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3D DIRECT • January 16, 2001

It's Fun to Stay at the SHTML

by Abby Albrecht

SGI Revs Up

SGI announced two new graphics options for Octane2 from the SGI VPro graphics family—V10 and V12. The new systems offer up to two times the geometry performance of competing systems. With the new SGI V12 graphics, the Octane2 visual workstation draws over 18 million 1 pixel lit depth-buffered, Gouraud shaded triangles per second and maintains a pixel fill rate of 448 mega pixels per second. The new V12 graphics deliver image clarity with support for 48-bit RGBA (red, green, blue, alpha) color, double-buffered with a 16-bit Z buffer. Other VPro V10 and V12 graphics advanced features for Octane2 include: hardware acceleration of all OpenGL v1.2 core features and ARB (Architectural Review Board) imaging extensions, hardware-accelerated specular shading with normal interpolation for Phong effects without a performance penalty, 12-bit per component RGBA, and configurable graphics memory.

SGI also announced the availability of a new dual channel display option for applications hungry for more visual real estate, such as sciences and image processing. The dual channel display option supports two monitors with a single VPro graphics board with resolutions up to 1920x1200 at 72Hz on each screen and does not require an XIO expansion slot, or additional software, or drivers to function.

Available immediately, Octane2 with V12 graphics is priced at $28,495 and includes 128MB of graphics memory, a 400MHz MIPS R12000A CPU, 256MB of system memory, a 9GB Ultra SCSI system disk, and 21-inch monitor. Octane2 visual workstations start at $17,495 for a system with V6 graphics, a single 360MHz MIPS R12000A processor, 256MB of memory, a 9GB Ultra SCSI disk, 32MB of graphics memory, and a 21-inch monitor. The new dual channel display option is $3000 list and is available immediately for Octane2 with V12 graphics systems.

Creating with Multigen

MultiGen-Paradigm announced the availability of MultiGen Creator v2.4.1, a software toolset for creating realtime 3D content for use in visual simulation, interactive games, urban simulation, and other visualization applications. Also announced was Vega v3.6, MultiGen-Paradigm's software environment for running realtime visual and audio simulation, virtual reality, and general visualization applications. The new features and enhancements made to MultiGen Creator v2.4.1 and Vega v3.6 are direct results of customer feedback collected by MultiGen-Paradigm. Also available as a new option to MultiGen Creator v2.4.1 for Windows is the MultiGen Sedris Exporter that takes OpenFlight files generated from MultiGen Creator and converts them via a user-directed procedural interface to the Sedris Transmittal File (.stf) format.

Todd Griffith, product manager for MultiGen Creator said, "The new feature of retaining node names during copy and paste operations has been made more intelligent by detecting whether a node of the same name already exists, and then adapting predictability and reliability of our software tools are hallmarks of MultiGen-Paradigm..."

Vega v3.6 claims to have increased overall functionality, improved special effects and light source compatibility, and enhanced sensor simulation capabilities on both the Windows NT and SGI IRIX platforms. Customers should contact their local distributor or sales representative for details about MultiGen-Paradigm's new pricing and product configuration initiative which includes authoring tools, realtime application development environments, and run time deployment.

Building Smaller, Building Faster

ParallelGraphics released the latest version of its Cortona VRML Client, Cortona v3.0. Cortona is touted as being the smallest and fastest VRML viewer available in the market and allows users to explore and interact in 3D environments in realtime. This latest version of Cortona enables the viewing of 3D content with support for features including antialiasing, reflection mapping, joystick input, and stereo glasses support. Cortona has been optimized for the Intel Pentium 4 processor.

A Side of Schooling

Due to the overwhelming response for the Side Effects Software Houdini Home Training Program, the enrollment deadline is extended to February 28, 2001. The Houdini Home Training Program is a pilot project where animators can obtain a fully-enabled, non-commercial license of Houdini v4.0 for $300; a free Houdini Introductory Workshop (currently offered in Santa Monica and San Francisco); $200 certificate to be used toward other standard training courses offered by SESI; online documentation and tutorials; and access to a peer support mailing list with limited technical support. The program is open to individuals with more than one year of experience and who reside in California.

Boris Gets Avid

Boris FX, creators of compositing and effect plug-in technology, announced that Boris Graffiti LTD and Boris FX LTD are bundled with selected Avid Xpress DV nonlinear video editing and delivery systems. Graffiti LTD will extend the titling capabilities in Avid Xpress DV, while Boris FX LTD enhances the Avid Xpress DV toolset with features such as 3D shapes, keying, color correction, and distortions. These are the same dynamic special effects found in the award-winning Boris FX. Graffiti LTD and Boris FX LTD are now available together with selected offerings of Avid Xpress DV v1.5 software worldwide, through authorized Avid resellers. For more information, visit Avid's Web site.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate. She gets very annoyed at vendors who ignore her or talk down to her just because she uses a wheelchair. You can reach her at [email protected].