Enter: messiah

By Denise Harrison





Give an animator a wish list and the outcome just might be project:messiah. Project:messiah Group, exhibiting at SIGGRAPH for the first time, entered to a noticeable buzz with its announcement of messiah:studio 3.0, which will include messiah:animate 3.0, messiah:render and enhanced surfacing tools.

The company was founded by former Station X Studios and NewTek veterans Dan Milling, Fori Owurowa and Lyle Milton.

During SIGGRAPH, the current version 1.5.5 is selling for $395 and if purchased at the show, grants the buyer a free upgrade to messiah:studio 3.0 when available.

"We're not selling our product at this absurdly low cost just to sell a bunch of software," said Milton. "We are embarking on the task of setting a new standard in the CGI industry. We feel that SIGGRAPH presents the ideal opportunity for the 3D community to see what we can do. Our customers know we always deliver what we promise and we want the entire community to see for themselves."

According to the company, the product's roots are as a LightWave plug-in that provided real-time interactivity. Now, project:messiah is ready to go on its own and vows compatibility with a number of industry-leading products.

"In the new version, besides more features, the interface will be customizable, it will run faster with a new architecture and you can use it with not only LightWave but with Maya, Softimage, and 3D Studio Max too," says Fred Tepper, project:messiah group's technical support manager.

The important news, however, isn't likely the price, although at its standard selling price of $1,395 per seat is hardly bank breaking). More significant is the technology that project:messiah promises.

"We have the advantage of starting as animators making software for animators, not as CAD programmers who changed a CAD program to fit animation," says Tepper. "We started making an animation package from the ground up working with the artists.

We said: 'You're an animator and you've used these programs. What sucks and what's cool,?'" says Tepper.

He said they tried different approaches together and would eventually come to agreement on what needed to be done and how best to accomplish it.

The result, he says, is the only company that is really fulfilling its claims, particularly in the areas of speed, interface and real-time interactivity.

As for speed: "More than 60 percent of the people who love our product say it's the speed they love most. Some of these people are working on home computers with a $200 graphics card and they're amazed how fast it is."

Interface: "All the windows stay out of your way and it's very free of clutter. In addition, everything you need to use is on the screen when you need it."

Real-time Interactivity: "You can adjust the animation while its playing and watch it change immediately. That's a huge benefit."

Also significant is the company's rendering program, codenamed "Arnold," a joint development between pmG and international render guru Marcos Farjardo, who has just joined the company. "The renderer is unbelievable," says Tepper. "We've shown it to some people and they didn't believe it was actually rendered."

For more information, visit www.projectmessiah.com


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