T H E T E S S E L L A T I O N T I M E S #527
Issue #27 of 1995, for Tuesday, August 29th
*The Tessellation Times* (*Tess*) is Columbine, Inc.'s weekly electronic
publication usually (but not always) posted overnight Monday as a supplement
to *3D Artist* magazine. The full Web version of this issue starts at:
E-mail recipient count for this issue: 1,460
Also read in forums, on BBSs, and on Web sites worldwide.
527.00 - Heads Up!
527.00.01 - The Fortnight in 3D
527.00.02 - Shows & Exhibitions
527.01 - Dateline Moscow by Michele Bousquet
527.02 - Siggraph '95 Continued
527.02.01 - Modeling, An Industry
527.02.02 - Images in Volumes
527.02.03 - And More...
527.03 - News Wrap
Masthead - see "Details" below
Calendar - events, galleries, classes & artists call
Special Offers -
Contacts - see end of file
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E-mail: [email protected]
Alex Kiriako, Editor, *Tess*
Rob Glidden, Technical Editor
Sally Beach, Vice Pres., Columbine, Inc.
Bill Allen, Publisher & Pres., Columbine, Inc.
527.00 - Heads Up!
This issue was prepared by Editor Alex Kiriako and Publisher Bill Allen. To
hold down size this week and to have something left for next week's holiday
issue, we will finish wrapping up Siggraph in that issue.
By the way, if you find a link that doesn't work on any of our Web pages,
please E-mail the fact to our "webmaster" address found at the bottom of
every page on our site. (With many browsers, you can sweep the text with
your mouse or use something like View/Source to copy the offending link to
include in your message.) We try to be perfectionists, but there's a dozen
easy ways to get links wrong. Note that we try to be HTML neutral, so if a
page seems to format wrong in a non-Netscape browser, we'd like to know
about that, too.
527.00.01 - The Fortnight in 3D
Aug. 31: Last day to subscribe or renew *3D Artist* subscriptions at the old
prices. Postmark dates will be recognized.
Sept. 1-2, Charleston, W.V.: Charleston Sternwheel Regatta 2nd video
exhibition, 6-9pm, West Virginia State College Capitol Center, 123 Summers
St., Charleston, W.V., free, .
527.00.02 - Shows & Exhibitions
Sept. 12-14, San Francisco, Calif.: 8th Multimedia Expo West at the Moscone
Center will focus on all aspects of multimedia. Sponsored by Intel and
Multimedia Development Group (MDG) this expo offers tightly focussed
professional seminars on topics like creating a commercial Web site,
distribution and funding of CD-ROM titles, VR, Kaleida, telephony and video
over the Internet, gaming, content licensing, and lots more. Held by
American Expositions, Inc., 110 Greene St. #703, New York, NY 10012,
212/226-4141, -4983 fax.
Nov. 20-22, Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan: Nicograph '95, focussing on
digital imaging, will be held simultaneously with Multimedia '95 at the
Nippon Convention Center. All areas of digital imaging from CAD to VR to
entertainment will represented. There's also a digital studio with talks, an
art gallery of Japanese and international art, and a VR contest with
competing college students trying to visualize their VR ideas. Nippon
Computer Graphics Assoc., Takasago Bldg. 1-3-1, Uchikanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
101, Japan; 81-3-3233-3475, 81-3-3233-3450 fax.
527.01 - Dateline Moscow
By Michele Bousquet, or CIS 100237,162
Publisher's note: As we said back in *Tess*#517.06, author/teacher Michele
Bousquet was off to various destinations to produce a videotape series
called "3D Studio Around the World." We asked for her impressions from
Moscow, where she is this and last week. So here is something really
different for *Tess*. Our thanks to Dmitry Lavrov at
Steepler Graphics Group (that's all the contact info we have) for E-mailing
For all of you who thought Russian graphics houses consist of three guys
working in a closet--shame on you! PC-based graphics and animation are alive
and well in Russia, thank you, with a growing market and dedicated user base.
3D Studio afficionados might recognize the name Steepler Graphics from
Autodesk's 1994 and 1995 Siggraph reels. I called Steepler shortly after I
arrived in Moscow and talked to Marina Korol, Training Manager and
supervisor at large. Marina's English is excellent, and she gave me a warm
invitation to come by the next day.
