Autodesk Buys Wonder Dynamics, AI VFX App Wonder Studio

Autodesk is going all-in on artificial intelligence with the acquisition of AI startup Wonder Dynamics, maker of the Wonder Studio VFX tool. Autodesk — whose products include Maya, 3ds Max and Flame — worked with Wonder on a Maya plug-in last year and appears to have been impressed. Wonder Studio was purpose-built to be compatible with 3D tools like Maya, largely automating the process of putting 3D characters within live-action scenes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Autodesk did not detail plans for integrating Wonder Dynamics, but it’s likely the company’s AI expertise will make itself felt across the portfolio. Continue reading Autodesk Buys Wonder Dynamics, AI VFX App Wonder Studio

Tech Firms Join Pixar in Group Promoting OpenUSD Standard

Led by Pixar Animation Studios, a consortium of tech companies has formed the Alliance for OpenUSD to promote an open 3D computer graphics standard for the metaverse and other 3D projects. Adobe, Apple, Autodesk and Nvidia are also founding members along with the Linux Foundation’s Joint Development Foundation. The group will promote the development and standardization of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description tech, a 3D platform that is interoperable across a variety of tools, data and workflows. The goal is to make it easier to describe, compose and simulate large-scale 3D imaging projects and services across industries and platforms worldwide. Continue reading Tech Firms Join Pixar in Group Promoting OpenUSD Standard

CES: Nvidia Intros AI Impact on Gaming, Omniverse, Laptops

At Nvidia’s CES 2023 keynote, executives revealed new products and innovations in laptops, gaming, the omniverse, robotics and auto technology. Nvidia senior vice president of gaming Jeff Fisher focused on the company’s AI developments, emphasizing that, “AI will define the future of computing,” and adding that “this has influenced much” of what the company is showing at CES. He highlighted the company’s “new era of laptop computing,” powered by its Ada Lovelace architecture, GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs and new 5th generation Max-Q technologies with DLSS 3 for quadrupled speed. Continue reading CES: Nvidia Intros AI Impact on Gaming, Omniverse, Laptops

Sony Targets the Metaverse with Consumer Motion Capture

The industry is buzzing about a new Sony product called Mocopi that offers motion capture priced for consumers. The Meta Quest-compatible Mocopi utilizes six tracking bands to be worn on the head, back, hands and feet. Priced at 49,500 yen (or about $358), Sony announced Mocopi on its Japanese YouTube channel, with a U.S. release expected toward the end of January 2023. Touted as a way to operate avatars in the metaverse or make videos, Mocopi will have an SDK that can import motion data into 3D animations. Continue reading Sony Targets the Metaverse with Consumer Motion Capture

AR/VR Meta Quest Pro Targets Productivity Sector for $1,500

Meta Platforms unveiled its anticipated mixed reality headset yesterday at Meta Connect. The $1,500 Quest Pro, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced as “the first in our new line of advanced headsets,” becomes the first full-color AR/VR device to hit the U.S. market on October 25. Although Meta is positioning the Quest Pro as a productivity device, the thrust was that app makers will be encouraged to develop for it. Meta also announced that NBCUniversal content and Microsoft Office, Windows, Teams and Xbox Cloud Gaming are coming to Meta Quest headsets. Continue reading AR/VR Meta Quest Pro Targets Productivity Sector for $1,500

Cloud, Virtual Production Power New Workflows at NAB Show

Cloud computing and virtual production were the hot tickets at NAB 2022, where attendance was 52,468, down 40 percent since the previous most recent live show in 2019, when 91,500 convened in Las Vegas. And there were fewer exhibitors (about 900 vs. roughly 1,600 three years ago). But some things never change. Amazon Web Services, ARRI, Blackmagic, Quasar Science and Mo-Sys were among the notable companies touting cloud-based and virtual production solutions. And Sony Electronics wowed the crowd with a sprawling booth that featured its new Venice 2 digital cinema camera. Continue reading Cloud, Virtual Production Power New Workflows at NAB Show

Nvidia Air Helps Users Create Virtual Doubles of Data Centers

Nvidia Air is a cloud-based platform to build, simulate and work the bugs out of a state-of-the-art data center powered by a modern network using digital twins. Geared toward medium to enterprise scale environments, the platform is the company’s latest Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) product, letting users create a virtual double of a data center’s physical and logical layout and employ continuous integration and deployment testing and validation techniques before moving to a production environment. The idea is to go live with the same set of simulation, visualization and AI tools. Continue reading Nvidia Air Helps Users Create Virtual Doubles of Data Centers

