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3D DIRECT • January 30, 2001

The Birds and the Bevels

by Abby Albrecht

To the Max

Discreet is shipping 3ds max 4 ($3495). The new version delivers efficient and creative workflow for character animation, next-generation game development, and visual effects production. 3ds max 4 delivers a new and extensible character animation architecture, advanced game development tools, and extensive rendering productivity with ActiveShade, Render Elements, and support for Direct 3D technology.

The 3ds max SDK (software developer's kit) and maxscript language greatly expand in version 4. Building upon the SDK, and included in 3ds max 4, is the Web studio CD set—an integrated set of Web developer's tools from Cycore, Pulse, RichFX, and Viewpoint. In addition, Discreet delivers content creation with the latest Vecta 3D-MAX vector animation renderer from Ideaworks 3D.

Discreet also adds more integration between 3ds max and combustion in this version. A full-function demo version of combustion is now included within 3ds max. The upgrade price from 3ds max 3 is $795. For upgrade information from all previous versions of 3ds max, consult Discreet's regional or international offices for information. The latest version of character studio is included in 3ds max 4 so that current character studio 3 customers' work will operate within 3ds max 4.

Making a Match

Autonomous Effects has announced that SceneGenie v1.4 ($995), a plug-in suite for match-moving and combining live action and animation, is now available for the newly-released Discreet 3ds max 4. SceneGenie for 3ds max 4 combines feature tracking with a fast computational core to produce 3D matches in minutes. It offers a Master Tracker panel for simultaneously tracking many sensors, five tracker flavors for outstanding stick-to-it-ness, and realtime playback and scrubbing capabilities, where 3ds max 4 objects, trackers, and 3D points are overlaid on the zoomable and pannable image. There is no charge to upgrade SceneGenie from 3D Studio MAX 3 to 3ds max 4.

Go with the Flow

Areté Entertainment Inc., the creators of the Digital NatureTools plug-in; and Next Limit, creators of the RealFlow fluid simulator for Alias|Wavefront Maya teamed up and announced the availability of the SuperFlow Fluid Simulator Bundle ($825) for Maya. The SuperFlow Bundle is comprised of Next Limit RealFlow fluid simulator and Areté's award winning P_Liquid particle shader for Maya. RealFlow is a Navier-Stokes based fluid simulator that drives particle motion within Maya. P_Liquid is a fully volumetric shader that generates and renders fluid surfaces directly from Maya particles. This promotional bundle will be available until April 30, 2001.

A SuperClean Charge

Media 100, Inc. announced the availability of Cleaner MPEG SuperCharger ($999), an accelerated MPEG-2 encoding solution for Cleaner 5. The SuperCharger adds cross-platform MPEG-2 acceleration capabilities to Cleaner 5's interactive streaming media authoring solution, allowing media encoding professionals to create MPEG-2 content for DVD, Super Video CD, CD-ROM, and digital media broadcasting from within a single solution. Cleaner MPEG SuperCharger features include up to 10x faster encoding than comparable software-based solutions, presets for all popular MPEG encoding situations, DirectExport from many popular video editors, and customizable batch processing.

Spark a Flame

Digimation announced the availability of Phoenix v1.5 ($395), an upgrade to the Phoenix fire simulation plug-in for Discreet 3ds max. Phoenix v1.5 is developed by the Chaos Group and distributed by Digimation. Phoenix was developed for simulating real fire and allows 3ds max objects to appear as if they are engulfed in flames. By simply choosing any object or particle system as the emitter, Phoenix has the ability to wrap it in a complete volumetric flame. Phoenix allows full control of the colors, lights, transparency, and the shape of the flames.

Phoenix v1.5 adds new features including a reworked atmospheric dialog box; deflector objects no longer having to be a part of the emitter; improved flame color controls that now support position numbering; Phoenix Lights, which enables Phoenix flames to become light emitting objects; Phoenix Render Effect, which enables Phoenix to work with other plug-ins and effects by properly copying G-Buffer data; the Phoenix Fractal Map, which is a simple procedural map that enables you to create simple, small flammable objects using texture maps; and randomization of flames. Authorized owners of Phoenix can get an upgrade patch for $50 by calling Digimation. Registered owners of 3ds max can order Phoenix v1.5 directly from Digimation or through authorized 3ds max.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate. She appreciates all the Stargate images submitted to the image gallery. But why all the half-naked women? You can reach her at [email protected].