Computer Graphics World

APRIL 2010

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Autodesk Readies Its 2011 Releases Autodesk has revealed 2011 product versions of its digital entertainment creation software, including Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, Mudbox, and MotionBuilder—all of which offer features for increased production effi ciency. The products offer new features and enhancements that help accelerate workfl ows and improve data interoperability through formats such as Autodesk FBX, helping artists to maximize their creativity and optimize their productivity. In addition, Autodesk has launched new versions of its Kynapse and HumanIK game development middleware, focusing on improved ease of use. On the heels of the Maya 2010 makeover last summer, Maya 2011 features a customizable user interface, enhanced tools for character animation, including non-destructive live retargeting, high-performance display of large scenes in the viewport, new 3D editorial capabilities for pre-visualization and virtual production workfl ows, integrated color manage- ment, asset structures for pipeline connectivity, and improved rotoscoping. Also, Maya 2011 is now available for Snow Leopard, the 64-bit Mac OS X operating system. Maya 2001 is priced at $3495 for a stand-alone license; an upgrade from Maya 2010 costs $1745. 3ds Max 2011 sports a new node-based material editor—the feature most requested by users—and a high-quality hardware renderer that provides near-production-quality results 10 times faster than traditional rendering techniques on common graph- ics cards. It also offers a tightly integrated, full-featured high dynamic range compositing system (based on Autodesk Toxik technology), as well as enhanced tools and workfl ows for creating and texturing models, animating characters, and view- ing high-quality images interactively. A 3ds Max 2011 stand- alone license costs $3495; an upgrade from the 2010 version of 3ds Max or 3ds Max Design is priced at $1745. Softimage 2011 introduces new rendering and anima- tion tools for creating more complex, high-quality characters and effects faster. The software offers a novel advanced shading architecture and editing environment, an innovative rigging paradigm with support for kinematics in ICE (Inter- active Creative Environment), and automated lip synching in the Face Robot facial animation tool set. A Softimage 2011 stand-alone license carries a price tag of $2995; an upgrade from Softimage 2010 is set at $1495. Mudbox 2011, priced at $745 for a stand-alone license, delivers new tools for helping to deform and pose models. It also offers new image adjustment brushes and blend modes 4 PRODUCT: MODELING•ANIMATION April 2010 for paint layers, vector displacement map extraction, the abil- ity to create higher-quality turntables, and enhanced fi le trans- fer with Maya and Adobe Photoshop. Offering signifi cantly improved interoperability with Maya 2011 and 3ds Max 2011, MotionBuilder 2011 now inte- grates more smoothly and reliably into production pipelines. Skinning and blendshape deformations are calculated on the GPU for improved performance. The in-viewport experience is signifi cantly more interactive, and playback is many times faster, further enhancing the software’s capabilities as a real-time virtu- al production system. The new version is priced at $3995. Additionally, Autodesk’s FBX 2011 asset exchange tech- nology helps facilitate higher-fi delity data exchange between Autodesk software and certain third-party applications. The open format provides new support for additional third-party and proprietary applications. In addition, game developers using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 will be able to import FBX fi les directly into the Unreal Editor. Developers can use the Python programming language to integrate FBX technol- ogy into pipelines not based on C++. FBX 2011 is offered free of charge and can be downloaded at http://usa.autodesk. com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?siteID=123112&id=6839916. These new products also will be available as part of the Autodesk 2011 Entertainment Creation Suites. The suites, priced at $4995, offer a choice of either Maya 2011 or 3ds Max 2011, and include MotionBuilder 2011 real-time char- acter animation software, as well as Mudbox 2011 digital sculpting and 3D painting software. In further news, Autodesk is offering HumanIK 4.5, anima- tion middleware for full-body inverse kinematics and retar- geting that enhances existing animation systems, allowing characters to interact dynamically and realistically with their environments. HumanIK 4.5 improves ease of use with an artist-friendly integration into the Unreal Engine and a Char- acterization plug-in for creating and validating characters in Maya. Pricing is unavailable at this time. Autodesk, meanwhile, upgraded its Kynapse middleware to Version 7. An artifi cial intelligence solution that supports complex dynamic 3D pathfi nding, spatial reasoning, team coordination, and automatic data generation, Kynapse is now easier to use, with new pathdata generation, improved tuning and profi ling, simplifi ed integration and confi guration, as well as off-the-shelf behaviors. Pricing for Kynapse will be announced at a later date.

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