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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TriCaster to Stream Republican National Convention

Pajamas TV will be streaming live coverage of the Republican National Convention September 1st through 4th from Minneapolis using TriCasters. They will one of the few, if not only, online media companies overlooking the convention floor.

About Pajamas TV:

Pajamas Media is announcing Pajamas TV -a Media 2.0 internet TV venture focusing on coverage of news, opinion, and issues of the day. We are currently in Alpha phase with the Beta phase beginning on September 1 with coverage from the Republican National Convention.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Film Contest Winner

One of our customers, William Reliford of Real Images in Indianapolis, recently took part in the 48 Hour Film Contest his team's entry won Best Use of Genre. Congratulations!
Take a look:

http://www.realimagesvideo.com/cassandra

From his email to me: 

2Day Productions (our team name) as well as the other 23 competing teams had 48 hours to write, cast, shoot and edit a 4-7 minute film. Each team picked a genre from a hat and was then assigned a required character, prop and line of dialogue that had to appear in the film. These were, Dr. Dennis Olsen, a dentist; a helmet; and the line "Let me set the record straight".

TriCaster 2.0 Update - Update

NewTek is shipping an update to the TriCaster 2.0 software. It includes three new LiveSets and mysteriously removes two of the old ones, NewsNight and MorningShow. NewTek "no longer authorizes their use".

TriCaster 2.0 owners can go to the registration site to log in and download the new software or use the 'Check for Software Updates' funtction on their TriCasters. The update is for TriCaster, TriCaster Pro, TriCaster Studio and TriCaster Broadcasts running the 2.0 Software.

New Feature list:

  • Improved Video File Compatibility
    Video recorded to the hard drive is now compatible with a wider variety of applications, with MPEG Layer 2 audio now encoded into the MPG file. MPEG Layer 3 (MP3) audio is also recorded as a separate file that can be used within non linear editors that do not support embedded audio in MPEG files. Apple Mac users that cannot play files written by the TriCaster, may require a QuickTime update, or a third party MPEG decoder. For more information on the former, please visit : http://apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2
  • Improved Video Recording Quality
    Video files captured and rendered to disk have improved encoded chroma quality. Additional improvements have been made to the quality of files recorded in PAL.
  • Improved Quality of Text Scrolls and Crawls in Edit Media
    The motion is now much smoother with CG pages using scrolls and crawls at slower speeds.
  • iVGA Output Quality
    The quality of the scaling and de-fielding performed for iVGA when displayed on a SD resolution video output monitor has been significantly improved.
  • LiveSet Update
    The collection of LiveSet™ virtual sets that are included with TriCaster™ products has recently been updated. This update features three new LiveSets entitled MiddayReport™, WorldUpdate™ and NewsLine™. All three of the new LiveSets will also include Double Box effects to complement each new set design.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lightwave 9.5 Released

NewTek announced the release of LightWave® v9.5 for Windows®, a major update to its award-winning 3D application, LightWave 3D®. LightWave v9.5’s new capabilities include FiberFX, a complete hair and fur solution, a new lighting system and many improvements to animation, rendering and workflow. The update is available to registered owners of LightWave v9 series at no charge. 

A highlight of LightWave v9.5 is FiberFX, a proprietary polygonal fiber modeler for creating realistic hair, fur and feathers. It provides artists with a full suite of tools to model and style each fiber, create volumetric shadows, render-in reflection and refraction and more.

LightWave v9.5 also offers improved rendering quality and speed, with major upgrades to the radiosity sampling system and interpolated modes. Also, there are new disk-based caches for radiosity: the Static Cache, for animations where only the camera moves; and the Animated Cache, where any element of the scene can move. Both types allow the user to pre-render the cache and apply the solution when doing the full scene render – either locally or across a render farm. LightWave radiosity can now be rendered at reduced resolution and applied to the full size final render, providing a higher quality output with even faster render times, a huge benefit for today's time-pressured production environment.

LightWave v9.5’s IK and animation system includes numerous improved character animation controls. Adding to LightWave’s z-axis bones, artists now have joint-type bones, which is more familiar for users of other programs with joint-based metaphors. It also adds a "stretchy bones" capability to LightWave.

The lighting system is now a plug-in API, allowing third parties to create custom lights and lighting plug-ins. IES lights have been added with a thumbnail preview of the luminaire with other information and controls. Also available are new size-selectable spherical lights and dome lights.

LightWave v9.5 allows the import and export of FBX and Collada scenes and objects. This greatly improves compatibility with other 3D applications, as you can now seamlessly transfer meshes, rigs, materials and animation information. The LightWave OBJ I/O plug-in now provides extended import capability for this file type.

LightWave v9.5 Update Includes:

Character Animation Enhancements

  • Hair and Fur System
  • Collada, FBX and OBJ I/O support
  • Enhanced IK and Animation Systems
Lighting, Rendering and Surfacing Enhancements
  • Lighting System is now an API
  • IES, Spherical and Dome Light types
  • Enhanced Area and Linear Lights
  • Faster and higher quality GI Rendering
  • Disk-Based GI Caching
    • Static Cache (only the Camera moves)
    • Animated Cache (anything moves)
  • Interpolated Soft Reflections/Refractions for Node-base surfacing
  • Oren-Nayar Shading Option for Many Materials
  • Optimized Materials and Shaders
SDK and LScript Improvements
  • Light Plug-in Class for Third Party Lights and Light Plug-ins
  • SDK Support for New GI Functions and Disk Cache
  • SDK Support for New IK and Animation Capabilities
UI and Workflow Enhancements
  • Composition Tool Overlays in Camera View
  • OpenGL GLSL Enhanced View for New Lighting System
  • Audio Waveform in the Graph Editor
NewTek will be providing a free trial edition of LightWave v9.5 on disc and by download. Artists should note that there are now more than 24 hours of free LightWave training at www.lightwave3d.com, in addition to an extensive library of printable tutorials.