Varjo Debuts High Resolution XR/VR Headsets for Enterprise

Finland-based Varjo debuted its third generation XR/VR headsets, the XR-3 and VR-3, respectively, which still target enterprises rather than consumers. The  company’s chief marketing officer Jussi Mäkinen stated that this version doubles its so-called human-eye resolution from the previous model and cuts the price in half. The Varjo XR-3 is priced at $5,495, with the Varjo subscription starting at $1,495 for the year. The Varjo VR-3 costs $3,195 with a one-year subscription starting at $795. Continue reading Varjo Debuts High Resolution XR/VR Headsets for Enterprise

Nvidia Intros Open Beta of Its Omniverse Virtual Environment

In his keynote address at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference, chief executive Jensen Huang demonstrated Omniverse, a virtual environment described as a “metaverse” for engineers, announcing an open beta. With Omniverse — which was inspired by the sci-fi concept of the metaverse — engineers can collaborate on and simulate designs in a photoreal 3D virtual environment. Nvidia has been providing early access to Omniverse for 18 months; it will be available for download this fall. Continue reading Nvidia Intros Open Beta of Its Omniverse Virtual Environment

Academy Software Foundation Unveils Updated OpenColorIO

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) debuted OpenColorIO version 2 (OCIO v2) for developers to integrate into their applications. OCIO is an industry standard for consistent color management across VFX and animation pipelines that has been used on hundreds of feature film productions. One major enhancement is native implementation of ACES, replacing the requirement for finite LUT files with precise algorithms. In addition, new foundation members include Unity Technologies, Conductor Technologies and SMPTE. Continue reading Academy Software Foundation Unveils Updated OpenColorIO

HPA Tech Retreat: Latest From Academy Software Foundation

In 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established the Academy Software Foundation, with the mission of increasing the “quality and quantity of open source contributions … [to] lower the barrier to entry for developing and using” it. Its genesis was a survey conducted by the AMPAS Science and Technology Council that found 84 percent of those in the media & entertainment industry used it — but had challenges. At HPA Tech Retreat, ASWF executive director David Morin updated the group’s activities. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Latest From Academy Software Foundation

HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Updates

Under the aegis of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, hundreds of motion picture and TV technologists created ACES (Academy Color Encoding System), a color management system to enable color decisions to be successfully retained throughout the workflow. Since ACES debuted in 2014, the system has achieved SMPTE standardization and continues to evolve, under the leadership of chair Annie Chang and vice chairs Rod Bogart and Joachim “JZ” Zell. Chang listed some recent updates found in ACES 1.2. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Updates

HPA Tech Retreat: Perceptual Difference Between 4K and 8K

Warner Bros. vice president of technology Michael Zink described the results of a test, conducted with several partners, to resolve questions about the impact of higher resolution displays with larger screen sizes on the user experience. The test did so by assessing the perceptibility of 4K vs. 8K on a consumer 8K TV displays at a typical viewing distance for various types of content. Partners included the ASC, with content from Pixar and Amazon Prime, and LG for its 88-inch 8K OLED TV display. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Perceptual Difference Between 4K and 8K

Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

At NAB in Las Vegas, BeBop Technology director of technical sales Nathaniel Bonini described how his company provides virtual versions of the post-production tools artists are used to working with, but in the cloud. That includes tools from Autodesk and, in a new partnership, Avid among others. Cloud-based virtual post and VFX tools give post houses and VFX facilities tremendous efficiencies, including the ability to scale up and down. StratusCore is another company that creates an entire virtualized workstation in the cloud. Continue reading Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Nvidia made a number of compelling announcements at this week’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2019) in San Jose, California. The company unveiled its GauGAN AI image creator that uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to turn sketches into nearly photorealistic images. As part of its cloud pursuits, the company unveiled its latest RTX server configuration that is designed for Hollywood studios and those who want to create visual content quickly (each server pod can support up to 1,280 GPUs). Nvidia also announced partnerships with 3D software makers including Adobe, Autodesk and Unity to integrate Nvidia’s RTX ray-tracing platform. Continue reading Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab