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3D DIRECT • July 23, 2001

New Toys from Old Favorites

by Abby Albrecht

SensAble Releases FreeForm 4.0

SensAble Technologies has released FreeForm 4.0 ($15,000), a touch-based modeling system. FreeForm 4.0 includes more than 60 new features, enhancements, and improvements including: the addition of 3D curves; a new offset function, designed to assist with the creation of shell models; and a suite of modeling tools that allows users to interactively modify designs. The newly enhanced sketching feature increases flexibility while providing more control over the shape of the curve. Also, the program can now deform shapes and perform global changes on either all or part of a model without losing detail.

With the Version 4.0 release, the FreeForm system is now available in two distinct products. The original FreeForm system has been enhanced with sketching and shelling and continues as the premier aesthetic styling tool. A new product, FreeForm Plus, adds shape creation and deformation techniques that offer industrial designers an extra measure of control. The systems run on Windows NT/2000.

Swift 3D Plugs Into Softimage

Softimage and Electric Rain, Inc. announced the upcoming release of the Swift 3D XSI ($475) plug-in that will allow Softimage|XSI users access to vector-based 2D formats, including Macromedia Flash. RAViX II, Electric Rain's vector rendering technology, converts 3D model meshes into vector-based gradient shaded 2D images, and forms the core of the Swift 3D XSI plug-in.

Key features of the plug-in include access to four vector formats, the SVG vector-based Web standard, and the ability to render with a variety of animation styles, from cel animation to shaded models with gradient fills. The resulting vector files are optimized and ready for insertion directly into a Web page, or for direct use with Macromedia Flash, Adobe LiveMotion, or an HTML editing application. The plug-in is scheduled to ship in August 2001, and will be available from Electric Rain's Web site.

Boris Promotes Graffiti 2.0

Boris announced Boris Graffiti 2.0 ($495), a graphics and titling application. Along with flexible animation tools such as Type On and Title Containers for auto-animated rolls, crawls, fades, shuffles, and zooms, Graffiti 2.0 allows users to map text to 3D shapes, and extrude and composite in three dimensions. Graffiti 2.0 also supports the addition of third-party Adobe After Effects filters.

Feature highlights in Boris Graffiti 2.0 include: Vector Text for clarity at any scale, as well as the ability to export animations to SWF; the path shape and the text position for Text on Path can be animated over time; compositing tools like motion blur, advanced particle filters, and SmartView; audio import and playback. Type On features one click type-on animation of progressively applied skew, tumble, spin, rotate, scale, opacity, and position to a text page. The program supports Open GL and dual processor support on both Windows and Macintosh. Boris Graffiti 2.0 will be available in Q3 2001. Upgrades from previous versions of Graffiti are $199.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate. Is anyone reading this today? You can reach her at [email protected].