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April 2014
Issue: Day 1 - SIGGRAPH 2007

AUTODESK ACQUIRES SKYMATTER, SHOWS '2008' RELEASES

By: Marc Loftus
SAN DIEGO – Autodesk (www.autodesk.com) came to SIGGRAPH with a number of goals, says senior VP, media & entertainment Marc Petit. The company is looking for feedback and suggestions from its user base, as well as launching new products. User groups and product demos are also being offered to develop 3D talent. And breaking at the show is the announcement of the acquisition of Skymatter, the maker of Mubbox, a powerful and easy-to-use, brush-based, 3D sculpting application.

On the new product side, Rob Hoffmann, senior product marketing manager, introduced 3DS Max 2008, claiming the new release is “all about performance.” 3DS Max 2008 features improved viewing and handling of large and complex datasets. There are Mental Ray workflow improvements, as well as improved support for complex workflows and pipelines. Features have also been added to make modeling tasks faster and friendlier.

Maya 2008 is now faster, with more efficient tools for modeling and animation. Much work has been done with threading in the software for use with multiprocessor systems. The use of Mental Ray 3.6 core makes it an inherently faster release. Efficient tools have been added for creating better looking games and users can now choose between Windows XP 32/64-bit, Linux 32/64-bit, Mac OS X, or Windows Vista platforms.

MotionBuilder sees an extension release (7.5 Extension 2) bringing overall performance improvements that speed up load times, allowing users to get into projects quickly. A new biped template has been added and finger-tracking information from motion tracking sessions can now be used to add further detail to animation. Users have a choice of multiple platforms, including a 64-bit Windows release and a Mac/Intel version.

Autodesk Animation Academy, which was previously only available for 3DS Max in the past, is now available for Maya. Animation Academy is a curriculum for high school students that illustrates how animation technology can be used in fields such as forensics, mechanics and medicine.

Autodesk is showing its HDR compositing tool - Toxik 2008 – at SIGGRAPH, which now allows users to take Maya cameras, locators, axis and world scale directly into the application. New tools in Toxik 2008 include bicubic warping for correcting perspective, dust remove, support for multichannel EXR files, and versioning for multiple outputs. Toxik 2008 is now available as a standalone version that can run as a single seat. This will help Autodesk expand its user base. Sixty four-bit Windows and Linix versions will be available in October.