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Siggraph Highlights for Mac Users – Part 3

Architosh’s continuing coverage of Siggraph 2008 news continues with this report as we look at additional highlights and note some new Mac software for 3D that is new to the community.

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More Autodesk at Siggraph News

Autodesk recently acquired RealViz and its popular ImageModeler which was a fully Mac native application. Now with the new Autodesk ImageModeler 2009 the product has become Windows-only. It should be pointed out that RealViz was a cross-platform developer and that ImageModeler is fully QuickTime architecture driven and requires Apple QuickTime 7 to work. Interestingly, the 3D is OpenGL 1.2 driven and requires a professional graphics card at the level of a Quadro 6xx series or an ATI FireGL 2007 series or better. Why this app doesn’t run on a Mac now is a question worth mentioning to the folks at Autodesk.

Autodesk Stitcher Unlimited 2009 is also a new app from RealViz. This tool is a superb application for creating partial or full spherical panoramas. The new version has a fully automatic engine (eg: stitching, alignment and color correction can be automated) and there is support for a double shot technique using two shots from a fisheye lens. HDR (high dynamic range) is now supported and there is full interoperability with Adobe Photoshop. GPU acceleration, selectable render area support and a redesigned user interface round out the application. Autodesk Stitcher Unlimited 2009 should be available on both Mac and Windows in October 2008.

Autodesk MotionBuilder 2009 was also introduced at Siggraph 2008. This product, originally from Kaydara, is also now a Windows only application despite being a strong Mac application at one time. In fact, its original developer was strongly encouraging Apple’s Mac OS X platform as the 3D artists’ platform of the future prior to selling his company to Autodesk. MotionBuilder 2009 is said to be the most significant release of the software since its inception. MotionBuilder is used to do both keyframing and motion capture processing. MotionBuilder 2009 has a deeper integration with Maya and 3ds Max, new real-time rendering in the viewport with support for advanced hardware shaders.

Next Limit at Siggraph

The Spanish company exhibited the upcoming RealFlow Rendering Toolkit and well as the latest version of Maxwell Render with its new SSS and Physical Sky Features.

NewTek News

NewTek introduced LightWave 9.5 for Windows at Siggraph with the Mac version still in a beta stage. The new Lightwave 9.5 features FiberFX, a complete hair and fur solution, a new lighting system and many improvements to animation, rendering and workflow. FiberFX is a new proprietary polygonal fiber modeler. Other improvements include radiosity render disk-based caches for faster performance, a new API structure for its lighting system (now third-parties can write plugins for custom lights and controls) and new inverse kinematics (IK) z-axis capabilities.

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