Issue No.04 - July/August (2006 vol.26)
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MCG.2006.91
In this issue, Tools and Products provides information about 360 Replays video replay system, Coolux?s Pandoras Box Media Vision, Media Engine, and Media Viewer, Malibal's Veda Series, Kworld Computer?s USB adapter, Matrox?s external graphics unit, SensAble?s FreeForm Modeling system, Nvidia?s Gelato 2.0, Fakespace Systems and VRCO?s Conduit software, DeskArtes? 3Data Expert 7.1, and Borix FX's Red Version 4.0.
Replay 3D Sports Video
A new 3D video replay system was released by 360 Replays for use in sports arenas. The system lets viewers see replays from a 360-degree angle. The manufacturer notes that viewers don't need to use a new type of television; rather, the product constructs replays picking the best camera view. It also offers the ability to "stitch" together several cameras and create spinning, near-3D effects, stopping, reversing, or altering the playback speed.
The system uses many more cameras than a traditional system. All of the cameras record in unison, controlled by a single operator. The cameras also point at the same spot.
The company claims that the product is unique because camera angles do not have to be chosen in advance. All camera angles are saved and can be viewed from up to 72 synchronized views when the action is complete. The system operates on a play-and-process concept, meaning that as soon as the play is complete, the replay operator can scrub time and dimensions to come up with the best angle and send the replay to broadcast, or the video review judge. The process can be completed in less than 30 seconds.
For more information visit http://www.360replays.com.
Real-Time HD Compositing System
Coolux announced the release of Pandoras Box Media Vision, Media Engine, and Media Viewer. Together these three products create a media server system complete with real-time compositing.
The system has dual channels of 2,000 high-definition outputs (for a total of 4,000) for on-air, preproduction, and post-production uses. It comes with eight video layers and 24 graphic animation layers that can be manipulated in 3D space. Each layer contains a large number of controls, such as individual color correctors, keyers, FX engines, and complete transition controls. Multiple outputs can be combined with horizontal and vertical edge blending, remarkable keystone correction, linearity controls, and 3D texture mapping.
The product delivers HD output for real-time broadcast feeds, projection screens, and plasma and LCD displays.
The system uses a network backbone that lets users create expansive systems spread over large or small areas. One or more media viewers can provide multiple remote viewing stations for preview and status, allowing others to access the system status without degrading system performance.
For more information visit http://www.coolux-us.com.
Dual Nvidia GPUs on a Laptop
Malibal's Veda Series is reportedly the first 19-inch laptop display with Nvidia SLI technology. SLI technology is a platform that lets end users intelligently scale graphics performance by combining multiple Nvidia graphics solutions on a single system.
The Veda series comes equipped with a pair of Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 GTX GPUs, which produce up to twice the rendering capability of a standard Go 7800 GTX notebook while increasing picture clarity and video playback. The dual GPUs are coupled with an Nvidia nForce4 SLI media and communications processor to enhance the visual experience for gamers, animators, artists, and business professionals.
For more information visit http://www.malibal.com.
USB Adapter Turns PCs into TVs
Kworld Computer released the PVR-TV300U, a self-powered USB adapter that reportedly turns any PC (from a Pentium IV 1.6-GHz and up) into a complete TV receiver and recorder.
The product is not much larger than a thumb drive and comes bundled with hardware and software for recording from antennas, camcorders, DVDs, and VCRs. The adapter lets users program, capture, and store TV programs for playback, editing, copying, and storage. It also has accessory programs to convert and edit MPEG video and burn the edited work directly to DVD.
Minimum system requirements include 256 Mbytes of RAM, an AC97-compatible sound card, 1 Gbyte of free hard drive space, a CD-ROM drive, video monitor with Microsoft DirectX 9.0-compatible graphics card, Microsoft DirectX 9.0c, an indoor or outdoor antenna, and Windows XP(SP2) or XP Media Center Edition. The adapter ships with all necessary audio—video adapter cables and a USB extension cord.
For more information visit http://kworldcomputer.com.