Steepler Graphics Group is a division of Steepler, Inc., one of the
largest computer and software wholesalers in Russia. With nearly 1,000
employees, they supply banks and other large institutions with PCs and
larger machines like the IBM RISC 6000. In 1991 Natalia Efremov and Dmitri
Ozerets, two young programmers, came to Steepler and proposed that they
start a graphics department. Steepler Graphics Group was formed to promote
and sell graphics hardware and software to both post houses and individuals.
An inhouse graphics studio was set up to test and use the equipment they
sell, along with two training rooms to educate users.
Directions from the metro station were not necessary; a huge sign visible
from blocks away proclaims "STEEPLER" in English. When I arrive, Marina
takes me inside the large complex and offers me American coffee and Italian
wafers. Marina herself is a dynamo of activity. She runs the very active
training program at Steepler and oversees the acquisition of new graphics
and animation software. Her job requires a curious mix of technical
expertise and business savvy. At the drop of a hat she can either rattle off
the features of the DPS Perception or tell you about Steepler's direct-mail
Steepler Graphics Group sells PCs, SGI workstations and the DEC Alpha,
along with software such as 3D Studio, Animator Studio, Crystal Topas,
LightWave Pro, and Wavefront, just to name a few. They are the largest
reseller of graphics products in Russia, providing full hardware/software
setups, support and training, often with little help from suppliers. For
example, Marina long ago stopped asking Autodesk Russia for multimedia
information ("They only care about AutoCAD," she sighs) and now calls the
United States directly when she wants new product information. Steepler also
sends a platoon of animators and programmers to Siggraph and NAB every year
to get the new scoop on graphics technology.
The graphics studio does only a few paying jobs a year, Marina told me, as
it exists mostly as a testing and experimentation arena. The training
program works in conjunction with the studio, inviting the more promising
students to make use of the facilities to produce graphics for competitions
and exhibitions. The Credo piece from the 1994 Siggraph reel was produced by
a Steepler student; it was his first 3DS piece outside the classroom.
Support staff are also free to utilize the equipment to play around and
create animation during slow times. Dmitry Lavrov, a multiplatform artist,
specializes in modeling Russian landmarks then blowing them up, complete
with flying particles and blazing ruins. "But I can't make it look too
realistic," he says with a smile, "or I will go to prison." Dmitry's
preferred explosive is Wavefront Dynamation, with which he can create and
decimate a simple object in three minutes flat, a feat I witnessed personally.
Much of Steepler's training is performed onsite, but there has been so
much demand for 3D Studio training that Steepler now offers regularly
scheduled classes. Marina is very proud of the 3D Studio training program,
and with good reason. Steepler keeps two hands-on classrooms filled
year-round with two-week classes for beginners, advanced users, and
architects. A one-week special effects class features an in-depth look at
several plug-ins including metaballs and all the Yost Group routines.
For me, the high point of the day was an informal meeting with the four 3D
Studio instructors, a special treat since I don't often meet other 3DS
teachers. They showed me their students' work (surprisingly creative for
users of two weeks) and classroom materials (well planned and thorough).
With Marina translating we exchanged experiences in a conversation
punctuated by raucous laughter. 3DS students, both the insufferable and the
talented, are the same the world over. Plans are in motion for a return
visit where I'll get to teach an advanced class in Steepler's facility.
All the instructors are women. Marina told me that after a few disastrous
experiences, she no longer hires male teachers. "Women are patient, and know
how to explain complex things easily," she said, adding that the last male
teacher spent all his free time looking for freelance jobs instead of
working on the curriculum.
Startled by this reverse discrimination, I told her that her views would
get a strong reaction from feminists in the United States. She laughed, "We
have no feminism here."
527.02 - Siggraph '95 Continued
By Bill Allen - Publisher
Photography by Sally Beach, Assoc. Editor,
(using a Kodak DC-40 digital (756x504x24) camera)
527.02.01 - Modeling, An Industry
When we reported in *Tess*#520.03 about 3Name3D (aka Yglesia Wallock
Divekar, Inc.) putting out a CD of models, we didn't realize quite the
sophistication or quantity of what they are doing. Their first two simpler
volumes are sold through Viewpoint, and the new 3Name3D CD-ROM has volumes 3
to 8 with 100+ models per volume. Not on the CD or in their catalog are some
other models you might not expect would be available such as major league
sports stadiums. Except for a pricing structure (lower prices but models are
not sold individually) and lacking models in multiple resolutions, 3Name3D's
catalog is reminiscent of Viewpoint's first effort three years ago.
