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NewTek announces ChronoSculpt

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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NewTek has ‘pre-released’ ChronoSculpt: a completely new application for sculpting and modifying animation caches in VFX and feature animation pipelines. The news was announced at Siggraph 2013.

Among other uses, the tool makes it possible for artists to ‘paint out’ errors in simulations manually, or to sculpt additional layers of deformation on top of an existing animation.

Works with any standard 3D software
While each frame of the modified animation cache can be exported directly to a LightWave Endomorph, the software is designed to work with other standard 3D software.

Other formats in which data can be imported and exported include OBJ, Autodesk Geometry Cache, and Alembic.

ChronoSculpt uses a geometry engine based on NewTek’s ‘Hydra’ technology which “allows the deformation and manipulation of 8 to 10 million polygon objects with ease”.

Right idea, right price – right platforms?
It’s a neat idea: being able to fix intersections in a cloth sim without running the entire thing again could be a huge time saver for studios; as could being able to sculpt corrections to character animations on the fly.

The price is reasonable, too: at just $399 (reduced to $299 during the pre-release period), ChronoSculpt would be one of the lower-priced tools in a professional pipeline.

The fact that there’s no Linux edition might be a stumbling block for larger studios, though: a Mac OS X version is in the works, but for now, ChronoSculpt is Windows-only.

Chronosculpt is available on pre-release today. The final version is expected to ship at the end of the year.

Read a full list of features in ChronoSculpt

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In other news: LightWave 11.6 and NevronMotion
In other news, NewTek has announced LightWave 11.6. New features include support for CgFX shaders, new export options for 3D printing, and support for new types of stereo display for reviewing stereo content.

The developer has also announced NevronMotion, a new $299 mocap retargeting package for LightWave, designed to work with the Kinect: useful for capturing animation reference quickly. Watch the teaser above.

There’s a lot of other news coming out of Siggraph today, but we hope to come back and look at both applications in more detail later this week.

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Interactive 3D sculpting software has forever changed the way 3D modelers, texture artists and designers create and manipulate CG content. ChronoSculpt™ from the LightWave 3D® Group, introduces sculpting over time, a revolutionary way to review and correct cache animation and dynamic simulation using time-based sculpting tools. Its flexible interface supports leading file formats for all professional 3D software programs, including LightWave 3D®, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, Luxology Modo, and Maxon Cinema 4D.

ChronoSculpt uses a powerful timeline-based workspace that includes tools to sculpt and manipulate 3D deformations and character cache animation over time. It supports soft- and rigid-body dynamics and has the ability to sculpt and deform massive polygonal models on the timeline to correct and remove errors in real time. The many tools and features in ChronoSculpt allow artists to:

  • Quickly remove dynamics simulation errors and jitters to sculpt deformations on cache files from 3D software programs
  • Use Sculpt, Drag, Pinch, and Erase tools to deform and manipulate geometry over time
  • Move, scale and rotate geometry over time in dynamics simulation cache with tools such as Transform, Pin, and Bulge
  • Handle massive geometry files to easily edit objects up to 10 million polygons in size
  • Use universal file formats, including Alembic, LWO, OBJ, LightWave MDD, and Autodesk Geometry Cache for easy integration in all software pipelines
  • Save any frame from the ChronoSculpt timeline as an OBJ file for Maya Blend Shapes, or as an Endomorph for LightWave, to create facial morph targets and deformation effects
  • Use the ChronoSculpt Clip Timeline to quickly adjust and reposition the length of a cache animation sculpt anywhere on the timeline or make global changes to the entire animation

“ChronoSculpt is a groundbreaking concept and exactly what we need in our studio,” said Scott Wheeler, president of Rogue State, a visual effects and post production studio in Burbank, CA. “The ability to fix errors in both cache animation and dynamic simulation files across time, regardless of the 3D software program, will without question save us countless hours in production error fixes. We can’t get it in our pipeline fast enough.”

Pricing and Availability
ChronoSculpt is priced at $399 (USD) and available for purchase at www.chronosculpt.com.

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