Quieter Remote Graphics Unit
The Matrox Extio F1420 is an external graphics unit that links remotely to the PC over fiber optic cable at distances of up to 250 meters (820 feet). The product can connect four digital or analog monitors while providing audio, USB, and FireWire support. This approach reportedly allows for better workspace management, enhanced productivity, and an improved work environment due to reduced PC noise.
The product, along with the connected PCI or PCI Express interface card located in the host PC, are fanless hardware components. The hardware is outfitted with a graphics chip that has 128 Mbytes of graphics memory, a dual-LC connector for fiber optic cable, four DVI-I monitor connectors, six USB 2.0 ports (four in the front, two in the back), two IEEE 1394 FireWire ports, an optical connector for digital audio output, and analog stereo-audio connectors for a microphone input.
For more information visit http://www.matrox.com/graphics.
Freeform Models with Haptic Device
SensAble announced the release of its FreeForm Modeling system. The system works with Phantom Omni haptic devices. Together, these products create a touch-enabled solution for quicker 3D modeling of complex, organic shapes. It also offers a cost-effective way for designers and modelers to modify and stylize scan data, and then output to rapid prototyping systems or use for importing polymesh data to mill patterns.
The software can be used with other 2D and 3D tools, and takes advantage of time-saving features such as the display of undercuts with its parting line color. This enables users to avoid making costly production mistakes through evaluation and adjustment of models early in the design process.
For more information visit http://www.sensable.com.
Affordable Production-Grade Rendering
Gelato 2.0 and Gelato Pro 2.0 are the two latest versions of Nvidia's suite of high-quality rendering software. Both Gelato 2.0 and Gelato Pro 2.0 include advanced rendering features such as high-quality antialiasing, smooth motion blur, raytracing, and global illumination.
Gelato 2.0 is a free version of the renderer with fewer customizations. It's a GPU-accelerated, final-frame software that was originally developed to render film and broadcast visual effects and animation. The product is suitable for 3D applications that require advanced rendering, including game development, computer-automated design, industrial design, and architecture.
Gelato Pro 2.0 offers advanced production-grade rendering, functionality, and comprehensive support. It incorporates Frantic Films' Amaretto plug-in for advanced rendering functionality with Autodesk's 3ds max software, complementing the existing Mango plug-in for rendering with Autodesk's Maya software.
For more information visit http://www.nvidia.com.
Immersive VR Capabilities
Fakespace Systems and VRCO released their Conduit software for AliasStudio 13, formerly known as Alias StudioTools. VRCO integrated Conduit as a plug-in to AliasStudio, letting designers view and interact with native 3D AliasStudio models in large-scale, interactive stereoscopic environments such as the Fakespace Power Wall, walk-in immersive rooms, or high-resolution tiled displays driven by Windows PC clusters.
The software lets users view photorealistic virtual prototypes in one-to-one or larger scale, with the added benefit of stereoscopic depth. This can reduce the number of physical models required for design reviews and thereby save time and money and shorten development cycles.
For more information visit http://www.fakespace.com.
Easy 3D Printing
3Data Expert 7.1 is DeskArtes' solution for creating and manipulating faceted models for 3D printing, rapid prototyping, simulation, manufacturing, and analyzing. The latest upgrade to this software emphasizes ease of use, robustness, and direct links to 3D printing machines. Examples of systems that the software provides direct links to include Stratasys Dimension and Objet printers, as well as the Z Corp 3D color printing system.
Additionally, the product converts surface data in IGES, CATIA, Pro/E, STEP, and UGS files to solid STL, ZPR, or VRML files. The software also detects and automatically repairs various mistakes in the STL, ZPR, or VRML models.
For more information visit http://www.deskartes.com.
3D Compositing and Effects
Boris FX released its Red Version 4.0 of its 3D composing, titling, and effects plug-in software. The software provides integrated broadcast-quality features directly inside nonlinear editing systems.
The latest version introduces hundreds of new features, including more than 40 new filters, 16-bit color support, and a new paint engine. Other enhancements to the software include new procedural paint brushes that create ribbon and roller-brush paint effects, sophisticated clone paint brushes in the raster paint engine, and the ability to convert bitmap files to vectors that can be extruded and animated.
For more information visit http://www.borisfx.com.