And so it was interesting the last day of Siggraph to be standing in front
of the 3Name3D booth talking with former Acuris owner Eduardo Llach when
Viewpoint's president John Wright walked through jovially handing out Avalon
CDs like Father Christmas. His comment to this gathering was, "It's
official. Viewpoint has competition." Better said, perhaps, is that
supplying 3D models has itself become an industry within an industry.
Besides taking the usual credits for work on several current hit movies,
one of Viewpoint's show announcements was that it had passed the 3,000 count
on models and was now growing at more than 400 models per month. (Their
Siggraph T-shirt this year read "I hung with a bunch of polygonists from Utah.")
Acuris was purchased recently from founder Eduardo Llach by David M. Bader,
who, according to a fax received 28 Aug., also owns Neubau Imaging,
described as a modeling firm in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. The fax
states that new resources will be provided and Acuris will "continue to
supply models of the highest quality [including] new, exciting
products...starting in the Fall of 1995."
Llach has started a new 3D utility software company, Abaco Systems, Inc.,
and we'll bring you announcements about that when they're available.
You never know at Siggraph when and where you may find flyers laying around
with products you should but don't know about. Model Masters, LLC had a
brochure out for its Model Monger libraries for "most major" PC, Mac, and
Unix programs, available in various resolution sets for photorealism,
low-res, and VR. Examples shown are furniture and appliances, but other
libraries are mentioned. The Interiors 1 library of 250+ models is listed in
the $90 to $300 range depending on platform and resolution.
Zygote Media Group had a flyer offering "well built" furniture at $95 for
six pieces from a selection, human figures for $495, and free objects for
download. They refused to supply *Tess* with a physical address,
internationally-accessible phone numbers, etc., so apparently you can only
do business with them via their Web site (http://www.zygote.com/) or by
527.02.02 - Images in Volumes
One of our two lead articles in *3D Artist* issue #3 in 1992 was Dennis
Solomon's 3D display. The story, which had only been mentioned briefly
elsewhere, seemed to disappear. We ran across Solomon at Siggraph '93 and
didn't see him in 1994, but were pleased to find he had a booth this year.
The idea of the True Volumetric Imager is to spin a vertical black paddle of
LED lights inside a space about the size of water cooler bottle. The LEDs
blink on as each hits a point that is occupied in 3D space, resulting in an
almost steady and very 3D display. In 1992 we reported that Solomon was
preparing a developer kit, RGB instead of red-only LEDs, and affordable
leasing plans. He told us this year that they had had to go back to research
contracts to keep the idea and Solomon. The SDK and RGB LEDs are still in
the works, but price is above $200,000.
The Volumetric Imaging booth had two of these devices, one slower with
consequent lower resolution. The better of the two had a Logitech acoustic
3D mouse attached through a Packard Bell PC (which upset one spectator who
wanted to be told that a workstation was required!).
I jumped in by drawing a straight line and then going back and drawing a
corkscrew path around the line along its length. Then I drew a bowline knot,
and finally a complex free-form knot, threading through openings as I moved
my head and (as much as the mouse allowed) my body, to peer into the display
from whatever angle I needed to see what I was doing. There also was a
conventional modeling interface that showed on the computer monitor what I
was drawing, but I was so caught up in the 3D display that I kept forgetting
to pay attention to the 2D representation.
To be used for serious modeling, the Volumetric Imager would seem to need
multiple colors and software with snap-to grids and other interface aids,
although Dennis says it is being used even now to do real work. There are
all kinds of problems with volume displays in general (how to make opaque
objects be really opaque?) and this one in particular (LED color and
problems of density). But it sure was fun to play with.
Solomon has another 3D display trick up his sleeve: what he calls Beam
HoloScreens. This creates a virtual 2048x1024 screen that is projected at
viewers with a lateral sweep (rather than vertical as for TVs and monitors).
The projection changes every inch for about 30 inches and then repeats.
