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Shake (the leading compositing package that was recently acquired by Apple) was shown at an Apple-run users group meeting in its new version 2.5, running on the OSX platform. Apple announced that 2.5 would be available for Mac OSX, but that it would be the last version it made available to it's windows-based users. Apple would not promise continued IRIX support, but said it would continue to support Linux at least for the time being. At the users group meeting, Apple would not answer many questions beyond the information already released to the press.

In terms of future development, it is not known whether Apple will be focusing R&D efforts on continuing the Shake product line, or now that they have acquired both Shake and the competing compositor RAYZ, if they will be focusing on developing a new Mac-only compositing package that uses some combination of the acquired tools in a new software package.

In other sad news, it was announced that two Renderman compliant renderers, BMRT and Entropy, were no longer going to be available, as a result of a settlement between Pixar and ExLuna. BMRT (Blue Moon Rendering Tools) was a shareware renderer originally written as a thesis project by Larry Gritz, who went on to later work at Pixar, and after that to co-found the software company ExLuna. ExLuna continued to support BMRT and make it available for free downloads, but also developed a new, production-grade renderer called Entropy, which created a low cost competitor to Pixar's Renderman, and supported raytracing and global illumination. Press releases shortly before SIGGRAPH announced that Entropy would be available with a GUI connecting it to 3D Studio Max in a $1000 package this year, which would have been quite a bargain. Pixar's lawsuit alleging software patent infringement and other charges was settled with the decision that neither BMRT or Entropy would be sold or given away by ExLuna.

Thad Beier, in a recent interview with slashdot, went so far as to say "It wouldn't surprise me if patents destroy the visual effects industry as we know it today." Of course, most people didn't extrapolate that far, and in more positive news, Pixar unveiled Renderman Release 11 at their users group meeting, a strong upgrade which adds new features including raytracing and global illumination. Next Page...

Pictures and Article Copyright 2002 by Jeremy Birn www.3dRender.com