Numerous visual effects projects benefited from LightWave's world-class capabilities such as "Iron Man," "The Dark Knight," "Hancock," "Jumper," "The Ruins," "300," "The Guardian," and Visual Effects Emmy-winning "Battlestar Galactica." LightWave has been used in other hit shows, including, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Jericho," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "CSI Miami," and "Dogfights."

Friday, August 8, 2008

UStream and the TriCaster - Announcing TC Launch

UStream(at UStream.tv) is a free live streaming service. It can stream from any standard windows video capture device on your system. The good news is TriCaster 2.0 has a Windows Video driver installed that will work with UStream as well as other applications. The bad news is the TriCaster user interface takes over the machine and disables all the multi-tasking features of Windows. So it was impossible to switch back and forth between the TriCaster and another application without actually shutting off the TriCaster interface.

I've solved this problem with a little program called TC Launch that you can drop onto the Admin screen and use to launch the TriCaster in a special multi-tasking mode. Now you can use free services like UStream on your TriCaster with 2.0.

A few other hints to streaming with UStream:

  • Use the standard encoder not the "High Quality Encoder" I couldn't get the high quality encoder to work on my TriCaster Studio.
  • Watch out for the cropping. UStream does a pretty radical crop of the TriCaster's output so if you frame normally you will trim the top of peoples heads off.
  • Make sure you set the UStream audio capture to the VT audio device. It wants to default to the windows audio device.
  • I had better luck with FireFox, IE crashed on be a couple of times.
I'm selling TC Launch for $10 over on www.digarts.com you can go directly to TC Launch here. Be sure to change the payment system to PayPal from credit card if you want to download the program immediately. You can still use a CC with PayPal. Our normal CC processing is done by hand to it can take up to 24 hours.

If you have any trouble with or have any questions about TC Launch you can email me at jcupp@digarts.com

Important Update: The guys over at NewTek want me to make it clear that you use TC Launch at your own risk and if you have problems while using it don't go crying to tech support (they put it a little nicer than that but you get the idea). TC Launch makes no permanent changes to your TriCaster so if your application doesn't work just delete it and you're good to go.

Lightwave used on Iron Man - Bobblehead Available

NewTek announced that they will be showcasing the role of  LightWave 3D® in rendering the "Iron Man" at NewTek booth #159 at SIGGRAPH 2008. Michael Blackbourn, lead 3D artist at The Embassy Visual Effects, will be at the NewTek booth to discuss his use of LightWave® to render the iron-clad Mark 1 suit used at the beginning of the feature film.

"LightWave played an instrumental role for The Embassy Visual Effects in rendering all the digital shots of Iron Man’s Mark 1 suit and enhancing several scenes with animation and particles," said Michael Blackbourn, lead 3D artist for "Iron Man." "LightWave 3D gave us the power to create exactly what the director envisioned, from duplicating the complex look of the amazing practical suit, the animation of doors that get punched off their hinges, to the volumetric smoke and debris when the Mark 1 is flying and crash landing."

"LightWave 3D is a work horse for extremely talented artists, like Michael and his team, who push it to the limit every day. LightWave fits within any budget and pipeline," said Jay Roth, president of 3D division, NewTek. "NewTek is honored that The Embassy chose LightWave to help put Iron Man into action."
                        
In celebration, NewTek is giving away Iron Man Mark 1 bobble-heads at SIGGRAPH. Complete a brief 3D animation survey at http://tinyurl.com/5hl5fr to pick up yours at NewTek Booth # 159, while supplies last.

Welcome CGTalk Readers !

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lightwave used in The Dark Knight

It's SIGGRAPH Time and here come the Lightwave Press Releases!

LightWave 3D® was used by artist Stuart Penn at Framestore, for key scenes of one of 2008’s biggest box office successes, "The Dark Knight." A highlight of the LightWave®-generated work appears during the movie’s notable Hong Kong sequence.

"I prefer to model in LightWave 3D because of the interactivity of its comprehensive modeling toolset which allows me to turn around accurate models very quickly. All these shots were in IMAX® resolution and LightWave ensured that the models would hold up and look realistic," said Stuart Penn, joint head of environments, Framestore. "LightWave also allowed us to build a complete model quickly while giving us the flexibility to replace as little or as much of the original plate as was needed on the fly."

Using LightWave, Penn modeled two Hong Kong buildings that Batman jumps between, and from which he is later extracted by a C130 Hercules transport plane. Penn also modeled the damaged sections of one building, seen after the corner has been blown off, as well as larger areas of the building that were replaced or extended.

"Every day, I am reminded about how versatile LightWave 3D is – it is used for $300 million-plus blockbusters, as well as for television, animated shorts, ad work, video game design or any other graphics project," said Jay Roth, president of 3D division, NewTek. "The fact that Framestore chose LightWave 3D for modeling key scenes of 'The Dark Knight,' which is on its way to being one of the biggest movie box office successes ever, is gratifying for the NewTek team."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Batman vs. Batman vs. Batman

The fake movie trailer may be the highest form of the cinematic arts.
I'd go see this movie: