New Technologies that will affect Computer Artists
Curt Rayley's SnyaPix technology has been called "the creative directors best friends" and "like putting production back into post" and "the end of compositing in layers" at his new company, Synaflex. This new software suggested the possibility that compositors and 3D artists and other special effects professionals might be able to say good-bye to the current paradigm of working in layers; cutting mattes, doing the rotoscoping, the rendering, the compositing, the fixing. Instead, this software allows the user to move and reposition their CG objects within a 2D environment as if they were live on the set (and the set was still standing and the camera was still shooting). For example: there's a bowl of fruit lit nicely and shot in a kitchen set. In a spot, two strawberries converse with each other behind an orange. By accident there is only one strawberry in the shot. This would not be a problem in the Synaflex paradigm. The 3D artist just places and animated strawberry in the proper place and works from there. The system can calculate the camera path and recreate the original camera's moves. Or it can make new moves and show a formally flat environment from a different angle. It can re-light a set or a scene. New shadows can be added to a scene or a figure and can be made to move with the camera, reflections too. And Mental Ray is built in. Synaflex went into its alpha program with two NY shops, Splash and Click 3X. The product will be shipping in late June. The system runs on an Intergraph NT workstation as well as SGI.
Interactive Effects will debut Piranha HD, a Visual Effect System software. Piranha HD is a real-time integrated paint, compositing and multiple resolution finishing tool that supports many formats; D-1, 480i, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 30/24fps and 2K/4K film. It is based on the SGI platform and its capabilities include: HDTV playback and preview; film scanned image input; direct deck control; Onyx 2 Divo card and NTSC/PAL support; EDLs. Interactive Effects has seen early installation of the product at NYC's Black Logic and LA's Complete Post.
Companies are addressing all systems high def, multi res and desktop post production systems. They are also buying software which runs on the NT platform. And buying equipment like frame buffers, video grabbing devices and video storage devices. Also on the list is encoder/decoder technology for DVD, video server technology for networking video and date, and workstations for rendering. ICE Blast (an accelerated rendering board for the Mac). NT friendly software and NT machines, plus HD equipment and products.
Streaming media for the web, is a new technology which is constantly improving in quality and speed. This product is here to stay for shooting speeches for live broadcasts to the world who can't be there to see it live. On the day of the meeting, the speech can be seen live by company employees who will be notified via email. Video tape is not involved. It's not TV, and it's not a teleconference. Instant delivery, incredibly short turn-around time, massive distribution. Streaming audio and video on the web is going to permanently change video professionals' jobs. Broadcasters and entertainment companies are pouring big money into this new technology. and it will be the next big breakthrough in the corporate communications area. streaming media is highly compressed audio and video which is delivered to the user as it "streams" real-time from a web or video server. No messy downloads, no huge files, instead, mere seconds before the encoded clip starts to play. Streaming audio first debuted three years ago by Real Networks. Streaming video followed later that same year. The new developments, maximize the distribution power that is unique to the web.
Extra bandwidth for TV. With this new technology, TV can box its ads into banners at the edges of the screen and show uninterrupted programs. With digital broadcasting, the MPEG stream of packets is either sent directly to users (as with direct-broadcast satellites) or contained within broadcast standard signals. Extra digital bandwidth will allow programmers to gain extra revenues from banner ads. Others may offer viewers the new selling proposition of uninterrupted programs with banners on the side. A new device which can help make this happen is Tektronix's MTS-200 real-time multi-channel monitoring device for digital broadcast streams. The MTS-200 sees how much bandwidth each channel's stream takes up, and tells broadcasters how much unused space remains. Open TV or Web TV.
3D Studio Max R3. The newest version of animation and modeling tool from Kinetix, which is now part of parent company Autodesk's new Discrete Logic entertainment division. After spending time on the road visiting users and culling responses from the internet, Kinetix has released 3DS Max R3. This extensive upgrade lists a customizable interface, a completely redesigned renderer, nestle its external references and organic modeling advances as just a few of its enhancements. The new version also includes and expanded MaxScript capabilities, new core character animation tools for skinning, secondary motion and morphing, patch nurbs modeling tools and increased bezier patch modeling with the addition of surface tools, a new editable patch object and a number of spline and patch modeling enhancements.
A new application of a fairly new technology. With (VRML), Virtual Reality on web sites, one can now look at and find apartments on the web in three dimensions and look and see all around that particular apartment. At Corcoran's NY,
Electronic Banking. One can apply for a credit card through Quicken software and then can download statements through that software. Security issues have been cleared and are relatively safe.
The future for IBM is a Compact Attractive Magazine Rack. It's an Electronic Newspaper with vibrant based holding a series of colorfully framed tablets or flat screens. A portable magazine. It's a hard screen that family members can pluck off the machine to read at leisure. Because it still transmitts when plucked, several people can use this at the same time. Each tablet can be customized to receive new on a different subject and when finished reading can just return it to the base.