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3D DIRECT • September 25, 2001

Does Your Computer Know?

by Abby Albrecht

Alias|Wavefront Releases Maya for Mac, Finally

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year, you've probably heard that Alias|Wavefront planned to enter the Mac market. With this first release of Maya for Mac OS X, all of Maya Complete becomes native to the Macintosh. Features unique to this version include support for QuickTime, tear off menus in the hot box, and a fully Aqua interface. Anyone ordering the Mac OS X version of Maya before December 31, 2001 will be entitled to receive twelve-months of maintenance, which includes product upgrades and support. The retail price of Maya Complete for Mac OS X is $7500, the same price as Maya Complete for other platforms. International pricing will vary. The core features of the Mac OS X version of Maya are the same as those in Maya for other platforms. Now get back under that rock.

Marlin Realeases Panormica

Marlin Studios released Panoramica: Land & Sky ($249), a two CD-Rom set, created by artist and photographer David Campbell. Panoramica is a collection of photographed and post-processed panoramic land and sky backgrounds, in full hemispherical and 180, 240, and 360-degree formats. Matching 3D models are included. Also included is a set of six stop-action animated cloud formations, suitable for video and other applications. The textures included with Panoramica in some cases area as large as 10,000x2000 pixels. The textures are presented in TIFF format.

"We've worked on this product for over a year, in response to artists from around the world who desire a means of easily placing backgrounds in 3D scenes, and struggling with camera placement," said Tom Marlin, president of Marlin Studios. "A graphics artist can actually wrap a texture on the inside of a hemispherical model (a dome) or a cylinder shell and place it over or around his scene. The sky varies with every camera shot and the camera can look anywhere. This is particularly useful for flybys and walkthroughs. And the photorealistic lighting quality is remarkable when used with radiosity."

NewTek Updates LightWave

NewTek, Inc. released a free maintenance update for LightWave 3D 7. A month after LightWave 7 was first introduced, its development team has completed speed increases and optimizations for both the Intel SSE2 instruction set and the Apple AltiVec instruction set (also known as the Velocity Engine). NewTek worked closely with partners such as Apple, Intel, and Curious Labs to enhance the way LightWave 3D works with their products.

New features include: use of the Motorola math library for Mac OS X to boost render performance; OpenGL optimizations; ability to double-click to add channel name to current expression in Graph Editor; SkyTracer 2 and Image World will now take advantage of multiple processors; Motion Mixer speed optimizations; and the Mac OS X version now supports true type fonts.

From now until September 30, 2001, all registered LightWave owners may upgrade from any version to the new LightWave 7 for $495. After September 30, 2001, registered owners of LightWave 6 may upgrade to version 7 for $495, and registered owners of LightWave 5.6 or earlier may upgrade to version 7 for $595. LightWave 7 is currently shipping for a suggested retail price of $2495, and the 7b update is available immediately for download from NewTek's Web site.

Messiah:studio Available as Preview

PmG Worldwide, LLC announced the release of the advance version of messiah:studio, the company's new, integrated 3D animation, rendering, and developers package. The complete suite will consist of messiah:animate, messiah:render, and messiah:develop. The advance version of messiah:studio is on sale right now for $1395 and is expected to ship the first week in October 2001. Purchasers of the advance version will automatically receive the final version of the software when it ships on November 26, 2001.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate. She's heard a funny rumor that advertisers are the key to keeping Web sites open. You can reach her at [email protected].