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3D DIRECT • May 21, 2001

Tools to Tempt

by Abby Albrecht

Caligari Releases TrueSpace5.1

Caligari Corporation released trueSpace5.1 ($299), with new support for Macromedia Shockwave 3D and other Web output capabilities. Caligari's new Shockwave 3D Exporter plug-in streamlines conversion of trueSpace5.1 objects and scenes to Macromedia Shockwave 3D and Director 8.5 formats, including all trueSpace geometry, materials, lights, views, and animation. TrueSpace can be used alone to create Shockwave 3D content, or as a 3D authoring complement to Macromedia Director.

TrueSpace5.1 also generates HTML files directly for export to Viewpoint format, providing a one-step solution for creating Viewpoint-based Web sites. A Macromedia Flash plug-in for trueSpace5.1 is currently being developed.

Version 5.1 also offers integration of third party plug-ins into standard toolbars; UV mapping process optimization; enhanced area render and icon highlights; safe-area guard lines for video output; mouse wheel support for both zooming the eye and navigating around selected objects; numerical editing of control vertices of NURBS curves and surfaces; improved SDK for third party plug-in developers with complete support for NURBs-based modeling; and detailed error reporting for IGES import/export. TrueSpace5.1 also offers both linear key-framed animation and non-linear physics-based animation with properties such as wind, gravity, and collision detection. TrueSpace5.1 requires a Pentium II CPU, Windows 95/98/2000/NT, 64MB RAM, and 50MB of free hard disk space.

Caligari Presents iSpace1.5

Caligari Corp. also announced iSpace1.5 ($99), a new version of its 3D Web graphics and animation authoring package. Ispace adds a plug-in for the Macromedia Flash format, including Flash outline, cartoon, and photorealistic output. In iSpace1.5, Caligari has reduced JPEG output size by 30 percent more than its previous sizes. The company has also launched a new iSpace Proteam ($299) subscription program’Äîproviding Web designers with unlimited access to online tools and support services, on an annual subscription basis.

ISpace1.5 will be available in June. The new iSpace1.5 Proteam subscription package includes iSpace1.5 with Flash output, all standard libraries, unlimited online technical support, product upgrades, and the option to participate in ongoing beta programs for qualified users. ISpace1.5 requires Windows 95/98/2000/NT, a Pentium-class CPU, 64MB RAM, and 30MB of disk space. For more information, visit Caligari's Web site.

Digimation Ships Bones

Digimation, Inc. is shipping Bones Pro 3 ($495), a skeletal deformation tool for character and creature animation inside of discreet 3ds max. With Bones Pro 3, users build a set of underlying bones to deform a mesh, assign the Bones Pro 3 modifier to the mesh and pick the bones that will drive the animation. The new Bones Pro 3 toolkit includes the MetaBones and ParaBones tools, which give users further control of deformations of their characters through the use of simple primitive objects that are used as constraints within the skeleton. This means that users can now insert a new MetaBones object to further control the deformation at the joint. Upgrades from Bones Pro 2 are available for only $95 and from Bones Pro Max for $195. As well, all discreet character studio owners can purchase Bones Pro 3 for only $295.

Maya Exports to Shockwave

Alias|Wavefront announced that its Maya Shockwave 3D Exporter plug-in is now available as a free download from the Alias|Wavefront Web site. This plug-in can be used to transfer content directly from the Maya 3D animation and effects package into Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio software. The Maya Shockwave 3D Exporter plug-in consists of the Maya RT Scene Checker, which serves as a high-speed Maya scene optimizer; and the Maya RT Export Express, which allows for fine-tuning of Maya content for the Shockwave Web 3D player. Like Director, the Maya Shockwave 3D Exporter plug-in will be available in both Windows and Macintosh versions. For more information, visit Alias|Wavefront's Web site.

Curious Labs Upgrades Poser Pro Pack

Curious Labs, Inc. is shipping the free release of Poser Pro Pack Service Release 1 with plug-in support for discreet 3ds max 4. The Pro Pack plug-in allows you to host Poser files directly within 3ds max. Unlike importing or exporting functions that translate data from one format to another, the Pro Pack plug-in serves as a liaison between the host application and the Poser files, actually opening your Poser files and accessing their contents directly in the host application. Pro Pack ($149) is a set of tools and plug-ins that expand the functionality of Poser 4, the company's 3D character animation and figure design tool. Existing Pro Pack owners can obtain the Pro Pack Service Release 1 update directly from the Curious Labs Web site.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate. She needs more advertisers. You can reach her at [email protected].