Thus, since our eyes are more than two inches apart, each sees a slightly
different image and you get a stereo view. So stereo display might become
practical for multiple viewers without need for glasses and with lesser need
to be located in just the right viewing spot.
[http://www.3dartist.com/tess/95/img/b27k0116.gif] = Volumetric Imager
Caption: Dennis Solomon of Volumetric Imaging stands behind his Volumetric
Imager (left), with a Logitech 3D mouse acoustic pickup seen at right front.
A human skull shape is seen displayed in the Imager.
527.02.03 - And More...
In all the Siggraph buzz it was easy to overlook a lot of news that normally
would get much more attention. Such as Strata's announcement that it will be
bringing out Studio Pro for Win95/NT as a port from the Mac version.
(Strata's previous StudioPro for PC product was based on Aim-3D and was not
file compatible.) The new program is planned tentatively for release around
the end of the year. Pricing is unannounced, but the Mac version lists at
Dynamic Realities was promoting its involvement in the fledgling field of
add-on programs for LightWave 3D. Their main product was Impact!, a physics
and motion detection program for Amiga ($295) and Windows 3.1/95/NT ($495
Intel, $595 Alpha & MIPS). We also got to see a new particle program that
looked like it will be excellent for simulating various fluid and
In consolidating most of its 3D programs into the new Extreme 3D, Macromedia
sold one off. ModelShop was acquired by Electric Cafe, Inc. In an
announcement dated 24 July, Electric Cafe said that there will be a
"significant upgrade" by the end of this year for this architectural program
that was last upgraded in late 1991. The new version 3.0 will be for both
68K and PowerPC Macs, with a new interface, AppleScript support, Boolean
operations, photorealistic rendering, and support for both QuickDraw 3D's
API and 3DMF file format. Upgrade and list prices weren't announced, but
street price "is expected to be around $500."
General Reality Co. announced the 5th Glove '95, a data glove they
distribute in the U.S. for South African manufacturer Fifth Dimension
Technologies. It is reported to be flexible enough to allow the wearer to
type on a standard keyboard, and it can emulate a Microsoft mouse or
baseless joystick. The $495 device is platform independent but comes with a
software development kit including 16- and 32-bit DOS drivers, 32-bit
Windows, and soon Win95 DLLs. Besides drivers said to be in development for
VR packages such as Vream's VRCreator, "A body instrument software package
has been developed specifically for the 5th Glove '95. KineMusica converts
finger flexture and hand orientation to music (MIDI commands), which can be
played out by any MIDI device, e.g. a [Windows] sound card. A virtual piano,
trumpet and drum set are already available."
527.03 - News Wrap
By Alex Kiriako, Editor
Re:Search Intl. has announced 21 Aug. as the ship date for re:search for
Windows, a CD-ROM authoring and retrieval program. Featuring direct support
for Wordperfect and MS Word, it claims to offer support for all major
graphics formats as well as WAV, MIDI, AVI, MPG, and FLI files.
Other features include Windows 95/NT compatability, hyperlinking of text
and images, a variety of search options with Boolean and WildCard, and cross
platform authoring. A single user license is $595, and a CD-ROM publishing
license starts at $2,000 without royalty fees. Re:Search Intl., 1 Broadway,
Cambridge, MA 02142; 617/577-1574, -9517 fax; .
Sentfactor, Inc. has announced two new programs: Sentfactor Paint ($149.99)
and Sentfactor Image Viewer ($29.99) for image editing and image management
Sentfactor Paint offers what is said to be an easy to use interface with
what they describe as "the full range of standard drawing, painting, and
cropping tools." They also offer some unusual "professional" features like a
precise cloning tool, and an irregular polygon stretch tool for expanding or
compressing polygonal sections of an image. Other features include import
and export capabilities for 16 different file formats and a variety of
special effects such as emboss, pixelate, color washout, etc.
Sentfactor Image Viewer will create image thumbnails by autoscanning each
directory of your hard drive. It recognizes 15 different file formats and
comes with 200 royalty-free stock photos and a slide show player.
Sentfactor, Inc., 2204 Groveglen, Lakeland, FL 33813, 941/647-3220,
648-5612, CIS 74774,3465.
