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the monitor, the fact that the scr een can still display it is important. Te monitor itself has a 14-bit lookup table, which can interpolate colors from 8-bit sources to reduce banding and improve display quality. Setting up the monitor was fairly simple. It can be as easy as plugging it in and install - ing a device driv er. From there, it’s a matter of configuring the color space that you want and calibrating the monitor. Te monitor has several color spaces, including sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI, and sev eral neutral ones. I used the “Full” setting, which uses the full color space of the monitor . Anyone doing pr ofes- sional wor k also will want to calibrate the monitor. I used a ColorV ision Spyder2 to calibrate the monitor , and the calibration program didn’t have to change all that much. It’s nice to know that the monitor came with fairly accurate color straight out of the box. In actual use, the monitor wor ks wonder- fully. Te viewing angle of the screen is quite broad, so ther e are no r eal dead spots. Te monitor does tend to r un a little warm, and the excess heat vents out the top of the unit, so be sure to give it ventilation. In terms of resolution, the smaller 27-inch screen combined with the higher-r esolution 2560x1440 display does lead to a smaller pixel pitch. Nevertheless, I did not find this to be much of a pr oblem, as even small text was fairly crisp. However, I had a little mor e of a pr ob- lem with some applications that had smaller icons in the inter face. I found it some what difficult to position the mouse cursor over these smaller buttons. Perhaps this is my own hand/eye coordination issue, but those w ere really the only times I wanted to move up to the 30-inch screen. Overall, the NEC P A271W is a gr eat monitor. I t has terrific color fidelity and a wide range of options and features that make it ideal for pr ofessional color-critical wor k. Te one downside of this display is the price, which is considerably mor e than the av er- age 27-inch monitor. Te extra features and quality, however, more than make up for this difference, and a good monitor can outlast several computers. Te extra investment is well worth it. n George Maestri is a contributing editor for Computer Graphics World and president/CEO of RubberBug animation studio. He also teaches Maya for He can be reached at For additional product news and information, visit SOFTWARE RENDERING Chaos Group Developments Chaos Group has taken the wraps off its V-Ray RT running on GPU, opening the new software solution for public beta testing to all current V-Ray RT for 3ds Max users. V-Ray RT GPU is integrated within Autodesk 3ds Max to enable faster rendering and real-time interaction with the virtual environment. Chaos Group’s scalable rendering solu- tion offers new features, such as real- time shading and lights set-up, distrib- uted and cross-platform rendering, and progressive path tracing. After the beta testing period, V-Ray RT GPU will be incorporated in V-Ray 2.0. V-Ray 2.0 for 3ds Max will combine a V-Ray for 3ds Max production renderer, V-Ray RT on CPU, and V-Ray RT on GPU. Chaos Group anticipates releasing V-Ray RT GPU next month. Chaos Group; WIN VFX GenArts Sapphire 5 GenArts, provider of specialized visual effects software for the film, television, and video industries, released a new version of GenArts Sapphire for Nuke. Industry-standard visual effects plug- ins for a variety of platforms, Sapphire 5 extends benefits to Nuke users as well as those on other OFX hosts, such as Fusion, Scratch, Toxik, Baselight, Film Master, and Mistika. Sapphire 5 for Nuke/OFX features more than 200 industry-standard visual effects plug-ins, including glow, blur, edge ray, defocus, and texture tools; floating-point support; GPU acceleration; and support for the OFX standard. GenArts Sapphire 5 for Nuke/OFX is now available. Floating licenses for Nuke, Fusion, and Toxik are priced at $2499; node-locked licenses are available for $1699. Rental licenses are now available for the first time, for $169 per month. Current users may upgrade to Sapphire 5 for $599. GenArts; LINUX COMPOSITING Tactic with Nuke The Foundry integrated its Nuke compositing application with Southpaw Technology’s Tactic asset management solution, to improve the creative workflow for compositors working with Nuke by alleviating the mundane tasks associ- ated with file management. With the Tactic-Nuke integration, compositing artists working in Tactic can instantly see what their tasks are for a specific shot, access their shot list, launch Nuke, load the most recent version (or older versions) of a shot, and check in a file. This combination is designed to free compositors to focus on creating shots, rather than spending time on finding and securing files, or moving files through the production pipeline. The Foundry; WIN ANIMATION Craft Director Studio Craft Animations demonstrated its Craft Director Studio software, designed to add realistic vehicle and camera anima- tion to film, commercial, game, and Web-site projects. Based on research in autonomous control systems, Craft Director Studio is intended to eliminate multi-step animation and design process- es, such as scripting and rigging. The software tool’s drag-and-drop modeling features provide a more rapid pipeline capable of decreasing overall production times by as much as 80 percent. Craft Animations; HARDWARE VIDEO SpheroCamHDR Spheron-VR AG recently presented the latest version of its HDR Camera, the SpheroCamHDR. The SpheroCam November 2010 39 LINUX

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