If you're a 3D animator or visual effects artist, you're probably a fan of NewTek's LightWave. If you're interested in portable live production, you no doubt have been following the fortunes of NewTek's products in this space, including the TriCaster.
But if, like me, you're greedy and hope to see the latest gear in both arenas, NewTek did not disappoint at NAB 2011.
First, NewTek's 3D animation is now 3D CG and 3D stereoscopic. New Tek Lightwave 10.1, the latest version of the software, now offers some great new tools for stereoscopic filmmaking including an off-axis stereoscopic camera rig option and an improved Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR). Other new features include better import and export capabilities with FBX, MDD, and integrated Autodesk Geometry Cache support, and a new Skin material node.
NewTek Lightwave 10.1
NewTek made a smart move getting into stereoscopic 3D, which showed substantial upward trending at NAB 2011. With the new LightWave version, users have access to all major stereo camera rigs: parallel, toe-in and off-axis. Artists can correct for toe-in distortion dynamically in the animation pipeline and make interactive off-axis adjustments of the right and left camera planes. They can also avail themselves of click-and-drag convergence point adjustment in the VPR, and disable the anaglyph representation of the stereo camera in OpenGL.
NewTek anaglyph piranha texture -- Lightwave 10.1
NewTek VP of 3D development Rob Powers stated that the company's "long-standing relationships with leading studios and our user community" was what inspired the move into the stereoscopic 3D space.
Also in v. 10.1, artists can directly adjust lights, textures, volumetrics and more, within the viewport. With integrated Autodesk Geometry Cache Support, the new version allows artists to include or exclude models, morphs, animations, cameras and lights upon export. Even better, NewTek is letting artists try LightWave for free for 30 days. For a limited time the upgrade price from LightWave v9 to LightWave 10.1 is US $495; a full license for LightWave 10.1 is US $895.
NewTek Stereoscopic -- Lightwave 10.1
On the live production side, NewTek debuted TriCaster 850 EXTREME with proprietary IsoCorder technology. The IsoCorder is multi-track recording technology that enables users to record up to eight channels of video from inputs or outputs. Another cool feature is that TriCaster 850 offers direct support for any Apple AirPlay-enabled app or device as well as EQ and compressor/limiter capabilities on every audio input and output.
The idea is that EXTREME is intended to blur the lines between live and post production. The blurring line between production and post is something happening throughout the industry, at every level. It's gratifying to see NewTek do it in a version that can fit in a Smart car (as they demonstrated at NAB) and not cost the farm.
NewTek TriCaster user interface -- Click on image above for larger view
TriCaster 850 EXTREME will be available in Q3 2011 and retail in North America for US$39,995. The price may vary internationally and educational pricing is also available.
One last bit: NewTek just debuted their Video SDK (software development kit) program to support third party developers. The program also includes the ability to access add-on plug-in architecture and support for remote control through a TCP/IP communication link. According to NewTek CTO Andrew Cross, the company is seeing "an increasing demand from developers and customers to have improved access and integration into our products." To sign up for the NewTek Video SDK Program, send an email with full contact information to: email@example.com. For a limited time, NewTek will waive the fee associated with the program and provide it as a free resource to developers and companies that wish to create products that support the NewTek video line.
“I am thrilled to be joining the COW team,” said Debra Kaufman, newly named Associate Editor of Creative COW Magazine. “In an era in which so much coverage has shrunk to 300-word sound bites, I'm delighted to be able to cover the dramatic changes in our industry in depth. Additionally, I look forward to reaching a huge number of engaged readers working in production and post, in the U.S. and internationally. Publisher Ronald Lindeboom and Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson early on understood the importance of a web presence, and have created an astonishingly large audience both online and in print.”
Look forward to more great stories from Debra in Creative COW Magazine, and online here at CreativeCOW.net.
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