Diamond Multimedia announced on 21 Aug. the new Diamond Stealth64 Graphics
2001 series using DRAM video memory for PCI-based systems. The 2201 is a 2MB
version with 64-bit graphics acceleration and 24-bit color support up to
800x600 and a maximum screen resolution of 1600x1200 for $189. Various
utility softwares are included.
Ketiv's Blocks & Materials is now shipping for AccuRender at $199. It offers
a CD-ROM of over 600 3D blocks from categories like aircraft, autos,
furniture, people, trees, outdoor items, etc. Also included are 400
textures, 200 of which are seamlessly tileable. For those who already own
the original Blocks & Materials, this one is available for $50.
Science Accessories Corp. (SAC), which recently moved, is offering a new
line of sonic 3D digitizers. The Freepoint 3D line replaces their
lower-priced GP-12 models [reviewed in *3DA*#18] with three new models. They
work respectively in spaces of 3.25 cubic ft. ($4,995), 8 cubic ft.
($5,995), and 16x8x8 ft. ($6,995). DOS and Windows drivers are supplied to
work with 3D digitizing software such as VertiSketch, HighRes Studio,
HyperSpace, and others.
Archillustrator Lite ($129) creates 3D models within AutoCAD from block
libraries, parametric libraries, or automated routines and prints them to
produce "finished presentation drawings" quickly for clients. The lite
version can also be upgraded at any time to the full version Archillustrator
4.0 for only the cost difference. Archillustrator; P.O. Box 1733,
Kailua-Kona, HI 96745; 800/792-9066; 808/334-1861, 326-7654 fax
Adobe Systems recently announced an "aggressive" plan to make most of its
flagship products Windows 95 "logo compliant." Commitments for late 95/early
96 have been announced for Photoshop, Pagemaker 5 and 6, Type Manager 3.01
and 3.02, Illustrator 4.0.3, Premiere 4.0a, Acrobat 2.0 and 2.1, Persuasion
3.0.2, and Streamline 3.0. Besides 32-bit compatability and support for the
user interface shell, there also will be support for OLE 2.0.
Please mention TESS when contacting companies about products reported here!
> 3Name3D; 1202 W. Olympic Blvd. #101, Santa Monica, CA 90404; vox
800/993-4621, 310/314-2171, fax 310/314-2181; E-mail [email protected]
> Acuris, Inc.; 931 Hamilton Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025; vox 415/329-1920,
fax 415/329-1928; E-mail [email protected]; vox 800/652-2874
> Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc.; 2880 Junction Ave., San Jose, CA 95134;
http://www.diamondmm.com/; vox 408/325-7000, fax 408/325-7070; vox
800/468-5846; E-mail [email protected]
> Dynamic Realities; 21800B Doral Rd., Waukesha, WI 53186; vox 414/798-9400,
fax 414/798-9403; vox 800/944-5520
> Electric Cafe, Inc.; 250 Columbus Ave. #207, San Francisco, CA 94133;
http://www.eleccafe.com/; vox 415/675-7480, fax 415/675-7490; vox
800/380-3532; E-mail [email protected]
> General Reality Co.; 124 Race St., San Jose, CA 95126; vox 408/289-8340,
fax 408/289-8258; E-mail [email protected]
> KETIV Technologies Inc.; 6601 N.E. 78th Ct. #A8, Portland, OR 97218; vox
503/252-3230, fax 503/252-3668; vox 800/458-0690
> Model Masters, LLC; 420 Frontage Rd., Northfield, IL 60093; vox
708/446-9762, fax 708/446-8320; vox 800/306-6357
> Science Accessories Corp.; 7125 Riverwood Dr., Columbia, MD 21046; vox
410/381-6688, fax 410/290-9065
> Strata, Inc.; 2 W. St. George Blvd., Ancestor Sq. #2100, St. George, UT
84770; http://www.strata3d.com/; vox 801/628-5218, fax 801/628-9756
> Viewpoint DataLabs International; 625 S. State St., Orem, UT 84058;
http://www.viewpoint.com/; vox 801/229-3000, fax 801/229-3300; vox 800/328-2738
> Volumetric Imaging; 2200 One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA 02139; vox/Fx
508/394-9221; E-mail [email protected]
*Tess* and *3D Artist*'s other online activies are funded completely by
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Revision: 29 Aug 95
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