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CosmicBlobs Steals the Show

Small but focused SIGGRAPH has something for all By John Virata

The SIGGRAPH 2005 exposition was markedly smaller than year's past, but the focus was greater than ever. The lack in size, more the trend in trade shows as of late, was more than compensated in the number and quality of folks attending the show and vendors showcasing their wares.

While the big 3D vendors were out in full force showing their products and showcasing some of the films made with the help of their tools, it was a little 3D program that just might have stole the show.

Made by SolidWorks and designed for kids, the Macintosh/Windows based 3D graphics and animation tool, CosmicBlobs-Lab Rat Edition (even the name is cool) was a sleeper hit, especially among some of the DMN editors who got a chance to see it in action. Selling for just $35 on the show floor, Cosmic Blobs is designed to spur imagination and interest in computer graphics for kids. The interface looks like it came straight from Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron cartoon and its output retains that cool, kid-friendly look.

It was a packed booth with folks whipping out their credit cards to buy a copy of CosmicBlobs.

With Cosmic Blobs, you can create, model and animate cool blobby characters fairly easily using the simplified tools within the interface. But underneath all this I am sure is some solid programming, as the 3D engine comes from the same minds who work at SolidWorks. www.cosmicblobs.com

Fusion 5 is scheduled to ship August 31, 2005

eyeon Software showcased version 5 of Fusion. The application has gained wide acceptance in the film industry over the last several years, and in a brief chat with CEO Steve Roberts, the tool is being used to create hundreds of shots per film in various films and has been well received. Fusion 5, which is scheduled to ship August 31, 2005, has been two years in the making, and sports new features such as Waveform, vectorscope, and 3D histogram monitors; enhanced 3D integration with the major 3D animation packages that among other things, enables the same 3D parameters of cameras and scenes set up inside the 3D animation package to be duplicated inside Fusion 5; the capability to import FBX files directly inside Fusion; a Comments tab that enables artists to attach comments directly to each composite; and a Bins server that enables artists to view and update each others bins on server. www.eyeon.com

wondertouch was showcasing its newly released particleillusion 3.0 for Mac OS X. Now running full feature with the Windows version of particleillusion, particleillusion 3.0 for Mac OS X is a standalone application that features super emitters that improve integration with existing production environments, new color options that enable users to simulate displacement and painterly effects in real time, and rendering engine improvements. www.wondertouch.com

In a private suite, Apple showed some of the new effects plug-ins for version 2.0 of Motion. The company was showcasing plugins from DVgarage (DVmatte) and Zaxwerks (Staxwerks and 3D Flag). The company also announced at its Shake user's group meeting that Pixel Farm (PFMatch for Shake) and SilhouetteFX (Silhouette Paint and Silhouette Roto) have built plugins for its Shake compositor. www.apple.com

@Last Software was showing SketchUp 5 with new features such as the capability to import 3ds files, DEM file import of terrain modeling and point cloud data, OBJ, FBX, and Softimage XSI file export capabilities, DWG and DXF handling via DWGDirect, and 3DS and VRML export capabilities. It was also showing its new Sandbox tool that offers a more simplified solution for terrain modeling, organic shapes, roads, building pads and parking lots. The component library has also been expanded to more than 3000 design objects such as windows, doors, cars, desks and the like. www.sketchup.com

Maxon announced the September release of Cinema4D Release 9.5, BodyPaint 3D 2.5 and a production bundle that includes Cinema 4D, BodyPaint 2.5, 16 and 32-bit support for BodyPaint 3D paint tools, integration of Renderman- compliant rendering applications such as PRMan, Air, and the Projection Man digital matte painting tools. Cinema 4D Release 9.5 sports enhanced lighting, faster rendering of area lights and shadows, and a new Content Browser that enables users to get an overview of their projects and presets bvoth locally based or on a server. In addition, multipass renderings can be output as compositing files for Apple's Shake.www.maxon.net

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
Related Keywords:SIGGRAPH 2005 , CosmicBlobs-Lab Rat Edition

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