Saturday, January 10, 2009

News items

Here are a few news items relevant to the hobbyist CG community:

- Craft Animations has released free lite versions of several of their Maya and 3dsMax camera tools, including Craft "4-Wheeler Free", "ObserverCam Free" and "Airplane Free". They have a press release online with more information. It would be somewhat cute to speculate that the Realtime Camera Motion Recording in Maya tutorial -- which shows how to do ObserverCam-like camera recording for only the price of a Spacenavigator -- that I posted to this site back in June had some influence on Craft's decision, however I have my doubts.

- Also from Craft, but not free, is the recently-announced virtual camera product released jointly with Gamecaster: a physical camera mount and camera control which links directly into 3dsMax and Maya. The product combines Gamecaster's camera-control hardware product with Craft's software. The press release is one of those "contact us for pricing" sorts of releases, so the product probably isn't cheap. However, this is the first time I've seen such a hardware/software setup commercially available for animators -- previously I'd only seen similar tricked-up systems shown in "making of" mini-documentaries associated with movies.

- On Nov. 28 of last year, Antics Technologies announced the discontinuation of machinima software Antics3D, which was available in both a free and paid version. I was aware of Antics3D but had never explored it, since it didn't look as robust as iClone version 3.

Incidentally, if you're looking into purchasing iClone, one way to do it and save some money is via the Daz3D Platinum (membership) club -- iClone3 Pro is available in its download version for just under $140 at the moment to Daz Platinum Club members, and Daz once in a great while puts even that price on sale. (Disclaimer: this is not a paid announcement, nor do I work for Daz...)

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