rendering effects.
Full programmability allows for future graphics API compatibility, extending support for the next-generation 3D graphics APIs and shading languages. The programmable pixel processor supports pixel shaders, per-pixel executed programs that allow developers to generate such realistic-looking object surfaces as metals, woods, water, lighting effects and reflections.
Other features include hardware vector graphics rendering, 64-bit internal color precision, Flipquad full-screen high-quality antialiasing, scalable performance with core clock frequency, support for screen sizes up to 1,024 × 1,024, support for compressed textures, perspective-corrected rendering, fog effects, 2D bitmap copy-and-fill operations, and sprite processing.
For more information visit http://www.bitboys.com.